February Newsletter: Protest at Senate Hearing , Friday Fast for Justice, April Retreat

News // Film

 

Dear Friends,

The work of Witness Against Torture continues. Below, you will find a link to a reflection on a WAT protest at a US Senate hearing, as well as an invitation to join our Friday Fast for Justice.  And we are excited to gather in Cleveland in April for our yearly retreat – please RSVP at witnesstorture@gmail.com or consider donating to cover the expenses.


Witness Against Torture Responds to Senate hearing on Guantanamo

On February 5th Helen Schietinger from Witness Against Torture and David Barrows from CODEPINK were arrested for speaking out during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about Guantanamo Bay prison. The following is an excerpt from Helen Schietinger’s letter to committee chair Senator John McCain denouncing the hateful remarks made by U.S. Senators and US detention policy more broadly.

Dear Senator McCain,

I am the woman who spoke out in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the status of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay on February 5th.  I’m sure you heard my words, “Give them the rights of prisoners of war!” before I was arrested. 

I attended the hearing in an orange jump suit to silently protest the very existence of Guantanamo prison, and I expected to hear a reasonably rational discussion of the prison and its future.  I planned to listen respectfully . .  I was so shocked, however, by the vitriol of the senators who chose to attend the hearing that I felt I had to respond.

Click here to read the full letter.


Friday Fast for Justice Continues

In March 2013, the world became aware of a massive hunger strike at Guantánamo to protest indefinite detention and ongoing abuses at the prison. In response, on March 24 members of WAT and other human rights organizations embarked on a seven-day fast and held solidarity actions throughout the world.

By the end of that fast, the number of men hunger striking at the prison had increased.  Rather than end our solidarity fast, WAT initiated a “rolling fast,” in which at least one person per day fasted from midnight to midnight, made phone calls to people in power, and sent one letter to a prisoner at Guantánamo.  The rolling fast lasted nearly ten months.  More than 250 people participated, fasting for a total of 31,272 hours.

Currently, we have a Friday Fast for Justice. Individuals who sign up are asked to fast—in any form they like—on Friday, make phone calls to government officials, contribute a photo to our social media campaign, and write a letter to a prisoner at Guantánamo.  Those who sign up will get more specific instructions via email.

More than 50 people regularly participate in our Friday Fast for Justice. We’d love to have more!  If you are Christian, we invite you to fast for one or more Fridays during Lent and beyond, until the prison at Guantánamo is closed.

Sign up for the fast here.

Click here to read the history of the Friday Fast for Justice 


Witness Against Torture Retreat and Strategic Planning: Save the Date! You are invited!

When:  Friday Morning, April 10th, to Sunday Afternoon, April 12th, 2015

Where: Cleveland, Ohio.

This January, we came together in Washington D.C. to remind the nation of the plight of our brothers who continue to be endure the brutality of Guantanamo. We took action in front of the White House, at the Pentagon, Union Station, CIA Headquarters, and Dick Cheney’s and John Brennan’s houses.  We also connected Guantanamo and indefinite detention to U.S. police brutality and domestic racism. We partnered with local activists, bringing the message, “Ferguson 2 Guantanamo; White Silence = State Violence” to the U.S. Capitol building and D.C. Police headquarters. We were inspired, strengthened, stretched, and reminded of both our power and responsibility to fight torture, racism, and other injustices.

This spring, we want to gather to continue to strengthen our community, deepen our relationships, clarify our analysis, make more connections and think strategically about how to close Guantanamo.

The Witness Against Torture Community will therefore hold strategic planning and community building retreat from April 10th -12th  in Cleveland, Ohio.  We are currently in the process of planning the details of the weekend, but it will be a time of reflecting and planning.  Please consider joining us!

Space is limited, so we need to know if you are interested in attending. If you can attend, please RSVP by April 3rd to witnesstorture@gmail.com.


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 flicker 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. If you are able, please donate here. www.witnesstorture.org

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Daily Update – Day 2 of the Fast for Justice

Fast for Justice 2015 // Film

Dear Friends,

We have been fasting in solidarity with the Guantanamo detainees for over 36 hours now.

Most of today was spent on the streets – from the morning at the White House to the afternoon at the British Embassy and Vatican Apostolic Nunciature. You can find images from today on Facebook and Flickr.

This evening we watched a powerful film on Fahd Ghazy – Waiting for Fahd. We encourage you all to take 11 minutes to watch it, and then read Fahd’s personal appeal.

The community gathered here in DC continues to grow. We are about 30 folks staying at the church, and our numbers will continue to grow as we start to settle in to a certain rhythm.

There is much work still to do, and it is good to be gathered in community – here in DC and around the country – as we struggle together, to learn, and act, and reflect.

Peace-
Witness Against Torture

CLICK HERE FOR OUR WASHINGTON, DC SCHEDULE OF EVENTS


In this post you will find:

  1. DAY 2 – Tuesday, January 6
  2. The Path to Closing Guantánamo by Cliff Sloan

DAY 2 – Tuesday, January 6

During our morning reflection, we recalled Beth Brockman’s invitation, yesterday evening, to introduce ourselves and then mention someone or something we left behind upon arriving in D.C., and yet still carry with us. Many people in our circle spoke of leaving behind beloved community and family members. Beth then noted that prisoners in Guantanamo likewise have left behind loved ones, and that some have been separated from their families and communities for 13 years.

