Call to Fast in Solidarity: From Gitmo to Kings Bay Plowshares

Fast for Justice 2019 // Film

Join us from home or in DC

Dear Friends,

We’ll be gathering tomorrow in DC for Witness Against Torture’s week-long Fast for Justice. If you can’t join us in person, we invite you to join us from home, fasting with us in solidarity with the men in Guantanamo or taking action in other ways. We welcome you to join a conference call with us on Monday evening. 

This year, we will also be fasting in solidarity with the Kings Bay Plowshares 7(KBP7), our friends who are currently awaiting trial for their dramatic anti-nuclear weapon action at the Kings Bay nuclear submarine base in Georgia last April. Many of them have been deeply involved with our WAT community.

In November’s KBP7 evidentiary hearings on their Religious Freedom Restoration Act motion, defendants presented testimony that can provide us with insights for WAT’s resistance to the prison at Guantanamo. 

Martha Hennessy opened the Nov. 19th hearing by recounting that her mother and her grandmother Dorothy Day taught her to pay attention to others’ suffering and to practice loving kindness.  The KBP7’s concern for the death of billions in a large-scale nuclear conflagration is firmly rooted in their concern for the dignity of each person they meet in daily life.  Similarly, we in WAT carry in our hearts and proclaim in the public square the personal stories of men who have been tortured and imprisoned without charge or trial at Guantanamo.  Holding fast to the human dignity of each person unites our two causes to resist violence on every scale.

Carmen Trotta told the court that the possession of nuclear weapons freezes nations in hatred.  We must let go, he said, to become a cohesive community.  Likewise, we in WAT recognize that we can never achieve true security for the family of nations while our own nation clings to torture chambers and offshore prisons.

KBP7 members Mark Colville, Liz McAlister, Patrick O’Neill, Clare Grady, and Steve Kelly addressed the idolatry of nuclear weapons and the false sense of security these idols are meant to provide.  This idolatry of things hugely powerful has a flip side: the dehumanization of the utterly powerless.  The US attempts to make demons out of the 40 men still detained at Guantanamo, stoking citizens’ fear and then satisfying that fear with lawless brutality against these men.

We fast to keep their humanity in front of our own eyes and the eyes of our nation. Let us fast–and act–together this week in the search for a solidarity that transforms.

We invite you to join our fast next week wherever you are and in whatever way you choose.  Let us know of your intentions by writing us at witnesstorture@gmail.com

We will hold a conference call with those who are fasting or taking action in solidarity with us on Monday evening at 8:00 pm.


Conference Call information  
Dial-in Number: 
1-605-475-5950 
Participant Access Code: 1860434
 

We will be sharing advocacy and action information and reflections on our website, our Facebook page, and through daily update emails to this list. We look forward to being in community with you, in person or in spirit, this coming week!

In solidarity,
Witness Against Torture

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CLOSE GUANTANAMO — Rule of Law, Not Rule of Trump

Fast for Justice 2019 // Film

WAT’s 2019 statement marking 17 years of Guantanamo

CLOSE GUANTANAMO — Rule of Law, Not Rule of Trump
Stop Cruelty, Fear, Islamophobia, Racism, and Lies

On January 11, human rights activists and attorneys will gather at the White House in Washington, D.C. to mark another tragic year since the opening in 2002 of the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo, where forty prisoners remain. The demonstrators will call for the closure of the prison camp.

Shut Down Guantanamo

Playing to Islamophobic fears of Muslim peoples, Guantanamo was founded with the lie that it houses only “the worst of the worst” terrorists.  It continues to hold exclusively Muslim men, many of whom were severely tortured, without charge or trial. 

Other detained men face prosecution in the Military Commissions.  The unworkable Commissions have failed to provide due process for the accused or justice for the victims of terrorism.

Guantanamo has been a place of physical and psychological torture, the imprisonment of innocent men, brutal forced-feedings to break hunger-striking prisoners, and the pain of indefinite detention without charge. 

The prison remains a profound violation of law. It is a threat to American security and a blow to American ideals.  It is an insult to the world, to the tenets of all religious faiths, and to the idea of human rights. 

