As Trump Becomes President, New Close Guantánamo Poster and Photo Campaign Launches: “Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo!”


Andy Worthington calls on Donald Trump to close Guantanamo (Photo: Justin Norman).Please support my work! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo over the first two 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.

So let’s keep this short and sweet. We need to work on Donald Trump from Day One of his presidency to get Guantánamo closed. Here’s the poster for you to print off, take a photo with, and send to us!

Unfortunately, President Obama is leaving office with a black stain on his name for having failed to close Guantánamo despite promising to do so on his second day in office eight long years ago, and despite our relentless campaigning here for the last five years, including over the last year with the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, an initiative that campaign co-founder Andy Worthington launched with music legend Roger Waters on Democracy Now! last January.

Throughout the year, campaigners across the US and around the world stood with posters reminding President Obama how many days he had left to close Guantánamo — at first at 50-day intervals, and then, in the last 50 days, at 5-day intervals, and, for the last five days, on a daily basis. Over 700 photos were submitted, and we thank all of you who took part. See the photos here: Celebrity photos, Public photos 1, Public photos 2, Public photos 3, Public photos 4 and Public photos 5.

Now, however, we are faced with a new challenge — the troubling rise of Donald Trump to the position of President of the United States, with all the alarm that brings with it. On the campaign trial, Trump promised to keep Guantánamo open, and to “load it up with some bad dudes,” and also threatened to send US citizens there to face military commission trials. Trump also enthused about officially reintroducing torture as a weapon of the US government, and although he has been rebuffed on this position — most noticeably by his choice for defense secretary, Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis — and we think it extremely unlikely that any US citizen will be sent to Guantánamo, because of the constitutional protections enjoyed by US citizens compared to foreign “terror suspects,” we remain, of course, implacably opposed to any plan to keep Guantánamo open.

We think it unlikely that new prisoners will be sent to Guantánamo, because the basis for holding men there is the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress the week after the 9/11 attacks, which specifically relates to 9/11, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces, and we think a new authorization from Congress would be required to, for example, send anyone associated with ISIS to Guantánamo. We believe that any proposal to do so would face serious opposition from a range of critics, including some Republicans, who recognize that federal courts are perfectly well equipped to handle cases related to terrorism, as they have been doing since 9/11 — throughout the Bush administration, and throughout Obama’s administration too, while Guantánamo has always stood apart as an aberration.

Nevertheless, there is no room for complacency, and, as Donald Trump takes power, we renew our call for Guantánamo’s closure with a brand new poster, which reads, “Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo!”

We urge you to print it off, to take a photo with it, to send it to us, and to share it with everyone you know. We hope to be swamped with photos, which we will be posting on the Close Guantánamo website, and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

In particular, we have three demands for Donald Trump:

1. Honor the decisions to release those men still held who have been approved for transfer out of the prison by high-level inter-agency US government review processes, the Guantánamo Review Task Force and the Periodic Review Boards.

2. Maintain the Periodic Review Boards, which, since November 2013, have been reviewing the cases of men previously designated as “too dangerous to release” or recommended for prosecution, with, to date, 38 out of 64 men approved for release, near all of whom have been freed without incident.

3. Close Guantánamo once and for all. President Obama has failed to fulfill his promise, but he inched towards the prison’s closure, which remains necessary for the US to be able to claim that it respects the rule of law, to be respected around the world, and to take the moral high ground when it comes to dealing with terrorism.

We also remind Donald Trump that the prison is also unforgivably expensive. As Human Rights First has noted, “The documented cost of running the Guantánamo prison facility in 2015 was $445 million. The actual amount is far more, since this amount does not include the cost of Camp 7, where ‘high-value detainees’ are held. That cost has been deemed classified. The $445 million sum also fails to include the cost of Justice Department, FBI, and CIA involvement in detention operations.” That works out at $10m per prisoner at the most generous estimate, whereas “keeping a prisoner at a maximum-security federal prison costs just over $34,000 per year,” and “at a federal Supermax prison, the highest-security and strictest federal prisons, the cost is $78,000 per year.”

Launching the new poster, Close Guantánamo co-founder Tom Wilner, who was Counsel of Record for the Guantánamo prisoners in their cases before the Supreme Court in 2004 and 2008, said: “President Obama didn’t get Guantánamo closed. Hopefully, Donald Trump will instead. It’s a bad deal for America — it’s wasteful, ridiculously expensive, and it ruins our reputation throughout the world.”

Journalist Andy Worthington, Close Guantánamo’s other co-founder, said: “Guantánamo must be closed. It is disappointing enough that President Obama has failed to close it, without Donald Trump trying to return to the rhetoric of the prison’s early days to justify keeping it open. Every day that this wretched, lawless place remains open is an affront to the values that America claims to hold dear.”

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.

5 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Following Donald Trump’s wretched, myopic, propagandist, hate-filled, faux-nationalist inauguration speech, here’s my latest article, cross-posted from, promoting our brand-new photo campaign. Please print off a poster telling Trump to close Guantanamo, not to keep it open as he has promised, take a photo with it, and send it to us at Please also feel free to include a message to Trump, and, if you wish, to let us know where you are, to show the breadth of opposition to his plans, both across the US and around the world. All decent people must stand together in the face of the threat from this new regime!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this. Along with other campaigners for the closure of Guantanamo, I believe it’s very important to make a point to Donald Trump, from Day One of this disturbing presidency, that Guantanamo must be closed, that the men still held who have been approved for release must be freed, and that the Periodic Review Boards must continue. It’s interesting that, on leaving office, President Obama issued an updated document, “Obama Administration Efforts to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility,” providing a detailed analysis of the situation at Guantanamo now, and how it can and should be closed.The irony is not lost on us that he should have closed it, but this is much more coherent than anything we’re likely to hear from Trump and his people:

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    So photos will be going up here and on the website in the days to come. I’ve taken around 40 photos myself during my travels here in the US – in DC and NYC – over the last week and a half, and others are starting to arrive via email:
    Please keep them coming!
    The next two days will be fairly quiet from me, as I’ll be traveling back to London and then coping with the jet lag, but there’ll be a steady flow of photos from Monday onwards, plus more media from my visit, my report on the last four men released under Obama, and much more.

  4. the talking dog says...

    Indeed, Barack has been very fastidious about setting up the toys so nicely for the next child. Unfortunately, the next child will probably say something like “Trump Smash!” and… well… you know…

    Awesome picture of you, Andy. I recognize James Yee off to what is your left in the picture, but who is that character in the blue baseball cap on the other side? He looks awfully familiar.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    If only the Obama administration had genuinely seen it coming, TD. “No Barack, you have to shut all this sh*t down. Hillary isn’t going to win. Trump is. And he really is deranged. He’s going to collect neo-Nazis around him, and far right outliers of the Republican Party, and he’s going to bring back everything you put to sleep, because you didn’t actually deal with any of it.”
    Glad you like the photo by the great Justin Norman, who does all Witness Against Torture’s visual work:
    And that guy in the blue baseball cap? Undercover cop? 😉

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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