The Countdown to Close Guantánamo: With Just 50 Days Left for President Obama to Close the Prison, Please Send Us A Photo

29.11.16

Sharifa Mashrufa Karima, from a campaign called GuantaNOmo at Madani School for Girls in Whitechapel, east London, says, “Our campaign is focused on raising awareness about the reality of Guantánamo Bay whilst also working toward freeing at least one innocent detainee.”I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, with the US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.

On November 30, President Obama will have just 50 days left to close the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, which he inherited from George W. Bush, but which has been open under his watch for longer than under his predecessor.

To mark the occasion — and spurred on by the threat posed by the president-elect, Donald Trump, who promised on the campaign trail to keep Guantánamo open — we’re urging you to please print off a poster, take a photo with it, and send it to us — with a message to President Obama, if you wish (and to president-elect Trump as well, if you like).

You can also let us know where you are if you’d like to help us show how opposition to the existence of Guantánamo — which is a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and should never have opened — comes from across the US and around the world.

Since our co-founder Andy Worthington launched the Countdown to Close Guantánamo on Democracy Now! in January, with music legend Roger Waters, we have received over 500 photos from celebrities and from concerned citizens, counting down every 50 days towards the end of the Obama presidency, and as the clock runs out for Barack Obama we’re stepping up the pressure.

Below are posters for every five days counting down through December into January. Please take photos with all of them if you wish, and send them to us for the dates shown.

For Dec. 5, marking 45 days to go.
For Dec .10, marking 40 days to go.
For Dec. 15, marking 35 days to go.
For Dec. 20, marking 30 days to go.
For Dec. 25, marking 25 days to go.
For Dec. 30, marking 20 days to go.
For Jan. 4, marking 15 days to go.
And for Jan. 9, marking 10 days to go.

We’ll make posters for the last days of the countdown available closer to the time.

We do hope you can join us. As noted above, the election of Donald Trump came as a shock to many people working on Guantánamo issues, who had expected that, if Hillary Clinton were elected, Guantánamo would have closed for good. As it is, we can only hope that Donald Trump’s outrageous campaign rhetoric — also threatening to send Americans to Guantánamo to be tried by military commissions, and promising to reintroduce torture — prove to be bluster that he cannot proceed to fulfill, but we must be vigilant and prepared to resist if his rhetoric becomes real.

We commend President Obama for the progress he has made on Guantánamo in the last year, releasing prisoners approved for release by multi-agency government review processes, and putting resources into the Periodic Review Boards that have been assessing whether other men can also be freed — with 34 more men securing recommendations for release in the last three years that would not otherwise have happened.

60 men are still held, and 20 of those men have been approved for release. We particularly hope to hear about the release of these men before the inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20, because we regard it as unlikely that Donald Trump will necessarily honor any commitments made by President Obama across a range of issues, including Guantánamo.

We look forward to your participation in the last stages of the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, and we promise you that, if President Obama cannot manage to close the prison before he leaves office, we will be first in the queue demanding that Donald Trump closes it on Jan. 20, and we’ll keep you posted on that.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    50 days left for President Obama to close Guantanamo before the worrying Donald Trump gets hold of it. In my latest article, cross-posted from http://www.closeguantanamo.org, I ask you to please help show how important it is for Obama to close the prison before he leaves office by printing off a “50 days to go” poster for the Countdown to Close Guantanamo, taking a photo with it and sending it to us at info@closeguantanamo.org like Sharifa Mashrufa Karima here, from London: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/dyn/1478802140937/CloseGuantanamoCountdown50Days.pdf
    Also included: posters for every 5 days throughout December and into January, from 45 days remaining (on Dec. 5) down to 10 days (on Jan. 9). Looking forward to seeing your photos!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    All the new photos – over 30 so far, from all over the world – are here:
    http://www.closeguantanamo.org/Public-photos-4
    http://www.closeguantanamo.org/Celebrity-photos

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Anyone reflecting on the fact that just 48 days remain for President Obama to close Guantanamo might want to check out my band The Four Fathers’ song ‘Close Guantanamo’, which tells the story of the prison, why Obama has found it so hard to close it, and why, nevertheless, it MUST be closed: https://thefourfathers.bandcamp.com/track/close-guantanamo

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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.
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