Before the reflection circle (and before the sun was fully risen), ten of us joined Kathy Kelly in an hour-long Skype call with about 15 young people in Afghanistan known as the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Several members of their group were fasting from food for a 24 hour period. Despite intermittent breakdowns in the internet connection and the weighty, troubling issues raised, we genuinely shared warmth and hopes, along with information. One of our Afghan friends asked if there was any evidence that a detainee who was tortured gave information which eventually protected people from harm. Brian Terrell shared that false information, gained through torture, was used to justify the U.S. “Shock and Awe” bombing and invasion of Iraq.

We look forward to ongoing exchanges. One way to continue the discussion is through joining the Global Days of Listening Skype conversation which happens on the 21st of every month. You can learn more about the APVs at their website, Our Journey To Smile.

Later in the morning we joined an action at the White House, along with School of the Americas Watch, to confront Mexican President Peña Nieto about the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa. There were over 200 people there, some carrying Mexican flags, others blowing trumpets and horns, and all decrying state violence.

1

When our group moved just down the street to the Mexican embassy, the secret service began to push at us slowly with whistles and cars, ordering us to move away from the embassy and White House to the end of the block. As people resisted, eight of us from Witness Against Torture dropped to our knees in front of a police car and refused to move. After some peaceful confrontation, the police decided not to arrest us, but instead formed a new line of police, cars, and barricades in front of us to separate us from the embassy and hide us from view. Once Peña Nieto’s car entered the White House gates, we joined the rest of the group to walk around the block to Lafayette Park to continue the demonstration. We stood strong in the cold for another hour, in solidarity with the Ya me cansé movement.

[AP report: “The protesters across the street in Lafayette Park were so boisterous they could be heard by people in the Oval Office during the presidents’ meeting.”]

In the afternoon, we suited up in our orange prisoner jumpsuits and hoods and visited the British Embassy as well as the Vatican Papal Nuncio. At the British Embassy, we walked single file and held signs and portraits in support of the release of Shaker Aamer. As we stood in front of the embassy, we broke our silence to sing a mantra/song created by our fellow WAT fasters, Luke Nephew and Frank Lopez of the Peace Poets:

Today is the day
Give Shaker your full embrace
Today is the day
Overcome your past disgrace
Today is the day
Lift the hood and show his face
Today is the day
Justice for the human race

2

At the Nuncio, we delivered a letter asking the Pope to offer to accept the prisoners from Guantanamo in Vatican City, a nation-state of its own. While we stood in front of that building, we sang another of Luke and Frank’s mantra/songs:

Today is the day
You can use those papal keys
Today is the day
Bring in all the refugees
Today is the day
Help us to create the peace
Today is the day
Liberation and release

3

In the evening, we watched Waiting for Fahd. This film tells the story of Fahd Ghazy, a Yemeni national unlawfully detained at Guantánamo since he was 17 and who is now 30. It paints a vivid portrait of the life that awaits a man who, despite being twice cleared for release, continues to languish at Guantanamo, denied his home, his livelihood, and his loved ones because of his nationality. Seeing the grief on the faces of Fahd’s family members, his mother, brothers, daughter has touched us deeply. We are galvanized to act, to tell his story, to share with the public, to tear down the veil of indifference and ignorance. If for one moment we can place ourselves in Fahd’s family, view his daughter and brothers as our own, we would understand how connected we all are to each other.


The Path to Closing Guantánamo
By CLIFF SLOAN
JAN. 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — WHEN I began as the State Department’s envoy for closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, many people advised me that progress was impossible. They were wrong.
In the two years before I started, on July 1, 2013, only four people were transferred from Guantánamo. Over the past 18 months, we moved 39 people out of there, and more transfers are coming. The population at Guantánamo — 127 — is at its lowest level since the facility opened in January 2002. We also worked with Congress to remove unnecessary obstacles to foreign transfers. We began an administrative process to review the status of detainees not yet approved for transfer or formally charged with crimes.

While there have been zigs and zags, we have made great progress. The path to closing Guantánamo during the Obama administration is clear, but it will take intense and sustained action to finish the job. The government must continue and accelerate the transfers of those approved for release. Administrative review of those not approved for transfer must be expedited. The absolute and irrational ban on transfers to the United States for any purpose, including detention and prosecution, must be changed as the population is reduced to a small core of detainees who cannot safely be transferred overseas. (Ten detainees, for example, face criminal charges before the military commissions that Congress set up in lieu of regular courts.)

The reasons for closing Guantánamo are more compelling than ever. As a high-ranking security official from one of our staunchest allies on counterterrorism (not from Europe) once told me, “The greatest single action the United States can take to fight terrorism is to close Guantánamo.” I have seen firsthand the way in which Guantánamo frays and damages vitally important security relationships with countries around the world. The eye-popping cost — around $3 million per detainee last year, compared with roughly $75,000 at a “supermax” prison in the United States — drains vital resources.

Americans from across the spectrum agree on closing Guantánamo. President George W. Bush called it “a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies.” Kenneth L. Wainstein, who advised Mr. Bush on homeland security, said keeping the facility open was not “sustainable.”

