The history of the Shin Bet’s use of torture, and what it says about Israel today

Israel outlawed torture more than two decades ago, yet years later evidence of the state’s security services exerting rampant physical and psychological abuse continue to surface.

Human rights groups representing Palestinians who have filed more than one thousand suits alleging torture by the Shin Bet, also known as the Shabak or General Security Service, claim the practice is still endemic and continues in a system with little oversight.

How can torture be both banned and common practice? The answer lies in the organization’s longitudinal development, where secrecy has prevailed.

It is governed by policies that are classified and have never been examined by an independent or external body, shielding it from media and public scrutiny.

On 8 February 1949, the Shin Bet was officially formed but it was not until 1957 that the general public became aware of its creation.

Its inception fell upon a period where many “threats” were looming overhead for the newly formed state, in the wake of the 1948 war against five neighboring Arab countries and the Palestinian Nakba, the start of the Palestinian refugee crisis where 700,000 vacated their homeland and were either forcibly driven out or left due to fear.

Another 156,000 Palestinians remained within Israel – the new government took this as a potential threat.

Initially, the Shin Bet constricted its focus towards half a million Palestinians who had become Israeli citizens in the aftermath of the 1948 war.

Today, its mandate covers ensuring state security, dismantling terrorist groups, and counter-espionage.

In this turbulent context, the existence, operations, and tactics of the Shin Bet were kept in the shadows.

The organization became the embodiment of its motto – “The defender that shall not be seen.”

The early years


In 1948, Ezra Danin – head of the Haganah’s “Arab Section” – was in charge of “destroying Arab villages.” The Hagana, a Zionist paramilitary force, was the forerunner to the Shin Bet as the former’s forces were drawn from to create the latter after Israeli independence.

In his quest to maintain state control, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, sustained the British Mandate appointed The (Emergency) Defense Regulations, 1945.

These regulations gave Israel, like the British before them, an inordinate degree of powers relating to detention, intelligence, and other law-related matters.

In essence, a military government system was present in Israel following independence.

This added with the fact that Israel has been in a perpetual state of emergency since independence has legitimized many insidious actions against the Palestinian minority that includes a range of surveillance-based methods adopted by the Shin Bet and police.

The objective was to constrain the Palestinian refugees from re-entering Israel.

To achieve this, the Shin Bet, the army, and other agencies used intelligence received from their collaborators which allowed security agencies to drive the refugees back to their camps.

In the 1950s, the government of Mapai (The Workers Party) used the Shin Bet to coerce people into voting for the Mapai’s Arab satellite parties.

The Mapai used their satellites politically to keep their Arab allies contented and also to use their Arab puppets in the Knesset (parliament) for propaganda purposes.

Although the Shin Bet achieved its goals on various occasions, it was unregulated, during this period, by any law.

The Shin Bet was not only considered untouchable but for many years since its formation, remained a secret organization – hidden from the public’s eye.

Its clandestine behavior was and still is abetted by Israel’s Military Censor, which aims to restrict the media from revealing sensitive information.

In this period, the organization was only answerable to the prime minister; and the masses were not supposed to know the name of the organization’s head and the death of an agent remained unreported.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Shin Bet would also monitor if the Palestinians celebrated Independence Day with enthusiasm or distaste, and would take action accordingly.

In this same period, Palestinians had to get permission from the Regional Arab Committees of Arab Affairs to do rudimentary tasks such as receiving loans, obtaining jobs in the public sector, shifting their residence etcetera – this committee comprised of a Shin Bet officer, military governor, government representative, and a police officer.

The Shin Bet was also invasive in suppressing anti-Israel or anti-government insinuations.

The agency was active in the vetting of teachers and principals in the Palestinian school system. 

Furthermore, the Shin Bet monitored teachers who were seen as being too nationalistic, and if these tendencies proliferated, the agency would intervene and threaten their dismissal.

The Shin Bet also used to monitor various aspects of education which included teachers speaking against security agencies; discourses that had anti-Semitic implications; and criticisms of the military government.

Concerning Palestinian politics in Israel, Israel and its agencies used to monitor local elections and education.

In local elections, the Jewish government supported the Palestinian clans who were loyal to them by allowing the heads of clans to run the local councils.

Furthermore, local authorities, which comprised elected Palestinians, were initiated to provide educated Palestinians with jobs and impede them from adopting undesirable political behaviors.

