Inauguration Resistance and Petition to Report Deaths in Custody

Fast for Justice 2017 // Film

Dear Friends,
We wanted to send out a recap of our witness at the Inauguration Resistance and the Women’s March in D.C. You may view more photos at the following links:
Inauguration protest
Women’s March on Washington
We direct you again to WAT’s statement opposing Trump’s agenda on torture and detention, and to the new video that Justin made to break down what needs to happen to close Guantanamo, now that Trump is president. Our friends, the Peace Poets created a new spoken word video to encourage us in these difficult times – view it here.
Lastly, we have included an ask from our partners the Coalition of Concerned Mothers – please sign their petition here and read about their work.

WAT Witnesses at Trump’s Inauguration, Attends Women’s March

O crisis, intensify!  The morning is about to break forth.

Even though the bands tighten and seem unbreakable,
They will shatter.

Those who persist will attain their goal;
Those who keep knocking shall gain entry.

O crisis, intensify!
The morning is about to break forth.

–from the poem O Prison Darkness by Abdulaziz in Poems from Guantanamo

We reflected on this poetry as thirty WAT members circled up at First Trinity’s Church Hostel on January 20 before we went into the pre-dawn darkness at 6:30 am to demonstrate at the Inauguration.  We processed to a nearby security checkpoint close to the Mall.  We had a long row of folks in orange jumpsuits and black hoods; a robust team of guides, given the darkness; a security team, given the potential for hostile Trump supporters; as well as a choreographer, a medic, and people assigned to media and leafletting.  We were ready.

We joined a huge crowd of Palestinian human rights supporters and antiwar protesters at D St. and First St. NW.  Our banner holders silently faced the police amid a raucous sea of chanting.  As dawn broke, we extracted ourselves from the crush and moved a half block away.  There we faced the line of people waiting to enter the inauguration.  Back at the intersection, riot police moved in, but we stayed safely out of the fray.

Our hooded detainees holding anti-torture banners provided a dramatic tableau that drew hundreds upon hundreds of people snapping photos or recording videos.  The steady flow of humanity, which included Trump supporters and protesters, was, for the most part, respectful and peaceful.  Whenever a person seemed hostile, a member of the security team was right there beside the WAT member being confronted in order to provide a united, nonviolent front.  We received some derisive comments that echoed words we’ve heard from Trump concerning torture and Gitmo.  We understood the challenge that faces us as we go forward from this day.

We stayed at our post until 10:00 am, having committed to occupy that space while other protest groups went to another check point where Black Lives Matter had completely blocked entrance to the inauguration.  We later heard from one BLM member who told us how wonderful it had been to look up from their protest and see all the white faces surrounding and supporting them.

Many of our activists stayed another night, so we could attend the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21st.  This time we carried our own personal messaging as women and as men supporting women.  All 25 of us stepped off together, but we split into smaller groups, intentionally and unintentionally, as the day progressed and we moved through an incredible sea of humankind.  One group actually heard and saw some speeches on a jumbotron.  Many of us, however, had no idea there were any speeches, but we found the crowd itself to be fabulous.  A couple of first timers kept asking when we were going to get to the march, and we told them they were in it! The throng was so big that the march had to self-assemble on at least 5 parallel streets.  The big hits of the day were the creative signs and the sense of love and community that enveloped us all.

 

But how shall we educate men to goodness, to a sense of one another, to a love of the truth? And more urgently, how shall we do this in a bad time?—Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

Coalition of Concerned Mothers Banner a Big Hit at the Women’s March

Sign Their Petition to Demand Reporting of All Deaths in Police Custody 

The Coalition of Concerned Mothers is a dynamic group of women who are trying to make sure no other mothers suffer what they have: the killing of their children by police or by senseless community gun violence.  During this January’s fast, WAT met with members of the Coalition, as we have in years past. Hearing the stories of how their children were killed and their struggles for justice, was heartbreaking, but strengthened our resolve to support their efforts to stop the senseless killing.

