Civil liberties lawyers launched a feet-to-the-fire campaign in Monday's editions of The New York Times, taking out a powerful ad urging President-elect Barack Obama to order the closure of the Guantanamo prison camps and war court on inauguration day.
''On day one, with the stroke of a pen, you can restore America's moral leadership in the World,'' says the full-page, six-figure ad purchased by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Half of the ad is a photo of Obama and recounts the president-elect's campaign pledge to close the prison camps and abandon the military commissions established in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. The other half is an indictment of Bush administration detention policies.
It is a provocative message from a potential ally of the coming Obama administration.
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ACLU Executive Anthony Romero called it ''a shot across the bow,'' and said Sunday that his organization would invest up to $500,000 in the campaign that seeks to avert any appeasement to centrists.
The campaign calls for President Obama to issue an Executive Order on Jan. 20, the day of his inauguration, to put Guantanamo out of business.
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