Even earlier than President-Elect Joe Biden units foot within the White House, the Senate Intelligence Committee might begin hearings on his nomination of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.
Barack Obama’s high lawyer on the National Security Council from 2010 to 2013 adopted by CIA Deputy Director from 2013 to 2015, Haines is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothes. She is the affable murderer who, based on Newsweek, can be summoned in the course of the evening to resolve if a citizen of any nation, together with our personal, must be incinerated in a U.S. drone strike in a distant land within the larger Middle East. Haines additionally performed a key function in protecting up the U.S. torture program, identified euphemistically as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which included repeated water boarding, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation, dousing bare prisoners with ice chilly water, and rectal rehydration.
For these causes, amongst others, the activist teams CODEPINK, Progressive Democrats of America, World Beyond War and Roots Action have launched a marketing campaign calling on the Senate to reject her affirmation.
These similar teams ran profitable campaigns to dissuade Biden from selecting two different warmongering candidates for important international coverage positions: China-hawk Michele Flournoy for Secretary of Defense and torture apologist Mike Morell for CIA Director. By internet hosting calling events to Senators, launching petitions and publishing Open Letters from DNC delegates, feminists—together with Alice Walker, Jane Fonda, and Gloria Steinem—and Guantanamo torture survivors, activists helped derail candidates who have been as soon as thought of shoo-ins for Biden’s cupboard.
Now activists are difficult Avril Haines.
In 2015, when Haines was CIA Deputy Director, CIA brokers illegally hackedthe computer systems of the Senate Intelligence Committee to thwart the Committee’s investigation into the spy company’s detention and interrogation program. Haines overruled the CIA’s personal Inspector General in failing to discipline the CIA agents who violated the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers. According to former CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, she not solely shielded the hackers from accountability however even awarded them the Career Intelligence Medal.
And there’s extra. When the exhaustive 6,000-page Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture was lastly full, after 5 years of investigation and analysis, Haines took cost of redacting it to disclaim the general public’s proper to know its full particulars, lowering the doc to a 500-page, black-ink-smeared abstract.
This censorship went past merely “protecting sources and methods”; it averted CIA embarrassment, whereas making certain her personal profession development.
Moreover, Haines supported torture apologist Gina Haspel as Trump’s CIA Director. Haspel ran a secret black web site jail in Thailand the place torture was commonly inflicted. Haspel additionally drafted the memo ordering the destruction of virtually 100 videotapes documenting CIA torture.
As David Segal of Demand Progress told CNN, “Haines has an unfortunate record of repeatedly covering up for torture and torturers. Her push for maximalist redactions of the torture report, her refusal to discipline the CIA personnel who hacked the Senate and her vociferous support for Gina Haspel — which was even touted by the Trump White House as Democrats stood in nearly unanimous opposition to the then-nominee to lead the CIA — should be interrogated during the confirmation process.”
This sentiment was echoed by Mark Udall, a Democratic senator on the intelligence committee when it completed the torture report. “If our country is going to turn the page on the dark chapter of our history that was the CIA’s torture program, we need to stop nominating and confirming individuals who led this terrible program and helped cover it up.”
Another purpose Haines’s nomination must be rejected is her help for the proliferation of killer drones. There has been a concerted effort by former Obama colleagues to color Haines as a voice of restraint that attempted to professionaltect civilians. But based on former CIA whistleblower Kiarikou, Haines commonly authorized the drone bombings that killed not solely suspected terrorists, however total households, together with youngsters, who died as collateral injury.”It was Avril that determined whether or not it was authorized to incinerate somebody from the sky,” mentioned Kiriakou.
When human rights teams denounced Obama’s rash use of extrajudicial killings, together with the belief that all military-age males within the strike zone have been “enemy combatants” and subsequently official targets, Haines was enlisted to co-author a brand new “presidential policy guidance” to tighten the rules. But this new “guidance,” issued on May 22, 2013, continued to blur the road between civilians and combatants, normalizing targeted assassinations and successfully repudiating the “presumption of innocence” that has been the bedrock precept of civilian legislation for over 800 years.
