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US PRESIDENT Donald Trump defended torture on Wednesday, saying that he believed “it absolutely works.”
In his first interview as US president with ABC News, Mr Trump said he was consulting his newly appointed Defence Secretary James Mattis and CIA director Mike Pompeo on the question.
“We have to fight fire with fire,” Mr Trump said, saying Isis and other extremist groups “chop off the citizens’ or anybody’s heads in the Middle East, because they’re Christian or Muslim or anything else.”
The president said he had asked intelligence officials: “Does torture work? And the answer was “yes, absolutely’.”
An alleged draft presidential order, leaked to the media, would reverse Mr Obama’s order to close the notorious prison on the Guantanamo Bay US naval base in Cuba, and asks for recommendations on whether to reopen CIA “black site” detention facilities for terrorism suspects outside the US.
It also orders a review of interrogation methods used on “illegal combatants” and calls for suggested “modifications” that would not violate former president Barack Obama’s 2009 ban on some “enhanced interrogation techniques” on prisoners in the 16-year so-called war on terror, including waterboarding — a torture method that simulates drowning.
But a senior adviser to the FBI-led team that interrogates terrorist suspects warned that lifting any bans on torture was dangerous and ignorant. He said that if the “US was to make it once again the policy of the country to coerce, and to detain at length in an extrajudicial fashion, the costs would be beyond substantial — they’d be potentially existential.”
While Republican and supposed torture survivor John McCain said: “The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.”
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