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  • Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media at the construction site of the Trump International Hotel, March 21, 2016.

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media at the construction site of the Trump International Hotel, March 21, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 March 2016

The GOP front-runner listed some controversial names on his foreign policy advisory board.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump named five members of his foreign policy advisory team during a meeting with the Washington Post’s editorial board on Monday.

The move ends some of the speculation over who was advising him, although he admitted that he has "quite a few more" advisers who were not identified. teleSUR earlier reported that Trump was being advised by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the military's top intelligence official under President Barack Obama.

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Trump listed some controversial candidates led by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions who was in favor of the Iraq War and in 2005 voted against a Senate amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the United States government.

Sessions is also seen as friendly toward one of Trump's most vocal constituencies: white nationalists. "I used to think the Ku Klux Klan was a pretty good group of guys," the senator once reportedly declared, "until I learned they smoked pot."

Walid Phares, a Lebanese academic who advised Mitt Romney's campaign in 2012, has also been advising Trump.

Phares, a “counter-terrorism expert" according to the GOP front-runner, was a key player in the Lebanese Forces, one of the fascist Christian militias that fought in Lebanon's brutal 15-year civil war from 1975 to 1990. Toni Nissi, a colleague of Phares at the time, said that Phares helped the group's leader, Samir Geagea, steep its fighters in religious ideology.

"Geagea wanted to change them from a normal militia to a Christian army," Nissi told news outlet Mother Jones. "Walid Phares was responsible for training the lead officers in the ideology of the Lebanese Forces."

The Lebanese Forces are thought to be responsible for the 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, one of the bloody war’s most notorious incidents.

Trump also named General Keith Kellogg, a former army lieutenant general, and an executive vice president at Virginia-based CACI International.

CACI International, an intelligence and information technology consulting firm, was the subject of controversy in 2004 during the U.S. occupation of Iraq after 256 Iraqis sued the company for torture, crimes against humanity, sexual assault, as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at Abu Ghraib prison.

The U.S. government hired CACI to provide interrogation and translation services at military prisons in Iraq.

Kellogg was appointed to his CACI post in 2005 shortly after the torture claims were made.

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Trump also said that energy consultant George Papadopoulos, who previously advised the presidential campaign of Ben Carson, and former Defense Department inspector general Joe Schmitz were advising him on foreign policy.

“And I have quite a few more," Trump told the Washington Post. "But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do. But that’s a pretty representative group."

Trump's foreign policy has been one of the major talking points of his election campaign. He has said he would "bomb the hell" out of the Islamic State group and send ground troops to Iraq to "take back the oil," assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – and that he would "get along" great with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite naming his advisers, Trump says he primarily relies on his own instinct.

"I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain," he told MSNBC last week. "I know what I'm doing ... My primary consultant is myself."

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