In fact, professor of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University, Ahmed Sa’di, contends that the plan was to include the Palestinians on the fringes of the economy so that their financial survival becomes more valued than their political or moral beliefs.

From 1958-1969 and beyond, the government used ploys such as incentivizing Palestinian youth to study abroad then making their return home challenging; implementing harsher laws; and reducing the Palestinian numbers in integral economic zones etcetera.

The government entrusted the Shin Bet and others to gather intelligence to execute said plans.

The military government that was in effect since 1948 was finally discontinued in 1966. In 1967, the Six-Day War erupted between Israel and Jordan, Syria and Egypt.

It changed the socio, political, and geographic landscape of the Middle East. Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

In 1976, Israel announced that they would be confiscating Palestinian land for settlement and security reasons – the tragedy that ensued would be remembered as Land Day.

This decision was met with massive protests by the Palestinians which caused the IDF and police to be deployed.

In the subsequent clashes between the Palestinians and the security forces, six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed and around 100 were injured.

Hillel Cohen, an Israeli scholar, mentions a specific instance leading up to the protests in his book on informants “Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948-1967.”

He states that Tareq ‘Abd al-Hayy, then the mayor of the Arab village of Tira in northern Israel, called the police on the Land Day protesters after he attempted to disband the marchers, but was thwarted by local shop owners.

Cohen called this “the swan song of his close relationship with the security forces.”

Following instances like this, the Shin Bet would either intimidate to incentivize working for them as informants, locally referred to as “collaborators.”

Possible benefits for informants include a government job or a permit to open a business.

This point is reinforced in the documentary, “Inside the Shin Bet,” by Hussein Abu Hussein, a lawyer, who highlights that due to the poverty-stricken conditions of the Palestinians.

He said they become perfect candidates for conscription and Avigdor Feldman, a human rights lawyer, claimed that Arab spies are present in all Palestinian towns.

In 1984, an event unfolded that had grave repercussions for the Shin Bet.

The Bus 300 affair shocked the Israeli public and demonized the Shin Bet in the mainstream’s eye.

A bus departing from Tel Aviv to the town of Ashkelon was hijacked by four Palestinians who demanded the freedom of 500 Palestinian inmates.

The military was involved and in the ensuing operation, two of the four Palestinians were killed, while the other two were captured alive and handed over to the Shin Bet.

A military spokesperson lied to the public however that all four perpetrators had been killed in the operation.

It was only later that Hadashot, an Israeli newspaper, published a photograph that showed one of the terrorists being taken alive by security agents.

Outraged by this, the public demanded an investigation into this issue. The Zorea Committee, and following it, the Blatman Committee, was appointed to find out the truth, but both failed.

It was not until two years later that high-ranking Shin Bet officials revealed agents had lied to the Committee and erroneously faulted a high-ranking IDF official for the murder of two terrorists.

The director of the Shin Bet at the time, Avraham Shalom, was heavily involved in the cover-up, as was later disclosed in 1986 when it was discovered that the pair were killed under interrogation.

In May 1986, details were made public regarding the involvement of Shalom in the murder of the two terrorists and his authorization to Shin Bet officials to lie under oath but despite this, the President shockingly pardoned him.

Commenting on this incident, Yossi Beilin, the former Israeli Justice Minister, remarked that the general public comprehended that the Shin Bet could be liars and killers.

The event brought the elusive agency and its approaches into the public eye for the first time.

The 1980s also witnessed the Nafsu Affair in which IDF officer, Izat Nafsu, confessed to his crimes of improper interrogation methods such as insulting, beating, sleep-depriving, shaking, etcetera.

The Nafsu Affair coupled with The Bus 300 affair forced the Israeli government’s hand and it moved towards the regulation of the Shin Bet.

Shin Bet and the legal framework, the 1980s to today
In 1987, the Landau Commission was established by the Knesset to deliberate on Shin Bet’s interrogation methods.

The Landau Commission concluded that: the Shin Bet did use violent interrogation techniques, which it must refrain from, but a “moderate level of physical pressure” could be applied in some cases.

Israeli forces, including soldiers disguised as Palestinians, violently arrest a Palestinian child in occupied Jerusalem on October 24, 2014.

Initially, the results were looked at in a positive light, although the Commission was and is still criticized for numerous reasons.

Firstly, the report has a secret annex, which contains rules for permitted interrogation techniques  – this annex has never been made public.

Furthermore, Dr. Ishai Menuchin – Public Committee Against Torture in Israel – comments that this “moderate physical pressure” exemption was eventually subjected to all Palestinians.

