January 11, 2012 is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo, and, to mark this bleak anniversary, dozens of campaigning groups are staging en event, “10 Years Too Many: National Day of Action Against Guantánamo.” Click on the image to enlarge.
Beginning at 12 noon outside the White House, speakers (myself included) will publicize some horrendous truths about Guantánamo, and will attempt to harangue the President for his failure to fulfil his broken promise to close the prison within a year of taking office. I was there last year (see here and here), and it’s depressing to note that nothing has improved in the last year, and that, in fact, all three branches of the government — the administration, Congress and the judiciary — have, whether through design or omission, made sure that no one is leaving Guantánamo anytime soon, and that, in fact, without concerted action, Guantánamo will remain open forever, and few, if any of the remaining 171 prisoners will ever leave.
After the rally at the White House, a human chain will be created stretching from the White House to the Capitol. The organisers have put out a call for 2,771 people – the number of prisoners still held unlawfully at Guantánamo (171) and Bagram (2,600) — to make up this human chain, and buses from around the country are being arranged via Witness Against Torture (who also have accommodation available) and The World Can’t Wait.
As CCR explains on its promotional page, urging people “to mark the shameful tenth anniversary of Guantánamo’s opening, and to demand that it be closed,” This is “an anniversary that should not have come.” CCR also notes:
Indefinite detention without charge or a fair trial must end, as must all unjust detentions. The Bush detention regime has been more deeply institutionalized by the Obama administration, and Guantánamo remains a key part of a larger, illegal, inhumane, and unjust system of US detention. It is imperative that we come together on this day to demand that the Obama administration and Congress shut it down, charge and fairly try detained men or release them, ensure accountability for torture and other abuses committed by US government officials, counter the Islamophobia underpinning US detention policies, and stop violating human rights in the name of security.
Please also note that, with the kind support of The World Can’t Wait and the Center for Constitutional Rights, Andy Worthington will be in the US from January 5 to 15, and is currently lining up events in New York City (January 5 to 8), Washington D.C. (January 9 to 11), San Francisco (January 12 to 13) and Chicago (January 14). A full itinerary will be posted soon, and there will also be the launch of an exciting new project on January 9.
Organizations involved in the event in Washington D.C. event on January 11 include: Center for Constitutional Rights • Witness Against Torture • Amnesty International USA • The World Can’t Wait • National Religious Campaign Against Torture • Physicians for Human Rights • September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Other supporters include: Bill of Rights Defense Committee • Catholic Worker • Code Pink • National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance • No More Guantánamos • Pax Christi USA • School of the Americas Watch • Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition • Voices for Creative Nonviolence • WarIsACrime.org • War Criminals Watch • War Resisters League • 8th Day Center for Justice • Appeal for Justice • Arab American Association of New York • Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5 • Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility • High Road for Human Rights • International Justice Network • North Carolina Stop Torture Now Coalition • Pakistan Solidarity Network • Quaker Initiative to End Torture • Rabbis for Human Rights-North America • Refuge Media Project • United Nations Association-USA East Bay Chapter.
Note: For further information, and to sign up to a new movement to close Guantánamo, please visit the new website, “Close Guantánamo,” which you can join here, and also please sign a new White House petition on the “We the People” website calling for the closure of Guantánamo. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 6.
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, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in June 2011, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see 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.
On Facebook, Ann Alexander wrote:
It is really exciting Andy. All these places I can only dream of visiting.
Thanks, Ann. This trip will feature my first visit to Chicago, but to be honest it’s the people I meet that really make it worthwhile.
Ann Alexander wrote:
It’s good for the soul to read the amount of groups involved with this, Andy. Nothing surer you will meet many amazing people on your travels. I will watch out for you on Russia Today – just like last time.
Thanks again, Ann. And hopefully there’ll be a few more networks involved this time around!
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
Sharing this, Andy. For my American friends.
Thanks, George. Good to hear from you.
Ahmad Belal wrote:
all da best Andy. was a bit busy so couldn’t read you since couple of weeks. .. Digginnnn…..
Thanks, Ahmad. Your support is much appreciated.
Willy Bach wrote:
Andy, I think this visit is well-timed to put pressure on Obama in the lead-up to the 2012 election. He really has a rotten track-record on this and related issues. Now you might get more US citizens interested since they can be kidnapped and disappeared to Guantanamo indefinitely without a trial. You would not even have the cheek to call that a police state. Its a terror state.
Sylvia Martin wrote:
Fantastic Andy, I hope to see you there.
Thank you, Willy and Sylvia. I certainly hope it proves an opportunity to exert much-needed pressure, Willy. Many of my American friends feel that there is no reason to shy away from criticizing Obama robustly for his failures, and I agree, although the backlash will only get stronger as the year goes on, and Obama’s fervent supporters try to silence all dissent. In contrast, many of us think we need to tell him that he’ll lose if he doesn’t mobilize his alienated progressive base.
And Sylvia, I hope to see you too!
Any chance you can squeeze Los Angeles in?
I wish, Andy. L.A. was planned, but the backer who was approached didn’t want to have anything to do with an event that might “damage” Obama! Trying to get something together for Spring.
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.
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