Trump’s CIA torturer in chief Gina Haspel

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Wants Her Running CIA, Germany Wants Her Arrested

18 March 2018

Germany would love to arrest Gina Haspel. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter. In the same tweet, the president announced CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is a close ally of the Koch brothers, would be nominated to become the new secretary of state. Trump also tapped CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the CIA. Haspel was directly involved in the CIA’s torture program under George W. Bush. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where one prisoner was waterboarded 83 times and tortured in other ways. Both Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel must now face Senate confirmations, but barring any Republican defections, both can be confirmed without any Democratic support. Last year, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights asked German prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for Haspel for her role in the torture program. For more, we speak with Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

Read more here.

The newly nominated secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is a foreign policy hawk who opposes the Iran nuclear deal. Scrapping it could unleash a chain reaction of violence across the Middle East: here.


US Trump administration, more war and torture

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump pick for new CIA director Gina Haspel oversaw torture

14 March 2018

Gina Haspel has been tipped to take over from Mike Pompeo – and become the first woman to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

But she could face a tough confirmation hearing in the senate, given past allegations she oversaw the torture of detainees in a secret CIA prison in Thailand.

She has been the agency’s deputy director since 2017.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports from Washington, DC.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Trump’s firing of Tillerson signals further shift toward global war

14 March 2018

President Donald Trump’s sudden firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Tuesday and the announcement of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement is bound up with the accelerating shift by the US administration toward a policy of global war as the solution to the deep-seated crisis of American capitalism.

Fired by a morning tweet from Trump, Tillerson was reported by his aides to have had no advance warning that he was to be removed from his post. The tweet came just hours after Tillerson had returned from a week-long trip to Africa, basically an apology tour over Trump’s reference to the continent as “shithole countries”.

Trump also announced that Pompeo will be replaced by Gina Haspel, an individual who is directly implicated in crimes of torture and forced disappearances.

While Trump’s method of removing Tillerson was abrupt, rumors that the secretary of state would lose his cabinet seat had circulated for months in Washington amid the repeated interventions by the US president to undercut his supposed spokesman to the world.

In an extraordinary rebuke to the US secretary of state last October, Trump tweeted from his New Jersey golf club that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man”, the nickname he had adopted for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, adding, “we’ll do what has to be done!”, suggesting military action. The tweet came just as Tillerson was holding talks with Chinese officials on the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

During the same week, it emerged that Tillerson had referred to Trump as a “moron” at a Pentagon meeting over the president’s statement to advisors that he wanted a tenfold increase in US nuclear weapons.

Whatever the frictions between the US president and Tillerson, the multi-millionaire former CEO of ExxonMobil, Trump on Tuesday pointed to a particular difference over foreign policy.

“I actually got along well with Rex but really it was a different mind-set, a different thinking”, Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to California. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was okay. . . So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well.”

With a personal fortune of over $300 million and a career that brought him to the top of one of the largest oil conglomerates in the world, Tillerson is a dedicated defender of US capitalist interests. He had significant tactical differences with Trump and others in the administration, however, including over whether some of these interests could be achieved by means of diplomatic negotiations rather than military aggression.

Tillerson was reportedly among those in the White House who last month dissuaded Trump from upending the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated between Iran and the P5+1—the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany—by refusing to sign the four-month waiver of US sanctions imposed over the nuclear program. Trump has reportedly complained that he regretted the decision and has vowed to reimpose the sanctions in May, the next waiver deadline, unless there is a deal to renegotiate the agreement, including terms that Tehran cannot and will not accept.

In an apparent response to the cabinet reshuffle, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Tuesday: “Mr Trump has made habit of being unpredictable and thus unreliable for anybody to engage with. Nobody will be interested in reaching any agreement with the White House if US signature only good for 4-8 yrs.”

Tillerson had also repeatedly spoken in favor of negotiations with North Korea, even as Trump threatened “fire and fury” and to “totally destroy” the country of 25 million people.

In the end, however, Tillerson was caught off guard by Trump, who suddenly declared last week his willingness to participate in direct talks with Korea’s Kim Jong-un on the de-nuclearization of North Korea to be held by May. Trump made his announcement just a day after Tillerson had told reporters in Ethiopia that it was unclear “whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations.”

Tillerson’s proposed replacement as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has repeatedly made clear his determination to scrap the Iran nuclear treaty and pursue a strategy of regime change in Tehran. After Trump’s election, he tweeted: “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

As CIA director, Pompeo, who has repeatedly engaged in anti-Muslim rhetoric, referred to Iran as a “despotic theocracy” and a “pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.”

