Geneva, 14 March 2018, The World Organisations Against Torture (OMCT), the principal coalition against torture, is alarmed of the proposed appointment of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA amidst serious allegations of responsibility for torture.
“The appointment of a person against whom there is serious evidence having responsibility over serious international crimes, including torture and enforced disappearance, is truly shocking”, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.
Gina Haspel has been nominated to lead the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, as part of yesterdays’ government reshuffle in the Trump administration. There are serious allegations against her having run and overseen the operation of a so-called black site in Thailand during the Bush area. Records show that she has overseen interrogations that included in one case more than 80 sessions of waterboarding and other forms of torture. She is also known for ordering the destruction of tapes that allegedly show torture during interrogations.
“This sends an alarming message to all those who are concerned over the return of the US torture policies. These policies have done tremendous harm, have been outright illegal and a crime, but ultimately have also done nothing to make us safer”, added Gerald Staberock.
The US Government under the Bush administration had operated a policy of torture, prescribed in various ‘legal memos’ and a spider-web of secret detention facilities that made disappearance, kidnapping and the use of torture possible in an environment outside any legal protections. The US Senate Committee with access to confidential intelligence information concluded not only its unlawfulness but also its complete non-effectiveness to yield credible intelligence.
Torture is absolutely prohibited under international law under any circumstances and a crime anywhere it happens. The US bears legal responsibility to bring those responsible for torturing or overseeing it to trial and justice. Appointing alleged torture perpetrators to high level government positions is incompatible with this obligation and unprecedented in a democratic state.
“This must be a wake-up call also to all remaining allies to the United States. We need European and other partners of the US, notably in the UK, and their security apparatus to speak out and make clear that they would not be able to work with US intelligence if torture is returning. It should also be seen as an insult to the ethics and integrity of all the women and men that work within the security sector within the law to keep us safe,” said Gerald Staberock.
Let us not be naïve: this is not only about the US, it concerns all of us.
A world in which torture is the rule is not the world we strive for, it is also not a safer world. To the contrary, torture increases sympathy for extremist causes, serves as recruiting ground and will make us less safe – anywhere, not only in the United States.
For media inquiries please contact Lori Brumat, OMCT Head of Communications at +41 22 809 49 33 or firstname.lastname@example.org.