Please sign their petition demanding the Department of Justice begin enforcing laws requiring the reporting of all deaths in police custody:

http://petitions.signforgood.com/DeathsinCustodyReportingAct?code=CofCM

According to President Marion Gray Hopkins and Vice-President Cynthia deShola Dawkins, “Because of the Death in Custody Reporting Act and Arrest Related Death Act the Department of Justice has the legal responsibility to require law enforcement agencies to report any and all deaths of people while in custody. To date, although this law has been in place for several years, the financial penalties on law enforcement agencies for not complying have not been enforced.”

We need this information. The victims of police brutality are not just hashtags. They are brothers, daughters, mothers and fathers, many of whom we never hear about. Police brutality, especially against people of color, is systemic and in order to address this national crisis legislatively our elected officials need these reports.

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WAT Denounces Trump Administration’s Draft Executive Order on Detention

In Focus - Front Page // Film

Witness Against Torture Calls for the Rejection of Executive Order Measures, Warns of Broad Dangers of Trump Agenda

The draft of an Executive Order on US detention and interrogations threatens a nightmarish return to the illegal, immoral, and un-American torture policies of the Bush administration.  Its proposed measures — from the re-establishment of CIA “black sites,” to the review of interrogation practices as detailed in Army Field Manual, to the denial of International Committee of the Red Cross access to US detention centers — point to one thing: the resumption of the cruel, inhuman, degrading, and torturous abuse of Muslims.   

The draft’s proposal to halt all transfers from Guantánamo and bring new captives to the prison is also outrageous.  Guantánamo has never been, as the draft claims, a “critical tool” in the fight against global threats.  It has been a place of rampant torture; a detention center for hundreds of innocent men making up the prison’s great majority; a cause of radicalization worldwide; and a stain on America’s reputation. 

The executive order is based in two fictions: that US torture “worked” in securing critical intelligence, and that nearly one-third of men released from Guantánamo then engaged in anti-American violence.  The US Senate Torture Report refutes the claim of torture’s efficacy.  The figure on post-release violence is grossly inflated and obscures that only a tiny fraction of the men released under President Obama are even suspected of engaging in anti-US hostilities.

“Torture has weakened American security and brought misery to its Muslim victims and their families,” says Jerica Arents, a Witness Against Torture organizer from Chicago. “It is frightening that we are even discussing its return.”  “Tough talk on Guantánamo,” says Maha Hilal, the Executive Director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, “only reinforces Islamophobic fears that threaten the civil and human rights of Muslims, at home and abroad.  The demonization of Muslims must end.”

“That the Trump administration would consider the executive order,” says history professor and Witness Against Torture member Jeremy Varon, “speaks to our worst fears: that Trump is an authoritarian strongman willing to use lies and criminal violence in service of a dangerous, nationalist agenda.  History warns us where that leads.”

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Recap and Celebrating 10 Men Released

Fast for Justice 2017 // Film

Dear friends,

We celebrate the release of ten more men from Guantanamo Bay Prison: Ghaleb Nassar Al Bihani, Mustafa Abd al-Qawi Abd al-Aziz Al-Shamiri, Karim Bostam, Abdul Sahir, Musab Omar Ali Al-Mudwani, Hail Aziz Ahmed Al-Maythali, Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammad Rabei’i, Mohammed Al-Ansi, Muhammad Ahmad Said Haider, and Walid Said bin Said Zaid. They were released to Oman over the weekend. We were privileged to spend time in D.C. with Ghaleb’s wonderful drawings when we visited the Tea Project’s Exhibit (It is open until Friday at GWU’s Gallery 102).

Thank you for all of your support during Part 1 of our witness in D.C. We had 10 days filled with engaging street theater, liquids only fasting, group discussions and reflections, as well as lots of meetings to shape our daily actions. Please visit our website to see photos and videos of the week, as well as our daily updates and notes from the white supremacy workshop Jerica led. We gathered a few links to articles about our J11 actions here: The Guardian, USNews, UPI, CommonDreams and Fox and Frida wrote a Little Insurrection. Her article really nails our time together during the fast and how we are moving toward Part 2: Inauguration Resistance.

