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From Consortium News
President-elect Donald Trump's selection of Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, an open aficionado of torture practices used in the "war on terror," to be CIA director shows that Trump was serious when he said he would support "waterboarding and much worse."
Earlier, there had been a sliver of hope that that, while on the campaign trail, Trump was simply playing to the basest instincts of many Americans who have been brainwashed -- by media, politicians, and the CIA itself -- into believing that torture "works." The hope was that the person whom Trump would appoint to head the agency would disabuse him regarding both the efficacy and the legality of torture.
But such advice is not likely from Pompeo, who has spoken out against the closing of CIA's "black sites" used for torture and has criticized the requirement that interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws. He has also opposed closing the prison at Guantanamo, which has become infamous for torture and even murder.
After visiting Guantanamo three years ago, where many prisoners were on a hunger strike, Pompeo commented, "It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight."
There is little doubt that the champagne was flowing on Friday at CIA headquarters, from the seventh-floor executive offices down to the bowels of that building where torture practitioners have been shielded from accountability for 15 years in what amounts to the CIA's internal "witness protection" program.
Indeed, relief over the Pompeo appointment came in the nick of time. For one fleeting moment earlier in the week, there was some panic at the hint that the International Criminal Court might show more courage than President Barack Obama in bringing torture perpetrators to justice.
That suggestion caused a moment of angst up and down the CIA's ladder of authority, from supervisory felons, such as Director John Brennan and agency lawyers, down to the thugs hired to implement the amateurish but gruesome regime of torture depicted in gory detail in the Senate Intelligence Committee investigative report.
Published in December 2014 and based on original CIA documents, the report's Executive Summary revealed a range of gruesome practices from the near-drowning sensation of water-boarding to the forcible rectal feeding of detainees.
Pompeo responded to the findings by personally attacking Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein. He claimed she had "put American lives at risk" and he called CIA participants in the torture program "heroes, not pawns in some liberal game being played by the ACLU and Senator Feinstein."
Pompeo seemed to be taking his cue from former chair of the House Intelligence Committee Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, who, right after the Senate report was released, boasted to me on live TV that he had been briefed on "90 to 95 percent" of the cruel practices laid bare in the Senate investigation. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Clashing Face to Face on Torture."
Torture also has its supporters in the Senate, which will be called on to confirm Pompeo as CIA director. At a Senate hearing on May 13, 2009, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, gave a tip of the cap to the Spanish Inquisition, which he cited as proof that torture could elicit some useful confessions (as it was used in the Fifteenth Century to detect "crypto Jews" and to burn several thousand heretics at the stake).
During a hearing on detainee interrogations, Sen. Graham said: "Let's have both sides of the story here," pointing out that there could be evidence that torture produced "good information." Graham added, "I mean, one of the reasons these techniques have survived for about 500 years is apparently they work."