“Torturers Tour” at Homes of John Brennan and Dick Cheney, Followed by Vigil at CIA Headquarters

Press Releases // Film

Washington DC — On Saturday, January 10th, the eve of the anniversary Guantanamo Bay Prison’s opening, anti-torture activists from human rights groups CODEPINK and Witness Against Torture will gather to demonstrate at the homes of high-ranking officials who have previously authorized torture. These officials include former VP Dick Cheney and current Director of the CIA John Brennan. Activists will then hold a vigil at the CIA headquarters in Virginia. Between 30-60 protesters are expected to attend, most wearing orange Guantanamo-style prison orange jumpsuits and black hoods.

Schedule of events for Saturday, January 10, 2015:

8:00am: Meet at Frying Pan National Park in Herdon, VA

8:10: Leave park for John Brennan’s house right down the road (13351 Point Rider Lane, Herndon VA)

9:00: Leave John Brennan’s house

9:30: Arrive at Dick Cheney’s house (1126 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA)

10:00: Leave Dick Cheney’s house to go to CIA (1000 Colonial Farm Road, McLean, VA)

10:10-11:30: CIA Protest and Vigil

“The release of the Torture Report at the end of 2014 exposed the American government’s horrific human rights record,” said Alli McCracken, National Coordinator of the peace group CODEPINK. “The war criminals who lied about torture, and are getting away with it, should be prosecuted and Guantanamo prison must be closed now.”

“Giving a pass to yesterday’s torturers, like Dick Cheney, by failing to prosecute them,” said Witness Against Torture organizer Jeremy Varon, “gives a green light to tomorrow’s torturers and may doom the United States to repeating this awful crime.  We the people can judge Cheney and others for what they did, in hopes that the law might soon as well.”

“Dick Cheney has not only justified the US use of torture, but has said he’d do it all over again,” said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “We’re going to his house, and John Brennan’s house, to show that there are Americans who have moral values and are disgusted that these ‘leaders’ are not behind bars.”

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Groups to Rally Sunday at White House on 13th Guantánamo Anniversary

Fast for Justice 2015 // Film

Washington, DC – A coalition of human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantánamo attorneys, 9-11 family members, and members of diverse faith communities is holding a rally at the White House followed by a march to the Justice Department on Sunday, January 11, to mark the 13th anniversary of the first arrival of detainees at Guantanamo.  The event, titled “A Promise Still to Keep: Close Guantánamo, Stop Torture, and End Indefinite Detention,” will follow an interfaith service in front of the White House at 1pm.

The coalition is calling on the Obama administration and Congress to close Guantánamo, end indefinite detention, ensure accountability for torture, and reaffirm the absolute legal ban on torture.  The rally will be followed by a visually powerful “detainee procession” of figures in orange jumpsuits and black hoods and signs marking the anniversary.

The groups involved drafted a call to action:

On the second day of his administration, President Obama pledged to close the detention facility at Guantánamo and reaffirmed the ban on torture. But Guantánamo remains open.

On January 11, 2015 the detention facility will enter its 14th year of operation. Despite the recent release of some detained men, more than 100 remain at Guantánamo, including dozens who are cleared for transfer — the great majority of whom are from Yemen. Those still detained suffer the torment of separation from their families and ongoing, indefinite detention. Some detainees remain on hunger strike and are brutally force-fed.

The Senate report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program describes acts of torture that shock the conscience. President Obama banned the CIA torture program by executive order when he took office, but that is insufficient to ensure that torture and other ill-treatment are never used again. Obama’s Justice Department has refused to prosecute those who authorized, ordered, designed, and carried out a torture program that is in plain violation of U.S. law and treaty obligations.

President Obama, whose second term will soon end, must fulfill his promise to close the detention facility and end torture. The time to act is now.

1:00pm Interfaith service in front of the White House sponsored by the National Religious Coalition Against Torture and Interfaith Action for Human Rights

1:30pm Rally in front of the White House followed by a march to the Justice Department

Sponsors: Amnesty International USA, the Blue Lantern Project, the Center for Constitutional Rights, CloseGitmo.net, Code Pink, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Reprieve, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the Torture Abolition and Survivor and Support Coalition, Veterans for Peace, We Stand with Shaker, Witness Against Torture, World Can’t Wait, and others. 