Guantanamo must close.

Guantanamo Today

Trump has put his own terrible stain on Guantanamo. Trump openly supports torture. Last year he appointed as CIA head Gina Haspel, who supervised a CIA torture “black site” in 2003.

The Trump administration has ended the U.S. policy of seeking Guantanamo’s closure. Trump has threatened to bring new prisoners there. And he has forbidden the release of anyone from Guantanamo into freedom.  This includes five men long cleared for release by the U.S. government itself. 

With no functioning mechanism for the release of any prisoner, Guantanamo has plunged deeper into lawlessness. Federal lawsuits are challenging this detention regime that deprives prisoners of nearly all rights of due process.

The newly elected Congress and the American people must awaken to the persisting damage of this immoral and illegal prison and demand its closure.

Rule of Law — Not Rule of Trump

Guantanamo is now subject to the Rule of Trump.  It feeds the fear-mongering, cruelty, racism, xenophobia and lawlessness of his presidency.

Much of the world has been aghast at Trump’s defining policies and rhetoric: the Muslim travel ban; the separation of migrant families; physical and other assaults on asylum seekers; and the incessant slander of “foreigners” as threats to the American nation.  

Such cruelty and racism has always been part of Guantanamo.  They now lie at the heart of vast domains of Trump’s policies.  Images of Guantanamo detainees behind barbed-wire and in cages are echoed by those of migrants in detention camps. The hateful, fear-mongering rhetoric long used to denounce Muslim “terrorists” is now used to tar the people of whole nations and whole categories of immigrants.

Now entering its seventeenth year, the prison at Guantanamo is newly dangerous in the hands of a bigoted authoritarian, contemptuous of the rule of law and human rights.

We must work to establish the rule of law and respect for the rights and dignity of all peoples.  We must close Guantanamo.

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Schedule – 2019 Fast for Justice

Fast for Justice 2019 // Film

(Please check back periodically for latest updates.)
Sunday, January 6 to Sunday, January 13, 2019
First Trinity Lutheran Church Hostel
501 4th Street NW (entrance on 4th St)
Washington DC 20001 (4th and E Sts NW)
(Judiciary Square Metro)

Sunday, January 6
We gather: People can arrive after 3 pm.
Contact person on Sunday: Don Cunning (848 200 0847)
7 pm: Last meal together before the fast begins on Monday
8 pm: Opening Community Circle

Monday, January 7
6:15am: Leave for Pentagon
7-8am: Pentagon Vigil w/ Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
9am: Community Circle and day of planning and action
1 pm Action planning meeting
8 pm: Conference call with solidarity fasters and Kings Bay Plowshares. Email us for call info.

Tuesday, January 8
9:00 am: Community Circle and day of planning and action
1 to 3 pm: Community Dialogue at Code Pink House (1241 Evarts St. NE, Washington, DC 20018) with local tenants rights activists struggling to protect their homes and local Poor Peoples Campaign activists demanding the minimum wage for all restaurant workers in DC.
7:00 pm Community Circle

Wednesday, January 9
9:00 am: Community Circle, day of planning and action
Noon: Demonstration against US violence in Yemen and Guantanamo,
Capitol lawn across from the Supreme Court
7:00 pm: Community Circle
8:00 pm:  Conference call with solidarity fasters

Thursday, January 10
9:00 am: Community Circle, and day of planning and action
Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill: Leave the hostel at 11:30 am to go to the Hill, reconvene at 2:30 at Russell Senate Office Bldg.
6:00 – 8:30 pm: Panel Presentation
The State of Muslim Rights in the US War on Terror,
Public Welfare Foundation Inc, 1200 U Street Northwest
Speaker list and RSVP are at this link.

Friday, January 11 – commemorating 17 years of Guantanamo
8:00 am: Community Circle
10:00 am: Congressional briefing on Guantanamo, 10:00 am, Friday, at Longworth House Office Building, Room 1539.
12:15 pm – 1:45 pm:  Panel-17 Years of Guantanamo
New America, 740 15th St NW #900 Washington, D.C. 20005
2:30 – 4:00 pm: Coalition Rally at White House.  See the Facebook event page  and WAT’s J11 Statement.
Post-rally: Candlelight procession back to hostel, followed by a meal to break the fast.

