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Two Interrogations, Gina Haspel and Adolf Eichmann


Two Interrogations, Gina Haspel and Adolf Eichmann

Brian Terrell

On May 9, Gina Haspel, Donald Trump’s choice for head of the Central Intelligence Agency, testified at her Senate confirmation hearing in Washington, DC. Some senators questioned her about her tenure, in 2002, as CIA station chief in Thailand. There, the agency ran one of the “black sites” where suspected al-Qaida extremists were interrogated using procedures that included waterboarding.


“…court did not buy Adolf Eichmann’s defense that he was following orders … and he was hung on June 1, 1962.”

Please! He was hanged.

I will leave to others to comment more substantively, just had to get the grammar in!


One problem in these arguments is that of calling the atrocities in Nazi Germany as “illegal”. These atrocities were the law of the Nazi German nation. Just consider the racist laws that were the law of the US and which still reverberate today. Perhaps the question might be if these acts were immoral and then proceed to define it.


Why should torture done by Americans, including Gina Haspel, not be compared to torture done by Nazis?

Why should genocide done by Americans or Israelis not be compared to that done by Nazis?

Could it be that the Americans and Israelis would not compare well?


The difference is only one of scale.


Grammar Nazi? Ironic, yes?

BTW, I do agree with you. And I’m reminded of Cleavon Little’s Sheriff “Black Bart” from Blazing Saddles, when his compatriot is amazed to find that he had not been executed:

“They said you was hung!”
“And they was right!”


Law and orders


Upon more reflection, maybe the actual question we should ask: Was it just to exterminate
Jews in Nazi Totalitarian Germany not if it was illegal or even moral? Morals tend to be relative and hate and bigotry were actually codified in Nazi law, not unlike so many of US laws during slavery and since in Jim Crow Laws. We need to find out the nature of justice. Is it simply giving a man or woman their due or is it more than that? Is justice tied in with the actual character of the individual and the state? Is justice a virtue?

Contrast Nazi Germany who had codified malice toward one group and thus allowed unimaginable atrocities to Haspel’s America that had made torture illegal because of the Nuremberg trials, Geneva Convention and the support of the UN Declaration Of Human Rights–regardless of W. Bush and Cheney’s authoritarianism.

Hannah Arendt was inJerusalem covering Eichmannn’s trial. In her book, Eichmmann in Jerusalem: A Report On The Banality Of Evil, she makes the point that Eichmann, who continued to send Jews to death camps after he was ordered to stop by his superior, because he thought his superior had violated the law and he, Eichmann, believed it as his duty–beyond mere obedience-- to follow the law and thus continue. Eichmann maintained the language of morality but in perverted, misdirected aims. To Arendt, a society can experience more than a moral collapse, it can experience moral inversion: “Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it–the quality of temptation”. This temptation had actually been flipped in its moral place: In Nazi Germany the law demanded we kill so the desire not to kill was experienced as the temptation. Society as a whole had lapsed into an insane moral stupor (the banality of evil). Sounding at all too familiar, no?

Again, Haspel may exhibit the same willingness to follow orders from authoritarians but the point I am making her orders were coming from superiors who were more than willing to violate the actual laws of the US. Shades of differences.


Right: They hung his nazi uniform but hanged his sorry ass.


I didn’t know Eichmann intimately, but it’s quite possible that he actually was “hung”.

I know you hate bad grammar, but I hope you like bad humor.


I do not know what happened on 9/11 but I do know this: we were not told the truth! Gina, you all believed the lies, you were all committed to the lies of 9/11; otherwise, you employment with the CIA would have been terminated and you probably would have ended up like Chelsea Manning!


And hold the perpetrators accountable.


Sad…and scary