For Immediate Release
Brenda Bowser Soder
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460
Retired Military Leaders, Illinois Congressional Candidates to Talk Terrorism
Retired Generals Urge Torture Ban, Federal Trials, Closure of Guantanamo
CHICAGO, Illinois - Retired military leaders committed to making interrogation and
detention policies consistent with America's laws, values and security
interests are in Illinois this week to meet with congressional
candidates of both parties about rejecting torture, closing Guantanamo
and pending legislative restrictions on detainee transfers to the United
States, including for trial and to Illinois' Thomson Correctional
Center. The leaders chose to target Illinois because that state has been
at the epicenter of debate about the transfer of detainees from the
U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In addition to pressing for closure of the Guantanamo facility, the
retired military leaders will also emphasize the effectiveness of
federal courts in handling terrorism trials.
"Federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorists since 9/11.
Military commissions have convicted only four," said Major General
William L. Nash, who served in peacekeeping operations in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. "Terrorists are not warriors. They are thugs who
should stand trial in our federal courts, just like any criminal
Joining Major General Nash in Illinois will be General David Maddox,
former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army in Europe, Lieutenant General
Harry "Ed" Soyster, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,
and Brigadier General Jim Cullen, former Judge Advocate General (more
complete bios below). This group is slated to meet with more than dozen
Illinois congressional candidates, including Senate hopeful Alexi
Giannoulias. Beyond the frank, one-on-one discussions planned with each
candidate, the retired military leaders plan to hand-deliver a petition
signed by nearly 5,500 people to each nominee. The document reinforces
the retired military leaders' stances and calls on candidates to close
Guantanamo and try suspected terrorists in federal court.
During the retired military leaders' trip to Illinois, the group will also launch an online video advertisement calling on lawmakers to try terrorism suspects in federal courts. The ad will launch on August 17.
These same retired military leaders were active in the last election
cycle and met with eight of the presidential candidates to urge action
on these same issues. President Obama, Vice President Biden, Governor
Huckabee and Secretary Clinton have all publicly credited this group
with influencing their thinking on the treatment of enemy prisoners.
This year, fueled by concerns regarding the hostile tenor that has
shaped the "inside the beltway" debate on detention and interrogation
policies, the military leaders have renewed their commitment to educate
candidates and make themselves available for candid discussions. Earlier
this summer, they held similar meetings with congressional candidates
from Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Among other concerns, Lieutenant General Soyster plans to let
candidates know that combating terrorism depends on winning the support
of local populations. He notes, "Troops in the field depend on local
community members to share information about threats. Our use of torture
and abuse are not only wrong and ineffective, they compromise crucial
relationships that can keep our soldiers safe."
For more information about these retired military leaders and their ongoing efforts, visit http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us_law/military/index.aspx. To schedule a time to interview the Generals, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at email@example.com or 202-370-3323.
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 Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Soyster served as Director, Defense Intelligence
Agency during DESERT SHIELD/STORM. He also served as Deputy Assistant
Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army, Commanding
General, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command and in the Joint
Reconnaissance Center, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In Vietnam he was an
operations officer in a field artillery battalion. Upon retirement he
was VP for International Operations with Military Professional Resources
Incorporated and returned to government as Special Assistant to the SEC
ARMY for WWII 60th Anniversary Commemorations completed in 2006.
Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)
General Nash served in the U.S. Army for 34 years, and is a veteran
of Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. He has extensive experience in
peacekeeping operations, both as a military commander in
Bosnia-Herzegovina (1995- 1996) and as a civilian administrator for the
United Nations in Kosovo (2000). Since his retirement in 1998, General
Nash has been a fellow and visiting lecturer at Harvard's John F.
Kennedy School of Government (1998); Director of Civil-Military Programs
at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
(1999-2000); a professorial lecturer at Georgetown University
(2000-2008); a visiting lecturer at Princeton University (2005-2010); a
Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (2001-2009); and a
military consultant for ABC News (2003-2009). Today, he is an
independent consultant on national security issues, civil-military
relations and conflict management.
Major General Walter L. Stewart, Jr., USA (Ret.)
General Stewart enlisted in the United States Army in 1966 and served
most of almost four decades of military service as a traditional
(part-time) Guardsman in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Early in
his service he led an armed helicopter platoon in support of allied
forces in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam where he participated in the
1970 incursion into Cambodia. In 1994, then Brigadier General Stewart
was selected to form the first ever reserve
component directorate at a unified command, United States European
Command (USEUCOM). While in this assignment he coordinated reserve
support for a wide range of theater activities and was recalled to
active duty for Operation Joint Endeavor in the Balkans. Stewart served
at every level of command within Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division
(Mechanized), to include division command. In civilian life, General
Stewart was president of a small business and held elected office in
Pennsylvania. He is now fully retired.
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.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.
Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.