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Trump: Torture ‘absolutely works’

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US President says he is open to using illegal interrogation techniques to combat terrorist group ISIS

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he thinks waterboarding and other interrogation techniques widely seen as torture - and prohibited by law - "absolutely" work, but would defer to his Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pentagon chiefs on whether to reinstate them.

When asked about waterboarding in an interview with ABC News at the White House, Mr Trump said it was crucial to "fight fire with fire" in the face of the beheadings of Americans and other atrocities by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

The comments - which echo statements he made on the campaign trail - come as reports suggest his administration may be considering the reinstatement of secret CIA "black site" prisons overseas.

"When they're chopping off the heads of our people, and other people... when ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I'm concerned, we have to fight fire with fire," he said.

But he said he would rely on the advice of Pentagon chief James Mattis and CIA director Mike Pompeo.

"I'm going to go with what they say," Mr Trump told ABC.

"If they don't want to do, that's fine. If they do want to do, I will work toward that end. I want to do everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally.

"But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works."

He alsosaid his plan to limit the entry of people from some Muslim countries was necessary as the world is "a total mess".

Mr Trump denied to ABC that it was a ban on Muslims.

"No, it's not the Muslim ban, but it's countries that have tremendous terror," he said.


"And it's countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.

"Our country has enough problems without allowing people to come in, who in many cases or in some cases, are looking to do tremendous destruction."

Mr Trump refused to be pinned down on which countries he was talking about, but did say he believed Europe "made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and other countries, and all you have to do is take a look, it's a disaster what's happening over there."

According to a draft executive order published in US media, refugees from war-torn Syria will be indefinitely banned, the broader US refugee admissions program will be suspended for 120 days, and all visa applications from countries deemed a terrorist threat - Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen - will be halted for 30 days.

Mr Trump was asked if he was concerned this would anger Muslims around the world.

"Anger? There's plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?" he said.

"The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What, you think this is going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn't have gone into Iraq. We shouldn't have got out the way we got out. The world is a total mess."

According to the draft decree, Mr Trump intends to halve the number of refugees entering the US during the 2017 fiscal year, which ends on Sept 30.

The administration of former president Barack Obama had set a target of accepting more than 100,000 refugees this year, and the Trump administration aims to slash that to 50,000. - AFP

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