Odd Couple: John McCain, ACLU Team up to Stop Trump Torture Policies
November 22, 2016 | Josie Wales
(ANTIMEDIA) — Senator John McCain made it very clear over the weekend that he will go head-to-head with President-elect Donald Trump if he follows through on campaign promises to reinstate the use of waterboarding and other methods of torture as interrogation techniques.
“If they started waterboarding, I swear to you, there are a bunch of us that would have them in court in a New York minute, and there’s no judge in America that wouldn’t say they’re in violation of the law,” the senator declared at the International Security Forum on Saturday. “I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do. We will not waterboard. We will not torture people…it doesn’t work.”
The Arizona senator’s statement came just one day after Trump announced plans to nominate Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as CIA Director. Pompeo is a longtime defender of the CIA’s brutal methods of interrogation. “These men and women are not torturers, they are patriots,” Pompeo stated in response to the release of the 2014 Senate Torture report. That report revealed CIA torture methods used during interrogations, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, forced rectal feeding, and ice water “baths.”
The ACLU responded immediately with a public statement voicing concern over the potential appointment.
“Congressman Pompeo’s positions on bulk surveillance and Guantanamo Bay also raise serious civil liberties concerns about privacy and due process. These positions and others merit serious public scrutiny through a confirmation process. His positions on mass surveillance have been rejected by federal courts and have been the subject of several lawsuits filed by the ACLU, including ACLU v. Clapper.
“From now until the confirmation hearings, the ACLU will continue to scrutinize the civil liberties and rights records of Trump nominees, including Sen. Sessions and Rep. Pompeo if they choose to accept the president-elect’s nomination.”
Like Senator McCain, the ACLU has also vowed to take Trump to court should he attempt to implement almost anything he promised during his campaign. ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero delivered this warning just hours after the results of the election were announced:
“President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.
“These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step.”
Although Donald Trump isn’t easing national and global concerns with the cabinet picks made thus far, it is clear he will face staunch opposition to any attempt he makes to violate the civil liberties of the American people.
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