The “moderate physical pressure” rule was too ambiguous and the Ben-Porat Report exposed that the Shin Bet frequently broke this rule.

Moreover, the allowance of “moderate physical pressure” in Shin Bet interrogations was the essence of the problem and made effective supervision useless.

In hindsight, the Landau Commission was counterproductive as the jargon of the regulations allowed the Shin Bet to manipulate it to its desired outcome.

In 1999, the Israeli High Court of Justice intervened and stated unequivocally that “physical pressure” is forbidden except in “ticking time bomb” scenarios.

In the documentary “The Gatekeepers,” six former Shin Bet directors – Avraham Shalom, Yuval Diskin, Avi Dichter, Yakkov Peri, Ami Avalon, and Carmi Gillon – were interviewed for the first time. In the film, Gillon explains the ticking time bomb justification: the scenario involves a possible terrorist attack and the person the agency is interrogating has information that can foil said attack.

This is the only exception to using “physical pressure” according to the court.

What was astonishing is that all of the former heads of the spy agency concluded that violence will beget more violence and that dialogue is the solution for long-term peace.

Even Shalom – the infamous director of the Shin Bet during the Bus 300 affair – claims that there is no substitute for “talking.”

Dichter says that peace must be built on a system of trust and cannot be obtained militarily while Gillon mentions that Israel would be remiss if they do not engage in peace talks.

If former Shin Bet directors believe that force is not the solution then there must be some credence to their thoughts.

In 2002, new legislation was finally approved by the Knesset which was the first law that centered on the intelligence community.

The legislation called the “Shin Bet Law,” took many years to finally approve.

After the law, the Shin Bet and other agencies were no longer shrouded in secrecy and under the aegis of this law, Shin Bet’s internal and external supervisions became regulated.

Yet tragically, the most controversial aspect of interrogation methods was surprisingly untouched by the law.

The Knesset was content with the ruling made by the Israeli High Court of Justice and that this was to remain the ruling on Shin Bet’s interrogation techniques.

The Shin Bet still works under the Prime Minister but its actions have become regulated than in the past – at least on paper.

The Knesset Foreign and Security Committee is the body that makes sure if the agency is functioning within the framework of the law.

B’Tselem reports that Palestinians who have undergone Shin Bet interrogations state that “they are held in inhuman conditions, including narrow, windowless cells…” – others “reported exposure to extremes of heat and cold, as well as sleep deprivation.”

Tal Steiner wrote in Haaretz the case of murder suspect Palestinian Samer Arbid who was hospitalized in September 2019 due to multiple broken ribs and kidney failure.

She states that he was tortured by the Shin Bet and when an investigation was conducted, it was, like hundreds before it, found that there was no wrongdoing by the agency.

She writes that “This sends a resounding message to every Shin Bet interrogator: It doesn’t matter what you do during the interrogation, how much violence you use against the interrogee or what the results are, the system will defend you.”

Since 2001 around 1,200 complaints of allegations of agents using violence during Shin Bet interrogations have been filed, yet there have been no indictments, according to the Israeli Committee Against Torture.

The group estimates that it takes around 39 months for each claim to be processed, which is done by an evaluation of statements from the complainant and the interrogator. The Shin Bet does not record or keep records of tactics used during interrogation.

The volume of complaints quadrupled between 2012 and 2015, according to information supplied by the Israeli government to its high court.

The influx came after the court allowed for allegations of torture to be perused in criminal proceedings.

Even so, a group of human rights organizations representing Palestinians in torture cases, logged over  850 torture complaints that were sent to the attorney general between 2001 and 2014, of which were not investigated.

Unfortunately, the Shin Bet did not heed the advice of these ex-heads, and human rights abuses continued.

Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s eminent 1968 prediction of Israel’s occupation careening the country towards authoritarianism resonates today.

He prophesied, “A state ruling over a hostile population of 1 million foreigners will necessarily become a Shin Bet state.”


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CIA post 9/11 Torture for Profit

Thailand is set to open Ramasun Camp Historical Museum – the ex-army base once home to a US CIA blacksite and secret torture prison

xcerpt from Torture Is the Central Issue in the Guantanamo TrialsJanuary 30, 2020

The CIA is hiding the names of those who ordered and carried out the torture of Guantanamo detainees. Even after years of legal battles, the United States is likely still using black sites and torture.

