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Video: US Protests on the 10th Anniversary of the Opening of Guantánamo — Andy Worthington, Debra Sweet, CCR and More

by Andy Worthington 

In the final article following my 12-day visit to the US to join protestors calling for the closure of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo on the 10th anniversary of its opening, I’m posting below three videos by filmmaker Ed Haas of the protests in Washington D.C. on the actual anniversary, January 11, 2012, which I wrote about here.

In the first video, Ed asked me about how I became interested in exposing the injustices of Guantánamo and I explained how I became the custodian of the prisoners’ stories, and he also filmed my brief speech to the crowd, as well as the speeches made by the Guantánamo attorney Tom Wilner (my colleague in the newly-launched “Close Guantánamo” campaign), Vince Warren, the executive director of the Center of Constitutional Rights, Stephen Olesky, the attorney for Belkacem Bensayah, an Algerian still held in Guantánamo, and a very powerful speech by Daniel Lakemacher, a former Guantánamo guard and conscientious objector, who was noticeably moved by the presence of other people who care about the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo, and the continuing dehumanization of the men still held there.

In the second video, Ed captured part of the rally outside the White House, and the march to the Supreme Court, via the Justice Department, as well as the speech made outside the Supreme Court by Debra Sweet, the director of The World Can’t Wait, and the facilitator of my visit. The third video features the very moving recitation, by Leili Kashani of the Center for Constitutional Rights, of “Is It True?” written during his detention by a former Guantánamo prisoner, the Jordanian national Usama Abu Kabir, which the crowd echoed using the “call and response” method of transmitting information, which has been a hallmark of the Occupy movement, and was a very powerful experience, which I was delighted to find that Ed had filmed.

There are also unedited videos produced by Witness Against Torture — a two-hour version here, and a half-hour version here. There are also photos, by Andrew Courtney and by The World Can’t Wait.

Note: Please visit the website of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and sign up to join a growing body of people demanding that President Obama fulfill his unfulfilled promise to close the prison. Please also sign a new White House petition on the “We the People” website calling for the closure of Guantánamo. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 6.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.