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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: CIA recruitment on campus must end


The Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, had a variety of recruitment and info sessions on campus Tuesday for students. At these events, recruiters tell students about careers in clandestine operations and offer one-on-one sessions with students, according to emails sent by the event organizers.

Next time they come, don't attend. Considering the CIA's track record of human rights abuses, IU should not host the CIA on campus to recruit our students.

The CIA has a long history of destabilizing democracies and violating human rights around the world, an extensive but not exhaustive record of which can be found at Human Rights Watch.

Operations have ranged from letter writing campaigns during the Italian elections of 1948 to urge foreign citizens not to vote for the Communists to backing the brutal Operation Condor in Latin America during the late twentieth century, in which military coups deposed democratically-elected leftists and killed tens of thousands of people.

In 2014, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report revealed the details of the torture program at Guantanamo Bay, which had been in operation since 2002. While some call these practices enhanced interrogation techniques, the reality amounts to torture.

One infamous technique, waterboarding, involves holding a cloth over the victim's face and pouring water over them, inducing the sensation of drowning. Another technique is putting victims in positions of physical submission, called stress positions, which constitutes stripping the victim of their clothes, shackling their wrists to a bar and forcing them to stand on tiptoe for hours.

Some CIA officials and Republicans objected that the report did not capture the full picture and that releasing it would damage the national interest, but the report was bipartisan and praised by prominent Republicans such as late Sen. John McCain.

A CIA contract psychologist, James Mitchell, was hired to help design the torture program. Just last week, The New York Times reported on Mitchell’s role in torturing a detainee named Abu Zubaydah.

Mitchell told the New York Times he recalls being forced to carry out the torture protocols he himself designed, but at no point does he seem to regret the torture inflicted upon Zubaydah. He seems only to regret having to roll up his sleeves. He has attempted to portray himself as a whistleblower, but the title “contract psychologist” belies how instrumental he was in designing those cruelties in the first place.

Zubaydah, who has never been charged with a crime and was mistakenly identified as a senior member of Al Qaeda, illustrated and explained his experiences of “enhanced interrogation,” which ranged from waterboarding to sleep deprivation.

The CIA's activities are incompatible with IU's claimed values. The Indiana Promise is to be ethical, responsible and respectful.

Torture and assassination are unethical. Covering it up for years is irresponsible. Welcoming the CIA to campus and portraying it as a safe and positive place to work is unethical, disrespectful and irresponsible.

IU would not allow any other torture and death squads to recruit you.The same standard should apply to the CIA.

Job prospects are a major concern for many IU students, especially those nearing graduation. The CIA might seem like a prestigious or reliable source of income and may even seem appropriate for your degree path. It might sound like a good idea to keep your options open, attend an info session and find out if it would be a good fit for you. 

I urge you to consider whether you are comfortable working for an institution known for its human rights violations and destabilization of global democracy. Consider if you would be comfortable contributing to the pain of someone the CIA has detained being tortured or to the killings of leaders with inconvenient political beliefs somewhere else in the world, such as Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba

I hope that your answer is no, and I hope that the only attendees of CIA recruitment events in the future will be there to challenge or heckle the presenters, although I know that some will attend and leave prepared to apply and to waste their patriotism and idealism on a fundamentally and particularly evil organ of the U.S. government.

Kaitlyn Radde (she/her) is a sophomore studying political science. She plans to pursue a career in public interest law.

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