Organizational Quotes

“We urge President Obama to continue to release men from Guantanamo and to bring renewed attention in particular to cleared Yemeni men – including our clients, Tariq Ba Odah, Mohammed Al Hamiri, Fahd Ghazy, and Ghaleb Al-Bihani – to put an end to their indefinite detention based on their Yemeni citizenship. Whatever pretense of authority to detain the men at Guantánamo existed during combat operations in Afghanistan, it has evaporated: it is past time to close the prison and bring a swift end to 13 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial.” ~ Baher Azmy, legal director, Center for Constitutional Rights

“The Guantanamo Bay prison facility is a travesty of our justice system that has globally tarnished America’s reputation. Continued detainment of these prisoners under such dire, harsh conditions without due process is unethical and unconscionable. Many inmates were cleared for release years ago, yet they still remain imprisoned. The Council on American-Islamic Relations calls on President Obama to hold true to his promise, bring all the detainees to trial or release them, and shut down Guantanamo once and for all.” ~ Zainab Chaudry, spokesperson, Council on American-Islamic Relations and board member, Interfaith Action for Human Rights

“Thirteen years on, it is a scandal that more than a hundred people remain imprisoned at Guantanamo without charge or trial, half of them long cleared for release. While the latest wave of transfers out of the prison is encouraging, there are still abuses happening at Guantanamo every day – and the White House continues to try to bury the evidence. Instead of covering up the failings of the prison, in 2015 Obama must redouble his efforts to close it once and for all.” ~ Cori Crider, strategic director, Reprieve, and a lawyer for several Guantanamo detainees

“Despite the White House’s efforts to close Guantanamo, 59 men who have already been cleared for release remain. TASSC calls on President Obama to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo and on Congress not to hinder the Administration’s efforts to close Guantanamo.” ~ Gizachew Emiru, Esq., executive director, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition

“As we count a grim thirteenth year since Guantanamo opened, dozens of men continue to languish there with no idea when or even if their detention will end. The president has momentum and the legal authority to finally shut down Guantanamo, and must act quickly. Congress should not seek to restrict or slow these efforts.” ~ Noor Mir, associate field organizer, Amnesty International USA 

“Guantanamo symbolizes two immoral acts – torture and imprisonment without trial.  It should have been closed more than a decade ago.  The National Religious Campaign Against Torture applauds the Administration for transferring 28 detainees in 2014, now it’s time to close Guantanamo and sign legislation that permanently ends torture.” ~ Rev. Ron Stief, executive director, National Religious Campaign Against Torture

“The Bush regime opened the torture camp at Guantánamo Bay not just to imprison captives but to send a message to the world that the U.S. could operate with impunity outside the norms of international law.  The Obama administration has had six years to close it, punish those who ordered the torture, and forever repudiate indefinite detention and secret rendition as national policy, but to its great discredit, has not.  We who care about justice demand the closure of Guantanamo immediately.” ~ Debra Sweet, director, World Can’t Wait

“The Yemeni prisoners cleared for release or transfer still held at Guantánamo have waited more than a decade to see their families.  It will take the administration years to carry out its strategy of finding third countries where these 50+ men can be strangers.  Send them home today!” ~ Nancy Talanian, No More Guantanamos

“With the Senate report on CIA interrogations, we decisively know that the United States committed torture.  The ongoing operation of the prison at Guantanamo extends injustices that are hardly now in the past.  The eyes of the world are vigilantly watching to see if President Obama fulfills his pledge to close the prison, and will judge his presidency and the country he leads based on whether he succeeds.” ~ Jeremy Varon, Witness Against Torture

“We congratulate President Obama for his progress towards closing Guantanamo in the last year, but much more remains to be done – the release of the 59 men still held who have long been approved for release, and trials or release for all the other men still held. The president has two more years to fulfill the promise to close Guantanamo that he made when he took office six long years ago. He must not fail!” ~ Andy Worthington, CloseGuantanamo.org

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WAT Protests at British Embassy Over Imprisonment of Shaker Aamer

Press Releases // Film

Press Advisory

1/6/2014

Daniel Wilson

507-329-0507

wilson.a.daniel@gmail.com

US group, Witness Against Torture, Protests at British Embassy Over Imprisonment of Shaker Aamer