Saturday, January 12
9:00 am: Retreat to reflect on the week and plan moving forward

Sunday, January 13
9:00 am: Breakfast, closing circle and cleanup
12:00 noon: Return home

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June Newsletter: Torture Awareness Month

In Focus - Front Page // Film

Please join us as we mark Torture Awareness month with a vigil and teach-in, described below.  For our full  newsletter, please click here.

The Dark Legacy of The War on Terror & Muslim Victims of Torture

Vigil & Teach-In

Tuesday, June 26, 6:30 pm
White House, Lafayette Park

From the Bush administration to the Trump administration, torture has continued to be a tactic in the War on Terror. With Gina Haspel, a known torturer now leading the CIA, torture in it’s most egregious form may soon be revived. In the course of all of this, those who have been targeted most by the U.S.’s post 9/11 torture apparatus – Muslims have been marginalized and invisiblized. Join us during torture awareness month on the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture for a vigil and teach-in on torture in the War on Terror to uplift the voices and stories of Muslim survivors. The program will conclude with a light meal.

 

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On Speaking Truth to Power

News // Film

On Speaking Truth to Power

June 21, 2018
By Helen Schietinger

Haspel the Torturer

On May 9th seven human rights activists spoke out at Gina Haspel’s Senate confirmation hearing.  When I stood up, the first words out of my mouth were, “The question is, what did you do to human beings in U.S. custody?”  I was referring to the Muslim men tortured in the secret CIA prison Haspel was in charge of, but the question could also be asked of another administration head, Jeff Sessions, about the now over 11,000 unaccompanied children being jailed indefinitely in ICE detention centers, including over 3,000 who were cruelly separated from their parents at the border.  It is clear that neither the president nor Congress is willing to recognize our responsibility as a nation to respect the human rights of all human beings, including the right not to be imprisoned without just cause, much less the right not to be tortured.

In Senator Roy Blount’s banter with Haspel during the hearing, he noted that “truth to power” is a “time-honored tradition” of the CIA.  Haspel replied that bringing truth to power is her favorite CIA motto.  Already outraged at the whitewashing of the language of torture by the Democratic Senators and the accolades being heaped upon Haspel by the Republican Senators, I felt compelled to invoke that time-honored tradition by asking Haspel what no senator was willing to ask her:  “What did you do to human beings in U.S. custody?”  The answer was pretty obvious to me: you tortured them.

But even before addressing the grotesque fact of now CIA head Haspel having been in charge of torturing human beings, let’s go back to the fact of the US taking people into custody without due process in the first place, often indefinitely.  We live in a country that now is holding hundreds of thousands of human beings in prisons and “detention centers” — and perhaps black sites as well, although with so much state secrecy we have no way of knowing.  And decent people are rising to the demand to speak truth to power.

WAT member David Barrows paid his fine for speaking out in Haspel’s confirmation hearing and then a week later attended the full Senate session where she was confirmed.  As many of us know, David has a booming voice, and he made a powerful statement to that august body:

“You senators who vote to approve a human torturer and destroyer of evidence of human rights violations are violators yourselves of the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture and you violate the Nuremberg principles.  Hitler, too, had lawyers to excuse torture. All my life the CIA has committed crimes against humanity. No one has ever been held accountable. We tortured 3,000 Vietnamese to death under Operation Phoenix.  The CIA has overthrown four democracies: Iran, Guatemala, Chile…”

Asylum Seekers and their Children

Although torture has unfortunately receded from mainstream consciousness, across the country decent people are being moved to speak truth to power against the administration’s indefinite detention of asylum seekers at our borders. The administration’s justifying rhetoric invokes a brand of isolationist nationalism that is not only cruel, it’s unAmerican.

The administration added a cruel strategy to punish refugees who enter our country: in the past three months, over 3,000 infants and children have been jailed, separately from their parents, ostensibly to send a warning for other parents not to have the audacity to flee dangerous situations with their children.  When media coverage was substantial a massive public reaction followed.

