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By War Criminals Watch - Posted on 24 May 2013


166 men remain imprisoned at Guantanamo. Most are on hunger strike and for many it is more than 100 days that they have been refusing food. Some are near death, many imprisoned for more than ten years. They have lost hope of ever being released, although a majority were cleared to leave years ago. As Adnan Latif, a detainee, wrote during an earlier hunger strike, "Where is the world to save us from torture? Where is the world to save the hunger strikers?" Mr. Latif was cleared for release as well, but he died in September 2012, still waiting for justice.

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 officeresponsible 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-blowerswho 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 attacksJohn 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.

Signers of the statement include:
John Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Junot Diaz, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Eve Ensler, Dave Eggers, Glenn Greenwald, Paul Haggis, Bianca Jagger, Ariel Dorfman, Erica Jong, Michael Moore, Ron Kovic, Moby, Tom Morello, Mark Ruffalo, James Schamus, Carl Dix, Oliver Stone, Cindy Sheehan, and Cornel West, joined by attorneys for the Guantanamo prisoners and hundreds of others who stand for justice; add your name.


Close Guantanamo Ad


Read the statement

Sign the statement

Learn more about the Guantanamo detainees  |  What you can do to spread this message  |  Find out more about World Can't Wait

Some initial signers:

Gbenga Akinnagbe, actor/director
William Ayers A Movement Reimaginging Change
George Appell
Fr. Luis Barrios, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Kathleen Barry
M. Cherif Bassiouni, Emeritus Professor of Law, DePaul University School of Law
Sheila Levant deBretteville, Yale University*
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Judith Bernstein
Leah Bolger, former President, Veterans for Peace
Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ
Art Blakey II
William Blum, author, Killing Hope 
Joan Braderman
Fred Branfman
Elaine Brower, World Can't Wait
Barney Bush, Vinyard Indian Settlement
Shahid Buttar, Bill of Rights Defense Committee*
Leslie Cagan
Lauren Carasik, Western New England University School of Law*
Mel Chin
Noam Chomsky
Jim Cockcroft
Marjorie Cohn, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Susanna Coffey
Andrew Cooks
John Cusack
Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party
Junot Diaz, writer
Ariel Dorfman
Susanj Draga
Michael Deutsch
Rosalyn Deutsche
Dave Eggers, writer
Daniel Ellsberg 
Eve Ensler, playwright and activist
C. Peter Erlinder, William and Mary College of Law* 
Jodie Evans, Code Pink
Larry Everest
Marc Falkoff, Northern IL University School of Law*
Johanna Fatemen, Le Tigre
Clinton Fein
Nina Felshin
Bruria Finkel

Laura Flanders, GRIT-TV
Miller Francis
Coco Fusco
Katherine GallagherGuantanamo attorney
Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Kate Gilmore
Leonard Goodman, Guantanamo Lawyer
Grace Graupe-Pillard
Joan Grubin
Mike Ferner, Veterans for Peace

* Organization for identification only



Click here to see the ad the was placed in the NYT on May 23rd:

Tina Foster, International Justice Network, Bagram Lawyer
David Gespass, National Lawyers Guild
Kevin Gostzola,
Glenn Greenwald
Andy Griggs, Interreligious Communities United for Justice & Peace*
Kyle Goen
Candace Gorman
, Civil rights lawyer
Denis Halliday, UN Assistant Secretary-General (1994-98)
Paul Haggis
, writer/director
Maryam Hassan, Save Shaker Aamer
Pablo Helguera
Marie Howe
Gaillard Hunt, Guantanamo lawyer
Bianca Jagger
Erica Jong, writer
Brig. Gen. (Ret) Janis Karpinski
Ramzi Kassem, CUNY School of Law*
Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace
Uzma Khan, University of Hawaii*
C. Clark Kissinger, Revolution Books NYC
Ron Kovic 
Joyce and Max Kozloff
Nancy Kricorian, wrter & activist
Margaret Ratner Kunstler
Peter Kuznick, writer
Saul Landau, Institute for Policy Studies
Cristina Lee, NLG-NYC Exec committee member*
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun & The Network of Spiritual Progressives*
Tim McIlrath, Rise Against
Michael Locker
London Guantanamo Campaign
Dennis Loo, World Can't Wait
Raymond Lotta, Revolution newspaper &
Haki Madhubuti, Third World Press
Karen Malpede, director
Mahmoud Mamdani, Columbia University*
Aasif Mandviwalla
Peter McLaren
Rita Maran
Gregory A. Mark, DePaul University School of Law*
Carlos Mauricio, Stop Impunity Project
Alfred McCoy, University of Wisconsin Madison*
Ray McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Cynthia McKinney, 2008 Power to the People Campaign
Zenaida Mendez, National Organization for Women-NYS
Tom Morello
Michael Moore
Nick Mottern,
Brandon Neeley, former GTMO guard

Almerindo Ojeda, Guantanamo Testimonials Project, principal investigator
Tom Otterness, Thomas Otterness Studio
Clifford Owens
Trevor Paglen
Rev. Stephen Phelps, The Riverside Church*
Cecile Pineda, writer
Michael Rapkin, Guantanamo attorney
Martha Rayner, Fordham University Law School*
Rev. George Regas, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Vernon Reid
Boots Riley
Stephen F. Rohde, Civil Liberties Attorney
Matt Rothschild, The Progressive
Mark Ruffalo, actor/director
James Schamus, Columbia University
Rev. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church
Michael Scharf, Case Western Reserve School of Law*
Dread Scott
Peter Selz
Jeff Sharlet, editor, Harpers
Wallace Shawn
Justine Sharrock, writer
Cindy Sheehan, Tour de Peace
Danny Simmons
Dick Simpson, Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago* and former Chicago Alderman 
Kiki Smith
Steve Shelley, Sonic Youth
Carol Strickman, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Oliver Stone
Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait
Nancy Talanian, No More Guantanamos
Sunsara Taylor, writer, Revolution and initiator
Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network
Dennis Trainor Jr.
Hart Viges, Iraq Veterans Against the War*
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace
Ayelet Waldman, writer
Alice Walker
Kara Walker
Carlos Warner, Assistant Federal Defender Representing 11 detainees in Guantanamo
Carl Wassilie, Alaska's Big Village Network
Anne Weills, National Lawyers Guild
Cornel West
S. Brian Willson
Martha Wilson, Franklin Furnace Archive Inc.
Andy Worthington,
Col. (Ret) Ann Wright
Garrett Wright, NLG-NYC Chapter President*
James Yee, Graduate West Point, former Guantanamo chaplain








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