Washington D.C.- On the afternoon of January 6th U.S.based group, Witness Against Torture, will protest at the British Embassy over the continued imprisonment of Shaker Aamer, British citizen currently detained at Guantanamo Bay. Dozens of protesters dressing in orange jumpsuits and black hoods will sing, chant and display posters saying “I Stand With Shaker Aamer” along with banners depicting Aamer’s face. In solidarity with several UK based groups and Aamer’s lawyers, Witness Against Torture will demand that the British government take a stronger stance both for the immediate release of Shaker Aamer and closure of the illegal detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. A pending legal case against the UK brought by Aamer’s lawyers has invigorated renewed interest in his release.

Mr. Aamer, who has been held for 13 years without charge or trial. US authorities approved his release in 2007, under George W. Bush, and again in 2009, under Barack Obama. The British Government has been requesting his return since 2007

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MAY 23, 2014 – Global Day of Action to Close Guantánamo

Press Releases // Film

Not Another Broken Promise! Not Another Day in Guantánamo!

On May 23rd of last year, President Obama again promised to close the detention facility at Guantánamo.  His pledge came in response to the mass hunger strike by men protesting their indefinite detention and to the renewed, global condemnation of the prison.  One year later, far too little has changed: few detained men have left the prison and hunger strikes and forced feeding continue. Join us in Washington DC, across the US, and around the world to urge President Obama and Congress to end indefinite detention and close the detention facility at Guantánamo.

So far, demonstrations, fasts, and vigils are planned in Chicago, Raleigh, New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Buffalo, and Boston. Click here for a toolkit to plan your own action. Please email WitnessTorture@gmail.com if you are planning or hoping to plan an action in your community.

The May 23rd Day of Action is being coordinated by Witness Against Torture in collaboration with:

  • Amnesty International
  • The Center for Constitutional Rights
  • CloseGitmo.net
  • Code Pink
  • Blue Lantern Project
  • London Guantánamo Campaign
  • No More Guantánamos
  • The Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition,
  • World Can’t Wait
  • The National Religious Campaign Against Torture
  • Veterans for Peace
  • September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
  • Project Peace, Tiffin Area Pax Christi, and People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County
  • Free Omar Khadr Now
  • The Justice Campaign
  • Metro New York Religious Campaign Against Torture
  • north Carolina stop torture now
  • The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
  • Pax Christi Metro New York
  • AmnestyUSA/OK/Group #238
  • veterans for Peace
  • Hartford Catholic Worker
  • Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
  • Chicago Benedictines for Peace
  • Afghan YP Volunteers
  • Tackling Torture at the Top!
  • Committee of Women Against Military Madness
  • Socialist Party USA’s Anti-Imperialism Committee
  • School of the Americas Watch
  • Hilton Head for Peace
  • Northern NJ Socialist Party

Contact WitnessTorture@gmail.com  if your organization would like to sign-on as an endorser.

Find the Facebook event listing here.

Click here to read Witness Against Torture’s full Call To Action.

WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE WINTER 2014 RETREAT & ORGANIZING TEAM

(click here to read the full report from the retreat)

Jonah House filled up over the course of Thursday, March 21 as friends and fellow activists flew, drove, bused, and trained into Baltimore for our second annual strategic planning retreat.

We reflected on the lives of the men in Guantanamo, our own lives, and our collective commitment to acting on behalf of those who remain detained.

We committed, in 2014/2015:

  1. To organize a Global Day of Action to Close Guantánamo and End US Torture on May 23, 2014.
  2.  To participate in Torture Survivor Awareness Month activities in Washington DC from June26th thru the 30th. This will include meetings to talk more about WAT.
  3. To mobilize around lawsuits that are currently challenging forced-feeding in Guantanamo &hold President Obama and the Guantanamo envoys in the State Department and Pentagon to their promise(s) — more info to come soon
  4. To come together on and around January 11th, 2015.

Finally, we formed a WAT Organizing Team (See description below).

What is the WAT Organizing Team?

At the retreat, we decided that we want a new structure so that WAT can mobilize actions and respond to developments in Guantánamo with greater frequency, reach, and power.  To make this happen, we set up an Organizing Team, compromising members from different regions and with diverse skill sets.

