"I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn't torture, and I'm going to make sure that we don't torture."
- President-elect Barack Obama, November 16, 2008
From Witness Against Torture
On January 22, 2009, President Obama committed his administration to closing the prison camp at Guantanamo within a year. Since that time, the process of releasing, relocating, or prosecuting its remaining detainees has become mired in bureaucratic machinations, Congressional grandstanding, fear-mongering, and political backsliding. Despite his claim to break from the past, President Obama has upheld many of the worst Bush policies - from the denial of habeas corpus, to immunity for torturers, rendition, and indefinite detention without charge or trial.
Indeed, for many in Guantanamo the most change they have seen in the last year is the switch of the presidential portrait from Bush to Obama. The new plan to house the detainees in a super-max facility in Illinois is not closing Guantanamo when the detainees remain subject to detention without charge or trial and inhumane treatment. Unless the men who have been held at Guantanamo are released or charged and tried by a legitimate legal process, we will bring our protest to the Illinois facility, as we did at the gates of the Guantanamo prison in 2005.
As the Obama administration expands the war in Afghanistan and operations at the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base, struggles over the fair and just treatment of detainees are sure to continue. More than ever, we need principled, nonviolent witness and action to secure due process, accountability, and a world without torture, cruelty, and endless warmaking.
It is with resolute and heavy hearts that we in Witness Against Torture come to Washington, D.C. to mark January 11 (the day the prison camp opened in 2001) as the eighth year of torture, abuse, and illegal detention at Guantanamo. We will call attention to the Obama administration's hypocrisy, expose the injustice of its policies, and demand again that the facility at Guantanamo be immediately closed. We will hold a fast and daily vigil from January 11 through January 22 - the day by which the President had ordered Guantanamo closed - and engage in a series of events and actions opposing Guantanamo and torture.
We invite you to come to Washington and participate, or else join or plan an event in your own community.
January 11 - January 22, 2010 Daily Vigil and Fast for Justice
We will have a daily routine of reflection and action, bringing our message to the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, the Justice Department and other sites throughout the city. We will break our fast on January 22. Please join us!
We will provide housing for those gathering with us in Washington DC, and resources to those who will be fasting in their own communities.
For up-to-date details, as well as information about housing, food, rides and directions, legal support and more, please visit www.witnesstorture.org.
January 21, 2010 Direct Action Against Torture, Indefinite Detention
While we vigil and reflect, we will also be planning a dramatic direct action aimed at drawing attention to the ongoing suffering and injustice of Guantanamo and other "war on terror" facilities. Visit www.witnesstorture.org for more information on our action plans.
WHO WE ARE
In December 2005, Witness Against Torture drew international attention after it walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners. Since its return, the group has organized vigils, marches, nonviolent direct actions, and educational events to expose and decry the administration's lawlessness, build awareness about torture and indefinite detention, and forge human ties with the prisoners at Guantanamo and their families. Last January Witness Against Torture organized the highly visible 100 Days Campaign in Washington, D.C.
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.