In 18 months at the State Department, I was sometimes frustrated by opposition to closing the facility in Congress and some corners of Washington. It reflects three fundamental misconceptions that have impeded the process.
First, not every person at Guantánamo is a continuing danger. Of the 127 individuals there (from a peak of close to 800), 59 have been “approved for transfer.” This means that six agencies — the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence — have unanimously approved the person for release based on everything known about the individual and the risk he presents. For most of those approved, this rigorous decision was made half a decade ago. Almost 90 percent of those approved are from Yemen, where the security situation is perilous. They are not “the worst of the worst,” but rather people with the worst luck. (We recently resettled several Yemenis in other countries, the first time any Yemeni had been transferred from Guantánamo in more than four years.)

Second, opponents of closing Guantánamo — including former Vice President Dick Cheney — cite a 30 percent recidivism rate among former detainees. This assertion is deeply flawed. It combines those “confirmed” of having engaged in hostile activities with those “suspected.” Focusing on the “confirmed” slashes the percentage nearly in half. Moreover, many of the “confirmed” have been killed or recaptured.
Most important, there is a vast difference between those transferred before 2009, when President Obama ordered the intensive review process by the six agencies, and those transferred after that review. Of the detainees transferred during this administration, more than 90 percent have not been suspected, much less confirmed, of committing any hostile activities after their release. The percentage of detainees who were transferred after the Obama-era review and then found to have engaged in terrorist or insurgent activities is 6.8 percent. While we want that number to be zero, that small percentage does not justify holding in perpetuity the overwhelming majority of detainees, who do not subsequently engage in wrongdoing.

Third, a common impression is that we cannot find countries that will accept detainees from Guantánamo. One of the happiest surprises of my tenure was that this is not the case. Many countries, from Slovakia and Georgia to Uruguay, have been willing to provide homes for individuals who cannot return to their own countries. Support from the Organization of American States, the Vatican and other religious and human rights organizations has also been helpful.
I don’t question the motives of those who oppose the efforts to close Guantánamo. Some are constrained by an overabundance of caution, refusing to trust the extensive security reviews that are in place. Others are hampered by an outdated view of the risk posed by many of the remaining detainees. A third group fails to recognize that the deep stain on our standing in the world is more dangerous than any individual approved for transfer. These concerns, however well-intentioned, collapse in the glare of a careful examination of the facts.

The road to closing Guantánamo is clear and well lit. We are now approaching the 13th anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo detention facility. Imprisoning men without charges for this long — many of whom have been approved for transfer for almost half the period of their incarceration — is not in line with the country we aspire to be.

Cliff Sloan, a lawyer, was the State Department’s special envoy for closing Guantánamo until Dec. 31.

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Forced-Feeding is Torture! No Secret Courts!

News // Film


Forced-Feeding is Torture! No Secret Courts!

Emergency Call to Action and Solidarity Fast – Witness Against Torture
Gather at the US Federal District Court (333 Constitution Ave) on Oct. 6 and 7
8:30 am. 333 Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.

On Monday October 6 a trial will begin in which attorneys for Wa-ei Dhiab will seek a stop to the brutal forced-feeding of men at Guantánamo protesting their indefinite detention and abuse at the prison. Witness Against Torture is calling for a public presence at the courthouse to demand an end to forced-feeding and the closing of Guantánamo.

Dhiab is a Syrian man held without charge or trial at Guantánamo since 2002 and cleared for release in 2009 by the US government. He has, according to his attorneys, been forcibly extracted from his cell and force-fed as many as three times a day since the start of the most recent Guantanamo hunger strike in the winter/spring 2012.

Dhiab’s lawsuit seeks an end to forced-feeding. Justice Gladys Kessler, who is hearing the case, has described forced-feeding at the prison as “painful, humiliating, and degrading.” The lawsuit is our best chance to have the courts do what President Obama has been unwilling to do — end forced-feeding.

dhiabInvite


Pack the Court – No Secret Trials

Dhiab’s attorneys will present as evidence videotapes showing Dhaib being violently extracted from his cell and/or force-fed. The government has petitioned that the trial be held entirely in secret so that the press and public may not see or otherwise learn about the gruesome reality of forced-feeding. Judge Kessler has denied the request, describing the government’s request of a secret trial as “deeply troubling.” As of today, portions of the trial will be open to the public.

We need to pack the courthouse and demonstrate that the torture of forced-feeding is immoral, illegal, and unacceptable.

Plan on attending the hearing. The attorneys for Dhiab have requested that there be no signs or anything else that may irritate the judge. Our presence, and gestures of our protest such as orange ribbons on our clothes, will convey our protest.

Click here to read recent news stories:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article2295641.html

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/02/judge-knocks-government-attempt-keep-gitmo-hearing-secret/


Fast for Dhiab and the Hunger Strikers — Fast for Justice

Witness Against Torture is calling for an emergency fast in solidarity with Wa-ei Dhiab, other hunger strikers, and all the men at Guantánamo. Please consider fasting on October 6 and/or October 7.

If you plan to fast, send an email to witnesstorture@gmail.com. Please included in the email where you live and a brief statement as to why you are fasting.

Witness Against Torture will report to the media, Dhiab’s attorneys, and the public the numbers of those fasting and convey, through attorneys, your messages to Dhiab and others at Guantánamo.

Furthermore, please consider making two phone calls to:

1. Cliff Sloan at the State Department (202-647-4000) to insist he tells the military to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding prisoners on hunger strike and to work more quickly to shut the doors and empty the cells of the prison.