If you are planning on joining WAT for our Inauguration Resistance on January 18-21st, RSVP is required to witnesstorture@gmail.com ASAP – we will have limited space so it is specifically reserved for those joining our witness during that time.

Thank you for your continued support. Please keep sharing your local events and news stories with us. We hope to see you in D.C. this weekend!

Witness Against Torture on Social Media
We will be using #CloseGitmo and #guantanamo
Please “like” us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter & Instagram.
Check out our latest news and updates on Tumblr.
Post any pictures of your local activities to our flickr account and we will help spread the word.

Donate to support our work and Fast for Justice.
We are asking our supporters to donate $45 to Witness Against Torture to symbolize the 45 men remaining in Guantanamo.
Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work. We need your financial support. We are fiscally sponsored by the Washington Peace Center. The Washington Peace Center is a verified US-registered non profit.If you are able, click here to donate.

 

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White Supremacy Workshop Notes – WAT Fast for Justice 01.07.17

Fast for Justice 2017 // Film

Below are some more detailed notes from the workshop that Jerica led based on the class she teaches on Whiteness.  There are questions at the end which we considered together as we planned our witness in DC on January 11 and during the inauguration resistance. We invite you to read through these resources and consider these questions with us.

“Hope is a discipline.” Mariame Kaba

White guilt is not helpful.
(Smith, “The Problem with Privilege”) – public confessions from white folks will not absolve supremacist thinking.

Peggy McIntosh – “White Privilege and Male Privilege”; “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
late 80s
first white academic publicly questioning the intricacies of whiteness
like male privilege, white privilege is an unearned asset
through no virtue of one’s own, white folks possess key to accessing institutions, structures, systems of our society

Racism is not merely individual acts, thoughts, behavior that is prejudiced, but
“invisible systems conferring dominance on my group” – a system

Racism = race-based prejudice PLUS power

“Psychologies of Dominance” – whites are taught (conditioned/socialized) into the infrastructure of racism early on; we should assume complicity with white supremacy
no training to “see” advantage

Whiteness = individual, morally neutral, normative, average, benign, universal, good

Robin DiAngelo – “White Fragility”
we are taught that racism is individual acts/thoughts/behavior
racists = bad; I am good; therefore I cannot be/am not racist
racism is “a multidimensional and highly adaptive system” in which “whites have systemic and institutional control”
this system PROTECTS and INSULATES whites from race-based stress; therefore we can move through a highly racialized world with an unracialized identity
i.e. whites not identifying as “white” until they take a diversity class

Challenges/confrontations become highly stressful and whites get triggered, DEFENSIVENESS
whites are socialized into superiority and entitlement. When this is challenged, we become highly fragile (“white fragility”)
a challenge to our racial worldview = a challenge to our very identity as “good” (white = good)
whites tend to withdraw, cry, minimize, ignore, defend, disengage, and leave

