Rights Groups Urge Concerned Americans to Call Congress to Demand the Closure of Guantánamo

19.1.11

Between January 18 and 21, a number of campaigning groups in the U.S. — No More Guantánamos, Witness Against Torture, the Defending Dissent Foundation, High Road for Human Rights Education Project, and WarIsACrime.org — are asking supporters to call Congress to ask their Senators and Representatives to help close Guantánamo by lifting a ban on the transfer of cleared prisoners, charging or releasing the men still held, allowing federal court trials for men alleged to have been involved in terorist activities, and resisting attempts to expand the use of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the founding document of the “War on Terror,” passed by Congress the week after the 9/11 attacks — which, if there is to be any lasting justice, should be repealed rather than expanded.

I urge any concerned American reading this to take part, as it is a vital initiatve, reflecting the concerns voiced in a statement, “Close Guantánamo with Justice Now,” which was prepared by a number of groups — including the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA and Witness Against Torture — to mark the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo last week, and which also reflects the concerns I voiced in my recent articles, Guantánamo Forever? and The Political Prisoners of Guantánamo.

Close Guantanamo Call-In Week, January 18-21, 2011

Congress has taken steps to restrict funding for closing Guantánamo. It has limited the Administration’s ability to transfer detainees to other countries, and it has created barriers to transferring detainees to the United States — even for the purpose of trial. Some members of Congress are working on ways to update and expand the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in an effort to further expand the use of military commissions, preventive detention and even extra-judicial killing of U.S. citizens.

These are policies rooted in fear rather than wisdom.

No More Guantánamos asks you to take part in a national call-in week to Congress, along with Witness Against Torture, the Defending Dissent Foundation, High Road for Human Rights Education Project, and WarIsACrime.org.

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to each of your Senators and your Representative. (Find out who they are here.)

Call your Senators and your Representative today to demand their support for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay with justice, specifically:

  • Drop ban on transfers of detainees.
  • Charge or release the men still in detention.
  • Allow civilian trials of men who are charged with crimes.
  • Do not expand the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Maintaining the detention center at Guantánamo Bay does not make us safer. Because it stands as an internationally recognized symbol of a period in which our nation abandoned one of its greatest values — respect for the basic dignity of all people — and tortured detainees, Guantánamo serves to inspire those who seek to harm us. More importantly, it endures as a legacy of a period in which our government put its fears ahead of our values.

Thank you for all you do. Please send us an email message after you have made your calls, letting us know how many calls you made and how they went.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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