January 2, 2014
Guantanamo Bay Prison at 12 Years
Close Guantanamo NOW Proponents Plan US Speaking Tour January 9-17
What: Public lectures/panels by opponents of the US prison in Guantanamo Bay
When: January 9-17
Where: Campus and community events in New York City; Washington, D.C; Palo Alto, Berkeley, San Francisco, Pomona, Los Angeles and Orange County, CA
British journalist and author Andy Worthington will headline the Close Guantanamo NOW Tour, along with Debra Sweet, Director of the World Can’t Wait. They will speak in front of the White House on Saturday January 11, twelve years after the Bush administration opened the prison, in community events in New York City and Washington, and on campuses in California.
Worthington and Sweet will be joined at some events by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, psychologist and anti-torture writer/activist Jeffrey Kaye, the former SERE instructor and anti-torture campaigner Michael Kearns, and Todd Pierce, a former military defense attorney, who represented men at Guantánamo who were put forward for trials by military commission.
Worthington said this week: “For the last five years, the ownership of Guantanamo has been in the hands of Barack Obama and the Democrats, and it has, for the most part, been a dispiriting experience watching as fine words – Obama’s 2009 promise to close the prison – turned to inaction as Congress raised obstacles to the release of prisoners, and the president refused to spend political capital overcoming those obstacles. Last year, the prisoners themselves overcame this inertia by embarking on a prison-wide hunger strike that finally forced the president to act. Since August, eleven prisoners have been released, but of the 155 prisoners still held, almost half – 76 in total – were cleared for release by a high-level, inter-agency task force appointed by the president shortly after he first took office in 2009. The president must release these men as soon as possible, and prosecute or release the 79 others.”
“Guantanamo is a torture camp from which the only exit for the last several years, up until late 2013, was in a coffin. Notwithstanding recent prisoner releases, Obama needs to send home the 76 cleared prisoners who have waited for years, charge or release those 45 men being held indefinitely without charges, and close the prison,” said Sweet.