Close Guantanamo event - Witness Against Torture - Madison

Event Dates: 
01/11/12

January 11, 2012

10 Years Too Many:

National Day of Action Against Guantánamo

 

Please join us in calling for the closure of Guantanamo:  Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 7:00 PM – Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse – 1101 Williamson St,. Madison – Letter writing campaign including a short presentation on the detention center, letter writing including to the men being detained at Guantanamo, and reading of poems written by the men from Guantanamo

 

For more information contact: Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (608-250-9240, mbspeace1@charter.net), Madison Pledge of Resistance (608-222-7581, joyfirst5@gmail.com)

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171 MEN STILL ILLEGALLY DETAINED

 

The first men arrived in Guantánamo on January 11, 2002 – ten years ago.  Of the 779 men who have been detained at Guantánamo over the years, only six have been convicted of any crime by a military tribunal.  Most of the 171 men remaining in Guantánamo are innocent of any wrong-doing.  The majority of them are men who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when they were captured, and over half of the men imprisoned at Guantánamo have been cleared for release.  Most could leave tomorrow if the blanket ban on repatriations to Yemen were lifted, and if the government did more to facilitate resettlement for the men who need safe homes in new countries. The Obama administration has effectively ceased transfers, and this is a trend that must be reversed.  In our current political situation, these men who have committed no crime have no hope of ever being set free and reuniting with their loved ones from more than 20 countries around the world.

 

Guantánamo is a global symbol of human rights violations and lawlessness by the US government. According to military experts it is counterproductive to security.  The Obama administration’s adoption, virtually wholescale, of George W. Bush’s “global war on terror” has ensured a continued assault on human rights principles and the nation’s bedrock principle of the rule of law.

 

January 22, 2012, is the third anniversary of the Executive Order mandating the closure of the detention camp at Guantánamo within a year. The Obama administration has not only failed to fulfill the Executive Order, but has also extended some of the worst aspects of the Guantánamo system by continuing indefinite detentions without charge or trial, employing illegitimate military commissions to try some suspects, and blocking accountability for torture both by refusing to conduct independent and thorough investigations and by attempting to prevent the courts from reviewing lawsuits brought by formerly detained men. 

 

As the 10th anniversary of Guantánamo approaches, the chorus of experts calling for its closure—both Democrat and Republican—is growing. Today, five former Secretaries of State— including Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright and Colin Powell—all concur that closing down the prison camp would be a major step toward repairing our image abroad. Even George W. Bush has said he would "like Guantánamo to end."

 

Yet Congress has ignored the recommendations of numerous security, intelligence and military experts. It has failed to pass legislation to shut down Guantánamo and insisted on a system of military commissions that both undermines our entire system of justice and squanders our financial resources. While nearly 200 9/11 conspirators have been tried and charged in U.S. courts since the attacks, only three detainees were convicted in Guantánamo during the same time period.

 

The continued existence of Guantánamo weakens our national security by giving our enemies a powerful recruiting tool. It puts our own troops and citizens abroad in danger—American hikers imprisoned in Iran, for example, reported that their guards cited Gitmo as justification for their abuse—and has not led to any substantive intelligence breakthroughs. Matthew Alexander, the pseudonym of the Air Force major and interrogator who extracted valuable intelligence without the use of torture, says that the continued existence of the prison is a recruiting tool for al Qaeda and creates obstacles for interrogators seeking information regarding future plots.

 

Finally, national security, image and international influence aside, detaining prisoners indefinitely, in poor conditions without the right to a fair trial and using 'enhanced interrogation techniques' such as waterboarding, is illegal under international and national law. These human rights abuses provide a rhetorical cover for those elsewhere in the world who routinely violate human rights.

 

Guantánamo is a stain on America’s leadership on human rights. Guantánamo must be closed to in order to restore this nation's credibility abroad and at home. It is time for the United States to take a stand for the human rights we push other nations to respect.

 

 

 

We call on President Obama and Congress to:

·        Close Guantánamo & end abuses at Bagram

·        End indefinite detention & military commissions

·        Charge and fairly try detained men in federal court or release them

·        Hold government officials accountable for torture and other serious violations of international law at Guantananmo and other detention sites

·        Fully investigate; prosecute and provide remedy for victims

·        Counter Islamophobia underpinning Guantánamo & US detention policies more broadly

·        Ensure security with human rights.