The drone playbook, “PROCEDURES FOR APPROVING DIRECT ACTION AGAINST TERRORIST TARGETS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND AREAS OF ACTIVE HOSTILITIES,” says on web page 1 that any “direct action must be conducted lawfully and taken against lawful targets,” but the rules by no means reference worldwide or home legal guidelines that outline when extrajudicial killings exterior of an energetic warfare zone are permitted.
On web page 4, the rules for drone strikes enable for deadly motion in opposition to those that should not “high value targets,” with out explaining the standards the CIA would use to establish somebody as an imminent menace to the safety of the United States. On web page 12, the co-authors, Haines amongst them, redacted the minimal profile necessities for a person “nominated” for deadly motion. The very time period “nominated” suggests an effort to sugarcoat focused assassination, as if the bombing goal is recomended for a U.S. presidential cupboard place.
Moreover, the rules themselves have been usually completely disregarded. The coverage states, for instance, that the U.S. “prioritizes, as a matter of policy, the capture of terrorist suspects as a preferred option over lethal action” and that deadly motion must be taken “only when capture of an individual is not feasible.” But the Obama administration did nothing of the kind. Under George Bush, at least 780 terrorist suspects have been captured and thrown into the U.S.-run gulag in Guantanamo. Haines’s tips prohibit switch to Guantanamo so, as a substitute, suspects have been merely incinerated.
The tips required “near certainty that non-combatants will not be killed or injured,” however this requirement was routinely violated, as documented by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Haines’s coverage steerage additionally states that the U.S. would respect different states’ sovereignty, solely endeavor deadly motion when different governments “cannot or will not” deal with a menace to the U.S. This, too, grew to become merely empty phrases on paper. The U.S. barely even consulted with the governments in whose territory it was dropping bombs and, within the case of Pakistan, brazenly defied the federal government. In December 2013, the National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously approved a decision in opposition to U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, calling them a violation of “the charter of the United Nations, international laws and humanitarian norms” and Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “The use of drones is not only a continual violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve and efforts at eliminating terrorism from our country.” But the U.S. ignored the pleas of Pakistan’s elected authorities.
The proliferation of drone killings beneath Obama, from Yemen to Somalia, additionally violated U.S. legislation, which provides Congress the only authority to authorize army battle. But Obama’s authorized group, which included Haines, circumvented the legislation by insisting that these army interventions fell beneath the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), the legislation Congress handed to focus on Afghanistan within the wake of the 9/11 assaults. This specious argument supplied fodder for the out-of-control misuse of that 2001 AUMF which, based on the Congressional Research Service, has been relied on to justify U.S. army motion a minimum of 41 occasions in 19 international locations.
In addition, the rules don’t even require the CIA and different businesses collaborating within the drone program to inform the President, the Commander-in-Chief, as to who’s to be killed in a drone strike, besides when a focused particular person is a U.S. citizen or when the businesses in cost can not agree on the goal.
There are many different causes to reject Haines. She advocates intensifying crippling financial sanctions on North Korea that undermine a negotiated peace, and “regime change”–hypothetically engineered by a U.S. ally–that might go away a collapsed North Korea weak to terrorist theft of its nuclear materials; she was a marketing consultant at WestExec Advisors, a agency that exploits insider authorities connections to assist firms safe plum Pentagon contracts; and she or he was a marketing consultant with Palantir, a data-mining firm that facilitated Trump’s mass deportations of immigrants.
But Haines’s report on torture and drones, alone, must be sufficient for Senators to reject her nomination. The unassuming spy—who bought her begin on the White House as a authorized adviser within the Bush State Department in 2003, the yr the U.S. invaded Iraq—may look and sound extra like your favourite school professor than somebody who enabled homicide by distant management or wielded a thick black pen to cowl up CIA torture, however a transparent examination of her previous ought to persuade the Senate that Haines is unfit for excessive workplace in an administration that guarantees to revive transparency, integrity, and respect for worldwide legislation.
Tell your Senator: Vote NO on Haines.
Medea Benjamin and Marcy Winograd