The outrage over these vulnerable children being taken from their parents has not only mobilized the people; our elected leaders are speaking out.  Senator Nelson and US Representative Wasserman Schultz challenged the administration after being refused entry to a detention center holding vulnerable minors.  ICE assures that detained children have all their needs met, but the cloak of secrecy prevents us from knowing.

The word democracy can’t be used for a government in which elected representatives are not allowed access to the State’s prisons.  While the president has now ostensibly reversed the policy of separating families, lack of transparency and expressed unwillingness to reunite families already torn apart indicate that the injustice continues.

Refugees and Their Families

Communities are speaking out about other ruthless anti-immigrant activities.  Immigrants living and working productively in communities throughout the US have increasingly been terrorized by the fear of imprisonment and deportation. ICE oversees internment camps which contain “a hidden population of detainees who are effectively forever prisoners of the agency….. in 2015 ICE detained more than 355,000 people — some 3,166 of them had been held for more than a year, including 169 for more than three years, 32 for more than five years, and five for more than eight years.”  Communities across the country have mobilized to protest this outrageous policy and support the impacted immigrants.

On June 6, 2018, heavily armed ICE agents backed by helicopters and dogs raided two garden stores in Sandusky, Ohio, arresting 115 employees.  Alarmed by the raids, the community centered its concern on the impact of the arrests on the families. WAT member Josie Setzler and Tiffin Area Pax Christi helped organize a Rally for Justice in Immigration. According to local news, “People gathered at Suhr Park … to let the country know they wouldn’t remain quiet about more than 100 people being taken away from their families and the community.”  Fifteen-year-old Natalie Alonzo and her friends organized “Los Ninos de Corsos” to raise money for the families whose bread-winners had been taken into the black hole of ICE, where lawyers and family-members have no idea if and when their loved ones are to be deported.

Grass-roots organizations such as No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes have long attempted to help prevent asylum-seekers crossing the US-Mexico border from dying in the desert.  WAT and No More Death member Paula Miller says that volunteers putting out water and providing first aide to vulnerable immigrants in the desert risk being prosecuted themselves for assisting and harboring “illegal aliens.”

The People Speak Truth to Power

So what do we do? We speak truth to power.  Those with the power — whether Senators or heads of agencies — may attempt to co-opt our ideas and phrases, but they can’t stop us from resisting and challenging their insidious double-think.  Entire communities are speaking truth to power over the injustice of ICE’s accelerating overreach. The world is watching.

On June 20, the United Nations observed World Refugee Day.  Not many Americans may know about World Refugee Day, but we do know it’s wrong to lock up people who are fleeing danger or economic disaster, and especially wrong to separate children from their parents.

WAT will stand with Justice for Muslims Collective on June 26th, the UN International Day in Support of Survivors of Torture, remembering especially the Muslim men who have been held for over 15 years and tortured in Guantanamo prison. We will continue to challenge torture by agents of the US that has gone unpunished.

We who choose to speak truth to power in the halls of Congress will continue our witnesses.  Of those arrested for speaking out against Haspel’s confirmation, four are still in court.  Medea Benjamin, Tighe Barry and Pete Perry paid fines, and Janice Sevre-Duszynska will go to trial on July 16th.  Ray McGovern, who was knocked to the ground and injured by the police after speaking in the hearing, was charged with resisting arrest and disrupting Congress and has a hearing on July 23rd.  I was charged with disrupting Congress and have a hearing on July 25th. David Barrows has a hearing on July 11th for his speech from the Senate Gallery.

Is it enough? It depends on what you consider enough.  We certainly weren’t able to prevent Haspel’s inevitable confirmation, any more than we’ve been able to hold her and others accountable for facilitating torture of human beings in their custody.  In the hearing, it was suggested that waterboarding is illegal now, but that it was legal when Haspel was in charge of the prison.  Somehow, the fact that Congress passed a law making waterboarding illegal wiped out the fact that this modern-day euphemism for a medieval torture method was already illegal in U.S. law, international law and in the Constitution.  Why was there not one Senator on the Committee able to insist on this fact, and by extrapolation, to ask why Haspel and numerous other high-level U. S. officials are not being prosecuted for participating in torture?  So we will continue to call out the many U.S. officials, both elected and appointed, who are complicit in this travesty of justice.