2. U.S. Southern Command (305-437-1213) to decry the conditions at Guantánamo, especially the force feeding.

Example script: I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantánamo, especially for those who are on hunger strike and being force fed. I am particularly mindful of Wa-ei Dhiab, a prisoner who is being represented by attorneys in Federal District Court October 6th and 7th. His attorneys are seeking a stop to the brutal force-feeding of men at Guantánamo protesting their indefinite detention and abuse at the prison I am calling today out of concern for him and for the rest of the prisoners. I am asking you to stop the inhumane practice of force feeding and resume releasing the number of prisoners on hunger strike.

The men at Guantánamo have repeatedly expressed how important it is to them to know that people in the United States and the world fast in solidarity with them.

Join us on Monday, October 6th at 8:30 am. 333 Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.


Witness Against Torture on Social Media:

Please “like us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter & Instagram

Post any pictures of your local activities to our flicker account and we will help spread the word on Tumblr.


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.  If you are able, please donate here. www.witnesstorture.org

 

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Adnan Latif–Presente!!! On Second Anniversary of His Death at Guantanamo

News // Film

“Where is the world to save us from torture? Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness? Where is the world to save the hunger strikers?”
–Adnan Latif

Dear Friends,
Today marks the second anniversary of Adnan Latif’s death. And still there has been no independent investigation regarding the true cause of his death. As we continue to call for justice for all the Guantanamo detainees, demand an end to indefinite detention and torture and that Guantanamo be closed, let us not forget those who died at Guantanamo, including  Adnan Latif.
With gratitude, Art

Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ISN_00156,_Adnan_Farhan_Latif

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif
Undated photo of Adnan Latif used by JTF-GTMO in 2008
Born (1975-12-27)December 27, 1975
Aluday, Yemen
Died September 8, 2012(2012-09-08)(aged 36)
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
Detained at Guantanamo
ISN 156
Charge(s) No charge extrajudicial detention
Status death in custody
Children married, with children

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif (December 27, 1975 – September 8, 2012), also known as Allal Ab Aljallil Abd al Rahman, was a Yemeni citizen imprisoned at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from January 2002 until his death in custody there.[1][2]

Contents

[hide]

Capture and detention

Adnan Latif was in a car accident in 1994, during which he suffered significant head injuries, which left him with on-going neurological problems.[3] Latif said he traveled from Yemen to Pakistan in August 2001 to seek medical treatment, while the U.S. government alleged he went there to receive military training from affiliates of al Qaeda.[4] He was captured in December 2001 at the Pakistan/Afghanistan border in a widespread dragnet of Arabs, and brought to Guantanamo prison in January, 2002.[1]

Judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings

Immediately after his imprisonment, Latif and Guantanamo prisoners generally were blocked from filing habeas corpus petitions because of PresidentGeorge W. Bush‘s doctrine that “war on terror” detainees were not covered by the Geneva Conventions, and so could be held indefinitely without charge and without an open and transparent review of the justifications for their detention.[5] In June 2004, however, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Rasul v. Bush, that Guantanamo captives had basic habeas corpus rights, to be informed of and allowed to attempt to refute the allegations justifying their detention.
Latif attorneys Marc D. Falkoff and David Remes filed a habeas corpus petition on his behalf in 2004.[6][7]

Following the Supreme Court Rasul ruling, in July 2004 the Department of Defense set up its Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT).[5] Scholars at theBrookings Institute, led by Benjamin Wittes, would later, in 2008, list detainees still held in Guantanamo, and the CSRT allegations against them.[8] The allegations were as follows regarding Adnan Latif: the military alleged he was an al Qaeda fighter and operative, that he went to Afghanistan for jihad, that he “… took military or terrorist training in Afghanistan,” and that he “… fought for the Taliban.”[8] Further allegations were that his name or alias had been found “on material seized in raids on Al Qaeda safehouses and facilities,”[8] and that he served on the security detail of Osama Bin Laden.[8] Annual CSRT status review hearings were held in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007,[9] and there is evidence Latif attended his 2004, 2005 and 2007 hearings.

Late in 2005, Guantanamo detainee habeas corpus rights were again restricted and largely replaced with a much more limited review known as “DTA appeal, after United States Congress passage of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. However, in June 2008, theUnited States Supreme Court overturned provisions of those laws and restored detainee access to habeas corpus.

Responding to Latif’s habeas corpus petition in July, 2010, District Court judge Henry Kennedy ordered Latif’s release from detention, his ruling stating that the government had failed to show by a preponderance of evidence that he was part of al Qaeda or an affiliated force.[4][10] Latif attorney Remes said, “This is a mentally disturbed man who has said from the beginning that he went to Afghanistan seeking medical care because he was too poor to pay for it. Finally, a court has recognized that he’s been telling the truth, and ordered his release.”[11]

The decision was, however, appealed and a three judge DC Circuit Court of Appeals panel over-turned the ruling in an October 14, 2011 split decision which granted government allegations stronger credibility.[12][13][14] The Supreme Court decided not to review the appeals court decision.

Life at Guantanamo

Latif and other prisoners described Guantanamo conditions to Latif attorney Falkoff when he and other U.S. attorneys were first allowed to visit them in November 2004: “During the three years in which they had been held in total isolation, they had been subjected repeatedly to stress positions, sleep deprivation, blaring music, and extremes of heat and cold during endless interrogations.”[15] Latif also described to Lakoff a visit to his cell by an ‘Immediate Reaction Force” team:

A half-dozen soldiers in body armor, carrying shields and batons, had forcibly extracted him from his cell. His offense: stepping over a line, painted on the floor of his cell, while his lunch was being passed through the food slot of his door.

