24 days into the Trump presidency, the tsunami of disgraceful executive orders that Trump has unleashed has threatened to drown out the lingering injustice of Guantánamo, where President Obama left 41 prisoners — five approved for release, ten facing trials, and 26 others in a legal limbo; reviewable (via Periodic Review Boards), but a limbo nonetheless, regarded as “too dangerous to release” or as candidates for prosecution, but in a system that is so broken that all efforts to prosecute them have been abandoned.
Trump intends to get rid of Obamacare, intends to build a wall between the US and Mexico, has approved the resumption of work on a number of contested pipelines, has approved what may be a colossal program of deportations for undocumented immigrants, has pledged a severe reduction in the number of refugees accepted in the US (including a total ban on refugees from Syria), and has introduced a ban — initially for 90 days — on anyone arriving in the US from seven mainly Muslim countries (Syria again, plus Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) that is so sweeping that it has provoked widespread protests, has sent shockwaves around the world, and, most crucially, has been blocked by a court in Washington State, a ruling upheld by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court in San Francisco.
In an effort to keep Guantánamo in the public eye, I set up a new page on the Close Guantánamo website (which I established five years ago with the US attorney Tom Wilner) shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20. The new page features photos of celebrities and concerned citizens from across the United States and worldwide, telling Donald Trump to close Guantánamo, and not to keep the prison open and “load it up with some bad dudes,” as he promised on the campaign trail, a position that he has continued to support via a number of draft executive orders that are currently circulating around the relevant government departments.
In his first week, a draft order calling for CIA “black sites” to be reopened, and for new prisoners to be sent to Guantánamo was leaked, and in recent days another draft has appeared, this one dropping the torture suggestions, after a massive backlash, but retaining the promise to send new prisoners to Guantánamo — specifically, an contentiously, ISIS (Islamic State) prisoners, even though experts have warned him that there may well be no sound legal basis for doing so.
The Close Guantánamo poster and photo campaign follows last year’s Countdown to Close Guantánamo, in which we urged President Obama to fulfill the promise to close Guantánamo that he made on his second day in office back in January 2009. Over 700 photos were submitted during the year — see here for the celebrity photos, and here for the last of five pages of photos submitted by supporters across the US and around the world.
Please join us in demanding that Donald Trump abandon his plans and close Guantánamo for good. Print off a poster, take a photo with it, and send it to us. We’ll post the photos on the dedicated page on our website, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
We’re challenging this most troubling of presidents, regarding his plans for Guantánamo, by posting one photo every two or three days, to provide maximum exposure to those taking part, and we ask again: Please join us. Let’s show Trump that we know the difference between right and wrong, and demand that he closes this wretched prison that does so much damage to America’s reputation, and its ability to claim, both at home and abroad, that it is a nation founded on the rule of law.
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.
When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:
Here’s my latest article, 24 days into the Trump presidency, promoting the poster campaign that I set up on the Close Guantanamo website when Donald Trump took office, which involves concerned citizens across the US and around the world standing with posters urging him to close Guantanamo for good, and not, as he is threatening to do, keeping it open, and sending new prisoners there. Guantanamo is what it always has been – a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and a disgrace to the values that the US claims to hold dear. Please join us! Print off a poster, take a photo with it, and send it to us at email@example.com http://www.closeguantanamo.org/dyn/1484860317102/CloseGuantanamoDonaldTrump.pdf
Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this. The photo is of 85-year old peace campaigner Eve Tetaz, a former schoolteacher from Washington, D.C. and a Witness Against Torture activist who has been arrested on numerous occasions. Here’s Eve explaining her motivations after being arrested this year: https://twitter.com/Fusion/status/819510509049286656
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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