PRESS RELEASE from Human Rights First

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2007

Contact: Jessica Rosenblum, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications

Krista Minteer, Human Rights First

Retired Generals, Admirals To Meet With Presidential Candidates on Torture, Prisoner Treatment Policies
15 Retired Flag and General Officers to Meet with Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Huckabee, Obama, Richardson
DES MOINES, IA. — Retired Generals and Admirals with backgrounds in combat operations, intelligence, law and medicine will hold individual meetings this weekend in Des Moines with at least seven presidential candidates to discuss U.S. detention and interrogation policies.

The group of senior officers will gather for private one-hour meetings with the presidential candidates to discuss the role of the next commander in chief in ensuring that interrogation and prisoner treatment policies are consistent with the welfare of the military and with American laws, values and interests.

To date, meetings have been confirmed with Senators Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards and Barack Obama, as well as Governors Mike Huckabee and Bill Richardson. All candidates from both parties were invited to meet with the group of retired Generals and Admirals, which is nonpartisan and will not endorse any candidate. All meetings will take place at the Suites of 800 Locust and are each expected to begin with a photo opportunity. There is a stake-out area with mult. drop in the hotel lobby. Generals and Admirals will be available for interview after each meeting.

The gathering, hosted by Human Rights First — a leading human rights advocacy organization based in New York City and Washington, DC — will be co-chaired by two retired four-star Generals with wide-ranging experience: General Joseph P. Hoar, former Commander in Chief of Central Command, which includes the Middle East, and General David M. Maddox, former Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Europe.


SUITES AT 800 LOCUST (Lobby Meeting Rooms)

Governor Bill Richardson, Saturday, December 1st, 11:30 AM

Senator John Edwards, Saturday, December 1st, 3:00 PM

Senator Hillary Clinton, Saturday, December 2nd, 4:45 PM

Senator Barack Obama, Sunday, December 2nd, 9:00 AM

Senator Joe Biden, Sunday, December 2nd, 11:15 AM

Senator Chris Dodd, Sunday, December 2nd, 3:00 PM

Governor Mike Huckabee, Monday, December 3rd, 1:00 PM

“Those who seek to be commander in chief must be well versed in issues related to the Geneva Conventions and the rules governing treatment of prisoners,” said General Hoar. “This group of experienced military leaders has strong views on these issues. We plan to share these views in candid conversations with candidates to ensure that they are better informed as they speak about these issues on the campaign trail, and ultimately as one of them assumes the highest office in the nation.”

General Maddox added: “We have watched with concern the manner in which the issue of torture has been raised - in debates and on the campaign trail. In too many instances, the debate about interrogation methods and prisoner treatment has lacked an understanding about the impact that torture has on the safety of American military personnel and the values they fight to defend. This is not just a theoretical issue for me. I have a son and son-in-law in the army and naïve comments about torture puts them and all our servicemembers at greater risk. We must regain the high ground on this, not just with our enemies, but with our allies as well.”

The group met in April in Concord, New Hampshire, where they held the first such meetings with Senators Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, and with Representative Dennis Kucinich. By organizing these meetings and traveling to states that are key in the election process, the Admirals and Generals intend to underscore the fundamental importance of these issues to members of the United States Armed Forces, in the current campaign, and for the next commander in chief.

“While most Generals and Admirals do not get involved in the political fray, even those who are retired, we feel a responsibility at this juncture to do what we can to preserve the values we fought to defend and to uphold the standards of humane treatment on which those serving our country today – and those who will serve it in the future – depend,” added General Hoar.

The gathering, which takes place from December 1st through December 3rd, is hosted by Human Rights First, a non-partisan non-profit group based in New York and Washington, D.C.

Generals and Admirals participating include:

General Joseph P. Hoar, USMC (Ret.)

General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)

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

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

Lieutenant General Charles P. Otstott, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)

Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.)

Major General Fred E. Haynes, USMC (Ret.)

Major General Melvyn S. Montano, ANG (Ret.)

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

Brigadier General James Cullen, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.)

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

Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, USA (Ret.)

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