On the 100th day of the prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo, please ask the US authorities to free prisoners and take concrete steps towards finally closing the prison. Call the White House (202-456-1111, 202-456-1414), US Southern Command (305-437-1213) and the Department of Defense (703-571-3343). You can say, “I support closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay. President Obama can and should resume transfers, today, for the 86 cleared prisoners who are still held. Indefinite detention without charge or trial is a human rights violation.” You can also call or e-mail your congressperson and senator to ask them to support swift executive action to close Guantánamo, and you can also send a letter to a prisoner.
To mark 100 days of the prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo, events are — or have been — taking place in the US, the UK and worldwide, involving, amongst others, my friends and colleagues in Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, World Can’t Wait and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture in the US, and the London Guantánamo Campaign and the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign in the UK.
In the US, the various groups delivered petitions to the White House containing over 370,000 signatures, including, in particular, the petition on Change.org initiated by Col. Morris Davis, which currently has over 200,000 signatures, and is still ongoing. In London, campaigners will be performing street theatre outside the US Embassy tomorrow (Saturday May 18) at 2pm. For further information, including other actions you can engage in, see the Witness Against Torture website, and Amnesty International’s Facebook page. Also see the video for “Hunger Strike Song” by the Peace Poets and Witness Against Torture.
Following the action in Washington D.C., the National Religious Campaign Against Torture sent out a press release, in which executive director Rev. Richard Killmer stated, “Years of detention without charge or trial have created a sense of desperation and hopelessness among the men at Guantánamo, which has led over 100 of them to join a hunger strike. The human crisis in Guantánamo is a moral one that needs to end immediately. The faith community calls on the President to close Guantánamo. It is the right thing to do.” Read the rest of this entry »
For the last fortnight I have been writing about, and discussing the prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo, in my articles “A Huge Hunger Strike at Guantánamo” and “How Long Can the Government Pretend that the Massive Hunger Strike at Guantánamo Doesn’t Exist?” and in an appearance on RT, which I wrote about here.
Below, via YouTube, is my most recent TV appearance to discuss the hunger strike, which involved a late night Skype call from Press TV at 2am on March 20.
I hope you have the opportunity to watch it, and to share it if you find it useful.
To recap briefly on the situation at Guantánamo, it is clear that, for the last six weeks, over 100 of the remaining 166 prisoners — and perhaps as many as 130 — have been refusing meals, in protest at deteriorating conditions at the prison, including aggressive cell searches, the seizure of their possessions and correspondence (including supposedly confidential correspondence with their attorneys), and mistreatment of their copies of the Koran. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, I spoke to RT about the ongoing hunger strike at Guantánamo, which involves over a hundred of the remaining 166 prisoners. I first discussed it last week in an article entitled, “A Huge Hunger Strike at Guantánamo,” which, I’m glad to note, was very widely read.
The six-minute video is available below via RT’s YouTube channel, and below is a transcript of the interview, made available by RT (where the video is also available). I do hope you have the time to watch it, and if you like it, please feel free to share it, to let as many people as possible know about the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo, over 11 years after the prison first opened, and over four years since President Obama came to office promising to close it.
There is a palpable sense of despair amongst the Guantánamo Bay prisoners, both those who years ago had been told they would be released and those who were designated for indefinite detention, investigative journalist Andy Worthington told RT. Read the rest of this entry »
On Friday, the 11th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, myself and the attorney Tom Wilner, the steering committee of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, held our annual reunion at the New America Foundation in Washington D.C. with Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor of the military commissions, who resigned in 2007, the day after he was placed in a chain of command under William J. Haynes II, the Pentagon’s senior lawyer and one of the Bush administration officials most involved in developing the administration’s notorious torture program. The event was moderated by Peter Bergen, the director of the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
For three years now, we have gathered on the anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo to call on President Obama to fulfill the promise to close the prison that he made on taking office in January 2009.
This year our call was more passionate, intense, and driven by righteous indignation than ever before. Read the rest of this entry »
“Andy Worthington rips President Obama for failing to close Guantánamo” is the heading that the Baltimore-based filmmaker Bill Hughes gave to his video of my speech outside the White House in Washington D.C. on Friday January 11, on the 11th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo. The video is available on YouTube, and I’ve posted it below.
