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Statement From 16 Retired Admirals And Generals, Who Have Been Working Through Human Rights First, On Meeting Today With President Obama To Discuss Executive Orders Banning Torture And Closing Guantanamo

Human Rights First

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2009

Statement From 16 Retired Admirals And Generals, Who Have Been Working Through Human Rights First, On Meeting Today With President Obama To Discuss Executive Orders Banning Torture And Closing Guantanamo

"President Obama's actions today will restore the moral authority and strengthen the national security of the United States. It is vital to the safety of our men and women in uniform that the United States never sanction the use of interrogation methods that we would find unacceptable if inflicted by an enemy against captured Americans.

We commend President Obama for acting quickly through these executive orders to enforce a single standard of humane treatment for all U.S. intelligence interrogations. As Commander in Chief, he has provided clarity throughout the military chain of command.

By unequivocally rejecting torture and other cruel and inhumane treatment, shutting down secret prisons, providing Red Cross access to prisoners in U.S. custody, rejecting the legal opinions that facilitated and excused torture, and announcing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison, President Obama has rejected the false choice between national security and our ideals. Our Nation will be stronger and safer for it."

Meeting Participants

General Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.)
General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard Jr., USA (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)
Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.)
Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC
Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Richard O�Meara, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.)

Bios

General Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.)

In November 2004, General Paul Kern concluded his more than 40-year career in the United States Army when he retired as Commanding General, Army Materiel Command (AMC). In June 2004, Secretary Rumsfeld tapped him to lead the military's internal investigation into the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Prior to his command at AMC, he served as the military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and was the senior military advisor to the Army Acquisition Executive and the Army Chief of Staff on all research, development, and acquisition programs and related issues. As the Senior Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William Perry, General Kern was instrumental in ensuring that the Secretary's guidance was implemented throughout the Department. During that tenure he traveled with Secretary Perry to more than 70 countries, participated in U.S. operations in Haiti, Rwanda, Zaire and the Balkans, and helped to promote military relations in Central and Eastern Europe, South America, China, and the Middle East. General Kern had three combat tours during his illustrious career with two tours in Vietnam as a platoon leader and troop commander, and he commanded the Second Brigade of the 24th Infantry in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. During his career, General Kern received the Defense and Army Distinguished Service Medals, Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals for valor, three Bronze Star Medals for service in combat, and three Purple Hearts.

General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)

General Maddox served in the U.S. Army from 1960 until 1995. He retired after serving as Commander in Chief, U.S. Army in Europe. While on active duty, General Maddox served extensively overseas with four tours in Germany during which he commanded at every level from platoon through NATO's Central Army Group, 7th U.S. Army and theater. His last six years of active duty were in Europe transitioning from the Cold War, through Desert Storm, to the total reengineering of our presence and mission in Europe. Since retirement, General Maddox has been an independent consultant to civilian corporations, government agencies, and defense industries regarding concepts, systems requirements, program strategies, operations and systems effectiveness, and analytic techniques and analyses. He has served on the Defense Science Board, is a member of the Army Science Board, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Corporation of the Draper Laboratory, and The Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.

Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard Jr., USA (Ret.)

General Gard is a retired Lieutenant General who served in the United States Army; his military assignments included combat service in Korea and Vietnam. He is currently a consultant on international security and president emeritus of the Monterey Institute for International Studies.

Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Gunn served as the Inspector General of the Department of the Navy from 1997 until retirement in August 2000. Admiral Gunn's sea duty included: command of the frigate USS Barbey; command of Destroyer Squadron 31, the Navy's tactical and technical development anti-submarine warfare squadron; and command of Amphibious Group Three, supporting the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Southwest Asia and East Africa. Gunn is from Bakersfield, California and is a graduate of UCLA, having received his commission from the Naval ROTC program at UCLA in June 1965.

Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.)

General Kennedy is the first and only woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the United States Army. Kennedy served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Army Intelligence, Commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, and as Commander of the 703d military intelligence brigade in Kunia, Hawaii.

Vice Admiral Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Konetzni served as the Deputy and Chief of Staff, of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Deputy Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, where he was responsible for 160 ships, nearly 1,200 aircraft and 50 bases manned by more than 133,000 personnel. He has also served as Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Commander, Submarine Group Seven (Yokosuka, Japan); and Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Personnel Policy and Career Progression. Admiral Konetzni has received two Distinguished Service Medals, six awards of the Legion of Merit, and three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal for his Naval Service. His Homeland Security efforts have earned him the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal.

Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)

General Otstott served 32 years in the Army. As an Infantryman, he commanded at every echelon including command of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) from 1988-1990. His service included two combat tours in Vietnam. He completed his service in uniform as Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee, 1990-1992.

Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)

General Eaton recently retired from the U.S. Army after more than 33 years service. His assignments include Infantry command from the company to brigade levels, command of the Infantry Center at Fort Benning and Chief of Infantry. His most recent operational assignment was Commanding General of the command charged with reestablishing Iraqi Security Forces 2003-2004, where he built the command and established the structure and infrastructure for the Iraqi Armed Forces. Other operational assignments include Somalia, Bosnia and Albania. Other assignments include the Joint Staff, Deputy Commanding General for Transformation and Stryker Unit Development and Assistant Professor and head of the French Department at West Point. He is a 1972 graduate of West Point.

Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.)

Admiral Guter served in the U.S. Navy for 32 years, concluding his career as the Navy's Judge Advocate General from 2000 to 2002.

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.)

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson served in the U. S. Navy from 1973 to 2000. He was the Navy's Judge Advocate General from 1997 to 2000. Admiral Hutson now serves as President and Dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire. He also joined Human Rights First�s Board of Directors in 2005.

Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)

General Nash has extensive experience in peacekeeping operations, both as a military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina and as a civilian administrator for the United Nations in Kosovo. He served in the Army for 34 years, and is a veteran of Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. Since his retirement in 1998, General Nash has been a Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Director of Civil-Military Programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. In addition to his duties at the Council, General Nash is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and a military consultant for ABC News. He has been the Director of the Council on Foreign Relations Center for Preventive Action since April, 2001.

Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC

General Brahms served in the Marine Corps from 1963-1988. He served as the Marine Corps' senior legal adviser from 1983 until his retirement in 1988. General Brahms currently practices law in Carlsbad, California and sits on the board of directors of the Judge Advocates Association.

Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)

Mr. Cullen is a retired Brigadier General in the United States Army Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps and last served as the Chief Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. He currently practices law in New York City.

Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Ret), Ph.D., served in Vietnam and was a key member of a group that developed the Army's counterinsurgency doctrine in the early 1960s at Ft. Bragg and later in the Pentagon. After retirement from active duty, he served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and then as a professor at the National Defense University for 14 years, where he specialized in National Security Strategy.

Brigadier General Richard O'Meara, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Richard O'Meara is a combat decorated veteran who fought in Vietnam before earning his law degree and joining the Army's Judge Advocate General Corps. He retired from the Army Reserves in 2002 and now teaches courses on Human Rights and History at Kean University and at Monmouth University.

Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Sagsveen entered the U.S. Army in 1968, with initial service in the Republic of Korea. He later joined the North Dakota Army National Guard. His assignments included Staff Judge Advocate for the 164th Engineer Group, Staff Judge Advocate for the State Area Command, Special Assistant to the National Guard Bureau Judge Advocate, and Army National Guard Special Assistant to the Judge Advocate General of the Army. He completed the U.S. Army War College in 1988. At the time of his retirement in 1996, he was a brigadier general and the senior judge advocate in the Army National Guard. General Sagsveen currently serves as the general counsel of the American Academy of Neurology in St. Paul, Minnesota. In February 2004, he participated in a medical conference in Baghdad, Iraq, and he has been participating in an effort among U.S. specialty medical societies to assist physicians in that country.


Statement From 16 Retired Admirals And Generals, Who Have Been Working Through Human Rights First, On Meeting Today With President Obama To Discuss Executive Orders Banning Torture And Closing Guantanamo

President Barack Obama signs executive orders Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 to end torture, close Guantanamo Bay, shut down secret overseas CIA prisons, review military war crimes trials and review detention policy options.  Standing with him in the Oval Office were 16 retired Generals and Admirals who have worked through Human Rights First to advocate for prisoner treatment policies consistent with our laws, values and national interest.  White House photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama signs executive orders Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 to end torture, close Guantanamo Bay, shut down secret overseas CIA prisons, review military war crimes trials and review detention policy options. Standing with him in the Oval Office were 16 retired Generals and Admirals who have worked through Human Rights First to advocate for prisoner treatment policies consistent with our laws, values and national interest. White House photo by Pete Souza



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