Learn more about the Guantanamo detainees | What you can do to spread this message | Find out more about World Can't Wait
Gbenga Akinnagbe, actor/director
Tina Foster, International Justice Network, Bagram Lawyer
Almerindo Ojeda, Guantanamo Testimonials Project, principal investigator
President Obama had said nothing about Guantanamo for years. Facing a growing outcry, he blames Congress for blocking closure. Even under Congress’ existing criteria, however, Obama could have released most of the detainees years ago. He closed the office responsible for processing prisoners’ releases; made it harder for lawyers to meet with their clients by recently banning commercial flights to the prison and barring emergency calls by attorneys to the detainees; ordered forced feeding through excruciating means and by strapping prisoners down (a violation of medical ethics and torture in itself); and authorized an April 13, 2013 assault in which guards fired rubber bullets on hunger strikers. Obama does not need Congressional approval: as Commander-in-Chief, he has the power to shut the prison down now.
The continuing torture at Guantanamo is part of larger and alarming developments. When he ran for office, Obama promised to restore the rule of law. Instead he has claimed and exercised unchecked executive powers beyond what George Bush used. He refuses to prosecute officials for their use of torture, yet aggressively prosecutes any whistle-blowers who expose war crimes, most flagrantly in the torture, slander and draconian legal charges against Bradley Manning. By signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, Obama made indefinite detention, based on merely an accusation, the law of the land. These actions amount to institutionalizing and, in important respects, escalating the “Bush Doctrine.”
In the name of “security,” our government has tortured at least one hundred people to death. In the name of the “war on terror,” thousands have been detained without a chance to face their accusers or even know what charges they are held under. In opposition to international law, Obama has implemented a policy of killing with drones across sovereign borders, deciding who will die by Hellfire missiles - without charges, trials, or any evidence other than what only Obama and his close advisers deem sufficient. At least 176 children have been killed by drones in Pakistan alone and between 3-4,000 non-combatants have died in drone attacks. John Bellinger, who drafted Bush’s justifications for targeted killings, concludes that the Obama administration has decided to kill people with drones so that they don’t have to imprison them.
Fundamental civil liberties have been eviscerated. In the name of safety, fear, or revenge, American presidents cannot be allowed to arrogate to themselves the power of judge, jury and executioner. Actions that utilize de facto torture, that run roughshod over the rule of law and due process, and that rain down terror and murder on peoples and nations, amount to war crimes. Such actions cannot in any way be morally justified in the name of “protecting Americans.” The lives of people living here are not more precious than any other people's lives.
It is up to the people to stand up for principle and morality when their institutions and public officials refuse to do so. The fates of those who are maimed or killed by our government’s policies are inextricably intertwined with our own: we must listen and respond to their cry for justice. We demand the release of the cleared Guantanamo prisoners now, and an end to indefinite detention without charge for the others, before they lose their lives.*
*Obama has been using preventive detention – holding people indefinitely on the grounds that they might do something bad – which is an express violation of the principles under which due process and the rule of law operate: you should not be punished for something that you have not done. He announced this policy publicly in a May 9, 2009 speech at the National Archives. See here for a further discussion of this and other related points.
|2322||Fri Feb 21 00:50:36 EST 2014||Tony Misner||Andover, NJ|
|2321||Mon Feb 10 20:54:25 EST 2014||Alicja B.||Leicester,|
|2320||Wed Feb 05 12:04:37 EST 2014||Aroosa Ahmed|
|2319||Wed Feb 05 11:28:52 EST 2014||Sanah Tariq||ot||When will the torture end? Treated like animals and fed like children, what is the purpose of Guantanamo bay?|
|2318||Fri Jan 10 10:25:14 EST 2014||Dave Driver||We The People||Manchester, TN|
|2317||Fri Dec 27 05:32:15 EST 2013||Brian Gregor||None; however, I consider myself part of the Freedom Movement th||Daphne, AL|
|2316||Thu Dec 26 11:18:17 EST 2013||Bill Nicholson||Southsea, ot|
|2315||Wed Dec 25 03:35:14 EST 2013||Janet Patel||Toronto, ON|
|2314||Tue Dec 24 20:14:28 EST 2013||Marium Navid||Berkeley, CA|
|2313||Mon Dec 16 10:28:35 EST 2013||Aaron Dellutri||Chicago Area Peace Action||Chicago, IL|
|2312||Sun Dec 15 19:32:45 EST 2013||Jan Gilbert||Chicago, IL|
|2311||Fri Dec 13 22:55:34 EST 2013||Nancy Byers Nancy Byers||Berkeley, CA|
|2310||Fri Dec 06 01:31:32 EST 2013||Erik Bloom||baltimore, md||When will this national disgrace end? as long as this prison remains open along with its many Dark Site sisters, the United States lacks all moral credibility, for the most basic human rights are violated More....|
|2309||Tue Nov 26 12:52:15 EST 2013||Jorge Garriga||Miami, FL|
|2308||Mon Nov 11 00:58:54 EST 2013||Eric Resnick||Canton, OH||I thought we hired Obama because he was going to do better than this. WHat happened?|
|2307||Thu Nov 07 14:46:16 EST 2013||Jennifer Ortega||NY|
|2306||Wed Nov 06 18:14:41 EST 2013||Wilma Ralls||Rohnert Park, CA|
|2305||Wed Nov 06 16:48:11 EST 2013||t Jeffries||OR||Gluagtánamo: the Washington regime´s proud
continuation of concentration camps.
|2304||Wed Nov 06 14:39:23 EST 2013||Gary Jones||Code Pink||Joliet, IL|
|2303||Wed Nov 06 09:09:12 EST 2013||L. Michael Hager||Retired||Eastham, MA||Guantanamo and indefinite detention are signs of a lawless society.|
|2302||Sat Nov 02 18:38:26 EDT 2013||Stephen Graham|
|2301||Thu Oct 17 08:17:52 EDT 2013||Francis Kuhn||Murrintown, County Wexford , Ire, ot||Guantanamo is a WAR CRIME !!!!|
|2300||Thu Oct 17 02:22:10 EDT 2013||Shakeerah Long||Penndel, PA|
|2299||Thu Oct 10 12:12:24 EDT 2013||Melanie Kean||Cincinnati, OH|
|2298||Wed Oct 02 15:22:10 EDT 2013||jovan smith||none||paducah, KY||Just want to help.|