Bill filmed me as I addressed the passionate group of protestors — many in orange jumpsuits — who had gathered on President’s Park South (aka the Ellipse), just south of the White House, at the end of a march from the Supreme Court, when, inspired by the vigorous and almost palpable spirit of indignation that was the driver of the protests, I called on President Obama to fulfill the promise to close Guantánamo that he made when he took office four years ago, and was justifiably critical of the failure fog all three branches of the US government to deal with the poisonous legacy of Guantánamo with justice and fairness, instead demonstrating — in the administration, in Congress, and in the courts — a disgraceful combination of cowardice, indifference, and cynical obstruction and fearmongering. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday January 11 is the 11th anniversary of the opening of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an ongoing legal black hole, and an experimental prison for holding Muslim men and boys without rights, and subjecting them to torture and other forms of coercion and abuse, and medical and psychological experimentation.
At Guantánamo, the US authorities manufactured a rationale for holding these men and boys — calling them “the worst of the worst,” and disguising the fact that the majority of them were sold to the US military for substantial bounty payments by their Afghan and Pakistani allies. They did this through the extraction of false statements in which pliant prisoners — whether tortured or otherwise abused, or bribed or pushed until they could take the pressure no longer — made false statements about their fellow prisoners, and/or themselves, which continue to be regarded as something resembling evidence by all three branches of the US government, even though the closest analogy for what this information is in reality can be found in the false statements uttered by the victims of the witch hunts in the 17th century.
For those who are concerned about the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, this is a worthwhile time to write to the remaining 166 prisoners, to let them know that they have not been forgotten. Disturbingly, they have largely been abandoned by the Obama administration, by Congress, by the courts, by the media and by the American public, even though 86 of them were cleared for release three years ago by an interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force established by President Obama to review the cases of all the prisoners, and even though around half of them were previously cleared for release, between 2004 and 2007, by military review boards established by President Bush. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I took part in a panel discussion organized by Revolution Truth, along with David Remes, the attorney for a number of Guantánamo prisoners, which was presented by the activist Tangerine Bolen, with her co-host Pamela Sue Taylor.
The show, entitled, “GTMO, The Rule of Law and the NDAA,” lasted a little over an hour, and is available here as an MP3. A description of the show is here, and I’ve also posted it below as a YouTube video, which has just been made available today.
This was a fascinating show, and it was great to spend an hour on a show with Tangerine, who I got to know through her work at Revolution Truth, and her role as a plaintiff in the case brought by herself, Chris Hedges and others against the US government regarding the mandatory military custody provisions for alleged terror suspects that is contained in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This led to a memorable victory in a US courtroom earlier this year, which I wrote about in my article, Why Does the Government So Desperately Want Indefinite Detention for Terror Suspects? Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I recorded a brief video message of support for Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, urging everyone who cares about Shaker’s plight to sign the petition to the British government calling for his immediate return to the UK. As the petition states, “The Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Office must undertake urgent new initiatives to achieve the immediate transfer of Shaker Aamer to the UK from continuing indefinite detention in Guantánamo Bay.”
Due to concerted efforts by Shaker’s many supporters, the petition has secured thousands of signatures in the last week, and I hope that this video helps, as, I hope, my exclusive report last week, “A Demand for ‘Freedom and Justice’ from Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo,” was also useful. 100,000 signatures are needed by April 2013, for his case to be eligible for Parliamentary debate.
The message is below, and please feel free to circulate it as widely as possible: Read the rest of this entry »
The imprisonment of Omar Khadr, just 15 years old when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan, has always been a disgrace of colossal proportions. The US and the Canadian government have both ignored their obligations to rehabilitate rather than punish children caught up in armed conflict, and the Obama administration then arranged for him to agree to a plea deal in which he admitted that he had thrown the grenade that killed a US soldier prior to his capture, and was an alien unprivileged enemy belligerent whose actions constituted a war crime. It is by no means clear that Omar did in fact throw the grenade, although it is understandable that he agreed to the plea deal to be released from Guantánamo. As a result of the plea deal, announced at the end of October 2010, Omar received an eight-year sentence, with one year to be served at Guantánamo, and the remaining seven in Canada.
Although it remains unforgivable that the US government arranged for a prisoner who was a child when captured to be regarded as a war criminal for being involved in combat during a war, and although it will be an indelible black mark against the Obama administration when the history books about this period are written, the baton of injustice has, for the last eleven months, passed back to Canada, where the government of Stephen Harper is refusing to honor its part of the plea deal, according to which Omar would have returned to Canada last October. Read the rest of this entry »
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