Patterns that reinforce white fragility:
Segregation: most white people grow up, live in, and are accustomed to all white neighborhoods, schools, and communities. We are taught this is not a loss.
Good/Bad Binary: if we commit no individual racist acts, we are not racist.
Individualism: whites are not a racialized, homogenized group like other racial categories. This belief erases our collective history of domination, control, and wealth accumulation.
Entitlement to Racial Comfort: white folks have no tolerance for racial stress because we have no practice in dealing with racialized confrontation. When we are confronted, whites tend to blame the person of color bringing up the incidence of racism, and accuse them of wrongdoing as source of discomfort. When in a position of power (in a hierarchy, i.e. job situation), the whites tend to consolidate power, recruit other white people to their side, and isolate the POC.
Racial Arrogance: because whites have no training in dealing with racial stress, we also tend not to practice humility when listening to the experiences of POC. Instead, we largely dismiss their experience (which is different from our own).
Racial Belonging: whites enjoy a deeply internalized, largely unconscious sense of belonging to our society/culture. In every valuable situation or image capturing life, whites belong. (When this doesn’t happen – when white folks are de-centered from the scene – this becomes very destabilizing and frightening.)
Psychic Freedom: whites don’t bear the social burden of institutionalized racism. POC are seen as responsible for the “racism problem”; therefore, whites don’t need to use their psychic/mental energy on it.
Messages of Value: whites are characterized as better and more important in all major forms of shared story, including textbooks, history, media, teachers, heroes. “Good” neighborhoods are really white neighborhoods (coded language); religious iconography; the internalization of value and belonging in mainstream media.

Myth of meritocracy: the American Dream; the belief that the system is based on merit and each individual has the same access/ability to make it to the top.

Whiteness = power = the ability to craft and repeat a societal narrative or story until it is true. Monolithic representations of POC groups and marginalized identities are created by white supremacy.

Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness”

Smith, “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”
White Supremacy impacts communities in different ways, therefore the strategies for liberation must be different.
white supremacy is constituted by three separate but interrelated LOGICS

SLAVERY/ CAPITALISM:
black folks = slaveable/property
anchor of capitalism
commodification; pillar is about exploiting LABOR
hierarchy is racialized; “as long as you’re not black, you can stay off the bottom and escape commodification”
Prison Industrial Complex = rooted in anti-black racism; slavery was reinstated through the prison system; black folks overrepresented; PIC as modern-day slavery

GENOCIDE/COLONIALISM
indigenous folks = must always be disappearing (manifest destiny)
this gives non-indigenous rightful claim of land; pillar is about exploiting LAND
settler colonialism
indigenous as “present absence” in white mainstream imagination
appropriation of custom, spirituality, culture

ORIENTALISM/WAR
West as superior; always against the “exotic”, “inferior”, “anti-progress” East
U.S. exceptionalism
pillar is about XENOPHOBIA, ISLAMOPHOBIA, JUSTIFICATION for war
there is always a constant threat to the well-being of Empire
immigrants = foreign threats inside and outside the Empire
anchor for war; U.S. can justify constant war to protect itself from constant threat
Racial profiling of Arab World is widespread, “necessary”
“the U.S. IS war”, white supremacy = must always be at war
culture of fear
myth of “security”

Questions to consider:
The term “white supremacist” has been used to describe Trump’s campaign in the mainstream. Why? How might this connect to the Bannon appointment and the rise of white nationalism and the alt-right? How is Trump consolidating power? Trump was endorsed by David Duke and, even though widespread calls were made for Trump to distance himself, he did not. How might this impact our work?

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16 Arrested in Actions Against Torture, Trump’s Cabinet Nominees

In Focus - Front Page // Film

Hundreds Demand That Guantánamo Be Shut Down

Witness Against Torture at the Hart Building, 2017

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2017
Contact: Paula Miller, 520-406-4370pmillercleve@yahoo.com
Chris Knestrick, 216-496-2637cknest11@gmail.com

Clad in orange jumpsuits and “Shut Down Guantánamo” t-shirts, activists with Witness Against Torture took over the Hart Senate Building with a message for Senators, staffers, and the general public. They marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.  

The message was “Shut Down Guantánamo,” “No Torture Cabinet” and “Hate Doesn’t Make U.S. Great.” These statements were painted on a banner that activists dropped from a balcony as 9 members of the group dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods held a die-in, mourning those Muslim men who died at Guantanamo without ever being charged with a crime. The nine, and four others, were arrested by Capitol Police, as supporters sang “O America, don’t believe their lies. Their politics of hate will destroy our children’s lives.” The balconies were crowded with onlookers as the action unfolded. One of the two who unfurled the “No Torture Cabinet” banner was also taken into custody.

