Retired Military Leaders to Brief Media on Obama Meeting, Torture Ban, Guantanamo Closure

WASHINGTON – Following a meeting at the White House this morning with President Obama, members of a group of retired senior military leaders who advocate for a single standard for interrogation and detainment across agencies, will brief the media by teleconference.

President Obama is reportedly signing executive orders this morning to ban the use of torture and to close Guantanamo.

The telebriefing, which will begin at 1:00PM Eastern today, will feature Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.),Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, JAGC, USN (Ret.), Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and Elisa Massimino, the executive director of Human Rights First, which for the last two years has convened the group of military leaders. Bios of the participants follow this advisory. To join the call, please dial 866-952-1908 and identify the call as “HRF Military Leaders’ Call.”

The Human Rights First group met with most of the Presidential candidates during the primary season, including President Obama, and last month met with Attorney General designee Eric Holder. Then presidential candidates Sen. Biden, Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama all cited their meetings with the HRF military leaders as having strongly influenced their understanding and now policies on the impact of torture.

WHAT: Teleconference to brief journalists on the reported signing of executive orders to ban torture and close Guantanamo

WHO: Retired senior military leaders, convened by Human Rights First, to advocate for the adoption of a single standard of interrogation and detainment across agency boundaries.

WHEN: Thursday, January 22nd at 1:00PM eastern.

HOW: 866-952-1908, identify the call as “HRF Military Leaders’ Call.”



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

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

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

Elisa Massimino was named CEO and Executive Director of Human Rights First in September 2008. As Human Rights First’s CEO and Executive Director, Massimino provides overall leadership and strategic direction for the organization and manages its 70 person staff in New York and Washington. Massimino has a distinguished record of human rights advocacy in Washington. As a national authority on human rights law and policy, she has testified before Congress dozens of times and writes frequently for mainstream publications and specialized journals. In May 2008, the influential Washington newspaper The Hill named her one of the top 20 public advocates in the country.


Published on January 22, 2009


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