For US Independence Day, Please Join Us in Telling Donald Trump to Close Guantánamo

3.7.17

Supporters of the Close Guantanamo campaign urging Donald Trump to close the prison.Please send us a photo of yourself with a poster urging Donald Trump to close Guantánamo!

Please also support my work! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.

 

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.

Just hours before the United States celebrates the 241st anniversary of its freedom from the yoke of British tyranny, all is not well in the Land of the Free. With Donald Trump in the White House, the US’s reputation abroad is floundering. Trump seems to govern by tweet and to have no idea of what the position of president entails, and far from “draining the swamp” as he promised, cleaning up politics and standing up for ordinary Americans, he has, predictably, embarked on a corporate-pleasing, right-wing agenda, slashing healthcare for poorer Americans, being gung-ho for war, showing contempt for the environment and love for energy companies, and hammering away at creating a travel ban for Muslims that is disgracefully racist and unacceptably wide-reaching and imprecise in its scope.

On Guantánamo, he has, to date, done very little despite threatening to send new prisoners there and to reintroduce torture — both ambitions that wiser heads counselled him to drop. However, inaction does absolutely nothing to deal with the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo, something that Trump cares nothing about, but that continues to trouble those of us who care about justice and the rule of law.

In a law-abiding world, there are only two ways to deprive someone of their liberty — as a criminal, put forward for a trial without excessive delay, or as a combatant seized in wartime, who can be held off the battlefield, unmolested, until the end of hostilities, under the terms of the Geneva Conventions. The men at Guantánamo are neither. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration arbitrarily rounded up hundreds of men, and claimed that they had no rights whatsoever.

In the 15 years since, there have been legal challenges, but these have, in the end, been blocked by shamefully politicized judges, and the release of prisoners remains a political issue — with questions regarding the release of Guantánamo prisoners being in the president’s hands, or in the hands of lawmakers who have also intervened to impose their opinions and prejudices on the decision-making process. As a result, justice remains absent for those at Guantánamo.

Just 41 men are still held, but five of those were approved for release under Barack Obama, and yet are still held at the whim of Donald Trump, as I have just discussed in an article for Al-Jazeera. Eleven others are facing, or have faced trials, and yet those trials — in military commissions at Guantánamo — are such a poor imitation of justice that most of them are still engaged in seemingly interminable pre-trial wrangling nearly eight years after they were first charged, under Obama, and over a decade since they were first charged under George W. Bush.

The other 25 men are eligible for a review process that is ongoing — the Periodic Review Boards— but this is an internationally aberrant novelty in and of itself — a parole-type process for men who have never been charged or tried — and, in any case, any decision to release them only ends up back in the president’s hands, as, again, a purely political decision.

For Independence Day, please help us to continue to flag up how unjust this whole situation is, and how shameful it should be for Americans, every day that this wretched prison remains open. Please print off a poster, take a photo with it, and send it to us. We’ll post the photos on the page on our website dedicated to photos of supporters asking Donald Trump to close Guantánamo once and for all, and we’ll also share them on social media.

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 music is available 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:

    Here’s my latest article, cross-posted from http://www.closeguantanamo.org, asking you, if you will, to print off a poster calling on Donald Trump to close Guantanamo, to take a photo with it, and to send it to the Close Guantanamo campaign (info@closeguantanamo.org) to join the photos of other supporters asking Trump to bring to an end his mistaken obsession with keeping the prison at Guantanamo Bay open. In a matter of hours, Americans will be celebrating overthrowing the tyranny of the British king in 1776, but at Guantanamo tyranny is alive and well, and every day the prison remains open is a source of profound shame for all decent Americans who respect the rule of law. Here’s the poster: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/dyn/1484860317102/CloseGuantanamoDonaldTrump.pdf

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    If you’ve already sent in a photo, please feel free to send in another. Let’s keep reminding Donald Trump that him doing nothing doesn’t make us any more likely to accept that Guantanamo should stay open.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

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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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