No Promotion for Torturers!

Oppose the nomination of torture leader Gina Haspel as CIA Director.  This is a crucial time to act — there is finally a debate about the U.S.’ post-9/11 torture program!

Suggested action steps:

1) Call Sen. Burr and Sen. Tillis to oppose Haspel’s confirmation.  Torturers should not be promoted!  Burr has expressed support for her; Tillis’ position is not yet public.

Burr:   (202) 224-3154,  Email:

Tillis:   (202) 224-6342,


2) Contact Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Stein.  Say the State of North Carolina can positively affect the national torture debate by facing up to our role in torture.  Cooper should make a public statement!  Stein should investigate.  It’s more important than ever to acknowledge our role and make sure it never happens again.  North Carolina-based Aero Contractors transported at least one prisoner to be tortured at the black site run by Gina Haspel.  Altogether, Aero transported at least 49 prisoners for the CIA to secret detention and torture.

Gov. Cooper

Jenni Owen — Policy Director, NC Office of the Governor

Phone:  (919) 814-2000


Twitter:  @NC_Governor

AG Stein

Jasmine S. McGhee — Director, Public Protection Section and Special Deputy Attorney General

Phone: (919) 716-6781


Twitter:  @NCAGO

3) Write a letter to the editor opposing Haspel’s nomination.  Make the point that transparency and accountability here in North Carolina can prevent future U.S. torture.

4) Donate to the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture to push for transparency and accountability for North Carolina’s role in torture.



Gina Haspel, the Deputy CIA Director, has been nominated to head the agency.  She was one of the top two managers of the CIA’s interrogation and torture program when it was secretly detaining prisoners at overseas “black sites” and subjecting them to vicious beatings, repeated mock drowning, prolonged sleep deprivation, painful stress positions, prolonged nudity, threats to rape family members, confinement in small boxes, and more.

In 2002, Haspel ran the CIA’s black site in Thailand while prisoners were being tortured there.  She and Jose Rodriguez were the staunchest advocates for destroying the CIA’s video tapes of its Thai torture sessions.  She drafted the 2005 memo ordering this destruction of evidence, even though she and Rodriguez had been instructed to preserve the material as possible evidence in an investigation.

Torturers should get jail terms, not promotions!  It is an outrage that Gina Haspel, who as the ACLU says is “up to her eyeballs in torture,” should be promoted to the top job in the CIA.  Haspel’s torture record should be declassified and released to the public, along with the rest of the Senate Torture Report.

Aero Contractors of Smithfield, NC, flew at least 49 prisoners for the CIA, including at least 34 to and from the black sites.  This includes Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, whom it hauled to the Thai black site while Haspel was running it.  Al-Nashiri was kept naked and shackled, and was threatened with sodomy, and with the arrest and rape of his family. He was repeatedly waterboarded.

North Carolina is in a good position to oppose the promotion of torturers by leading the way in transparency and accountability.  The State of North Carolina should acknowledge its role in the torture overseen by Haspel.  The State should persuade Johnston County to investigate Aero Contractors and bar torture-related flights from Johnston County Airport or other public airports.

New York Times:

Alberto Mora:

Human Rights First Backgrounder:

Joseph Margulies:

Chris Anders, ACLU:

Annabelle Timsit:

Media Advisory: Citizens Will Tell Johnston County Commissioners:  Aero Contractors’ Role in Torture Larger Than Previously Known


For more information, contact:  Allyson Caison, 919-961-4130; Christina Cowger, 919-637-7678.

Citizens of Johnston and neighboring counties are putting local involvement in CIA torture and rendition back on the Commissioners agenda and demanding action. NC Stop Torture Now members will speak at the March 5 Johnston County Commissioners meeting, which begins at 6:00 pm in the Johnston County Courthouse in Smithfield, North Carolina.

Local citizens will bring new evidence that North Carolina played a larger role in the post-9/11 CIA kidnapping and torture program than previously presented to the Commissioners.  The information was revealed at the public hearings of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture in Raleigh on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2017.

New evidence shows that Aero Contractors participated in the CIA “extraordinary renditions” of at least 49 individuals, including over a quarter of the 119 prisoners identified by the Senate Intelligence Committee as having been held in CIA black sites.  Aero Contractors is headquartered at the Johnston County Airport and is the largest tenant there.

Between 2002 and 2006, Aero also stationed a key rendition aircraft at the state-run Global TransPark in Kinston.  Staging from Smithfield and Kinston, Aero flew 80% of all CIA rendition missions between September 2001 and March 2004, with frequent visits to CIA black sites in eastern Europe and Afghanistan.

“Our government has so far failed to acknowledge and take responsibility for the kidnap and torture of dozens of human beings,” said Allyson Caison, NCSTN co-founder and resident of Selma, North Carolina.  “We won’t let them forget these abuses; they are a stain on our state and on Johnston County.”

The International Criminal Court is considering whether to open a formal investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, including secret detention and torture at CIA black sites.  If it does, extraordinary renditions performed by Aero Contractors would likely be investigated; two of the 49 people, Sharqawi Al Hajj and Guled Hassan Duran, are among the victims whose cases are before the ICC as it considers whether to take up the investigation.

The Johnston Commissioners will be asked to support the findings and recommendations of the NCCIT, which is investigating North Carolina’s role in the rendition and torture program. “It is past time for acknowledgement and action,” said NCSTN member Chuck Fager. “We need moral leadership from the Johnston County Commissioners in light of this new evidence.”