MSNBC Calls Illegal Torture Program Overseen by Trump’s New CIA Head ‘Rough Interrogations’

An unfortunate graphic made its way across the screens of MSNBC viewers today. While attempting a neutral run-down on Trump’s newly-named CIA director, Gina Haspel, the reliably liberal network made a necessary reference to Haspel’s tenure as head of a CIA torture black site in Thailand: Originally noted by The Intercept‘s Elise Swain, here’s how MSNBC referred to Haspel’s moral, ethical and legal failure:
Ran the CIA’s first overseas detention site in Thailand, where she oversaw the rough interrogation of detainees.

That’s an interesting way of describing what happened at the “Cat’s Eye” black site in Thailand. While Chief of Base, Haspel oversaw the torture and interrogation of various detainees, including Abu Zubaydah, who was infamously waterboarded 83 times until he quite literally lost his mind. Haspel frequently watched as the waterboarding occurred and once remarked, “Good job! I like the way you’re drooling; it realism. I’m almost buying it. You wouldn’t think a grown man would do that.” This account comes by way of a book by James Mitchell, one of the CIA’s psychologists tasked with implementing the torture program–and who directly answered to Haspel. Aside from waterboarding, Zubaydah was subject to sexual humiliation, beatings, isolation, sleep deprivation, debilitating volume, temperature extremes, forced long-term standing and confinement in a small and cramped cage. All of this was overseen by Haspel, who wrote quite a few cables about how the torture methods weren’t effective in the least. Still, she persisted. The CIA later admitted that Zubaydah wasn’t actually a terrorist at all. But this was after the tapes of his “enhanced interrogation” were destroyed–at Haspel’s urging. Torture is illegal under various international treaties to which the United States is a party: (1) The Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment of Punishment; (2) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; (3) The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War; and (4) the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Torture is also illegal under two domestic U.S. laws: 18 U.S.C. 2340 and 18 U.S.C. 2441. [image via screengrab/MSNBC] Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher

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