by Amna El Tawil
President Donald Trump and his administration have prepared an executive order to start the process of reopening foreign CIA “black sites” that were largely used during Bush’s presidency. The main purpose of these black sites was to detain suspects in the so-called war on terror. The CIA black sites were located in Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Thailand and Afghanistan.
When Barack Obama took over White House, he closed black sites, but the recent draft may lead to their reopening. Trump’s order is named “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants. „It calls on US officials to “recommend to the president whether to re-initiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States and whether such program should include the use of detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.” It is not known whether the president intends to sign the executive order.
According to the New York Times, if Mr. Trump signs the draft order, he would also revoke Mr. Obama’s directive to give the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detainees in American custody. That would be another step toward reopening secret prisons outside of the normal wartime rules established by the Geneva Conventions, although statutory obstacles would remain.
The draft order does not direct any immediate reopening of C.I.A. prisons or revival of torture tactics, which are now banned by statute. But it sets up high-level policy reviews to make further recommendations in both areas to Mr. Trump, who vowed during the campaign to bring back waterboarding and a “hell of a lot worse” — not only because “torture works,” but because even “if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.”
You can take a look at the draft order here.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official, who requested anonymity, said many CIA officers would oppose reinstatement of black site interrogations, in part because they were forced to obtain lawyers after the withdrawal of the Justice Department memos that legalized the harsh techniques.
“People felt they were hung out to dry,” the former official said, “There is a lack of trust there.”
Moreover, he said, it would be extremely difficult to persuade other governments to allow the CIA to establish secret prisons on their soil.
“Where are you going to do this?” he asked. “How many countries are going to jump back into the U.S. lap?