Nine volunteers — Jerica, Matt, Beth B, Marie, Chrissy, Palina, Beth A, Chris K, and Jeremy — agreed to join the team.

Some of the core tasks of the Organizing Team are: to think of strategic ways — year round — that WAT can serve its goals of closing Guantánamo and ending torture; to mobilize people and other resources to take effective action; to devise rapid responses to particular crises at Guantanamo and shifts in the political landscape; and to build and maintain relationships with allies.

Equally important, the Organizing Team exists to help WAT members nationwide bring their own actions and campaigns to fruition by directing resources to them and providing, as needed, assistance with particular tasks (eg, media work, demo design, getting materials onto our Website and into our social media).  The Organizing Team, that is, works in two directions: it directs energy out to WAT nationwide; and it receives ideas, input, and instruction from WAT members everywhere to facilitate local action.

The Team will meet face-to-face again in June, and we will assess as a larger group how it is working, as well as its composition, in January of next year.

WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE FRIDAY FAST FOR JUSTICE

We are inviting you to join WAT’s Friday Fast for Justice.  If you join the fast, we would ask you to:

  • Fast on Friday, in any form you like;
  • Make three phone calls to (1) the White House to urge President Obama to declassify the executive summary and major findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture swiftly and in their entirety,  as well as to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 ; (2) to Cliff Sloan at the State Department to insist he work more quickly to shut the doors and empty the cells of the prison. Let him know that you are disappointed that since President Obama’s speech last May, only 12 men have been released:  202-647-4000;  and (3) to U.S. Southern Command to decry the conditions at Guantanamo: 305-437-1213.  Talking points on behalf of Guantánamo prisoners: I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantánamo, especially for those who are on hunger strike.  I am calling today out of concern for them and for the rest of the prisoners.  I am asking you to resume releasing the number of prisoners on hunger strike and to stop the inhumane force-feeding of them.  Lastly, the U.S. must release those cleared for release and close Guantanamo.
  • Write to a prisoner at Guantánamo.  Choose a prisoner’s name off the list  at the Amnesty International website. There is also a sample letter that  can be downloaded and printed off here. The address to send the letter to is:

Detainee Name
Detainee ISN
Guantánamo Bay
P.O. Box 160
Washington, D.C. 20355
United States of America

If you are already participating in or are interested in participating in the Friday Fast forJustice, please sign up here.  You can commit to fasting on a specific Friday, on May 23rd, the Global Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and End U.S. Torture; weekly for a particular time period; until Guantánamo is closed; or whatever works for you.

WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE SOCIAL MEDIA

Please ‘like’ us on Facebook & Follow Us on Twitter & Instagram

Post any pictures of your local activities to Flickr, and we will help spread the word on Tumblr.

DONATE

Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run.  We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work.  If you are able, please donate here.

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US Activist to Undergo “Forced-Feeding” Outside Federal Court in Solidarity with Guantánamo Prisoners

Hunger Strike Response // Film

Nasal Tube Feeding to Follow Hearing on Human Rights Violations at Guantanamo

WHEN: Friday, October 18, 11 am
WHERE: US District Court – 333 Constitution Ave NW, Wash., D.C
WHAT: Nasal Tube Feeding of Solidarity Hunger Striker

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Anti-torture activists will hold a nasal tube-feeding of a long-term faster to dramatize the abusive force-feeding of hunger strikers at Guantánamo and to protest indefinite detention at the prison.  The feeding will take place at 11 am, following consideration by a federal appeals court of a lawsuit arguing that force-feeding at Guantánamo is a violation of human rights and religious liberties.
Continue reading US Activist to Undergo “Forced-Feeding” Outside Federal Court in Solidarity with Guantánamo Prisoners

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US Hunger Striker to Undergo Forced Feeding at White House Rally to Close Guantanamo and End Solitary Confinement Solidarity With Gitmo & Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

Hunger Strike Response // Film

WHERE: The White House, 1600 Penn. Ave.
WHEN: Friday, September 6, noon-1pm
WHAT: Force-feeding of US activist at rally to close Guantanamo & end solitary confinement
WHO: CloseGitmo.net, Witness Against Torture, Code Pink, Veterans For Peace, and others

