A Hollow Inauguration

On January 11, the 11th anniversary of the opening of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo, I was in Washington D.C., with various human rights groups, lawyers, mainly religious anti-torture groups, and other concerned individuals, calling on President Obama to fulfill the promise he made to close the prison when he took office in 2009.

It was my third Guantánamo anniversary in the nation’s capital, but unlike in previous years, we were not allowed to protest in front of the White House, as preparations were being made for President Obama’s Inauguration, and, instead, we spoke in the middle of President’s Park South, with the White House in the distance.

It was only after the official event ended that activists with Witness Against Torture, in orange jumpsuits and hoods, dared to make their way to the fence at the back of the White House, to tie 166 orange ribbons to the railings — one for each of the men still held in Guantánamo — and to stage a peaceful sit-in. The activists only narrowly avoided arrest, which would have been particularly ironic, given that they were only reminding President Obama of his failed promise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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