“Suddenly the riot police came,” he recounted. “No one in the cellblock knew who for. They closed all the windows except mine. A female soldier came in with a big can of pepper spray. Eventually I figured out they were coming for me. She sprayed me. I couldn’t breathe. I fell down. I put a mattress over my head. I thought I was dying. They opened the door. I was lying on the bed but they were kicking and hitting me with the shields. They put my head in the toilet. They put me on a stretcher and carried me away.”[15]
Latif became a frequent hunger striker, and described being force fed as “like having a dagger shoved down your throat.”[15] The Miami Herald writes that at times Latif “would smear his excrement on himself, throw blood at his lawyers, and on at least one occasion was brought to meet his lawyer clad only in a padded green garment called a ‘suicide smock’ held together by Velcro.”[16]

In 2008 Latif attorney Remes filed an emergency federal court motion stating that Latif was suffering seizures and was not being properly treated. The motion, which requested Latif’s medical records, a pillow and an additional blanket, was denied.[17][18] Falkoff recalled, “he was the guy that we tried unsuccessfully to get medical records for, and a blanket and mattress, after we found him lying on the floor of our interview cell, weak and emaciated.”[16][18]

In a letter described in an April 17, 2009, Al Jazeera report, Latif stated he had recently been abused at Guantanamo.[19] The report also quoted attorneyDavid Remes‘ observations on the appearance of Abdul Latif and his other clients:[19] “Adnan Latif … has a badly dislocated shoulder blade. I’ve seen the evidence of physical torture and I’ve also heard about the evidence of psychological torture.”

Guantanamo’s Psychiatric ward, where Latif was reported to have been confined.

The Associated Press reported on May 11, 2009 that Remes said that Latif had slit his wrists during his most recent visit.[20] Remes said that Latif had used the edge of a strip of broken veneer from the side of a table in the interview room to sever a vein in his wrist, and used the interview table to hide his bleeding wrist from others and the room’s video camera. Remes stated that Latif had tried to commit suicide before, and therefore had at times been confined to the prison’s psychiatric facility.[20] Remes also said Latif needed mental health care, but all camp authorities were doing was attempting to keep him subdued.

A December 10, 2012 article at Truthout reported that Latif had written a letter to Remes complaining of his treatment at Guantanamo. Dated May 28, 2010, Latif complained in the letter that guards were placing contraband items, such as scissors, in his cell.[21] “The way they deal with me proves to me that they want to get rid of me, but in a way that they cannot be accused of causing it,” he told his attorney. The same article reports that on two separate instances in 2010, camp officials tried to get Latif to fire Remes. On one of these occasions, he was given an injection with an unspecified drug before a meeting with a military lawyer. Latif told Remes later (according to attorney notes, as described in the Truthout article) that “they wanted to have no one report” his death.

Clearances for release

On April 25, 2011, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo analysts.[22][23]Latif’s nine page long assessment was drafted on January 17, 2008 and signed by camp commandant Mark Buzby, and it recommended that he be transferred out of Department of Defense control.[24][25] Historian Andy Worthington, the author of The Guantanamo Files, writes that the 2008 assessment repeated earlier recommendations that Latif be released.[26] Worthington reported that in addition to being cleared for release by Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and by the US District Court Judge Henry Kennedy, Latif had been cleared for release by the Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Barack Obama had set up when he came to office in 2009.

Death

n September 10, 2012, Latif died at Guantanamo.[27] He had been held there for 10 years, 7 months and 25 days, after arriving there on January 17, 2002.[9][28] On September 10, camp authorities informed the press that a detainee held in the punishment cells of Camp five had been found dead early in the afternoon of September 10, but did not reveal the detainee’s name, and stated that the cause of death was not apparent.[29] The next day it was acknowledged the prisoner was Adnan Latif, and later a military autopsy reportedly declared suicide the cause of death. The results of a full Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation were not expected to be known until sometime in 2013.[27][30]
Before the publication of Latif’s identity, Wells Dixon, a lawyer who helped several Guantanamo detainees with their habeas corpus petitions, described the captives’ feelings of despair, which he attributed to recent judicial reverses.[29]