WASHINGTON, D.C. CloseGitmo.net organizer Andrés Thomas Conteris on day 61 of his fast in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners in Guantánamo and Pelican Bay— will undergo a nasogastric feeding in front of the White House on Friday, September 6 at noon.  Conteris will underscore the brutality of force-feeding, to which dozens of men at Guantanamo have been subjected since a new hunger strike began last February, and which California officials have threatened for hunger striking prisoners in Pelican Bay protesting the use of extended solitary confinement in US prisons.  The American Medical Association, the United Nations, and Senators John McCain and Diane Feinstein have all condemned force-feeding.
Continue reading US Hunger Striker to Undergo Forced Feeding at White House Rally to Close Guantanamo and End Solitary Confinement Solidarity With Gitmo & Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

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Starving for Justice: US Hunger Strikers and Human Rights Activists Rally on Wednesday, June 26 at White House to Demand Closure of Guantánamo Prison Camp

Press Releases // Film

Washington, D.C. – Weeks past President Obama’s speech announcing his renewed intention to close Guantanamo, human rights activists — including three US military veterans on open-ended fasts in solidarity with hunger striking Guantanamo detainees — will stage dramatic protests on Wednesday, June 26th at the White House calling on the President to turn his promise into action.

140 days into the hunger strike at Guantánamo, members of Witness Against Torture and other groups will lay 86 black cloths, each with the name of a Guantánamo prisoner cleared for transfer, on the sidewalk of the White House to dramatize the demand that the President begin transferring men from the prison facility.

In response to the hunger strike of Guantánamo detainees, several US citizens have for weeks been on open-ended fasts, suffering the health effects of sustained hunger. They hope with their immense sacrifice to draw attention to the plight of the Guantánamo detainees and force the President to act.

“What is happening in Guantánamo is despicable,” says Elliott Adams, a former paratrooper in Vietnam on hunger strike since May 17. “The continued detention of innocent men is a violation of our moral and religious principles, domestic and international law. It goes against the values I thought the American flag stood for when I was a young man in the Army. I just can’t sit and enjoy my life when my country is doing such terrible things.”

Diane Wilson, a former Army medic and fourth-generation shrimp boat captain from Texas who has lost 50 pounds in over 56 days, says, “I know who this American fisherwoman is and where I stand. I stand in solidarity with the Guantánamo prisoners and I will fast indefinitely until justice for them comes.”

Veterans For Peace national board member Tarak Kauff, on hunger strike since June 8, says, “It is up to human beings of conscience to take the risks, step out of our comfort zones and do our utmost to end the nightmare of Guantánamo. If we do not act now, our children and their children will reap the bitter results of our cowardice: an America without basic rights and a world without justice.”

The US hunger strikers amplify the “rolling fast,” organized by Witness Against Torture, in which hundreds of United States citizens have fasted in support of the hunger strikers at Guantánamo.

“It should not take people denying themselves food, whether in Guantánamo or in the US, to have President Obama stand up for the Constitution and human rights,” says Matt Daloisio, organizer with Witness Against Torture. “The renewed promise to close Guantánamo is important, but without immediate steps to release people, it is only another promise.”

What: Protest to Close Guantánamo on the UN International Day for Survivors of Torture
Who: US hunger strikers, Witness Against Torture, and other activists.
Where: The White House
When: Wednesday, June 26; Rally and speeches at the White House at noon.

Information on the protest and profiles of the hunger strikers are available at www.closegitmo.net

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Hunger Strike – Day 106 Update

Hunger Strike Response // Film

Day 106 of the Guantanamo Hunger Strike 

Dear Friends:

Included below is our response to President Obama’s comments today about Guantanamo.  The additional suffering that the men in Guantanamo have taken on themselves in this hunger strike has forced those in power to respond.  Because of their sacrifice, and the contributions of so many of you – in phone calls, vigils, letters, petitions, arrests, and many other creative actions – we are closer to Guantanamo’s closure today than we were yesterday.

But our work is far from done.  It is more important now than ever before to keep up all forms of pressure!

Please take a moment to read our response below, and look through the list at the end of this message to find ways to engage in the continuing work.

