ACTION ALERT: Do Whatever It Takes: Say No to Bigotry and Torture; Oppose Pompeo and Haspel

March 29th, 2018 - by admin

MPower / Muslim Grassroots Movement & Brett Samuels / The Hill & Democracy Now! – 2018-03-29 18:55:50

Say No to Bigotry and Torture:
Oppose Pompeo and Haspel

He’s a bigot. She’s a torturer.
Congress should reject them both

MPower / Muslim Grassroots Movement

(March 29, 2018) — Trump’s attempts to appoint Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel to his cabinet are an affront to human rights and basic decency.

After he fired Rex Tillerson with a tweet, Trump moved to appoint Mike Pompeo — a shameless anti-Muslim bigot — as Secretary of State, and replace him as CIA Director with a seasoned torturer — Gina Haspel.

But Senators are preparing for hearings for both of them — and at least two Republicans have already made their reservations clear. This means we could actually win this, if we contact our Senators ASAP.

Tell your Senator today: “Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel are too dangerous to serve as Secretary of State and CIA Director. I’m calling on you to reject bigotry and torture, and vote against them.”

Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel are bad news for anyone who cares about diplomacy, world peace, and human rights. But here’s the good news:

Republicans only have a 1-vote majority in the US Senate — and two Republican Senators, Rand Paul and John McCain, have already signaled that they’ll likely oppose Haspel, with Paul saying he’ll do “whatever it takes” to rally Republican opposition to Pompeo. (1)

That’s a big deal — and it means that confirming Senate votes against Pompeo and Haspel really, really matters right now.

So far, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has failed to say whether or not he’ll organize opposition on the Democratic side — but the more Senators we reach out to now and confirm as public opponents of the Pompeo/Haspel nominations, the more likely he’ll be forced to take a stand.

If Senate Democrats and just a few Republicans like Rand Paul and John McCain stand with us, we could win this fight for basic human decency.

Mike Pompeo’s record is so repugnant that it’s hard to know where to stop when listing out his history of bigotry:

* Pompeo accepted an achievement award from ACT For America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the US (2)

* And he didn’t just accept an award from ACT — he literally made room for them in Congress, personally reserving a space on Capitol Hill for an ACT event. (3)

* He’s appeared on the radio show of notorious Islamophobe Frank Gaffney a jaw-dropping 20 times.

* Pompeo told an audience that they shouldn’t be dismayed or question their behavior after being called “Islamophobes or bigots.” (4) (Just like Steve Bannon’s recent admission he wears the label “racist” as a “badge of honor.”) (5)

There are many reasons to oppose Mike Pompeo’s nomination. But for Gina Haspel, one reason should suffice: torture.

Haspel ran one of the first CIA “black sites” after 9/11: secret prisons where people were brutally tortured without any hope of due process. In many cases, none of them were ever charged with crimes. The Bush-era torture regime stands out as one of the worst and most blatant violations of human and civil rights in the past several decades.

Haspel went even further in showing her disregard for the law, by ignoring White House orders and destroying the videotape evidence of her violent torture program. (6)

John Kiriakou, a former CIA employee who was imprisoned for two years for whistleblowing on torture, recently shared a terrifying personal memory of Haspel’s work:

We did call her Bloody Gina. [Haspel] was always very quick and very willing to use force… Everybody knew that torture didn’t work. Was it moral, and was it ethical, and was it legal? Very clearly no. But Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information. (7)

This isn’t the resume of someone who should lead a key US agency. This is the rap sheet of someone who should face serious justice for her crimes against humanity.

It’s already a moral failure that we haven’t held torturers like Haspel accountable. It’s something far worse to give them promotions, especially in an era where Trump is openly celebrating torture.

ACTION: If you agree, sign this petition to Congress and let your Senators know.

In solidarity,
Linda, Kifah, Dustin, and the MPower Change team

1. “Rand Paul: People ‘eager for war’ shouldn’t be running State Department,” The Hill, Mar 18, 2018.

2. “Mike Pompeo’s Disturbing Consistent Friendships with Anti-Muslim Bigots,” The Daily Beast, Mar 3, 2018.

3. “Following Trump Appointments, Anti-Muslim ACT for America May See Growing Influence,” The Southern Poverty Law Center, Nov 28, 2016.

4. “Trump CIA Pick Mike Pompeo Depicated War on Terror as Islamic Battle Against Christianity,” The Intercept, Nov 23, 2016.

5. “Bannon: ‘Let them call you racists’,” CNN, Mar 11, 2018.

6. “Declassify CIA Director Nominee’s Role in Torture, Rights Groups Demand,” The Daily Beast, Mar 16, 2018.

7. “‘She Tortured Just for the Sake of Torture’: CIA Whistleblower on Trump’s New CIA Pick Gina Haspel,” Democracy Now!, Mar 14, 2018.

Rand Paul: People ‘Eager for War’
Shouldn’t Be Running the State Department

Brett Samuels / The Hill

“She Tortured Just for the Sake of Torture”

CIA Whistleblower on Trump’s New CIA Pick Gina Haspel
Amy Goodman and John Kiriakou / Democracy Now! (March 14, 2018)

(March 18, 2018) — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday vowed to do “whatever it takes” to block President Trump’s picks for secretary of State and CIA director.

“I don’t think you really want people who are eager for war to be running the State Department. You want a diplomat,” Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” explaining why he opposes the nomination of Mike Pompeo.

“I frankly think that Pompeo’s positions are too much of an advocate for regime change, really everywhere,” he said. “I don’t think our policy ought to be for regime change, so I think Pompeo really isn’t a good fit to be a diplomat,” he added.

Trump last week fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and announced he’d seek to replace him with Pompeo, who is the current CIA director. He then said he would nominate CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo.

Paul has said he will oppose both nominations. In Haspel’s case, Paul opposes her appointment due to her involvement in the enhanced interrogation program during the George W. Bush administration.

Paul said during a separate interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that there is “no evidence [Haspel] was protesting against torture, and there’s every evidence she was covering it up.”

He added that the US should set an example for the world, and should not have someone who condoned torture leading the CIA.

Paul on CNN vowed to do “whatever it takes” to stop Pompeo’s and Haspel’s nominations, including launching a filibuster. He said he’s hopeful his actions will send a message to the American people, who will in turn oppose the nominations.

Paul’s defection could force Republicans to rely on Vice President Pence, or Democrats, to get Pompeo through the full Senate. Assuming every Republican senator but Paul supports Pompeo, as they did for his current CIA post, and every Democrat opposes, the Senate would be split 50-50.

In Haspel’s case, no Democrats have formally said they will oppose her, but several have raised concerns about her involvement in the interrogation program.

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