November 19, 2016

Trump's CIA pick supports torture

Independent, UK - Earlier this year, John Brennan, the head of the CIA, suggested he would resign if a new president were to order his agency to restart the use of waterboarding.

“I’m not going to be the director of CIA that gives that order. I think they’re going to need to find another director,” said Mr Brennan.

On Friday, .... Donald Trump announced he had selected Congressman Mike Pompeo, a hardline Republican who approves of the use of waterboarding, to head the agency.

“He has served our country with honour and spent his life fighting for the security of our citizens,” the President-elect said of his latest appointment.

... During the 2016 election campaign, Mr Trump said he approved of reintroducing waterboarding, which involves placing a cloth over a shackled suspect’s mouth and then pouring water over the cloth. The technique reportedly creates a sensation of drowning.

Speaking in South Carolina in February, Mr Trump said: “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works. Half these guys say ‘Torture doesn’t work’. Believe me, it works.”

In a statement posted on his website in September 2014, [Pompeo] criticised Mr Obama for prohibiting the use of waterboarding and other harsh techniques.

“President Obama has continually refused to take the war on radical Islamic terrorism seriously—from ending our interrogation programme in 2009 to trying to close Guantanamo Bay, to even releasing top Taliban commanders back into the field in a prisoner exchange that violated American law,” he said.

The United Nations Convention Against Torture, which was ratified by the US in 1990, describes torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession”.

Retired Maj Gen Thomas Romig, a former Army judge told the Wall Street Journal in 2014: “There is no way any competent and knowledgeable attorney can say that waterboarding is legal under the Geneva Conventions, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or the Convention Against Torture.”

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