These actions took place as Senators were hearing testimony from President elect Trump’s picks for Attorney General and Secretary of State, which were interrupted repeatedly by WAT activists. Three of those are now in custody.

WAT released a statement reading: “President-Elect Donald J. Trump has nominated militarists for top cabinet positions. He has promised to ‘load up Guantanamo with really bad dudes.’ On the critical human rights and rule of law issues, Trump’s posturing represents backsliding to the worst of the Bush administration’s misdeeds and abrogation of the law. 

Remembering those who have been imprisoned, tortured and, in some cases, lost their lives, at Guantanamo, Witness Against Torture calls on President Obama to use his last days in office to expedite releases from Guantanamo, and make public the full U.S. Senate Torture Report.  We demand that President-elect Trump reject the use of torture, continue transferring men from Guantanamo, end indefinite detention and reject national security or other measures that discriminate against Muslims. 

WAT urges members of the Senate, in whom the public has placed its trust, to use all their power to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. You can choose to reject the Trump administration’s nominees and insist that people at the highest levels of government would never advocate for torture. You have the opportunity to repudiate torture, release the Torture Report and acknowledge responsibility for the ghastly abuses that occurred during both the Bush and Obama administrations. 

The names of those arrested at both locations are:
Chantal de Alcuaz
Jerica Arents
Beth Brockman
Don Cunning
Erica Ewing
Ellen Graves
Martha Hennessey
Sherrill Hogan
Kathy Kelly
Joanne Lingle
Joan Pleune
Manijeh Saba
Helen Schietinger
Eve Tetaz
Carmen Trotta
Silke Tudor 

Images of Witness Against Torture’s action are available here. 

Witness Against Torture will carry on its activities until torture is decisively ended, its victims are fully acknowledged, Guantanamo and similar facilities are closed, and those who ordered and committed torture are held to account

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Fast for Justice Day 1: Forgiveness Demands Accountability

Fast for Justice 2017 // Film

 

Mohamed Ould Slahi left Guantanamo on October 17, 2016 after fourteen years of imprisonment there. He was held without charge and tortured.

Speaking of the torture, isolation, and loss he endured, he nevertheless forgives his captors. He says forgiveness is his inexhaustible resource. He maintains belief in the potential goodness of U.S. people.

Witness Against Torture began our first full day of fasting this morning by listening to Slahi’s words and then hearing an op-ed that appeared in the morning’s New York Times. The op-ed quotes President-elect Donald Trump who says that Guantanamo should be kept open. In February, 2016, while campaigning in Nevada he promised that “we’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes.”

Slahi, in this video, says: “I have no doubt that the good U.S. people will realize that holding innocent people in prison is not the way to go and will work for their release until every last innocent detainee has joined his family. I wholeheartedly forgive everyone who wronged me during my detention and I forgive because forgiveness is my inexhaustible resource.”

Forgiveness demands accountability from U.S. people. Slahi’s forgiveness places responsibility on our shoulders to carry on our activities until torture is decisively ended, its victims are fully acknowledged, Guantánamo and similar facilities are closed, and those who ordered and committed torture are held to account. Slahi hasn’t said: forgive and forget

Today we began planning dramatic actions to remember the men who have died, those who are still detained and those who have been released and continue suffering from the trauma of their detention.

Through large and small group reflections, we are getting to know our neighbors and build community.


Four Men will be released from Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia

We celebrate the news that The United States will transfer four men to Saudi Arabia in the next 24 hours. We have heard that President Barack Obama will make a final push to shrink the inmate population before Trump takes office. Click here to read the story.

Witness Against Torture on Social Media

Please “like” us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter & Instagram.
Check out our latest news and updates on Tumblr.
Post any pictures of your local activities to our flickr account and we will help spread the word.

