Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick for CIA Director, is notorious among CIA veterans for her implementation of illegal and ineffective torture programs, which often took place overseas at [illegal] ‘black sites.’ Her apparent gusto for violence eventually earned her the nickname ‘Bloody Gina.’ The aura of violence surrounding Haspel is so potent that it manifested in her own confirmation hearing, in the form of the violent police response to protestors including Ray McGovern, CIA veteran analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
McGovern was severely injured by police as he vocalized opposition to the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director. Multiple cell phone videos captured the fact that, despite being brutally assaulted by police officers, McGovern was able to clearly state that Haspel was a key figure in the implementation of illegal torture programs at overseas black sites, including one in Thailand.
Cell phone footage of the brutal pile-on which took place emerged on social media in the hours following the incident. The chilling footage shows multiple officers ripping McGovern out of the confirmation hearing with such force that they dislocated the CIA veteran’s arm. Despite completely incapacitating the 78-year-old, multiple officers piled onto McGovern outside the doors of the hearing, repeatedly telling him to “Stop resisting,” and to “Give me your arm,” pulling his arms up and behind his back in the face of repeated statements by McGovern that his arm was dislocated. The escalation of this abuse seemed to subside only after a bystander filming the incident said, softly: “Stop hurting him.”
The chilling assault broadcast on social media was far from the first time that McGovern had been brutalized as a result of protesting war criminals. In 2011, Democracy Now reported that McGovern was violently ejected from the audience at a speech made by then-Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton. The report explains that the arrest took place after McGovern: “Stood up and turned his back in a silent protest of America’s foreign policy.”
VIPS and its members have repeatedly voiced opposition to Haspel’s pending appointment as CIA Director prior to the incident. As recently as yesterday, Consortium News published a Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity memorandum penned by John Kiriakou, which urged members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to vote against Haspel’s nomination. In March, VIPS called on President Trump to withdraw Haspel’s nomination, a call which went unheeded and unanswered.
In a separate article published with TruthDig, VIPS member and CIA whistleblower on torture, John Kiriakou, wrote: “The CIA will not permit me to talk about Haspel’s time overseas. Suffice it to say that others already have, and her career has been well documented in the media. Most importantly, it was Haspel whom Rodriguez ordered to destroy videotaped evidence of the torture of Abu Zubaydah, who many of us believed, incorrectly, to be the third-ranking person in al-Qaida. And that was after the White House counsel told her to preserve everything. She never apologized or even attempted to explain herself. Rodriguez called her a patriot. I would say that she committed “obstruction of justice,” a felony.”
VIPS members including McGovern also called for Trump to reject Russian hacking allegations stemming from the 2016 US Presidential race. In 2003, the group staunchly opposed the intelligence used to justify the claim that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction, which was used to raise public support for the implementation of the Iraq War.