Further reading

See also

References

  1. ^ a b “Military Identifies Guantánamo Detainee Who Died”. Washington, DC: New York Times. September 11, 2012.
  2. ^ “List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006”. United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2006-05-15.  Works related to List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006 at Wikisource
  3. ^ Marjorie Cohn (2012-06-20). “Hope Dies at Guantanamo”. The Jurist. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11.
  4. ^ a b “Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif, Guantanamo Detainee, To Be Released For Lack Of Evidence”. Washington, DC: Huffington Post. August 16, 2010.
  5. ^ a b “U.S. military reviews ‘enemy combatant’ use”. USA Today. 2007-10-11. Archived from the original on 2012-08-11.
  6. ^ “Latif Autopsy Report Calls Gitmo Death a Suicide: Questions Remain”. truthout. November 26, 2012.
  7. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2012-09-12). “Dead Guantánamo detainee won, then lost federal court-ordered release”. Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  8. ^ a b c d Benjamin Wittes, Zaathira Wyne (2008-12-16). “The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study”. The Brookings Institute. Retrieved 2010-02-16.  mirror
  9. ^ a b Margot Williams (2008-11-03). “Guantanamo Docket: Allal Ab Aljallil Abd Al Rahman”. New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  10. ^ “Kennedy Ruling”. Empty Wheel. August 16, 2010.
  11. ^ Yemeni psych patient ordered freed – Guantánamo – MiamiHerald.com Archived 15 February 2011 at WebCite
  12. ^ “(No. 1:04-cv-01254)” (pdf). CADC. October 14, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  13. ^ Joe Wolverton (2011-11-14). “D.C. Court of Appeals Overturns Release of Gitmo Prisoner”. New American. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13.
  14. ^ Benjamin Wittes (2011-11-09). “Latif: A Very Big Deal”. Lawfare.
  15. ^ a b c “Poems from Guantanamo”. Amnesty International USA. December 12, 2007.
  16. ^ a b “Dead Guantánamo detainee won, then lost court-ordered release”. Miami Herald. September 11, 2012.
  17. ^ Thomas F. Hogan (2008-09-22). “Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 471” (PDF). United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  mirror
  18. ^ a b Tom Ramstack (2008-09-23). “Federal court won’t hear plea for blanket”. Washington Times. Retrieved 2008-09-25.  mirror
  19. ^ a b “New abuse claims at Guantanamo”. Al Jazeera. 2009-04-17. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17.
  20. ^ a b Ben Fox (2009-05-11). “Lawyer: Gitmo prisoner slashed wrist, hurled blood”. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2009-05-11.
  21. ^ “Lawyer: Latif Letter About Guantanamo Speaks From the Grave”. Truthout. December 10, 2012.
  22. ^ Christopher Hope, Robert Winnett, Holly Watt, Heidi Blake (2011-04-27). “WikiLeaks: Guantanamo Bay terrorist secrets revealed — Guantanamo Bay has been used to incarcerate dozens of terrorists who have admitted plotting terrifying attacks against the West – while imprisoning more than 150 totally innocent people, top-secret files disclose”. The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-13. “The Daily Telegraph, along with other newspapers including The Washington Post, today exposes America’s own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world’s most dangerous terrorists. This newspaper has been shown thousands of pages of top-secret files obtained by the WikiLeaks website.”
  23. ^ “WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database”. The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  24. ^ Mark H. Buzby (2008-01-17). “Recommendation for Transfer out of DoD Control (TRO) for Guantanamo Detainee, ISN US9AG”. Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Retrieved 2012-09-18.  Media related to File:ISN 00156, Adnan Farhan Latif’s Guantanamo detainee assessment.pdf at Wikimedia Commons
  25. ^ “Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Adnan Farhan Abd Allatif, US9YM-000156DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks”. The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2012-09-18. “Recommendation: Transfer out of DoD control.”
  26. ^ Andy Worthington (2012-09-12). “Obama, the Courts and Congress Are All Responsible for the Latest Death at Guantánamo”. Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2012-09-18. “He had been cleared for release under President Bush (in December 2006) and under President Obama (as a result of the Guantánamo Review Task Force’s deliberations in 2009). He had also had his habeas corpus petition granted in a US court, but, disgracefully, he had not been freed.”
  27. ^ a b “Guantanamo prisoner who died challenged his confinement, was rebuffed by Supreme Court”. Newser. 2012-09-11. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11.
  28. ^ “Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)”. Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original on 2009-12-21.
  29. ^ a b “US says a prisoner has died at Guantanamo; investigation pending into cause”. Washington Post. 2012-09-10. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10.
  30. ^ “Latif Autopsy Report Calls Gitmo Death a Suicide: Questions Remain”. Truthout. 2012-11-26.

External links

 

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I Refuse to Participate in this Criminal Act

News // Film

Navy Nurse Refuses to Torture Guantánamo Prisoner

By Helen Schietinger and Jeremy Varon
July 16, 2014 | 22:57EST

These are the words of a Navy nurse assigned to force-feed prisoners who are hunger striking at Guantánamo Bay prison:

I refuse to participate in this criminal act.

Abu Wael Dhiab, one of the hunger strikers, witnessed the nurse’s courageous stand and reported it to his lawyer. Dhiab, as quoted through his attorney, described the nurse as “very compassionate” in his treatment of detainees over the prior months. “Initially, he did carry out his orders,” says Dhiab. “He decided he could not do it anymore.”

The nurse’s refusal is an extraordinary act of conscience.  It speaks to the brutality of forced-feeding, which the hunger strikers describe as torture and medical and human rights bodies have denounced. It affirms the ethical obligations of medical professionals, which prohibit forced-feeding.  And it underscores the broader criminality of Guantánamo, where men are held indefinitely without charge or trial and further brutalized when they protest.

Witness Against Torture praises the heroic act of the Guantánamo nurse, who should not suffer disciplinary consequences for his principled stand. We hope his act inspires other staff at Guantánamo to refuse to execute camp orders. Most of all, we hope the nurse’s resistance further awakens the American people and President Obama to the barbarity of Guantánamo and hastens the closure of the prison.

Force feeding poster

Refusing food is among the only means the detained men have to protest their indefinite detention and abusive treatment. Such treatment includes the defilement of the Quran, genital and body cavity searches before and after leaving their cells, being beaten by Forcible Cell Extraction teams when taken from cells, and being held in solitary confinement for months and even years.

Rather than addressing these grievances, President Obama has allowed the continuation of forced-feeding — a tactic the military admits is intended to break the 18-month-long hunger strike. The procedure, while couched in secrecy, is shockingly violent compared to medically warranted tube-feeding.