A former US Army tank officer and right-wing Tea Party congressman from Kansas, whose political career was bankrolled by the Koch brothers, Pompeo boasted last October that under his leadership, the CIA would become a “much more vicious agency.” He directed the deployment of CIA assassination squads in Afghanistan to eliminate opponents of the US-backed regime in Kabul.

Pompeo has also made clear his support for regime change in North Korea, declaring last July that he was “hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system … The North Korean people, I’m sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go.”

Speaking on a news talk show Sunday, Pompeo stressed that in any negotiations between Trump and Kim, “there will be no concessions made.”

Sources in Washington have indicated that Trump wanted to install Pompeo as secretary of state before any negotiations began.

The appointment of Pompeo strongly suggests that the acceptance of talks with Kim is a ruse on the part of the Trump administration, aimed at paving the way to US military action.

Asked on Sunday in an appearance on ABC where there was a possibility that the talks would not take place, White House spokesman Raj Shah responded, “there’s the possibility. If it does, it’s the North Koreans’ fault, they have not lived up to the promises that they made.”

The replacement of Tillerson by Pompeo provoked worried responses from Washington’s erstwhile European allies.

“The dismissal of Rex #Tillerson does not make anything better,” German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said in a tweet Tuesday.

Thomas Oppermann, the deputy speaker of the German parliament, meanwhile, warned that the removal of Tillerson, whom he described as “a reliable, intelligent interlocutor”, would result in a “further setback for German-American relations.” The sudden changes at the top of the US administration, he added, was a manifestation of Trump’s “capricious and erratic” methods.

Trump’s ostensible political opponents within the Democratic Party responded to the cabinet reshuffle entirely from the standpoint of the anti-Russia campaign that they have made the focus of their opposition to the administration.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, said that Tillerson “was not close to tough enough on Russia”, and that he hoped that Pompeo “will be a lot tougher and we hope he can persuade the president to be tougher.”

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, attributed Tillerson’s firing to his having implicated Russia in connection with the poisoning of an ex-spy living in Britain. “President Trump’s actions show that every official in his Administration is at the mercy of his personal whims and his worship of Putin”, she tweeted.

When Tillerson was nominated as secretary of state, Democrats opposed him not out of concern that a top oil CEO would be taking over the senior foreign policy position in the US government, but rather over his deals he struck with Russia.

Now, far from opposing the further turn toward war by the Trump administration, they are only demanding that it focus more directly on nuclear-armed Russia.

In a statement on Tuesday, Schumer also made it clear that he was not calling on Democrats to oppose Trump’s nominee to replace Pompeo as director of the CIA, Haspel, a 30-year CIA veteran who was directly involved in the torture of detainees under the Bush administration, as well as in the destruction of video evidence documenting those war crimes.

Trump replaces ex-Exxon boss with CIA boss at State Department

This 13 March 2018 NBC video from the USA says about itself:

President Trump has fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, replacing him with outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Gina Haspel will become new head of the CIA. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports from the White House on the startling developments.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that United States President Donald Trump has sacked his Secretary of State, ex-ExxonMobil oil boss Rex Tillerson.

Trump replaced Tillerson with CIA boss Mike Pompeo.

Gina Haspel gets a promotion from CIA deputy boss to boss.

According to the New York Times, according to the New Yorker, and according to the Guardian, Ms Haspel had a leading role in CIA torture.

THE AFTERMATH OF A SECRETARY OF STATE BEING FIRED Via tweet. Trump called Rex Tillerson to tell him the news personally three hours after the tweet went out. Tillerson’s top aide was also fired after contradicting the White House on the timeline. Here’s what to watch for as CIA Director Mike Pompeo becomes the next secretary of state and takes over a “shattered department.” His replacement, Gina Haspel, is under fire for running a torture program. And the musical chairs in the Trump administration may not be over, as Trump is eyeing Rick Perry to replace the embattled Veterans Affairs head. [HuffPost]

From CIA torture to terrorism

This video says about itself:

Blowback: How Torture Leads to Terror

12 February 2018

Does torture lead to terror? Has the decadeslong abuse of political prisoners across the Muslim-majority world — not to mention in CIA black sites, U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, and the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay — fueled radicalization and extremism? Or is it a coincidence that some of the major figures in the jihadi movement — Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb; Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri; Al Qaeda in Iraq founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — were all victims of horrific torture?