These were two psychologists who had worked for the US Air Force and had taken on as CI, as private contractors. And initially they went out to these CIA black sites to observe what was going on and make recommendations as the CIA wanted to step up the pressure on these detainees to cough up information.

But they ended up making these recommendations about how to set up interrogation based on US survival techniques as they train US pilots and other US members of armed forces to evade and resist interrogation when they’re captured.

And they wanted to bring these techniques that are used on US service members and make it the guidelines, the outline for what they called the enhanced interrogation techniques.

And so they ended up designing this program and then they were asked by the CIA to apply this program. So in effect, they became hired torturers although they were contractors and eventually set up a company, Mitchell Jessen and Associates that sold these services to the US government.

Marc Steiner: And made a lot of money. I think it was your article, I believe it was in your article and it could’ve been someone else’s I read so much this morning that they made almost $81 million over like a four or five year period or did I read that wrong?

Julian Borger: No, that’s what they were paid. But that was to provide a whole lot of security guards. They ended up providing all the security guards for the black sites and rendition. So it was all contracted out. So that wasn’t your profit.

That was what the total of government paid him. I think Mitchell was paid something around one and a half million and Justin’s slightly less.

Marc Steiner: A little more than you are making a year but there’s other people involved here. One we don’t know about called the preacher and the new sheriff, I guess a man named Charlie Wise who passed away some years back.

But they’re key to a lot of this in terms of that knowing who they are. This is kind of tip of the iceberg, the secrets that we may never know.

Julian Borger: That’s right. I think Mitchell has been pushing back over the past week that he was the face on the totality of the enhanced interrogation system, and he has been pointing out and there is a lot of evidence that was a big bureaucracy and infrastructure around the use of torture.

This was a sort of whole of government effort that the FBI was, it looks like more involved than they have made out in the past. And it went throughout the CIA and of course up to the top ranks of the Bush administration.

Israel’s Torture Industry

Israel is a haven for criminals and a university for budding crooks.

2019

It is not only doctors in the Shin Bet and the Israel Prison Service that collaborate with torture. Doctors in emergency rooms across Israel write false medical opinions in accordance with the demands of the Shin Bet.

Take, for example, the case of Nader Qumsieh from the West Bank city of Beit Sahour. He was arrested in his home on May 4, 1993 and was brought to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva five days later. There a urologist diagnosed him a hemorrhage and a torn scrotum.

Qumsieh testified that he was beaten during his interrogation and kicked in his testicles.

Israel is the torture expert and teaches others how to torture around the world.

Ten days later, Qumsieh was brought before the same urologist for a medical examination, after the latter had received a phone call from the Israeli military.

The urologist wrote a retroactive letter (as if it had been written two days earlier), without actually conducting an additional examination of the patient, in which he said that “according to the patient, he fell down the stairs two days before he arrived in the emergency room.”

This time, the diagnosis was “superficial hematoma in the scrotal area, which corresponds to local bruises sustained between two and five days prior to the examination.” The urologist’s original letter, written after the first examination, disappeared from Qumsieh’s medical file.

History teaches us that doctors everywhere easily and effectively internalize the regime’s values, and many of them become loyal servants of the regime. That was the case in Nazi Germany, in the United States, and in various countries in Latin America.

The same goes for Israel. Qumsieh’s case, along with countless others, reflects the ethical, moral, and practical failure of the medical establishment in Israel vis-à-vis torture.

Palestinian boys dressed up as prisoners protest for the release of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, Gaza City, April 21, 2007. (Ahmad Khateib/Flash90)

Palestinian boys dressed up as prisoners protest for the release of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, Gaza City, April 21, 2007. (Ahmad Khateib/Flash90)

Already back in the 18th century, jurists — rather than doctors — published legal opinions accompanied by proof that there is no connection between causing pain and getting to the truth. Thus, both torture and confessions exacted through pain were legally disqualified.

One can only assume that the heads of the Shin Bet, the army, and the police know this bit of history.

And yet, torture — which includes both mental and physical cruelty — continues to take place on a large scale. Why? Because the real goal of torture and humiliation is to break the spirit and body of the prisoner. To eliminate his or her personality.

The legal understanding for forbidding torture is based on the utilitarian idea that one cannot arrive at the truth through inflicting pain . But doctors are committed — first and foremost — to the idea that anything that causes physical or mental harm to a patient is prohibited.