As described in letters from detainee Emad Hassan, the hunger striker is strapped into a restraining chair, often tightly around the abdomen. A tube larger than one used for standard nasogastric tube-feeding is forced through delicate nasal passages, down the throat, and into the victim’s stomach. Nutritional supplement, at times containing medication or water, is injected rapidly in large quantities into the stomach, sometimes causing nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The tube is then removed — and is sometimes yanked quickly from the nose, causing trauma in the nasal passages.

Dhiab’s lawyers are challenging his forced-feeding in federal court. In a related lawsuit, Judge Gladys Kessler granted the disclosure of videotapes of forced-feeding sessions to attorneys. One attorney described the footage as “so ‘grim’ that I had trouble sleeping.” Media groups are asking a judge to release the videos to the public, which absolutely should happen.  Regardless of the ruling on the tapes, President Obama should view them and ask himself if forced-feeding is something he or the United States can condone.

The nurse refusing to obey the order to force-feed prisoners displayed great courage and integrity. Nonetheless, it is astounding that it has taken until now for a medical professional to refuse to engage in forced-feeding.The professional code of ethics directs all nurses to “practice with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and uniqueness of every individual” and “protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.” (American Nurses Association Code of Ethics, 2001)  The World Medical Association insists that, “Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable. Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.” (WMA Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers, 2006).  In a letter to the Pentagon, the American Medical Association stated, “the forced feeding of detainees violates core ethical values of the medical profession.” (J. Lazarus, AMA President, 4/25/2013)

The military defends forced-feeding as a humanitarian measure to save the lives of detainees. The men, however, are crying out against their abusive treatment by prison staff and their unjust detention. They don’t have to be force-fed to be kept alive. The solution is for the Obama administration to: 1) order the military to immediately end forced-feeding and cease and desist from all abuse of the prisoners in its custody 2) release without delay all the men who have been cleared for transfer by the US government 3) and finally close Guantánamo, ensuring human rights and proper due process for all the men detained there.

Abu Wael Dhiab is among the six prisoners whom Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel just recently designated for transfer to Uruguay. His release would mean the dismissal of his lawsuit seeking an end to his forced-feeding. But the forced-feeding of others — and lawsuits challenging their treatment — will continue, as will the immoral and illegal detention of men at Guantánamo. We owe it to Mr. Dhiab, to those who continue to suffer at Guantánamo, and the men who have died there to close Guantánamo and newly respect the human rights and dignity of all.

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4 New Posters Available

News // Film

For the last three years, Witness Against Torture has presented short runs of posters featuring quotes from former and current Guantánamo detainees. This week, we are releasing five new posters designed by WAT member Justin Norman. These artistic renderings of the plight of the detainees will hopefully engage people in a new way. We hope you like them. Furthermore, you can purchase printed images of these posters on our website. These purchases help in raising funds for our efforts to shut down the detention center that continues to hold them. Click here to check out the new posters, which are all available on our website store.

Got Five Minutes? We need your help sharing these provocative images on Social Media.

On social media people are most likely to share a photo or a meme rather than an article – this is the most effective way to get the men’s message into the social media world. In the past, these posters have been highly effective. The “Imagine” poster has been shared over a thousand times on Facebook, and another,  the “Begg” poster, which has been used by a former detainee as his profile image. Everyday of this week, we will be posting a new design on our Facebook page. You can help us extend our reach by visiting our Page and clicking “Share.” You can also post them to your own wall or a friend’s wall . This will take about five minutes, and will draw attention to the men that continue to be indefinitely detained without charge or trial.

SAVE THE DATE: January 5th-13th, 2015

Every January, the Witness Against Torture community gathers to fast and take action in Washington D.C. to remember the opening of the prison camp in Guantanamo.  This January 11th, 2015 marks 13 years of torture and indefinite detention.  We will be gathering from January 5th – 13th, 2015 to fast for justice and engage in a week of actions together. Join us as we stand in solidarity with those who remain unjustly detained. Save the date and stay tuned for more information. If you have any questions please email WitnessTorture@gmail.com

Witness Against Torture’s Friday Fast for Justice: 

Join in solidarity with the men on hunger strike in Guantanamo by fasting on Fridays. We invite you to consider joining the Friday Fast for Justice. Go without food in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Guantánamo.  If you are already participating in or are interested in participating please sign up here. You can commit to fasting on a specific Friday; weekly for a particular time period; until Guantánamo is closed; or whatever you are willing and able to do.

If you join the fast, we would ask you to:

1. Fast on Friday, in any form you like;

2. Make three phone calls (click here to see who we are currently focusing our calls on)

3. Write to a prisoner at Guantánamo. (click here for instructions on how)

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

Witness Against Torture on Social Media:

Please “like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/witnesstorture & Follow Us on Twitter & Instagram: https://twitter.com/witnesstorture http://instagram.com/witnesstorture#

Post any pictures of your local activities to  http://www.flickr.com/groups/witnesstorture/, and we will help spread the word on http://witnesstorture.tumblr.com/

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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.  If you are able, please donate here. www.witnesstorture.org

*To unsubscribe, email witnesstorture@gmail.com with ‘remove’ in the subject line. 