As Mehdi Hasan points out, torture is also a recruiting sergeant for terrorist groups. It allows them to act as a vehicle for angry and outraged young men and helps bolster their propaganda war against people in power. For example, Cherif Kouachi, one of the brothers who carried out the horrific attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015, said it was “everything I saw on the television, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, all that which motivated me.”

Hosted by Mehdi Hasan, “How Torture Leads to Terror” is the fourth episode of a six-part Blowback series for The Intercept. Throughout this series, Mehdi Hasan examines key examples of blowback in greater detail and explores how foreign policy decisions by the U.S. and its allies often produce blowback and so-called unintended consequences.

Sudanese tortured refugee arrested in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

ICE Arrests Surge 40% Under Donald Trump | All In | MSNBC

12 February 2018

The father of a 5-year-old battling cancer got a last-minute stay from deportation. But many aren’t so lucky.

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

ICE arrests immigrant at asylum interview in San Francisco

By our reporter

13 February 2018

On February 8, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents took the unprecedented step of arresting an asylum applicant, Omer Abdelmaed, after he appeared for an interview at a United States citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) building in San Francisco.

Abdelmaed, a resident of San Jose, California showed up at the asylum office in San Francisco to explain his fear of returning to Sudan, having fled after being arrested and tortured.

After the customary interview, which lasted two hours, Abdelmaed and his attorney, Caleb Arring, began to leave the office. However, as Arring explained in a Facebook post, as they began to leave, “someone who I assume is a supervisor at the asylum office came in with 3-4 ICE Officers. The ICE Officers put handcuffs on my client and said they were taking him into custody. I asked why. At first they wouldn’t even answer me.”

The highly provocative arrest is part of a pattern of blatant illegality on the part of ICE, which functions as a law unto itself.

While the Obama administration deported more people per year than Trump did in 2017, the latter’s administration has carried out a deliberate policy to instill terror among immigrants, making random, warrantless arrests outside churches, at courthouses, government buildings, schools, workplaces, on buses, and in other public places. The Trump administration made 37,734 arrests of immigrants with no criminal records in the 2017 fiscal year, more than double the total from 2016.

Arring explained in his post: “My client has NEVER been arrested in the United States. He has a completely clean record. He has a social security number. He works and contributes to our society. He has a United States Citizen Child. His wife and other child both have green cards.”

Abdelmaed’s arrest is a violation of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, which states, “Refugees should not be penalized for their illegal entry or stay” and prohibits immigrants from “being arbitrarily detained purely on the basis of seeking asylum.”

Arring said “the government will give me NO information about why he was taken into custody during what is meant to be a safe and non-adversarial process.” When ICE made the arrest, Arring challenged the officers and told them the Asylum Office retained custody over his case while his asylum application was pending. “The officer said, not anymore, we just arrested him so the asylum office doesn’t have jurisdiction anymore.”

The Trump administration has launched an assault against asylum applicants, proposing to slash in half the total number of asylum applications it will grant per year from roughly 37,000 to 18,000. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on Congress to toughen rules for asylum seekers who he claims use “rampant abuse and fraud” to escape their home countries.

“The system is being gamed. Over the years, smart attorneys have exploited loopholes in the law, court rulings, and lack of resources to substantially undermine the intent of Congress”, Sessions said, failing to clarify how it could be fraudulent to cite court rulings in legal proceedings. The immigration system is “overloaded with fake claims” for asylum, he added. This is the opinion of a large number of senators heading into this week’s debate over immigration reform.

In reality, nearly six in ten asylum applications are denied in immigration court, including 90 percent of those applications filed by immigrants too poor to afford legal representation since there is no equivalent to the public defender system in immigration court. Between 75 percent and 90 percent of all asylum applications from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico were denied between 2011 and 2016.

The arrest of Abdelmaed is another sign of the danger posed not only to immigrants, but all workers whose democratic rights are under attack when the government conducts illegal arrests and locks up people seeking refuge from persecution.

Guantanamo torture camp still open today

This video says about itself:

The Dark Legacy Of The Guantanamo Prison

11 January 2018

Guantánamo inmates claim Trump‘s ‘anti-Muslim bias‘ fuels their detention. Eleven prisoners are petitioning a federal court in Washington to end their indefinite incarceration and are citing the president’s campaign comments: here.

Will religion decide the fate of the Guantánamo Bay detainees? The Trump administration has moved from releasing detainees based on their risk factor to treating individuals as dangerous because of their faith: here.

Guantánamo: Bush-era officials warn keeping prison open may be $6bn error. Trump’s decision to keep the prison open may be costly and dangerous, according to officials who set up the Cuba facility: here.