US will not torture, says Obama

January 23rd, 2009 - 5:19 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 23 (IANS) US President Barack Obama who Thursday ordered to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year said that “US will not torture”, demonstrating a clean break from the Bush administration’s war on terror policy.Speaking at the State Department following the announcement of special envoys to Middle East and Afghanistan-Pakistan, Obama said: “First, I can say without exception or equivocation that the United States will not torture.”

“Second, we will close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and determine how to deal with those who have been held there.”

“We have no time to lose,” he said as he welcomed the newly confirmed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his special envoys to Middle East, and Afghanistan and Pakistan - former senator George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke, a former UN ambassador, respectively.

“We can no longer afford drift, and we can no longer afford delay, nor can we cede ground to those who seek destruction,” he said.

Earlier in the day Obama signed three executive orders, including the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

During the signing ceremony, Obama said he was issuing the order to close the detention facility in order to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism”.

The second order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations. That essentially ends the Bush administration’s CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods, CNN reported.

“We believe that the Army field manual reflects the best judgment of our military, that we can abide by a rule that says we don’t torture, but that we can still effectively obtain the intelligence that we need,” Obama said.

The third executive order Obama signed Thursday calls for setting up a task force to systematic review detention policies and procedures.

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