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We Have Evaluated Torture Survivors. Gina Haspel Cannot Head the CIA.


We Have Evaluated Torture Survivors. Gina Haspel Cannot Head the CIA.

Sondra Crosby, MD

For years, much has been reported on the abhorrent practice of waterboarding during the United States’ “War on Terror” – but, until recently, less has been said about other forms of torture that were perpetrated by Americans on CIA detainees. With the nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA director, the spotlight has now been shone on a notorious CIA “black site” prison, the name and location of which are widely known in open sources but which officially remain classified. We’ve heard about the controversial practices and we’ve read about videotaped evidence being destroyed.


Dr. Crosby, you have written a thoughtful article with a commendable ethical stance. I do hope that Physicians for Human Rights does not have a blind spot regarding the fact that the profession of psychiatry in the United States practices torture routinely – it is not an aberration; it is “what psychiatry is all about”, in the words of Thomas Szasz. I am a graduate of SUNY Downstate-Kings County Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, and I worked as a psychiatrist for 10 years (until 1987), before I finally left the profession. I had thought that I was entering a profession where I could help people recover from trauma, but instead I found that the profession systematically took people with minority opinions, controversial life styles, and independent thinking processes, and subjected them to forced drugging with brain-damaging chemicals, pejorative labelling implying that they were intrinsically and permanently defective, discrediting them by considering them “incompetent”, and depriving them of their civil rights to leave a situation of forced incarceration and to refuse medical intervention. In addition, instead of helping emotionally injured individuals feel empowered and enhancing their autonomy, psychiatrists would routinely attempt to keep them coming back to drugs and sessions by telling them how mentally ill they still were, and how much they still needed professional intervention; this approach obviously was unsupportive of individuals moving in a direction of greater autonomy and self-confidence. (This approach also kept patients dependent on the system and kept financial revenues coming in).

In short, I am telling you that psychiatry is a profession that routinely abuses and tortures human beings. I am not lying, I am not exaggerating; I am a Board Certified Psychiatrist, with 10 years of experience in the psychiatric profession, and I am urging you at Physicians for Human Rights to denounce psychiatry as the terrorist organization that it is, to declare it to be a non-medical enterprise, and to move to outlaw it. PHR cannot denounce people like Gina Haspel while giving a pass to their grossly unethical colleagues.


“and hope the U.S. Senate will have the courage to do so as well.”

Hehe! Hehehe hehe hehe…sorry…LOL! Can’t stop laughing! Ah, you kill me! :joy: Although i admire and respect your vocation and your moral courage, have you considered stand-up?


I have severe and chronic or complex PTSD. There is no such thing as closure. There is only integration.


I cannot thank you enough for your post. Since the age of 9 I have been in that circus tent you speak of and it ain’t pretty. It is full of lions, tigers and bears, oh my. I have learned through the Dalai Lama that I am to “doubt everything and become my own light”, Buddha. Please keep fighting for truth Silk. It means more today than yesterday and so much more tomorrow. Thanks again.


You make good points; but, they are off subject in my opinion. The subject regards the torture of people called enemy combatants and other people caught up in military engagements, or in other circumstances around the world, by the US government, or it’s proxies. These are illegal acts most commonly known as war crimes or crimes against humanity. They are illegal acts for which others have been put to death. These acts must be prosecuted to the top echelons of government if the United States is ever to live up to its claims as a country of equal justice for all under the law. Let us demand that justice be done while we take action on the points you make.


Without any doubt they won’t hesitate to torture US dissidents likewise in the very near future.


Dr. Crosby makes so many good points and observations. Obviously she is quite right that confirming Haspel would be unconscionable, but her error is in assuming that the US Congress has a conscience. It does not.


Thank you, Gilbert. I did indeed find that Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism offered much more truth than what I learned in the psychiatric field. I admit that the most important knowledge came to me directly from my patients, who clearly knew much more than I did about life. At the end of the Danny Kaye movie “The Inspector General”, the Inspector General says to Danny (a poor peasant in the movie), “You are the first honest man that I have met in all my travels; I would like you to work for me”; and Danny replies, “How can I? I don’t have an education”; and the Inspector General says, “What you have is much better”.


The Bush administration incorrectly concluded that waterboarding was not torture, and therefore did not violate the Geneva Conventions. Studies have shown that waterboarding does not produce the sensation of drowning, it is actually drowning. It results in intense suffering and permanent physical and mental damage.

Gina Haspel all but declared outright that she would “follow the law”, no matter what the law was. It is entirely possible that Donald Trump and his sycophant Congress would reverse the Obama era law outlawing such torture. In fact, given Mr. Trump’s mania for undoing everything that President Obama has done, it is probable. Ms. Haspel, as head of the CIA would once again follow whatever law is in effect, and would reinstate the abhorrent use of torture by agents of the United States.

She has demonstrated that she has no personal moral compass, and should not have any power to direct the agents of the Central Intelligence Agency. She basically parroted the Nazi’s excuse for their abominations: “I was just following orders”. Shame on her and for anyone who approves her appointment as director of the CIA.


As Mr. Natural says…always walk on the sunny side. You are most welcome.


That this slippery slimy bottom feeder is even employed by the CIA is a question for every American. The CIA that I have personally known were way above average intelligence, this gal isn’t. Not the caliber of a Valerie Plame for example.


She’s a psychopathic liar. I’ve berated all these senators in my calls to them: how, after so many years in politics, they can’t read her as an arch liar who’ll say whatever it takes to obtain her professional…cough, cough…goal.

For her, I might just abandon my principle of being anti-capital punishment.

I just hope everyone here is calling senators, too.