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An Impressive List is Coalescing to Close Guantanamo NOW
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, Nancy Kricorian, 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.
Today, the Guantanamo prisoners are at Day 99 of their hunger strike. The administration is force-feeding 27 prisoners in danger of dying, itself a form of torture. An attorney decided not to sign the message we've prepared for The New York Times, because it sounded like a “cry of desperation.”
Well, it is a cry of desperation. What's most chiling is the sole act left to the prisoners, to die in protest, could begin to happen very soon. Conversely, if the jailers of Guantanamo break up the strike with the brutality they're employing, that's it. What more could be done since the First District US Court refuses to even hear habeas applications? As Glenn Greenwald, a signer of the ad, said recently, “more detainees have died at the camp (nine) than have been convicted of wrongdoing by its military commissions (six).” What else could you call this other than a desperate situation?
Thousands of us are acting based on the prisoners' urgent situation, across the world this weekend, to support the strike. And we have this tremendous chance to help create a political situation where the President Obama may be forced to release prisoners and close the illegitimate prison, set up to evade U.S. law in 2001.
We are more than half way there, and we can raise these funds soon and get this ad into The Times quickly if we all work together.
“Torture is for Torture, the System is for the System”: Shaker Aamer’s Letters from Guantánamo
“I often quote 1984 by George Orwell (it’s probably the book I’ve read more than any other but the Holy Koran): ‘Torture is for torture, the System is for the System.’
“They have taken to sending the FCE team in for everything. That’s if I’m lucky...
“The FCE team comes in, some 22-stone soldier puts his knees on my back while the others pin my arms and legs to the floor, and they leave me a plastic bottle. You’re allowed only one bottle at a time, as having two is somehow a threat to US national security. That means from morning until night, I have nothing to drink unless I conserve it carefully.
“My lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, has talked to me about this. He told me about Hurricane Carter, the black American boxer who was wrongfully jailed for murder – Bob Dylan did a song about him. Carter realised that American prisons try to control you by taking away every choice you might have, as that’s what we humans use to build our sense of who we are, whether it’s something trivial like what we have for dinner, or something important. They try to reduce you to nothingness. It’s ironic, but that’s what the authorities do to the soldiers too, to make them into automatons: they’re just meant to follow orders.”
From Guantánamo, Younus Chekhouri Speaks About the Prison Clampdown: “Everyone is Traumatized by What Happened”
“What has happened here now is real nightmare. Nobody dreamed that what has happened would happen. After our peaceful demonstration, on Sunday morning the guards came in with guns. They used shotguns and three people were injured. Used gun with small bullets.”
“The guards came in, closed all of our cells, [removed us from our cells and] told us to get on the ground. We lay there on our belly for three hours or more. They took everything. Cells empty, nothing left. They moved us into another empty block and after a while they gave us blanket and that is all. They said it’s punishment.”
“History repeats itself, like it was seven years ago. [All we can have now are] blankets and clothes [on our backs]. [The cell I am in now] is really cold.”
25 Former Prisoners Urge President Obama to Close Guantánamo:
“It will, in a few months, be 12 years since the first prisoners were sent to Guantánamo by the Bush administration to avoid fair treatment and fair trials. At first the world was shocked by the images of shackled kneeling men in orange jumpsuits wearing face masks, blacked out eye-goggles and industrial ear muffs — in order to prevent them from seeing, hearing and speaking. Then they were mostly forgotten.
“However, over time their voices did get heard as recurrent and corroborative stories of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment came out when some of the men who endured it were released. Of the 779 prisoners once held at Guantánamo, 612 have been released — without charge, or apology. We are among these men and it is through our testimony — and that of the prisoners left behind, via their legal teams — that the voices of those who know the evil of Guantánamo are finally being heard.”
M. Cherif Bassiouni, Emeritus Professor of Law (DePaul University College of Law) writes:
“...the question of torture is not something abstract, it is an international crime as well as a crime under U.S. law for which all perpetrators are subject to prosecution, and if found guilty, to punishment including those medical personnel who participate in such acts (which is also a violation of their Hippocratic Oath and in violation of the “Nuremburg Principles”). All such concerned persons should know that obedience to superior orders is not a defense when the order is manifestly unlawful.
The time to stop these illegal practices has long been upon us, but the political will of a few has so far overcome the good will of the many in this country. All legal avenues through U.S. courts seem to be blocked, for the moment.”
Song for the Hunger Strikers by The Peace Poets
It is up to 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 must demand their release now, before they lose their lives as well. SIGN and FUND this message NOW.
Please. The world really can't wait on this.