Donate to support our work

Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work. We need your financial support. We are fiscally sponsored by the Washington Peace Center. The Washington Peace Center is a verified US-registered non profit.If you are able, click here to donate:

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Fast for Justice Schedule January 2017

Fast for Justice 2017 // Film

FAST FOR JUSTICE 2017
Daily Schedule (Draft, Our schedule will change throughout the week.)

All activities are happening at First Trinity Lutheran Church unless otherwise mentioned.

First Trinity Lutheran Church
501 4th St NW, (entrance on 4th Street)
Washington DC 20001 (4th and E Sts. NW)
(Judiciary Square Metro)

Tuesday, January 3rd:
3:00pm – 9:00pm: People are free to arrive anytime after 3:00pm
6:00pm: Opening Circle
8:00pm: Community Dinner (final meal together until Jan. 11th)

Wednesday, January 4th
7:30am – 8:30am: Morning Readings (optional)
9:00am – 11:00am: Morning Reflection/Overview of Guiding Questions
12:00pm – 2:00pm: Large Group Gathering (introductions, schedule, teams, 
2:30pm – 4:30pm: Team Meetings
7:00pm – 9:00pm: Evening Reflection

Thursday, January 5th
7:30am – 8:30am: Morning Readings (optional)
9:00am – 11:00am: Morning Reflection / Overview of the day 
12:00pm – 2:00pm Team Meeting
5:30pm – 6:30pm Collective Liberation Small Group Meeting
7:00pm – 9:00pm Evening Reflection

Friday, January 6th
7:30am – 8:30am: Morning Readings (optional)
8:00am – 8:30am Scarfing the Streets with Pastor Susanne (optional)
9:00am -11:00am: Morning Reflection /Overview of the day/Guiding Question #2
12:00pm -1:00pm: Vigil @ the White House with Dorothy Day Community
2:00pm – 4:00pm: Team Meetings
5:30pm – 6:30pm:Collective Liberation Small Group Meeting
7:00pm – 9:00pm:Evening Reflection

Saturday, January 7th
7:30am – 8:30am: Morning Readings (optional)
9:00am – 9:30am: Morning Reflection / Overview of the day
10:00am – 12:00pm: Large Group Gathering facilitated –
4:00pm -7:00pm: Community building with Coalition of Concerned Mothers

Sunday, January 8th
7:30am – 8:30am: Morning Readings (optional)
9:00am – 11:00am: Morning Reflection 
11:30am – 1:00pm   Team Meetings
2:00pm – 4:00pm    Set Up Ritual with the Tea Project 

Gallery 102
Smith Hall of Art, Department of Fine Arts and Art History
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW,  Washington, D.C. 20052
         

6:00pm – 8:00pm:  Gathering with War Resisters League about the Campaign to End Tear Gas in Prison

Monday, January 9th
6:15am: Leave for Pentagon
7:00am – 8:00am:: Vigil @ the Pentagon with Dorothy Day Community
10:30am – 12:30pm Team Meetings
1:30pm – ? Action with War Resisters League at DOJ
5:30pm – 6:30pm Collective Liberation Small Group Meeting
7:00pm – 9:00pm:     Evening Reflection

Tuesday, January 10th
7:30am – 8:30am Morning Readings (optional)
9:00am – 11:00am Morning Reflection/Overview of the Day/Guiding Question #4
12:00pm – 2:00pm Team Meetings
5:30pm – 6:30pm Collective Liberation Small Group Meeting
7:00pm – 9:00pm: Words from the Grassroots: Strengthening our Resistance to  State Violence 

Join the Center for Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture, and the Tea Project for a night of tea, art, poetry, music, and words by artists, activists, and leaders in the movements to end state violence from indefinite detention at Guantánamo, police murders, and institutionalized Islamophobia. Speakers will share stories of hope and lessons from the front lines of their work, while speaking to the ways we need to change our resistance to confront the incoming Trump administration.

Location: 801 22nd Street NW
    Gallery 102, Smith Hall of Art
    Washington, DC 20052

 

Doors open at 6:30 PM and the program will begin at 7:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public. Tea will be served throughout the evening.

