Trump calls for re­turn of wa­ter­board­ing by US

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump called yes­ter­day for the re­turn of wa­ter­board­ing, a neardrown­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­nique widely de­nounced as tor­ture, say­ing it was “peanuts” com­pared to what Is­lamic State is do­ing. It was the lat­est in a se­ries of in­flam­ma­tory Trump re­sponses to the threat of ter­ror­ism in the wake of the Paris at­tacks that ap­pear to have bol­stered his poll num­bers. A new Wash­ing­ton Post/ABC News na­tional poll showed Trump lead­ing the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial field with 32 per­cent, a 10 point lead over his near­est ri­val, Ben Car­son.

Trump, who ig­nited con­tro­versy ear­lier this week by call­ing for a registry of all Mus­lims in the United States, stepped up the hard­line rhetoric in an in­ter­view with ABC News in which he ad­vo­cated the use of sim­u­lated drown­ings, known as wa­ter­board­ing, in in­ter­ro­ga­tions of ter­ror­ism sus­pects. “I would bring it back. I think wa­ter­board­ing is peanuts com­pared to what they’d do to us, what they’re do­ing to us, what they did to James Fo­ley when they chopped off his head. That’s a whole dif­fer­ent level and I would ab­so­lutely bring back in­ter­ro­ga­tion and strong in­ter­ro­ga­tion,” he said.

Wa­ter­board­ing, which was used by the CIA in in­ter­ro­ga­tions of at least three 9/11 sus­pects, was banned by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama shortly af­ter as­sum­ing of­fice in 2009. Trump slightly shifted his po­si­tion on track­ing Mus­lims and clos­ing mosques af­ter a storm of crit­i­cism, in­clud­ing by other Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. On mosques, he said: “I don’t want to close mosques; I want to surveil mosques. I want mosques surveiled.”

While not dis­avow­ing his ear­lier call for a Mus­lim registry, Trump said he wanted a data­base of Syr­ian refugees en­ter­ing the coun­try to guard against “the great Tro­jan Horse of all time”. “We have to watch and see what we’re do­ing,” he said, adding that Syr­ian refugees should not be al­lowed into the coun­try at all.

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Jeh John­son, mean­while, speak­ing on NBC’s Meet the Press show, said there was “no spe­cific cred­i­ble in­tel­li­gence about a threat of the Paris type di­rected at the home­land here”. But he said there was al­ways con­cern about po­ten­tial copy­cat at­tacks by home­grown vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists of the kind seen in the past. He reaf­firmed there are no plans to can­cel the an­nual Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day pa­rade in New York City, an event ex­pected to draw three mil­lion peo­ple.

The height­ened fears gen­er­ated by the Nov 13 at­tacks in the French cap­i­tal has been seen by some as an op­por­tu­nity for more po­lit­i­cally sea­soned can­di­dates to gain trac­tion with vot­ers that has so far eluded them. But the lat­est polls showed lit­tle ev­i­dence of that. Trump and Car­son, the re­tired neu­ro­sur­geon who is the other out­sider in the Repub­li­can race, re­mained un­budged at top of the rank­ings.

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