June 13, 12:45
Hunter North Assembly Hall
Outside the 69th Street entrance between Lexington and Park Avenues
We protest the awarding of the Distinguished Graduate award to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Avril Haines. The fact that the school administration kept the award quiet is an indication of how unacceptable their choice for this year’s award is.
Whatever Ms. Haines’ extraordinary accomplishments in life, she has chosen to become an executive in one of the most justifiably feared and criticized organizations on the globe: the US Central Intelligence Agency, known as the CIA – or just “The Agency.”
You don’t have to look hard to find why people around the world call the CIA lawless and brutal. Since its inception in 1947, it has performed assassinations and political coups that deposed elected governments in countries such as Iran, Indonesia, Congo, Chile, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Greece and Guatemala.
Just since the members of the HCHS Class of 2014 were born, the CIA has moved dramatically from its stated mission of collecting intelligence to openly advocating its “operations” role of killing and torturing people and spying on US citizens. For example:
- After 9/11/01, the CIA set up a network of secret “black” sites spread around the world, using torture, and in up to 100 known cases, causing death. Ms. Haines’ boss, CIA Director John Brennan, spoke favorably of this practice which for a time kept him from his current job.
- Since 2009, the CIA has run the secret “targeted assassination” program of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. These horrific weapons, used in countries with which the US is not at war, have killed thousands, including women and children.
Before Ms. Haines went to the CIA last year, she was in the Office of Legal Counsel of the White House, providing legal cover to President Obama for his personal role in approving “kill lists” targeting people for death who have not been charged, tried or sentenced in any court, but are nonetheless killed by flying robots controlled from thousands of miles away. The Washington Post says the Obama administration is working to bring the CIA together with the secretive Joint Special Operations Command (the subject of the book and film “Dirty Wars” by Jeremy Scahill) to perfect the “find, fix and finish process” as they refer to the targeted kills by drone assassination.
If Hunter College High School wants to distinguish itself as a leader in the rights of people, its administration should withdraw from Ms. Haines the Distinguished Graduate Award. Further, it should ask her to renounce her role in the Orwellian war and killing machine.
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