Wednesday, January 11th
7:30am – 8:30am Morning Readings (optional)
9:30am -11:30am Breaking the Fast with Tea Project at GWU
11:30pm Close Guantanamo Now January 11th Coalition Event at the Supreme Court
7:00pm – 9:00pm Evening Reflection

Thursday, January 12
7:30am – 8:30am: Morning Readings (optional)
9:00am -11:00am: Assessment of the week/ Dates for Spring Retreat  
12:00pm       Lunch

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January 11th: Call to Action

In Focus - Front Page // Film

No More Guantánamo. No Torture Presidency.  No Indefinite Detention

Join Witness Against Torture and our coalition partners on January 11th in Washington DC. for our annual rally to close Guantanamo!

Location: Supreme Court
11:30: Rally
12:15: March around Senate Buildings.

President Obama has failed in his pledge of eight years ago to close the US detention camp at Guantánamo.  Congressional obstacles, misinformation perpetuated in the media, and the president’s own lack of will are all responsible for this policy disaster.  Guantánamo remains a living symbol of US torture and other human rights abuses, and a place of misery for the 59 men it still houses.  Most of them have never been charged with, let alone tried for, any crime.

In the remaining weeks before he leaves office, President Obama must do what he still can: expedite the release of cleared men and release the full 2014 Senate Torture Report documenting CIA abuses.

Human rights and the United States’ standing in the world face a new danger:  the possibility that President-elect Donald Trump will reinstate the use of torture.  He has also called for increasing the prison population at Guantánamo.

Statements by Mr. Trump and members of his incoming administration to moderate his past positions offer little assurance that a Trump presidency will reject torture and respect the rule of law.  Trump’s blatantly Islamophobic campaign stokes fear of a new era of religious discrimination and other abuses of civil and human rights.

Human rights activists are gathering in Washington, D.C. on January 11, 2017 to mark 15 years since the prison at Guantánamo opened.  We come to state, in one loud voice, to President-elect Trump:

Torture, discrimination, and indefinite detention are wrong.  There are no exceptions.  Any attempt to bring back torture or to send new people to Guantánamo will be strongly opposed in the United States and throughout the world.  Any effort to persecute Muslims – or any other religious, racial, or ethnic group – through special immigration or surveillance measures is unacceptable.

Mr. Trump must:

  • *make clear the absolute rejection of torture, as banned by US and international law
  • *continue handling domestic terrorism suspects within the civilian criminal justice system and in accord with the US Constitution
  • *continue the policy of transferring men from Guantánamo and work toward the closure of the prison, with its steep moral and financial cost to the United States

We hope Trump will listen to those at all levels of the US government and those around the world who reject torture and want to end the blight of Guantánamo.  We also have no illusions about the role that human rights violations and the persecution of Muslims could play in a Trump presidency.  More than ever, our vigilance is required.

We also stand together with a plea to the public — to those who have been part of longstanding efforts to oppose torture and close Guantánamo, as well as those new to this cause. We must hold the next administration accountable to the US Constitution, to human rights standards, and to the common-sense decency that guides us.

Please join us for a rally and march to close Guantánamo and end torture and indefinite detention.  We will gather at the Supreme Court at 11:30 am on January 11 for a rally and then at 12:15 we will begin a march to the Senate buildings.

Sponsors: Amnesty International USA, The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Center for Constitutional Rights, CloseGuantánamo.org, Code Pink, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Defending Dissent Foundation, Ray McGovern with Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, No More Guantánamos, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the Torture Abolition and Survivor and Support Coalition, Veterans for Peace, We Stand with Shaker, Witness Against Torture, Women Against Military Madness, World Can’t Wait, and others.

 

 

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Take Action Today

News // Film

I have no doubt that the good American people will realize that holding innocent people in prison is not the way to go and will work for their release until every last innocent detainee has joined his family. I wholeheartedly forgive everyone who wronged me during my detention and I forgive because forgiveness is my inexhaustible resource.

