President Trump is going to repeal Obama's ban on torture-filled "black site" prisons: report

President Trump is going to return America to Bush-era human rights violations — or worse

By Matthew Rozsa
January 25, 2017 9:53PM (UTC)
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FILE - In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a US Department of Defense official, US military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file) (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

President Trump is planning on issuing an executive order that would, among many other things, allow the CIA to reopen its notorious "black site" prisons.

"Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants" is a three-page draft order that, according to The New York Times (which obtained a copy), would permit the CIA to open overseas "black site" prison facilities. Those sites are, by definition, secret — and they're locations where many humanitarian and legal rights normally accorded to foreign prisoners of war are often suspended.


In addition to reviving the secret "black site" facilities, the order would also revoke the International Committee of the Red Cross' current guaranteed ability to contact all detainees and allow the Pentagon to bring new prisoners to the Guantanamo Bay camp. Both of these policies directly reverse initiatives undertaken by President Obama.

"The same day Obama laid out his vision to close Guantánamo — his third day in office — he also closed the CIA’s network of international secret prisons, or 'black sites,'" wrote Alex Emmons and Margot Williams of The Intercept earlier this month. "But without any congressional prohibition on the CIA participating in detention or interrogation, many are worried that Trump could re-open them."

They added, "Obama even helped pave the way for him to do so by arguing that the military’s prisoners in prisons overseas — like Bagram in Afghanistan — did not have habeas corpus rights in American court."


According to a copy of the order obtained by The Washington Post, the order claims that the United States has "refrained from exercising certain authorities critical to its defense" and insists that the president receive a recommendation on whether to "reinstate a program of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States and whether such a program should include the use of detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency."

The Post also noted that the copy they received "editing marks and significant errors, including a reference to “the atrocities of September 11, 2011” missing the actual date of the 2001 attacks by a decade.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Barack Obama Cia Donald Trump Guantanamo Bay Terrorism Torture