My final salvo, as I was being led from the room by police, was, “You are a torturer!” I could not leave this elephant in the room unacknowledged.  This truth did not matter to the high government officials in the room.  The torturer being interviewed by the esteemed Senators ultimately said all the right things and was promoted to head the CIA.  But this won’t stop some citizens from speaking truth to power.

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June 15 Marks 6,000 Days of Guantánamo

In Focus - Front Page // Film

Rights Groups Tell Donald Trump to Close the Prison, Say “Not One Day More!”

PRESS RELEASE

Today, June 15, 2018, is a depressing milestone in the long history of U.S. detention at Guantánamo Bay. Today the Guantánamo prison, set up after the 9/11 attacks, has been open for 6,000 days.

Most of the men held at Guantánamo over the last 6,000 days (16 years, five months and four days) have been held without charge or trial, in defiance of international laws and treaties governing the treatment of prisoners. There are only two acceptable ways to deprive an individual of their liberty: either as a criminal suspect, to be tried in a federal court; or as a prisoner of war, held unmolested until the end of hostilities. The men at Guantánamo are neither. Instead, after 9/11, the Bush administration conceived of a novel category of prisoner — one without any rights whatsoever — and implemented this at Guantánamo.

Although the prisoners were granted constitutionally guaranteed habeas corpus rights by the Supreme Court in June 2008, those rights were eviscerated by a number of appeals court decisions between 2009 and 2011, effectively gutting habeas corpus of all meaning for the Guantánamo prisoners. The unacceptable reality of Guantánamo now is that the men still held can only be freed at the whim of the president, a statutory change by the U.S. Congress, or a landmark judicial decision. None of these possibilities are remotely plausible at present.

Donald Trump inherited 41 prisoners from Barack Obama, but he has only released one man, a Saudi repatriated to ongoing imprisonment as part of a plea deal he agreed in the military commission trial system in 2014. Of the 40 men still held, only nine are facing, or have faced trials. Five were approved for release by high-level government review processes under President Obama, but are still held, while the other 26, accurately described as “forever prisoners” by the media, are being held indefinitely without charge or trial.

Every day that Guantánamo remains open is a black mark against America’s notion of itself as a nation founded on the rule of law, which respects the rule of law. We call on Donald Trump to close it without further delay, and to charge or release those still held.

Andy Worthington, the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign, said: “6,000 days is far longer than the two world wars combined. It is outrageous that the U.S. government continues to perpetuate the myth of an ‘endless war,’ as a supposed justification for holding prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial, when this is, in fact, a policy for which there is no justification whatsoever.”

Sue Udry, Executive Director of Defending Rights & Dissent said: “Guantánamo Bay prison is a living symbol of America’s refusal to live up to the promise of our Constitution. Although President Trump has made clear his disinterest in human rights, due process, and the rule of law, we call on him to choose justice over inhumanity and close the prison immediately.”

Helen Schietinger of Witness Against Torture said: “It is significant — and not accidental — that all the men who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo are Muslim. How many holy months of Ramadan have they missed during these 6000 days? How many more must they endure, never being allowed visits by their families?”

Close Guantánamo
Defending Rights & Dissent
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
London Guantánamo Campaign
No More Guantánamos
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
TASSC International (Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition)
The Tea Project
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Witness Against Torture
World Can’t Wait

Please note that the photo used above is from the Close Guantánamo campaign’s Gitmo Clock initiative. The clock counts in real time how long Guantánamo has been open, and throughout the year supporters of the campaign have been taking photos with posters counting how long the prison has been open, and urging Donald Trump to close it. Those photos can be found here.