~Mohamedou Ould Slahi, released without charge from Guantánamo after 14 years on October 17, 2016

Take Action Today:

Watch our #yearinreview2016 video here: Presidential Promises: Then & Now – As we come to the end of the Obama’s presidency, we’d like to take a couple of minutes to reflect on what he’s said and done regarding Guantánamo, as well as what lies ahead for those who remain trapped at the prison. Please share this widely with your friends via email, facebook, and twitter.

Join Us in DC in January 2017

Join us in Washington DC: January 3rd to the 12th  and January 19th – 21st:

Please note:  RSVP is required –  email us: witnesstorture@gmail.com

Every year, we come together not only to call for the closure of Guantanamo and its legacy of institutionalizing Islamophobia. We demand an end to policies that maintain racism, mass incarceration, and fear of our neighbors. Furthermore, we come together to envision the world we want to live in where justice and equality reign.

We hope you will join us for a week of actions and fasting from January 3-12, 2017 and our presence at the presidential inauguration January 19-21.

For more info and to RSVP, email us: witnesstorture@gmail.com

We need your Support –  Donate to Witness Against Torture:

Now, more than ever, we need your help to build a nation without torture, indefinite detention, Islamophobia, and racism.  Please consider a donation to help fund our annual Fast for Justice this January.  We are completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, all of the money you donate goes to funding the work we do together. Click here to donate.

 

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3 Action Steps to Take Today to Close Guantanamo Bay Prison

News // Film

In this critical transition to the Trump administration, we repeat the call we made earlier this year:

We remind ourselves that Islamophobia is dangerous.  It is at the foundation of Guantanamo Bay Prison’s existence and the fuel that carries the violence we see today.  We continue to offer our love and support to our Muslim sisters and brothers who will be targeted by violence fostered by hate speech.  The work to dismantle racism and xenophobia should be our call.

We invite you to do three activities with us today:

1. Donate to Witness Against Torture

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday – Now, more than ever, we need your help to build a nation without torture, indefinite detention, Islamophobia, and racism.  Please consider a donation to help fund our annual Fast for Justice this January.  We are completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff, all of the money you donate goes to funding the work we do together.  If you are able, please donate here.

2. Take Action: Call your senators today to denounce torture

Today, WAT is delivering a letter to Senator John McCain today to support his public stance on torture. He spoke out against torture at a Nov. 19 conference, saying, “I don’t give a damn what the President of the United States wants to do, we will not waterboard. We will not torture. We will not torture people” In our letter, we offer our perspective on torture at Guantanamo and ask him to continue to speak loudly in favor of a zero-tolerance stance against torture.  Click here to read the letter.

JOIN WAT TODAY in calling and writing Senator McCain and your own senators. Demand that your senators join Sen. McCain to oppose this new administration’s stated intentions to “bring back waterboarding” and other forms of torture.  Thank Senator McCain for his recent refusal to accept Trump’s plan to return to illegal treatment of U.S. captives and tell him to never back down.
US Capitol Switchboard:  (202) 224-3121
To support your advocacy, we offer links to the following WAT statements:

WAT Torture Abolition and Accountability Platform, July 2016

Six Critical Demands for Closing Guantanamo, February 2016

3. RSVP for our Annual Fast for Justice:

We come together not only to call for the closure of Guantanamo and its legacy of institutionalizing Islamophobia, but also to invite our government and fellow citizens to choose the side of love, mercy and justice. We demand an end to policies that maintain racism, mass incarceration, and fear of our neighbors. We come together to envision the world we want to live in where justice and equality reign.

We invite you to RSVP today for our annual Fast for Justice: January 3-12 and our resistance at the Presidential Inauguration January 19-21. 

Please email  witnesstorture@gmail.com for registration information.

Thank you for your support in doing this important work. We hope you can join us today !

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