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July Newsletter: WAT Takes Action to Support Survivors of Torture

News // Film

Report Back from Torture Survivors Week: June 26 Photos, Video and Update

June 27, 2014 / The White House / Source: Flickr
June 27, 2014 / The White House / Source: Flickr

Last week, members of Witness Against Torture gathered in Washington, D.C. for the International Day in Support of Survivors of Torture. Our group of about fifteen attended a panel organized by National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) on U.S. sanctioned torture, engaged in nonviolent direct action at Senator Ayotte and McCain’s offices, and participated in an all-day vigil with Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC)On Sunday, we retreated to the Peace Oasis to put in motion a framework for January 11, 2015.

 

No pushback now! Release those unjustly bound.

Got 90 seconds? Please watch & share the video of Witness Against Torture delivering letters to Senator Ayotte and McCain. This is our response to an amendment that could stop all transfers from Guantanamo. The bill has passed the House and is now awaiting the Senate before becoming law.

Click here to read full report & see photos.

Extended video

Click here to read the letters sent to Senator Ayotte and McCain Offices. 

 

SAVE THE DATE– January 5– 13, 2015

Every January, the Witness Against Torture community gathers to fast and take action in Washington D.C. to remember the opening of the prison camp in Guantanamo.  This year January 11th, 2015 marks 13 years of torture and indefinite detention.  We will be gathering from January 5th – 13th, 2015 to fast for justice and a week of actions. Join us as we stand in solidarity with those that remained unjustly detained. Save the date and stay tune for more information. If you have any questions please email WitnessTorture@gmail.com

 

Friday Fast for Justice

Susan / Boston
Susan / Boston

Join in solidarity with the men on hunger strike in Guantanamo by fasting on Fridays. We invite you to consider joining the Friday Fast for Justice. Go without food in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Guantánamo.  If you are already participating in or are interested in participating please sign up here. You can commit to fasting on a specific Friday; weekly for a particular time period; until Guantánamo is closed; or whatever works for you. If you join the fast, we would ask you to:

  • Fast on Friday, in any form you like;
  • Make three phone calls (click here to see who we are currently focusing our calls on)
  • Write to a prisoner at Guantánamo. (click here for instructions on how)
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June 25-30, 2014 Annual June Survivors’ Week Report-back

News // Film

June 27, 2014 / Weekly Dorothy Day Vigil / Source Flickr
June 27, 2014 / Weekly Dorothy Day Vigil / Source Flickr

Dear Friends, Last week, members of Witness Against Torture gathered in Washington, D.C. for the International Day in Support of Survivors of Torture. Our group of about fifteen attended a panel organized by National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) on Thursday on U.S. sanctioned torture, engaged in nonviolent direct action at Senator Ayotte and McCain’s offices, and participated in an all-day vigil with Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition(TASSC). On Sunday, we retreated to the Peace Oasis to put in motion a framework for January 11, 2015.

During our opening session on Thursday, we found our energy drawn to the Cotton amendment that passed in the House of Representatives and similar efforts to keep Guantanamo open by Kelly Ayotte in the Senate. These bills would make transfers from Guantanamo virtually impossible and continue to senselessly criminalize the men detained without charge at the prison. Furthermore, we decried McCain’s tweet about shipping the newest Benghazi Attack suspect to Guantanamo. Jeremy V. wrote a letter to each senator expressing our concerns.

On Friday morning, we took these letters to the Senate Russell Building, wearing our orange jumpsuits and joined by some new friends from Australia and Philadelphia, to visit the offices of Senators Ayotte and McCain. Our striking procession made its way to the second floor offices. Those of us in jumpsuits flanked each side of Senator Ayotte’s office doorway with our black hoods on while Jeremy and Chris K. entered the room to speak with an aide there. The interaction was courteous and we then processed to McCain’s office, where we repeated our tableau and added two banners: “Not One Step Back, Close Guantanamo” and “Release Those Unjustly Bound”. They received us dismissively and we proceeded to read our statement aloud in front of his office.

Jeremy spoke eloquently as to our presence in the hallway and Jerica A. led us in an invigorating version of the Civil Rights Movement Song “Keep your Eyes on the Prize.” Jeremy created a new verse for the occasion: “No Senate bill can break our will. We won’t be turned around!” When we started processing towards our exit, a police officer told us our singing was disrupting “important work” so we decided to hum the rest of the way out.

We then headed to the White House for the Friday vigil that the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker holds weekly. Despite the heat, we spoke to the passersby of the injustices of forced-feeding and indefinite detention and shared the stories of Adnan Latif and Yemeni Guantanamo hunger striker Emad Hassan.

Many listened, took flyers and asked us questions. In the end, we decided that we were not naïve to think our letters would turn the tide, but we felt it was important to put forward an appeal to these Senators. The men in Guantanamo do not have the opportunity to walk these hallways and plead their case in person. We will continue to amplify their voices on the hill and in public spaces until they are released and Guantanamo is shut down.

We invite you to view and share the pictures and video we took of our action together, as well as the letters we wrote to Senators McCain and Ayotte. Please call and write Senator Ayotte and Senator McCain and to your representatives about these issues. We must continue to voice our dissent and ask for the men’s release. They have suffered and must be released now.

Extended video:

 

SAVE THE DATE– January 5– 13, 2015

Witness Against Torture Fast for Justice and Week of Actions in Washington, DC. Details to be announced this Fall. FRIDAY FAST FOR JUSTICE: We invite you to join us in taking action and fasting on Fridays. For more information, visit witnesstorture.org or email witnesstorture@gmail.com

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US Hunger Strikers and Human Rights Activists Rally on Wednesday, June 26

News // 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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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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