Donald Trump has toyed with the idea of bringing back one of President George W. Bush’s worst pages in history — waterboarding. That could well be why he was so attracted to Gina Haspel for the job of CIA director. Instead of improving the nation’s problems, POTUS insisted “torture works” and left the possibility hanging in the air.
Eleven recently-released cables delved deeply into Haspel’s time managing the secret black site, a prison in Thailand. The CIA has already proven that torture never really worked. Tortured prisoners would tell the interrogators whatever they thought their jailers wanted to hear, anything to make the pain stop.
The previous Republican administration, under the director of former Vice President Dick Cheney, implemented “water treatment” aka “waterboarding in spite of the CIA’s findings. The agency had ample proof that befriending a prisoner brought far better results.
The New York Times obtained the 11 cables through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. One document read:
‘Interrogation escalated rapidly from subject being aggressively debriefed by interrogators while standing at the walling wall, to multiple applications of the walling technique, and ultimately, multiple applications of the watering technique.’
These cables give insight into how Haspel’s secret base operated. She may have written them or authorized them, according to the director of the National Security Archive, Tom Blanton. His is a research organization at George Washington University.
The prisoner was believed to have been behind the 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole in the waters near Yemen. The black site did waterboard him, but that was not all.
Weeks before the black site closed in 2002, a cable said the interrogator and linguist:
‘Strode, catlike, into the well-lit confines of the cell (and) deftly removed the subject’s black hood with a swipe.’
The interrogator spoke to the prisoner in “a deep, measured voice.” A cable indicated that the interrogators would sometimes call Nashiri “a little girl,” “a spoiled little rich Saudi,” or a “sissy.” Then, the jailers threatened him, saying they would give Nashiri to “other people (who) would certainly kill him.”
The jailers slammed him against the jail walls and locked him in ever-smaller boxes. They ripped his clothes off and shaved his head. The prisoner:
‘Whimpered that he would do anything interrogators wanted.’
His guards exposed him to sleep deprivation, loud noises, and humiliating forced nudity. They told him:
‘If he refused to cooperate, he would suffer in ways he never thought possible.’
Nashiri’s attorney, Richard Kammen, explained how the man was tortured. He said:
‘Ultimately, the public will be horrified by the level of brutality employed by the C.I.A.’
The White House hired two former military psychologists, Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell. It was their job to come up with the torture techniques and provide cover for the Bush administration.
Haspel came to the prison late in October 2002. It was mothballed just a few months later. Nashiri is now at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.