United States: Torture will make terrorism – not America – great again, OMCT warns
Geneva, 26 January 2017 – Torturing suspects is illegal, ineffective and
will only heighten the risk of terrorism, the World Organisation Against
Torture (OMCT) warned after Donald Trump again condoned torture on his first televised interview yesterday
as United States President.
In a live interview
with ABC News, President Trump said yesterday he believed torture worked
and that his country should “respond to fire with fire”. Yet he added he would leave it to his Defense
Secretary James Mattis and Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo to
decide what should be done to keep the U.S. safe, saying he wanted “to do everything
within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally.” These statements
came after a Trump Administration draft executive order about reopening the CIA’s
offshore “black site” prisons where terrorism suspects are detained and
tortured was leaked to the press.
These comments in line with President Trump’s campaign
statements constitute a U-turn in U.S. policy, which had under President
Barak Obama aimed at closing such torture sites and punishing the use of
so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” instated under the Bush
Administration to combat terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. OMCT, which leads a
coalition of over 200 anti-torture NGOs around the world, stresses that sacrificing
what is a core principle of international law and democracy will not yield
useful information to combat terrorism, but only lead to more attacks around
“Torture will make
terrorism – not America – great again,” said OMCT Secretary
General Gerald Staberock. “We won’t defeat the Islamic State by being more
ruthless and brutal than it is. We will only manage that feat if we
– contrary to those who torture and murder – go by the rules ourselves and
uphold human rights against the violations we want to stop.”
Torture and disappearing suspects in secret detention,
as was done during the “War on Terror” under President George Bush, will only
push people across the world to support or sympathize with extremist groups
such as the Islamic State. OMCT therefore encourages European and other long-standing
partners of the U.S., notably the United Kingdom, to speak out against such
declarations by the new U.S. President to make clear that they would not be
able to cooperate with U.S. intelligence if torture were authorized.
At odds with his own and
with the facts
Trump’s declaration is at odds with his own newly appointed intelligence chief Mr. Pompeo,
who during his confirmation
hearing officially ruled out using torture.
practitioners agree that torture does not yield useful intelligence, as an authoritative
study by the United States Senate has concluded in 2014. “The Committee finds, based on a review of CIA interrogation records,
that the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was not an
effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee
cooperation,” the report read.
himself a prisoner of war who has been tortured, has also concurred: “I know
from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than
good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally
misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they
will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe
it will stop their suffering. ”
About the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
OMCT is short for the World Organisation Against Torture – in French, as
the organization created in 1985 is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. OMCT
works for, with and through an international coalition of over 200
non-governmental organizations – the SOS-Torture network – fighting torture,
summary executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and all
other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in the world.
For more information, please visit: www.omct.org.
For our latest campaign #HumanAgainstTorture:
Follow us online: Twitter, Facebook, https://vimeo.com/omct, Instagram.
For all media inquiries: Lori Brumat, OMCT Head of Communciations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sen. John McCain,
remarks in Congressional
daily edition, vol. 160, no. 149 (December 9, 2014), p. S6411