The Shin Bet medical eligibility document allows for sleep prevention, it allows interrogators to expose prisoners to extreme temperatures, to beat them, to tie them for long hours in painful positions, to force them to stand for hours until the vessels in their feet burst, to cover their heads for prolonged periods of time, to sexually humiliate them, to break their spirits by severing their ties to family and lawyers, to keep them in isolation until they lose their sanity.

The Shin Bet’s medical eligibility form is not the same as the one used to check eligibility to join the air force or even to drive a car. This kind of “eligibility” leads the prisoner directly into the torture chamber — and the doctor knows this.

The doctor knows to what kind of systematic process of pain and humiliation he or she is lending their consent and approval. It is doctors who oversee the torture, examine the tortured prisoner, and write the medical opinion or the pathology report.

Israeli activists participate in an action protesting the use of torture, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli activists participate in an action protesting the use of torture, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

The white robe passes through the torture chamber like a lurking shadow during interrogations. A doctor who cooperates with Israel’s torture industry is complicit in that very industry. If a prisoner dies during interrogation, the doctor is an accomplice to his or her murder.

Doctors, nurses, medics, and judges who know what is taking place and prefer to remain silent are all accomplices.

We must unconditionally oppose all forms of torture — without exceptions. We, citizens of a democratic state, must refuse to cooperate with the crime of torture, and all the more so when it comes to doctors.

We must also not hide behind the idea that torture is a symptom of the occupation while telling ourselves that the practice will disappear when the occupation ends. Torture is a worldview according to which human rights have no place or value.

It existed well before the occupation and it will continue to exist if we do not change that worldview.

Violent and cruel investigative practices do not benefit national security even if they are committed on its behalf. Torture causes a spiraling destruction of our very social fabric. Not only do those who carry out this terrible kind of “work” lose the values of morality, human dignity, and democracy, but also all those who remain silent, unwilling to know. In fact, all of us.

Healthy Men Don’t Torture Others

The US orders other countries to “behave”, but who destroyed Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan & Yemen & backed coups against elected leaders from Iran to Congo to Honduras? Even our allies are starting to treat us as a rogue state – except the brutal Saudis & apartheid Israel.~ Jill Stein

A new report by Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer claims that Israeli officials “routinely” carry out the “practice of torture” at a key interrogation facility in occupied East Jerusalem.

The report, “I’ve Been There: A Study of Torture and Inhumane Treatment in Al-Moscobiyeh Interrogation Centre”, is based on the testimonies of 138 individuals held in the Russian Compound of Jerusalem gathered during the period 2015-2017.

“For generations of Palestinians, the Russian Compound has represented the most severe interrogation facility in all of the occupied territory,” Addameer states.

“It has been the place of intentionally inflicted suffering for hundreds of prisoners. Its location in the heart of Jerusalem, next to the Old City, is something of a metaphor for the whole apparatus of the occupation. The domination is hidden in plain sight.”

According to the testimonies acquired by Addameer, eight forms of abuse were identified at the facility: positional torture such as “stress positions”; beatings during interrogation; isolation/solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and long interrogation, threats to family members, being subjected to sounds of torture, deliberate medical neglect, and screaming and cursing.

More than half of those surveyed reported being held in stress positions; one 18-year-old former prisoner was held in a stress position for eight hours a day, for 18 days. A third of prisoners reported being beaten, while a fifth of individuals were subjected to violent shaking.

Addameer noted that “children are no exception when it comes to mistreatment and intimidation”, with 47.8 per cent reporting “that they were beaten during their arrest”, 45.5 per cent experiencing positional torture during interrogation, and 40.9 per cent “threatened with the potentially injuring of their families if they did not cooperate”.

Read: Palestinian man dies after Israel forces beat him at his home

According to the rights group, “the primary conclusion that the above research and indicators provide is that mistreatment, and coercion, amounting to torture, are commonplace and systematic within the occupation’s interrogation systems”.

Addameer added that “as a result of torture’s status in international law, the international community has a distinct responsibility to take action to sanction the perpetrating entity”, urging “the international community to begin sanctioning the occupier for its crimes”.

Abu Ghraib Interrogator: Israelis Trained U.S. to Use “Palestinian Chair”

Just the fact that the Palestinians in occupied Palestine have a torture chair in their name. The Israelis are really a special kind if evil.

The Jews did more than that: Abu Ghraib was their idea. They not only built it but gave it its code of conduct and trained the gentile Americans in all sort of torture techniques, not just the ‘Palestinian Chair’. Never forgive, never forget.

