Kerry: Government-sanctioned torture weakened America

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Kerry speaks out about torture and libertiesCommenting on President Obama’s first executive orders, a senior senator hails a new era but bemoans the damage sustained by America’s national security.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts wrote in a commentary published on CNN.com that the eventual closure of Guantanamo Bay and CIA detention centers around the world, as well as the ban on torture, will restore America’s moral leadership by reaffirming its founding principles of the rule of law and respect for individual rights.

However, he stressed the difficulties lying ahead, including questionable evidence extracted using coercion that may be inadmissible in U.S. courts and the threat posed by some of the former detainees who are known to have returned to terrorist training camps.

Nonetheless, quoting Obama’s inauguration address in which he called on Americans to "reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals," Kerry welcomed what he saw as a new era in America’s relations with the outside world, and in particular with the Middle East.

Last Thursday Obama reversed the essence of the Bush administration’s approach to the prosecution of the war on terror by signing an executive order to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and to ban harsh interrogations techniques.
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