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Trump says torture works as his government readies a review


    President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, pauses while speaking at the Homeland Security Department in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump declared today he believes torture works as his administration readied a sweeping review of how America conducts the war on terror. It includes possible resumption of banned interrogation methods and reopening CIA-run “black site” prisons outside the United States.

In an interview with ABC News, Trump said he would wage war against Islamic State militants with the singular goal of keeping the U.S. safe. Asked specifically about the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, Trump cited the extremist group’s atrocities against Christians and others and said: “We have to fight fire with fire.”

Trump said he would consult with new Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo before authorizing any new policy. But he said he had asked top intelligence officials in the past day: “Does torture work?”

“And the answer was yes, absolutely,” Trump said.

He added that he wants to do “everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally.”

A clip of Trump’s interview was released after The Associated Press and other news outlets obtained copies of a draft executive order being circulated within his administration.

Beyond reviewing interrogation techniques and facilities, the draft order would instruct the Pentagon to send newly captured “enemy combatants” to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, instead of closing the detention facility as President Barack Obama had wanted. Altogether, the possible changes could mark a dramatic return to how the Bush administration waged its campaign against al-Qaida and other extremist groups.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer, questioned about the draft order, said it was “not a White House document” but would not comment further.

The draft says U.S. laws should be obeyed at all times and explicitly rejects “torture.” But its reconsideration of the harsh techniques banned by Obama and Congress raises questions about the definition of the word and is sure to inflame passions in the U.S. and abroad.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President George W. Bush authorized a covert program that led to dozens of detainees being held in secret locations overseas and to interrogation tactics that included sleep deprivation, slapping and slamming against walls, confinement in small boxes, prolonged isolation and even death threats. Three detainees faced waterboarding. Many developed psychological problems.

While some former government leaders insist the program was effective in obtaining critical intelligence, many others say the abuses weakened America’s moral standing in the world, hurt morale among intelligence officers and proved ineffective before Obama shut it down.

The AP obtained the draft order from a U.S. official, who said it had been distributed by the White House for consultations before Trump signs it. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

The Pentagon didn’t immediately comment and Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, said: “I have no idea where it came from.” But reports of the upcoming order quickly sparked alarm among Republicans and Democrats.

“The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law,” said Republican Sen. John McCain, tortured himself as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. “We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.”

On the campaign trail, Trump spoke emphatically about toughening the U.S. approach to fighting the Islamic State group. He said he would authorize waterboarding and a “hell of a lot worse.” After winning the election, however, he appeared to backtrack, pointedly citing Mattis’ advice that torture is ineffective.

Pompeo, Trump’s CIA director, said in his confirmation hearing that he would abide by all laws. But he also said he’d consult with CIA and other government experts on whether current restrictions were an “impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country or whether any rewrite of the Army Field Manual is needed.”

Specifically, Trump’s draft order calls for reinstating an executive order — “to the extent permitted” by current law — that President Bush signed in 2007 and Obama later revoked.

Trump’s draft would reverse two other executive orders of Obama’s. One called for closing Guantanamo Bay. The other ordered the CIA to shut any detention facility it operated and prohibited the U.S. from using any interrogation technique not listed in the Army Field Manual, demanding treatment in compliance with the Geneva Conventions, including timely access for the International Red Cross to all detainees.

Among the interrogation techniques banned by the manual were forced nakedness, hooding, beatings, sexual humiliation, threatening with dogs, mock executions, electric shocks, burning and waterboarding.

Any changes would face steep legal and legislative hurdles.

McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s chairman, may be the most formidable opponent in Congress, but he is not the only one.

“It is wrong and I hope he will rethink it,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

On Guantanamo, the draft order says detention facilities “are a critical tool in the fight against international jihadist terrorist groups who are engaged in armed conflict with the United States, its allies and its coalition partners.” About 40 detainees remain in Guantanamo.

The document says “over 30 percent of detainees” who’ve been released have returned to armed conflict, with at least a dozen conducting attacks “against U.S. personnel or allied forces in Afghanistan.” Six Americans, including a civilian aid worker, died as a result of those attacks.

U.S. intelligence agencies say 17.6 percent of detainees released from Guantanamo are confirmed to have re-engaged in conflict. An additional 12.4 percent are “suspected” of re-engaging.

Trump pledged on the campaign trail to “load it up with some bad dudes.”

But it’s unclear who the new detainees would be. As American ground troops have stepped back this decade from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, captures of high-level detainees have become much rarer, and Obama tried to direct them through the U.S. justice system.

