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Obama moves to overhaul 'war on terror' practices

In three executive orders signed Thursday, he departs sharply from Bush's policies on Guantanamo, CIA prisons, and harsh interrogation tactics.

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President Obama signs a series of executive orders, including one beginning the process of closing the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Thursday in the Oval Office.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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President Obama is taking swift and dramatic action to shift the direction of America’s efforts to fight terrorism, counter the threat from Al Qaeda, and safeguard the nation. On Thursday, on his second full day in the White House, Mr. Obama signed three executive orders and a memorandum that provide the broad outline of a major overhaul of US national security policy. The actions mark not only a sharp departure and rejection, but a rebuke, of policies that formed the backbone of President Bush’s global war on terror.

Mr. Obama’s executive orders call for:

• Closing the terror prison camp at Guantanamo within a year.

• Closing “as expeditiously as possible” all secret CIA prisons overseas.

• Banning the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics not authorized by the Army Field Manual.

• Requiring the International Red Cross be granted access to any individual detained by the US in any armed conflict.

• Requiring that all US detainees be treated in accord with at least the minimal protections of the Geneva Conventions.

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