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Obama signs orders to close Gitmo

Jan. 22, 2009 at 12:09 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama signed executive orders Thursday to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison and to effectively ban the use of torture.

Under one of the three executive order he signed, Obama said the United States would use the Army Field Manual as its guide for interrogation because "we believe it reflects the best judgment of our military."

"We believe we can abide by the rules that say we don't torture" to extract needed intelligence, he said.

The executive order reflects not only his commitment on the matter, but also "an understanding dating back to Founding Fathers that we observe core standards of conduct not just when it's easy, but also when it's hard."

Two executive orders concerned the closing of the controversial military prison and handling the disposition of its 250 detainees. One directs that the facility be closed within a year and the other appoints an inter-agency task force to advise him on how to some detainees could be relocated once the facility is shuttered.

Obama also signed a memorandum related to the detention of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri -- whom Obama called "clearly a dangerous individual" -- to delay the detainee's petition before the Supreme Court so the administration can review the evidence against him and the policies that have been presented."

"With those three executive orders and this memorandum the message that we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism," Obama said, "and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals."

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