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  • AP news feed…never mind. 🙂 Hey what about the stock market milestone today…Dow, S&P, Russell 2000…oil at mid-50’s (great for our breakeven point for rig builds), etc. etc. etc. I don’t get it! Now we know why the opting to Tweet. 🙂

  • these are bad dudes that will bury you alive, set you on fire, cut off your head
    waterboarding is kids stuff you gotta do what they do and then some
    no hold back to get information that will save lives, maybe your own family’s

      • Exactly, Keoni.

        Trump is strong enough to do what needs to be done to keep America safe again.

        Sure there were no foreign terror attacks on the homeland during Obummer’s two terms, but there were several such attacks by American citizens, even by military service members.

        There were even more murders, rapes, kidnappings and other frightening crimes.

        Sure these crime rates dropped under Odoodoo, but one murder is one too many and there were far more than that.

        To keep us safe from the threat of home-grown terrorists, murderers and rapists, Trump will not only resume the extrajudicial detention and torture of foreign suspects, but also domestic terrorists and anyone who could possibly have knowledge of domestic attacks, US servicemen at risk of being radicalized, and even to others suspected of serious violence against Americans.

        You are right, Keoni, that Domestic crime and terrorism were Obama’s biggest security failures. If Trump doesn’t start torturing citizens suspected of such threats, how can Trump keep any of us safe? You know he keeps his word and isn’t afraid to be bold.

        This will also help Trump create hundreds of thousands of good jobs for guards and interrogators at domestic black sites and secret police throughout the homeland. Trump is likely to privatize these operations, and that could be very lucrative to American businesses like the Correctional Corporation of America (now know as “CoreCivic”).

        In terms of cutting costly bicentennial regulations and red tape, suspending wasteful Due Process protections will be pure genius. Big league.

        The losers at the ACLU will throw a fit. But won’t their whining just make Trump’s security state that much more awesome? Ka-boom!

        #MAGA? (Make America a Gulag Again?)

      • He is putting US enemies on notice if they hurt or kill Americans and they get captured, they will be enhanced interrogation. McCain is wrong, torture works. It is clear when they are being tortued, they will say anything but that is NOT when they gather accurate info. It is a later time when the prisoner has time to think of potential future interrogation that they start to tell the truth. It is operant conditioning and the human mind, no matter how well trained will eventually break. The important thing is NO enlisted US military soldiers should be involved in these black sites, only highly trained and highly disciplined CIA and military officers should be involved and they should NEVER audio or video record enhanced interrogation sessions. Those Abu Ghraib pictures by US enlisted soldiers assigned to prison detail was sick and nothing to do with getting intel from terrorist to save American lives.

  • If torturing gets information that prevents terrorist activities…
    Go For It !!!
    “The Ends, Justifies The Means”.

    Like DeepDiver311 says:
    “these are bad dudes that will bury you alive, set you on fire, cut off your head”
    or worse !!!

    Like Trumps says:
    “We have to fight fire with fire.”

    Terrorist must learn, we have a new Sheriff in town.
    The old sheriff and his hand-picked replacement, were kicked out of town.

  • Politico reported that “Two of the officials who will be in charge of carrying out President Donald Trump’s terrorism detainee policies, Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, were “blindsided” by reports of a draft executive order that would require the CIA to reconsider using interrogation techniques that some consider torture, according to sources with knowledge of their thinking.”

    Not only is Trump wrong about the effectiveness of torture, this episode is just one more example of the chaotic, impulsive, poorly thought out management style that marked the Trump campaign and now the Trump White House staff. Instead of preparing coherent policies, Trump reportedly spends his evenings watching news coverage of himself. His tweet about Chicago crime cited statistics that had been aired by Bill O’Reilly only moments earlier. The Trump staff is clearly out of touch with what he’s going to do next and the chaos of his “management” style has led to one of the most disorganized first weeks of any administration. In one example of the complete absence of structure and process, Trump appointed a Secretary of the Army without any consultation with his Secretary of Defense. Trump is like a child in a sandbox. There’s nothing about this that should give anyone, even his supporters, confidence in how Trump and his staff will handle real crises.

    • I call BS on you. Waterboarding is not torture, it is an enhanced interrogation technique. The liberal media and uninformed call it torture. It is very effective.
      Fact. A blowtorch, pliers and a power drill if used effectively may be considered

      • Waterboarding is a violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Conventions and is prohibited by the Army Field Manual. Calling waterboarding “enhanced interrogation” is like calling rape “enhanced dating.”

        • waterboarding is a good way, navy seals go through it in training so it can be used on any terrorist its not torture so use it.

