Guantánamo - Nine Years of Torture and Injustice

“The existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained... By any measure, the costs of keeping Guantanamo open far exceed the complications involved in closing it... That is why I ordered it closed within one year.”
- President Barack Obama, May 21, 2009

January 11th 2011 marks the beginning of the 10th year of confinement, abuse and injustice for the men at Guantánamo. There are 174 men still imprisoned there, despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s promise to close it and to end torture.

Not only has President Obama failed to close Guantánamo, he has also failed to renounce extraordinary rendition and to hold former President Bush and his administration accountable for torturing prisoners in Guantanamo and in other locations around the world.

From January 11th to 22nd, Witness Against Torture will fast and hold daily vigils and demonstrations throughout Washington. They start on the 11th because it was on January 11th, 2002 that the first men came to the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay which the Bush administration had established as a permanent holding facility for those dubbed enemy combatants. The notion was that U.S. law, like the writ of habeas corpus, the right of due process, freedom from torture and abuse, would not extend to Cuba.

The end date marks the day (January 22nd) in 2009 when President Obama committed his administration to closing the prison camp at Guantánamo within a year.

The Witness Against Torture campaign notes that

Since [January 22nd 2009], the process of releasing, relocating, or prosecuting the men there has been mired in bureaucratic machinations, Congressional grandstanding, fear‐mongering, and political backsliding. Despite his claim to break from the past, President Obama has upheld many of the worst Bush policies – from the denial of habeas corpus, to immunity for torturers, rendition, and indefinite detention without charge or trial.

That this abrogation of the law has been allowed to continue under Obama is a galling outrage. Guantanamo continues—and worse, is being replicated and extended in Afghanistan where the United States administers at least nine prisons. We need principled, nonviolent witness and action to secure due process, accountability, and a world without torture, cruelty, and endless warmaking.

Shannonwatch has endorsed the Witness Against Torture Call to Action, and will mark the shameful failure to close Guantánamo at its vigil at Shannon on January 9th. Many of the aircraft that brought kidnapped prisoners to Guantánamo Bay passed through Shannon, and to date no effort has been made by the Irish Government to investigate or end this complicity in torture and other human rights abuse.

Share this