Close Guantánamo: Andy Worthington Visits US, Attends National Day of Action in Washington D.C., January 11, 2012

by Andy Worthington 

January 11, 2012 is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo, and, to mark this bleak anniversary, dozens of campaigning groups are staging en event, “10 Years Too Many: National Day of Action Against Guantánamo.”  

Beginning at 12 noon outside the White House, speakers (myself included) will publicize some horrendous truths about Guantánamo, and will attempt to harangue the President for his failure to fulfil his broken promise to close the prison within a year of taking office.

I was there last year (see here and here), and it’s depressing to note that nothing has improved in the last year, and that, in fact, all three branches of the government — the administration, Congress and the judiciary — have, whether through design or omission, made sure that no one is leaving Guantánamo anytime soon, and that, in fact, without concerted action, Guantánamo will remain open forever, and few, if any of the remaining 171 prisoners will ever leave.

After the rally at the White House, a human chain will be created stretching from the White House to the Capitol. The organisers have put out a call for 2,771 people – the number of prisoners still held unlawfully at Guantánamo (171) and Bagram (2,600) — to make up this human chain, and buses from around the country are being arranged via Witness Against Torture (who also have accommodation available) and The World Can’t Wait.

Sign up via the Center for Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International USA or The World Can’t Wait.

As CCR explains on its promotional page, urging people “to mark the shameful tenth anniversary of Guantánamo’s opening, and to demand that it be closed,” This is “an anniversary that should not have come.” CCR also notes:

Indefinite detention without charge or a fair trial must end, as must all unjust detentions. The Bush detention regime has been more deeply institutionalized by the Obama administration, and Guantánamo remains a key part of a larger, illegal, inhumane, and unjust system of US detention. It is imperative that we come together on this day to demand that the Obama administration and Congress shut it down, charge and fairly try detained men or release them, ensure accountability for torture and other abuses committed by US government officials, counter the Islamophobia underpinning US detention policies, and stop violating human rights in the name of security.

Please also note that, with the kind support of The World Can’t Wait and the Center for Constitutional Rights, Andy Worthington will be in the US from January 5 to 15, and is currently lining up events in New York City (January 5 to 8), Washington D.C. (January 9 to 11), San Francisco (January 12 to 13) and Chicago (January 14). A full itinerary will be posted soon, and there will also be the launch of an exciting new project on January 9.

Organizations involved in the event in Washington D.C. event on January 11 include: Center for Constitutional Rights • Witness Against Torture • Amnesty International USA • The World Can’t Wait • National Religious Campaign Against Torture • Physicians for Human Rights • September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

Other supporters include: Bill of Rights Defense Committee • Catholic Worker • Code Pink • National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance • No More Guantánamos • Pax Christi USA • School of the Americas Watch • Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition • Voices for Creative Nonviolence • WarIsACrime.org • War Criminals Watch • War Resisters League • 8th Day Center for Justice • Appeal for Justice • Arab American Association of New York • Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5 • Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility • High Road for Human Rights • International Justice Network • North Carolina Stop Torture Now Coalition • Pakistan Solidarity Network • Quaker Initiative to End Torture • Rabbis for Human Rights-North America • Refuge Media Project • United Nations Association-USA East Bay Chapter.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books.

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