News Release

Ten Years of Guantanamo, Threat of More Indefinite Detentions

A host of human rights and other groups today are forming a human chain from the White House to the Capitol Building marking ten years of detentions at Guantanamo.

ANDY WORTHINGTON, currently in D.C.:  andy at andyworthington.co.uk
Available for a limited number of interviews, Worthington is one of the founders of the just-launched webpage www.closeguantanamo.org

The group’s mission statement is signed by numerous legal and military notables including Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the Military Commissions at Guantanamo. It states: “January 11, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Bush administration’s ‘war on terror’ prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“On his second day in office, President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo within a year. Yet it remains open, undermining America’s values and national security. Over half of the remaining 171 prisoners — 89 men in total — were cleared for release or transfer more than two years ago by an interagency Task Force established by President Obama, which was made up of the top intelligence and law enforcement officials in the nation. Many of these men were previously cleared by the Bush administration — some as long ago as 2004.

“It is unacceptable that the U.S. government continues to hold men that its own national security experts have recommended for release or transfer, and that Congress has intervened to maintain this deplorable state of affairs.

“We call for the immediate closure of Guantanamo. Guantanamo harms our nation every day it stays open, and it continues to serve as a potent symbol for terrorist recruitment. As President Obama explained in a speech in early 2009, ‘instead of serving as a tool to counter terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al-Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.’ That remains true today.” Worthington is author of The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.

FRIDA BERRIGAN, frida.berrigan at gmail.com
MALACHY KILBRIDE, malachykilbride at yahoo.com
HELEN SCHIETINGER, h.schietinger at verizon.net
JEREMY VARON, cell: jvaron at aol.com
Berrigan, Kilbride, Schietinger and Varon are with the group Witness Against Torture, which has been protesting, fasting and lobbying in Washington, D.C. against torture and indefinite detention since the beginning of the year.

Varon, who is also a professor of history at the New School, said: “Despite his campaign pledge to shut down Guantanamo, President Obama has continued the Bush administration’s practice of indefinite military detention there and at Bagram [U.S. base in Afghanistan].” Varon adds that Obama recently signing the National Defense Authorization Act “extends this abusive regime by allowing the president to order U.S. citizens, as well, to be held indefinitely without due process on American soil. Not one more year — not one more day — of such policies is acceptable. Witness Against Torture is here in Washington to add our message to the ‘Occupy’ movement’s call for a return to a just political and economic system by demanding an end to the national disgrace that is Guantanamo.”