###

For further information, please contact:

Andy Worthington, the co-founder of CloseGuantanamo.org on +44 20 8691 9316 or at info@closeguantanamo.org

Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture on 732-979-3119 or at jvaron@aol.com

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Invitation: Action opposing Gina Haspel for CIA on Wednesday

In Focus - Front Page // Film

May 7, 2018

Dear Friends and Supporters,

My name is Dr. Maha Hilal and I am a member of Witness Against Torture’s organizing team.  I’m writing to you today to express my rage and sadness over President Trump’s nomination for CIA Director – Gina Haspel.  For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Haspel, she played a critical role in the CIA’s torture, interrogation, and rendition program, supervising the first black site in Thailand where both Abu Zubaydah and Al-Nashiri were waterboarded repeatedly.  The torture that was inflicted on them would be replicated again and again as this first site provided a blueprint for others.  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence provides extensive detail on the CIA torture apparatus, identifying at least 119 prisoners – all Muslims in the report they published in December of 2014.  

It is Haspel’s participation in this violent apparatus of torture that makes it outrageous for her to be nominated, when she should, instead, be prosecuted.  But not only does the U.S. have a long and sorted history when it comes to the practice of torture, the era of the War on Terror has created an entirely separate system of justice where the laws that apply to others are malleable when it comes to Muslims.  This is by design, not accident.  But because the dehumanization and degradation of Muslims in the context of torture has been almost entirely omitted by the mainstream narrative, I wrote this piece to highlight the many Muslim victims of the CIA and beyond.

As a Muslim, knowing that the country I live in and of which I’m a citizen has chosen to promote an individual who participated in the torture and criminalization of other Muslims is outrageous and inexplicable.  That’s why I’m leading an action on Wednesday between 8:30-9:30 AM in front of the Hart building where Haspel’s hearing is set to take place at 9:30 in room 216.  I hope you will consider joining this action and helping us push back on the gamut of racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic acts of state violence that the CIA has spearheaded against Muslims in the War on Terror. We need to make it clear that torturers should not be promoted, but should instead, be held accountable.  Moreover, this is a critical time to hold the CIA accountable for their crimes of torture that spans the globe.

Will I see you on Wednesday at the Hart building?  I hope so.

Sincerely,
Dr. Maha Hilal

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Oppose Gina Haspel action May 9

In Focus - Front Page // Film

Prosecution not Nomination: #OpposeHaspel

 

We invite you to participate in an action on the morning of the Gina Haspel confirmation hearing.

Wednesday, May 9 at 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Hart Senate Office Building

Last month, President Trump nominated Gina Haspel, the current Deputy Director of the CIA to become Director. Haspel is best known for overseeing a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where two Guantanamo detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Al-Nashiri, were waterboarded and tortured. Furthermore, Haspel was involved in destroying agency interrogation tapes – a move clearly designed to erase the possibility of transparency and accountability.

Because of her involvement in torture, Haspel should be prosecuted Instead of rewarded. Thus, this action will be held on the morning of Haspel’s confirmation hearing with the goal of centering the Muslim victims of CIA Black sites in the War on Terror. The call will also be made for Congressional members to oppose her confirmation and to demand accountability for those who designed, conducted, oversaw, and/or implemented the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.

Leonce Byimana, executive director of Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, in a May 3rd opinion piece for the Washington Post, writes:

Haspel’s promotion would be a direct endorsement of torture, sending that message both to governments that torture and to the people who endure horrific abuse.

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WAT responds to Trump’s executive order on Guantanamo

In Focus - Front Page // Film

It was with heavy hearts that we, as members of Witness Against Torture, listened to Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening. We heard him attempt to stoke fear in his listeners with wave after wave of references to terrorists and criminals. He began by linking terror to “illegal immigrants,” border walls, “chain migration,” and visa lotteries, before moving on to ISIS, Al Qaida, rogue regimes, unlawful enemy combatants and more.

By the time he mentioned the prison at Guantanamo, he had already clearly connected the foreigner and the immigrant with the idea of danger in his listeners’ minds. He had already skillfully set the stage when he announced his executive order to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay. In Guantanamo, he reassured his listeners, we would “have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.”

The prison at Guantanamo has always depended for its existence on xenophobic fear, fueled by racism and Islamophobia. Stoking this fear helps leaders aggrandize their power, as the history of authoritarian regimes has amply demonstrated.