 

Army interrogators had learned to use this chair by Israeli interrogators, and the Israeli interrogators presumably called it the Palestinian chair because they were torturing Palestinians in it.

As a former interrogator in Iraq working as a military contractor for the private security firm CACI, Eric Fair was stationed at the Abu Ghraib prison and in Fallujah in 2004. While in Fallujah, he witnessed a torture device known as the Palestinian chair.

He writes in his new book, “Consequence: A Memoir,” that the chair was a way to immobilize prisoners in order to break them down both physically and mentally. He also wrote that the Israeli military taught them how to use the Palestinian chair during a joint training exercise.

“We pass by the interrogation room where Tyner has been working on Raad Hussein. We haven’t heard Tyner scream or throw anything today. The door to the room, a flimsy sheet of plywood, has blown open in the hot desert wind. Inside, Raad Hussein is bound to the Palestinian chair. His hands are tied to his ankles. The chair forces him to lean forward in a crouch, forcing all of his weight onto his thighs.

It’s as if he’s been trapped in the act of kneeling down to pray, his knees frozen just above the floor, his arms pinned below his legs. He is blindfolded. His head has collapsed into his chest. He wheezes and gasps for air. There is a pool of urine at his feet. He moans: too tired to cry, but in too much pain to remain silent.

“Henson comes out into the hallway and walks past the room. He covers the side of his face as he walks by and says, ‘I don’t even want to know.’

“I am silent. This is a sin. I know it as soon as I see it. There will be no atonement for it. In the coming years, I won’t have the audacity to seek it. Witnessing a man being tortured in the Palestinian chair requires the witness to either seek justice or cover his face. Like Henson in Fallujah, I’ll spend the rest of my life covering my face.”

Army interrogators had learned to use this chair by Israeli interrogators, and the Israeli interrogators presumably called it the Palestinian chair because they were torturing Palestinians in it.

The Palestinian chair was simply a confined space. It was a way, rather than putting someone in a box and confining them inside, was to essentially confine them with the chair. And it was designed, like all enhanced interrogation techniques, to simply break the will, to simply break them down physically in this case and then essentially break their will.

We tried the chair

It locks you into what is essentially a squat, a permanent squat, from which you can’t recover. We only lasted about a minute. And physically, we may—we certainly could have lasted longer, but it was the—it’s the overwhelming sense of fear that a horrific sort of pain is on its way. And because your hands are bound, you recognize that there’s no way to recover from it. So, certainly, the physical pain is excruciating, but the mental and sort of emotional strain of knowing that you can’t—there’s simply no way to recover from that is what amounted to torture.

 

Trump’s CIA Pick, ‘Bloody Gina’ Faces Possible Arrest Warrant in Germany over Torture

 The Senate report details a list of torture methods used on prisoners—waterboarding, sexual threats with broomsticks, medically unnecessary “rectal feeding.” In one case, a prisoner had his entire “lunch tray” of hummus, pasta and nuts puréed and administered by enema. Prisoners were threatened with buzzing power drills. Some captives were deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, at times with their hands shackled above their heads. Haspel played a role in the 2005 destruction of two interrogation videotapes that depicted the torture of prisoners.

We decided to target her, in particular, last year, when she was employed as the deputy director, because as a deputy director, she is traveling a lot around the world. And therefore, we think it’s important that the justice—the judicial authorities in Germany, but also in other European countries, make—try to investigate her role in Thailand and elsewhere, and that they are prepared, if Gina Haspel travels to our countries, that they eventually arrest her. And we also will have to communicate now, as she’s director, to our foreign offices, not only in Germany, but also in other countries, to declare her persona non grata, so that she isn’t invited to our countries because she is a notorious torturer, and notorious torturers shouldn’t be allowed to travel freely through Europe.

She was one of the most prominent persons in the Senate torture report from December 2014. So, she was mainly acting undercover, but because of the revelations in 2014, we could connect her name with some of the other evidence we have. And so, therefore, it was clear that she played a prominent role in the CIA extraordinary rendition program, which is—yeah, it’s a torture program. It’s a kidnapping and torture terrorism suspects. And, I mean, we singled her out because of her prominent role in the new government, but we could also have named hundreds of other CIA employees, and we did so in other occasions. So, this is not the first complaint. We were active in Belgium, in France, in Spain, in Switzerland and in Germany before. We filed complaints against Donald Rumsfeld, against the lawyers, but also against George Tenet and other CIA people.