Andy Worthington & Debra Sweet Address How & Why the U.S. has Kept this Illegal Prison Open for 12 years, and Our Responsibility to Close It.
The Bush regime filled the off-shore prison at Guantanamo Bay by rendering men seized from around the globe into indefinite captivity, employing and legally justifying a program of torture they called “enhanced interrogation.” They slowly began to release prisoners for whom no case could be fabricated to justify prison, while planning to keep many forever, most of whom could not be shown to have played any role in opposing the United States.
When Barack Obama was elected, he quickly promised to close it within a year… five years ago. The illegal prison is still open, with new infrastructure added and more personnel than ever. Most people in the U.S. have no idea there are still 78 prisoners there who were cleared for release years ago; 45 of whom the President says will never be charged or released; and 30 to be put through “military commissions” trials which are designed to cover the torture inflicted on the prisoners, depriving of them rights the U.S. has claimed to cherish.
Why, as Obama says the “war on terror” is winding down, will this government not close Guantanamo? And what is our responsibility to see that it does?
Andy Worthington @guantanamoandy, a journalist based in the U.K., has covered the prison intensely since 2006. In hundreds of articles, he’s uncovered the lives of the men held without charge, and the stories the US created about them. Author of The Guantanamo Files: Stories of the 774 Men Held in Guantanamo and director of the 2009 film Outside the Law, he further developed the picture by sifting through the Guantanamo Detainee Briefs released via Wikileaks by Private Manning in 2011.
Debra Sweet, @DSweetWCW is the Director of The World Can’t Wait, leader of years of protest of indefinite detention and torture by the United States, including a full-page ad in The New York Times in May 2013 picturing Guantanamo prisoners for the first time in those pages, and bringing together prisoners’ attorneys, academics, artists, and voices of conscience to declare “Close Guantanamo NOW.”
Todd Pierce is a former U.S. military defense attorney for Guantanamo prisoners.
Jeff Kaye @jeff_kaye is a psychologist active in the anti-torture movement. His blog is Invictus.
Michael Kearns is a retired Air Force Captain, and a former instructor on the SERE program, which teaches US military personnel to resist torture if captured by enemy forces. He is a former colleague of Bruce Jessen, who, with James Mitchell, reverse-engineered SERE techniques for use in the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” to Capt. Kearns’ horror.
Jason Leopold is an investigative reporter covering Guantanamo, counterterrorism, national security, human rights, open government and civil liberties issues. He’s been called a “FOIA Terrorist” by federal employees for his aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act, which included suing the FBI and forcing the agency to changes its policies .
Dennis Loo, Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona, is on the Steering Committee of World Can’t Wait and writes at dennisloo.com.
Doctors of the Darkside, a film by Martha Davis addresses the critical role of physicians & psychologists in detainee torture. (74 minutes) This film exposes how essential psychologists and physicians have been in implementing and covering up the torture of detainees in US controlled military prisons– features the stories of four detainees and the doctors involved in their abuse. Director Martha Davis (Interrogation Psychologists) spent four years investigating the controversy and produced the documentary with Oscar-winners Mark Jonathan Harris (Writer) and Mercedes Ruehl (Narrator), and Emmy-winner Lisa Rinzler (Director of Photography).
Calendar of Events
Invite your friends via the Facebook event.
Thursday January 9: New York City 6:30 pm: Reception. 7:00 pm: Film screening of Doctors of the Darkside at All Souls Church 1157 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan with Andy Worthington & Debra Sweet, with Todd Pierce, former U.S. military defense attorney for Guantanamo prisoners and Martha Davis, Director of Doctors of the Darkside. Sponsored by: Peace and Justice Task Force of All Souls Unitarian Church, The Center for Constitutional Rights, New York Campaign Against Torture, No More Guantanamos, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Resistance Cinema, Revolution Books, Witness Against Torture, and World Can’t Wait (list in formation).
Saturday January 11: Washington, DC 12 noon Close Guantanamo Now Protest at the White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Procession begins 1:00 pm; ends 2:30 pm World Can’t Wait, Witness Against Torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International, and National Religious Coalition Against Torture. Facebook event.
Monday January 13: Stanford University, Palo Alto CA 5:30 pm: Old Union 520 Lasuen Mall, Room 200 with Andy Worthington with Stephanie Tang, Jeffrey Kaye & Michael Kearns. Facebook event.
Tuesday January 14: San Francisco 12:00 pm: Hastings Law School, 200 McAllister St, Room E., with Andy Worthington and Stephanie Tang.
Tuesday January 14: Berkeley 7:00 pm Screening of Doctors of the Darkside with Andy Worthington and Stephanie Tang. Revolution Books, 2425 Channing Way @ Telegraph Avenue.
Wednesday January 15: Los Angeles 11:30am: MLK Luncheon with Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace, Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Keynote Speaker: Andy Worthington.
Wednesday January 15: Los Angeles 7:00pm: Screening of Doctors of the Darkside at Revolution Books 5726 Hollywood Boulevard with Andy Worthington and Jason Leopold
Thursday January 16: Anaheim 7pm: Unitarian Universalist Church 511 S Harbor Blvd. Sponsored by IUCC Advocates for Peace and Justice, Orange County Peace Coalition, Pax Christi Orange County with Andy Worthington and Jason Leopold.
January 17: Cal Poly Pomona 7:00 pm University Theater with Andy Worthington and Dennis Loo
This ambitious tour will not be a success without YOUR contribution. The “new normals” of our world are not acceptable. “It is up to the people to stand up for principle and morality when their institutions and public officials refuse to do so.”