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Invitation: Action opposing Gina Haspel for CIA on Wednesday

May 7, 2018

Dear Friends and Supporters,

My name is Dr. Maha Hilal and I am a member of Witness Against Torture’s organizing team.  I’m writing to you today to express my rage and sadness over President Trump’s nomination for CIA Director – Gina Haspel.  For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Haspel, she played a critical role in the CIA’s torture, interrogation, and rendition program, supervising the first black site in Thailand where both Abu Zubaydah and Al-Nashiri were waterboarded repeatedly.  The torture that was inflicted on them would be replicated again and again as this first site provided a blueprint for others.  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence provides extensive detail on the CIA torture apparatus, identifying at least 119 prisoners – all Muslims in the report they published in December of 2014.  

It is Haspel’s participation in this violent apparatus of torture that makes it outrageous for her to be nominated, when she should, instead, be prosecuted.  But not only does the U.S. have a long and sorted history when it comes to the practice of torture, the era of the War on Terror has created an entirely separate system of justice where the laws that apply to others are malleable when it comes to Muslims.  This is by design, not accident.  But because the dehumanization and degradation of Muslims in the context of torture has been almost entirely omitted by the mainstream narrative, I wrote this piece to highlight the many Muslim victims of the CIA and beyond.

As a Muslim, knowing that the country I live in and of which I’m a citizen has chosen to promote an individual who participated in the torture and criminalization of other Muslims is outrageous and inexplicable.  That’s why I’m leading an action on Wednesday between 8:30-9:30 AM in front of the Hart building where Haspel’s hearing is set to take place at 9:30 in room 216.  I hope you will consider joining this action and helping us push back on the gamut of racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic acts of state violence that the CIA has spearheaded against Muslims in the War on Terror. We need to make it clear that torturers should not be promoted, but should instead, be held accountable.  Moreover, this is a critical time to hold the CIA accountable for their crimes of torture that spans the globe.

Will I see you on Wednesday at the Hart building?  I hope so.

Sincerely,
Dr. Maha Hilal

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