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Iran Press TV

Return of torture causes alarm, as Trump administration rejects leaked document

Iran Press TV

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:37PM

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on US Congress to intervene in decisions reportedly being made in the new administration of President Donald Trump about reopening of secret detention centers known as "black sites," where people were tortured as part of the US so-called war on terror.

The US-based rights group voiced concerns after reports emerged that the White House was busy preparing an executive order for the new president to smooth the path for reopening the CIA overseas sites.

The three-page draft order, titled "Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants" would reportedly repeal measures by the administration of former President Barack Obama that led to closure of the secret sites.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer rejected that the document belonged to the White House.

"I have no idea where it came from," Spicer said of the document leaked by The Washington Post and The New York Times among others. "I would urge those people who have reported on it – this is the second day we've had a document that was not a White House document reported on."

He was referring to a false White House document about the Women's March in Washington, released over the weekend.

"I'm not going to start answering hypotheticals about documents that are floating around," Spicer added, cutting off a reporter.

US torture scheme

HRW head Kenneth Roth, meanwhile, told a news briefing in Geneva that "One thing we expect either today or later this week is an order from Trump to begin exploring ... the resumption of CIA dark sites."

He further expressed hope that countries, where the CIA black sites could be set up, oppose such a decision.

"Last time, these black sites were often in democracies - they were in Poland, Latvia, Romania, if you look around the world, they were in places like Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Thailand, Afghanistan," Roth said. "I hope all these governments and the other prospective governments say 'no' this time around, that they don't want to be complicit in any new US torture scheme."

Closing door on victims

Roth added that the New York billionaire is aiming to "stop refugee admissions to the United States, ostensibly on security grounds," which means "closing the door" on people fleeing Daesh Takfiri terrorists or their likes.

"In order to score a political point at home, Trump is closing the door on them. That is one particularly ugly aspect of what he is doing," said the head of the prominent rights group. "It's as if Trump is indifferent to the extraordinary suffering that many of these refugees have been through. Many of these people are fleeing ISIS (Daesh), or the ISIS equivalents around the world."

Roth called on the Republican-controlled Congress to "stand up for the Constitution and international human rights law," warning that "If Trump is going to start toying with the Army Field Manual and weakening its preclusion of torture or other forms of inhumane and cruel interrogation, that would be very problematic."

"Obviously people are afraid of Trump at this stage because he does have the bully pulpit, but that's when an independent Congress standing up for principles is particularly important."

Fighting fire with fire

President Trump also appeared on ABC News, where he defended torture in general and highlighted its functionality.

The former reality TV star (said he had asked top intelligence officials in the past day, "Does torture work? And the answer was yes, absolutely."

"We have to fight fire with fire."

He asserted, however, that he wants to do "everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally."

The 45th US president vowed to discuss the matter with Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo before making any decision.

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