Peace-

Matt Daloisio

for Witness Against Torture

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No More Excuses – Anti-Guantanamo Activists Demand that President Obama Make Good on Promise to Restart Transfers and Close Guantanamo; Vow to Keep Pressure on President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAY 23, 2103

Contacts: Matt Daloisio, 201-264-4424, daloisio@riseup.net

Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119, jvaron@aol.com

New York City/Washington, D.C. – Responding to the hunger strike at Guantanamo, President Obama announced in a speech today his wish to re-start the transfer of men from Guantanamo and for the closure of the US prison.  Anti-Guantanamo activists insist that the speech be followed by concrete steps — including the immediate transfer of men from the prison — to show that the Obama administration is serious.  86 men have been cleared for transfer and must be released now.

We agree with President Obama that “GTMO has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.”  The President must use his executive power and political leadership to at last close Guantanamo and end indefinite detention.  He must renounce the unprecedented, illegitimate, and increasingly discredited Military Commissions as an unacceptable substitute for true due process; and he must reject any policy of indefinite detention without charge or trial, and commit to bring credible suspects within a proper judicial system.  We applaud the courageous interruption of Obama’s speech, which underscores the emergency situation at the prison, and need for rapid closure of Guantanamo.

“It should not take men starving themselves to have President Obama stand up for the Constitution and human rights.” Says Matthew W. Daloisio, organizer with Witness Against Torture.  “We are more 11 years into the crime of Guantánamo and over 100 days into the current hunger strike.  The promise to transfer those cleared is important, but without immediate steps to release actual people, it is only another promise.”

“We have heard noble sentiments before from President Obama,” added Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture. “We will hold him to account.  It is not enough to release those who should have been released years ago.  Indefinite detention must end.  And the rule of law will never be fulfilled in Military Commissions.  Moving Guantanamo is not closing Guantanamo.    All held in the prison must be charged, tried in legitimate courts, or released.  We’ll be in the streets, at the steps of courthouses, in jail if necessary to make sure that Guantanamo closes.”

President Obama ended the Guantanamo portion of his speech today by asking the American people to “look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?”

We may wish that this is not who we are.  But we will be judged by our actions, not our speeches.

Witness Against Torture and other groups will continue their vigils, rallies, solidarity fasts, calls to the White House, and direct actions until Guantanamo is shuttered.

Since the hunger strike began in early February, Witness Against Torture has held vigils in more than 30 cities and towns, had regular rallies at the White House, circulated a Change.org petition — signed by more than 210,000 people — demanding the closure of Guantanamo, helped organize a briefing for Congressional staff; coordinated a rolling fast in solidarity with the Hunger Strike and daily calls to the White House, Pentagon and the US Southern Command; and committed acts of civil disobedience.

###

======================

CONGRESSIONAL OUTREACH
Please call or e-mail your congressperson to ask them to sign on to Rep. Jim Moran’s (D-VA) ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to President Obama.  Send us a note if you would like a copy of the letter itself.

======================

WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE ROLLING FAST
Give up food for a day
 as part of Witness Against Torture’s ROLLING FAST.  Over 200 people have participated by fasting for some period of time since the Guantanamo Hunger Strike began.  Sign up for one day, or more.  Sign up as a community or as an office!  Download and send this letter to a man detained in Guantánamo.  The men on Hunger Strike know of, and very much appreciate our collective efforts at solidarity.

======================

HUNGER STRIKE SONG!

The Peace Poets, Witness Against Torture, and anti-mass incarceration activists have collaborated on The Hunger Strike Song. (PLEASE POST AND SHARE)

We will continue to gather for vigils, street theatre, song and action in NYC, including this Friday, May 24th in Washington Square Park (5:30pm), and next week for as part of a week of actions.  More information on weekly vigils in Chicago, Washington DC, and other locations can be found on our website.

======================

PHONE CALLS & LETTER WRITING

We have generated 100s of calls since the Hunger Strike began.  We are particularly focusing on calls to the U.S. Southern Command (where you will be able to speak to a person), but ask folks to call all of the numbers here:  Call the White House (202-456-1111, 202-456-1414), U.S. Southern Command (305-437-1213) and Department of Defense (703-571-3343) to express concern over the hunger strike and insist on Guantanamo’s closing.