Witness Against Torture from its founding has sought to counter this hatred by recognizing the human dignity of each prisoner, beginning with our attempt to visit the prisoners in 2005, to fast in solidarity with their hunger strikes, and to lift their names, faces, and stories in the public eye and before the seats of power in Washington year after year. We have spoken up relentlessly for the right of every detainee to trial or release.

We continue to stand against the horror of the torture these men have suffered. We regard as an ominous warning Trump’s stated resolve to bring more “unlawful enemy combatants” to Guantanamo where “they should be treated like the terrorists they are.”

And so we resolutely continue. We turn our eyes with hope to the major legal challenge to Donald Trump’s continued detention of the men at Guantanamo, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve, and co-counsel on the 16th anniversary of the opening of the prison. We are deeply grateful to our friends and allies who continue to plan rallies and actions in support of closing the prison.


New Yorkers gather to protest Trump’s Guantanamo policy

On Thursday, Feb. 1, human rights activists from Witness Against Torture, the Justice for Muslims Collective, World Can’t Wait, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups gathered at Grand Central Station to protest Trump’s recent Executive Order on Guantanamo. Announced in the State of the Union address, the Order directs that the detention camp remain open, reversing the policy of President Obama to try to close the prison.

The camp at Guantanamo has been a place of torture and other gross human rights abuses. It continues to imprison 41 men — including 26 held without charge or trial and 5 whom the US government had already cleared for release. Trump’s policy also freezes any releases from the prison and orders that new captives can be brought there.

Guantanamo remains a blight on the US Constitution, the rule of law and basic democratic values. Trump’s policy, as challenged in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, is based in his well-documented racism and Islamophobia.

“Trump’s Executive Order brings us back to the darkest days of the Bush administration, when lawlessness and cruelty ruled,” says Jeremy Varon, an organizer with Witness Against Torture from Brooklyn. “President Trump is an anti-Muslim bigot, pro-torture, and favors keeping a torture prison open forever,” says Maha Hilal of the Justice for Muslims Collective. “With the Guantanamo policy, New Yorkers and the peoples of the world now have another reason to loathe this terrible leader.”

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Human Rights Activists to Protest Trump’s Order to Keep Guantanamo Open

In Focus - Front Page // Film

For immediate release

Contacts:
Jeremy Varon 732-979-3119 jvaron@aol.com
Elizabeth Ramos 347-581-2677 nyc@worldcantwait.net

Human Rights Activists to Protest Trump’s Order to Keep Guantanamo Open in Grand Central Station, Thursday 2/1 @ Noon

What: Demonstration/vigil to Protest Trump’s Guantanamo Policy
Where: Main Terminal, Grand Central Terminal
When: Noon, Thursday, February 1

Human rights activists from Witness Against Torture, the Justice for Muslims Collective, World Can’t Wait, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups will gather at noon on Thursday, February 1 at the Main Terminal in Grand Central Station to protest Trump’s recent Executive Order on Guantanamo. Announced in the State of the Union address, the Order directs that the detention camp remain open, reversing the policy of President Obama to try to close the prison.

Demonstrators will hold a solemn vigil, with some people in orange jumpsuits and black hoods and others holding signs condemning Trump’s policy.

The camp at Guantanamo has been a place of torture and other gross human rights abuses. It continues to imprison 41 men — including 26 held without charge or trial and 5 whom the US government had already cleared for release. Trump’s policy also freezes any releases from the prison and orders that new captives can be brought there.

Guantanamo remains a blight on the US Constitution, the rule of law and basic democratic values. Trump’s policy, as challenged in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, is based in his well-documented racism and Islamophobia.

“Trump’s Executive Order brings us back to the darkest days of the Bush administration, when lawlessness and cruelty ruled,” says Jeremy Varon, an organizer with Witness Against Torture from Brooklyn. “President Trump is an anti-Muslim bigot, pro-torture, and favors keeping a torture prison open forever,” says Maha Hilal of the Justice for Muslims Collective. “With the Guantanamo policy, New Yorkers and the peoples of the world now have another reason to loathe this terrible leader.”

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