Exec Orders – Did you see the part about contractors?

One positive piece of President Obama’s much heralded executive orders that seems to be overlooked in all the excitement is the unambiguous statement that contractor abuses fall within the scope of inquiry and review and that that work will be done by government employees, not contractors.

Companies hired by Defense, State and other agencies of the US government have been involved in almost every stage of the ‘war on terror’, from escorting convoys to building and maintaining facilities to interrogating detainees and providing security to US officials, and all too often with no accountability when implicated in a range of human rights abuses. As Senator Feingold brought to light, contractors were also hired to oversee other contractors at the State Department.

In his executive orders, President Obama (a champion of regulation of security contractors while in the Senate) made clear that only full-time or permanent employees or officers of the United States would be able to:
- Serve on the special task force to identify lawful options for the disposition of detainees
- Review status of individual detainee cases
- Serve on the special task force on interrogation and transfer policies

At the same time, the orders are comprehensive in covering facilities run by, or acts committed by, “agents” of the United States, ie, contractors, to be reviewed.

In a way, the President has proffered crucial first steps on a number of issues. We wanted Guantanamo closed, he’s set a timeline; we’re calling for investigation and accountability, he gave us a nod to transparency in the face of executive privilege; we documented abuses not only by US government officials, but also by the corporate sector, he’s got them covered and ruled them out of oversight functions.

Now it’s time to keep pushing to ensure that doors that are cracked open don’t swing back and slam shut the hope for an end to torture, indefinite detention and attacks against civilians.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

6 thoughts on “Exec Orders – Did you see the part about contractors?

  1. I just want to say how proud I am to be a card-carrying member of an organization with such thoughtful people monitoring so many human rights issues around the world. Keep up the great work.

  2. I just want to say how proud I am to be a card-carrying member of an organization with such thoughtful people monitoring so many human rights issues around the world. Keep up the great work.

  3. I'm hoping that President Obama will keep his promises, and begin making real changes in the USA, but with a deep commitment, not just as some bills or regulations, (I'm sorry my English is not so good). I really want to see Guantanamo closed; it is an aberration, and an insult to Cuban's.
    I'm against torture and violation of Human Rights all over the world, no matter where or who it is about. We are all human beings, much more alike than different.
    We all have the same body, blood, brain, etc. We all have feelings, passions, emotions; we are all "semejantes", and in spite of our differences which are only superficial, like ethnics, economics, social, political, religious or cultural, those are the things that make the world "rich".
    I have worked for Amnesty since my days of Grad. Student at Berkeley were I was defending the rights of the Chileans, Argentinians, Uruguayans, and later, the Nicaraguans, the Salvadorean, the Guatemalan peoples, the mizquitos, the indians from all over the world, etc.
    I'm proud to belong to such an organization which doesn't stop to make this world more just and free of violence.
    I would like to become really involved with the Chapter of Amnesty International in Monterrey, Mexico were I live, although I'm Peruvian.
    Please send me an address or link where I can get in touch with them. Thanks and keep your wonderful work!

  4. I’m hoping that President Obama will keep his promises, and begin making real changes in the USA, but with a deep commitment, not just as some bills or regulations, (I’m sorry my English is not so good). I really want to see Guantanamo closed; it is an aberration, and an insult to Cuban’s.
    I’m against torture and violation of Human Rights all over the world, no matter where or who it is about. We are all human beings, much more alike than different.
    We all have the same body, blood, brain, etc. We all have feelings, passions, emotions; we are all “semejantes”, and in spite of our differences which are only superficial, like ethnics, economics, social, political, religious or cultural, those are the things that make the world “rich”.
    I have worked for Amnesty since my days of Grad. Student at Berkeley were I was defending the rights of the Chileans, Argentinians, Uruguayans, and later, the Nicaraguans, the Salvadorean, the Guatemalan peoples, the mizquitos, the indians from all over the world, etc.
    I’m proud to belong to such an organization which doesn’t stop to make this world more just and free of violence.
    I would like to become really involved with the Chapter of Amnesty International in Monterrey, Mexico were I live, although I’m Peruvian.
    Please send me an address or link where I can get in touch with them. Thanks and keep your wonderful work!