        • Regarding:
          “Waterboarding is a violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Conventions and is prohibited by the Army Field Manual.”

          When the bad guys honor the U.N. Convention’s guidelines, we will too.
          Until then “An eye for an eye” !!!

        • Enhanced interrogation works. You do not gather intel when they waterboard, it iis,later after numerous sessions that operant conditioning kicks in and they begin to tell the truth to avoid the waterboard stimuli. However it needs to be done by elite CIA. and US militry experts who are highly disciplined and trained in what they are doing and will never video record what they do. You cannot compare this with a rapist because his motivation is one of sick/ selfish reasons while US personnel who enhance interrogate a Islamic terrorist who have killed or is a leader of soldiers who have murdered innocent people are motivated ONLY to save future American lives. There is a BIG difference.

        • PS: If they lie and are caught, they will get more of the business and it will get much worse for them in which they will eventually break.

  • Mr. Trump is now endangering our service members abroad. He’s profoundly mentally ill.

    Trump is a psychotic. This is going to be a disaster for the United States.

    • Re:
      “Mr. Trump is now endangering our service members abroad. He’s profoundly mentally ill.”

      Do you think our service members are not already targeted for torture or maiming ?
      Wake up and smell the Kona Coffee.

    • What? Are you thinking our service members went abroad for a picnic or something? You think they are safe from attacks and mistreatment? Do you think John McCain and many others were smothered in sympathy and fair treatment? No. The picnic is over and our troops are going to deliver the news.

  • there is a very simple way to stop Islamic terrorist from attacking us. solution do what General John J. Pershing did, when he caught terrorist killing us back in WWI or after he caught 10 terrorist that did acts against us and they faced the firing squad. he lined all ten of them up against the wall and brought a live Pig and gutted it in front of them and had the firing squad dip there bullets in the pigs guts and blood and used those bullets to kill nine of them, the tenth he let live and gave him a bullet dipped in pigs blood and gut and told him take this bullet back to your leader and tell him this is what were going to do every time you attack us. for 40 years we never had a terrorist attack on us again. we don’t do that now but we should, because that is most terrifying event a Islamic terrorist could face because they know they would not get there way for 72 virgins when killed by bullets dip in Pigs blood and guts.

    • Apparently, if we are to believe trump, there is a better way to stop islamic terrorists. He claimed, during the campaign, that he had a secret plan to totally defeat isis. He said he couldn’t reveal it until he was president (because it was more important that he get credit than that lives are saved?). Well? Let’s hear it. What are you waiting for? Could this be another of his many outrageous lies?

  • Mr. Trump is beating his chest and acting brave using the children of other people. He, of course, is a loathsome coward who fabricated medical deferments (that he subsequently could not identify) to dodge the draft.

    No matter how many brave people he pals around with, he will never escape the stain of cowardice.

    A fearful coward. Pathetic.

  • Military interrogators going back to WWII said torture and extreme interrogation techniques are counterproductive and ineffective.
    Many of the posters say the enemy doesn’t follow the “rules” and we shouldn’t hold back. That’s okay if revenge is all you are want. If it’s actionable intelligence you seek then torture is not the answer. Ask the military intelligence professionals and not the people who are making money by selling manuals on torture and teaching so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” to the CIA and the military. They’re the ones who are behind the push for torture. YMMV

  • Meanwhile, in real news, here are 10 companies promising to bring jobs to the US since Trump was elected:

    #1 Kroger says that it intends to fill 10,000 permanent positions in the United States this year.

    #2 IBM has announced that it will be hiring an additional 25,000 workers in the United States over the next four years.

    #3 Foxconn is considering setting up a 7 billion dollar plant in the United States that would create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs.

    #4 has pledged to add 100,000 full-time jobs in the United States by mid-2018.

    #5 Wal-Mart has announced that it plans to add approximately 10,000 retail jobs in the United States in 2017.

    #6 Sprint has announced that 5,000 jobs will be brought back to the United States instead of going overseas.

    #7 After meeting with Trump, the CEO of SoftBank stated his intention to create 50,000 new jobs in the United States.

    #8 After a phone call from Trump, industrial manufacturing giant Carrier promised to keep hundreds of jobs in the United States instead of moving them out of the country.

    #9 Hyundai has promised to spend 3.1 billion dollars supporting their current factories in Georgia and Alabama, and they have said that they are now considering adding an additional factory in the United States as well.

    #10 GM has pledged to invest a billion dollars in U.S. factories and to add or keep 7,000 jobs in the United States.

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