(GPA) Washington, D.C. – In a draft of another possible upcoming executive order titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants,” the White House considers reviving the notorious CIA Black Sites.
The order would bring back overseas CIA detention centers that are off limits to Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The access by NGOs that was guaranteed under the Obama administration was meant to ensure that the US followed international laws regarding prisoners of war.
The document in question, obtained by several media outlets doesn’t state specifically which prisons will reopen but does specify that the detention center at Guantanamo Bay is to remain open. There was also a section of the draft stating that the White House will reevaluate interrogation techniques that were considered illegal under Barack Obama.
The reopening of facilities without allowing the ICRC access would be a violation of the Geneva convention, making the move a war crime. Unsupervised sites like these are the exact environment where the George W. Bush administration allowed for the use of ‘enhanced interrogation.’
Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to bring back interrogation methods that amounted to torture, such as waterboarding as well as “a lot worse.” While it is unknown if the order will end up being signed by Trump it does stick to promises he made on the campaign trail and the decision is expected in the next few days.
One of the most outspoken opponents of Trump and torture, US Senator John McCain came out later today with sharp criticism of the proposal, saying “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.” McCain also reminded the media that the new CIA chief, Mike Pompeo pledged in his confirmation hearing to “comply with the law that applies the Army Field Manual’s interrogation requirements to all U.S. agencies, including the CIA.”
The proposals that could come about if this order is signed also run counter to a report issued by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) in 2012 and released in full in 2014. The SSCI found, among other things, that torture was rarely subjected to oversight, the CIA underreported the number of detainees, innocent people were detained, and most importantly, the program wasn’t even effective in getting real information despite what the CIA leaked to the media.
Despite all the negative things you could say about the Obama foreign policy (and we here at Geopolitics Alert would agree), the end of the CIA torture program was one small beacon of light. Should Trump decide to bring back this illegal program, the US will be returning to a slightly darker time that we’ve just barely come out of.
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James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.