Elisa Massimino Reflects on Life and Work of Brigadier General James Cullen

Washington, D.C.—Following the death of Brigadier General James Cullen, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement:

“General Cullen embodied the best of American leadership. He was a man of enormous moral courage, leading the fight against torture and putting his own reputation on the line as a retired general and a man of the law in order to stand up for what he knew was right. He believed at his core that protecting and advancing human rights is fundamental to who we are as Americans, and he challenged others to join him in fighting for these ideals. All of us who knew him share a profound loss in his passing. It was a great privilege to have had the chance to  work alongside him; I will miss his mentorship and his friendship.”

Brigadier General James P. Cullen, who passed away on Friday night, was one of the first to take a public stand against torture in 2004 after the Abu Ghraib photos were made public, joining seven other retired general and flag officers to call for a full and independent investigation. That initial group would grow to nearly 200 retired generals and admirals and would lead the efforts to pass the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the McCain-Feinstein Amendment of 2015 that would codify into law humane interview and interrogation practices. He was a tireless advocate for human rights and American ideals, including serving on the board of advocates of Human Rights First.


Published on December 11, 2017


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