======================

WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE SOCIAL MEDIA

Our Facebook page has been getting more and more traffic, and some weeks has reached over 200,000 people.  This is only possible when people like, share, and comment on posts.  Please ‘like’ us on
Facebook
 & Follow Us on Twitter

Post any pictures of your local activities to Flickr, and we will help spread the word on Tumblr.

======================

DONATE

Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run.  We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work.  If you are able, please donate here.

======================

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Media Advistory: Activists to Mark Day 100 of Guantanamo Hunger Strike on Friday

Hunger Strike Response // Film

MEDIA ADVISORY: May 15, 2013

CONTACT: Gabe Cahn, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
gabe@rabinowitz-dorf.com, office: 202-265-3000, cell: 425-269-5541

FRIDAY, MAY 17 at White House: Day 100 Vigil for Guantanamo Hunger Strike
Coalition of activists to rally, deliver 300,000 petitions to pressure Obama to close Guantanamo

WASHINGTON – To mark the 100th day of the mass hunger strike at Guantanamo, a coalition of human rights activists will hold a vigil in front of the White House on Friday, May 17. In addition to public speakers and protestors in orange jumpsuits bringing attention to human rights violations and indefinite detention at the detention center at Guantanamo, the groups will deliver 300,000 petition signatures calling for the detention facility to be closed down. On April 30, President Obama recommitted himself and his administration to shutting down Guantanamo. On Friday, the detainee hunger strike will have breached the 100 day mark.

What: Day 100 Vigil urging President Obama to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo. Speakers and activists in orange jumpsuits will call on President Obama to:

– Move forward with transferring cleared detainees out of the detention facility under the certification process and waiver provision put in place by Congress
– Appoint a high level position in the White House to lead the effort of closing the detention facility
– Make the case to Congress and the American people for removing the remaining transfer restrictions and closing the detention facility
– Ensure that all detainees are either charged and fairly tried in federal court, or released to countries that will respect their human rights

Who: A non-partisan coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations, including:
• Amnesty International
• National Religious Campaign Against Torture
• Center for Constitutional Rights
• Witness Against Torture
• Code Pink

When: Friday May 17, 12-1p.m.

Where: Washington D.C., outside the White House (Lafayette Square side)

Why: After 100 days of hunger strikes and more than 11 years of indefinite detention, it’s long past time for President Obama to get serious about closing Guantanamo.

“Amnesty International USA activists will be protesting outside the White House on Day 100 of the hunger strike to send the message that President Obama needs to close Guantanamo now,” said Jiva Manske, field organizer for Amnesty International USA, Mid-Atlantic, from Amnesty’s Washington, D.C. office, “The detainees’ situation must urgently be resolved, in a manner that respects their dignity and human rights. Death shouldn’t be the only way out of Guantanamo.”

“Years of detention without charge or trial have created a sense of desperation and hopelessness among the men at Guantanamo that has led over 100 to join a hunger strike,” said Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. “The human crisis in Guantanamo is a moral one that needs to end immediately. The faith community calls on the President to close Guantanamo. It is the right thing to do.”

“The hunger strikers in Guantanamo have unleashed an avalanche of sympathy around the world, and disgust for the Obama administration’s policy,” explained Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. “It’s time for Obama—the commander-in-chief and the most powerful man in the world—to stop blaming Congress and muster the moral courage to close the prison and end this shameful chapter in U.S. history.”

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Human Rights Groups Organize Vigil at White House to Mark 100th Day of Hunger Strike at Guantanamo

Hunger Strike Response // Film

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2013

CONTACT: Gabe Cahn, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
gabe@rabinowitz-dorf.com, office: 202-265-3000, cell: 425-269-5541

Human Rights Groups Organize Vigil at White House to Mark 100th Day of Hunger Strike at Guantanamo
Activists in D.C. deliver more than 360,000 petition signatures, pressure Obama to keep his promise to close the detention facility

WASHINGTON – Today, on the 100th day of the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, and amid growing pressure on the Obama Administration to close the facility once and for all, activists held a vigil outside the White House to bring awareness to the injustice of more than 11 years of unlawful and indefinite detention. Coalition events also were held in London, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit and London.
Continue reading Human Rights Groups Organize Vigil at White House to Mark 100th Day of Hunger Strike at Guantanamo

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