Fast for Justice 2013: Day 1

Fast for Justice 2013 // Film

Dear Friends,

January 11, 2013 marks the eleventh anniversary of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the seventh anniversary of Witness Against Torture’s January 11 presence in D.C., and our fifth liquids fast. Here we are again, pilgrims from across the country, gathering in D.C. Though it is not to pay homage to the nation’s capital that we come, but to honor a common cause, a divine mandate in fact, “love one another.” Even enemies, even strangers, undoubtedly those unjustly detained.

First Trinity has once again graciously allowed us their space and at a modest rate, though we are still looking to raise funds to cover the cost of rent, as well as liquid sustenance of juice and tea. The fast began this afternoon after a farewell-to-eating feast of pizza. Though it is a somber cause for which we gather, the atmosphere was paradoxically celebratory as many friends who haven’t seen each other for months, or even since last year, are reunited. As this struggle continues, we find joy in community. And it is a community that is continually growing. “We are a large circle,” Matt D. said at our first meeting of fasters, “but our circle is larger than faces you see.” We know many of you across the country (and farther) are joining us, and very much feel your presence here.
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Glenn Greenwald on John Brennan

Fast for Justice 2013 // Film

Witness Against Torture held a joint vigil with Code Pink today at the White House to oppose President Obama’s nomination of John Brennan. Glenn Greenwald has a related article:

“Prior to President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, a controversy erupted over reports that he intended to appoint John Brennan as CIA director. That controversy, in which I participated, centered around the fact that Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush’s programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program. As a result, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration, issuing a bitter letter blaming ‘strong criticism in some quarters prompted by [his] previous service with the’ CIA.
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Dreams Deferred at Guantanamo

Fast for Justice 2013 // Film

As our readers may recall, in December of 2005, some twenty-five activists from several Catholic Worker communities journeyed to forbidden Cuba to call attention to the plight of over 500 Muslim men imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay. Rumors had been confirmed by lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights: prisoners at Guantánamo were being subject to cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment and torture.
Continue reading Dreams Deferred at Guantanamo

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The State of Guantánamo

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

Protesters March to the US Supreme Court
President Obama thundered last night that “as long as we maintain our common resolve. . . the state of our Union will always be strong.” But so long as Guantánamo remains open, and men are imprisoned without charge or trial, the United States is weak, in fatal breach of its own ideals. Energized by 10 days of protest in Washington, D.C. and the national outcry at the National Defense Authorization Act, we must now strengthen our own resolve to close Guantánamo, end indefinite detention, and secure justice for the victims of US abuse. We can all sign the “We the People” petition by our friends at Close Guantánamo to force the White House to answer to its bankrupt policies. We can all work — in the streets and in our communities — to create a world without torture and the sacrifice of liberty to fear and hatred. Join us.
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Fast for Justice 2012: Day 10

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

Fast for Justice: Day 10
Dear Friends,

Being together in community allows us to support one another, challenge one another, and collectively push limits. So on our final day of fasting, on the heels of a beautiful gathering of hundreds for January 11th we decided that rather than relax and reflect, we would continue to push forward.
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Fast for Justice 2012: Day 9

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

Fast for Justice: Day 9
When Joanne in New York heard that the ten-day forecast for Washington DC during our fast would be rather beautiful and warm except for Wednesday, January 11th, which was predicted to be cold and rainy, she remarked, “You see, even the earth will be weeping that day.” And it was. But as you will read below in the various reflections on today’s rally and events afterwards, we could not have had a more solemn and powerful marking of the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo as a detention center for the US “War on Terror.”
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Reflections of a First-Time Faster

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

Fast for Justice: Day 8
I came to fast and walk and build community with Witness Against Torture because I wanted to be in a place where we could remind each other of our humanity. My hope was answered on many levels. This was my first time doing an extended fast, and I got to experience in a new way what my body is capable of. I felt how vulnerable and dependent I am, and yet how much more resilient I am than I could have imagined. Torture and indefinite detention are meant to break people, to strip them of their dignity as human beings. Torture is a process of mutilating another person’s soul, something that neither the victim nor the perpetrator fully recovers from.
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Fast for Justice 2012: Day 8

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film


Video: Beth Brockman the morning of day 8.
Today was a the day of perseverance, preparation and gathering. The round-the-clock vigil with the Guantánamo cell has created a strong presence in front of the White House; a constant reminder. Meanwhile, back at the church, various peoples and groups were assigned tasks in order for tomorrow to run smoothly. It will be no small feat of organization and cooperation for the many expected people to manifest as one singular group, simultaneously speaking out in front of four of the main government institutions responsible for the continuation of Guantánamo—the White House, Department of Justice, Congress and the Supreme Court.
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Fast for Justice 2012: Day 7

Fast for Justice 2012 // Film

Fast for Justice: Day 7
Photo: Cage vigil at the White House, hour 66

We have spent this cold, slushy day in D.C. fragmented into a number of small groups scattered in different directions. The projects, actions, and meetings included a vigil at the Pentagon (guided by Art Laffin, see his reflection below), a teach-in with Chris Hedges and another about torture at Freedom Plaza, an evening reflection encompassing action planning and personal sharing, a phone call with fasters in other parts of the country, and of course the continuation of the 92-hour cage vigil that is now more than halfway through. Because of that vigil, the lights, which are normally switched on around 7 a.m., stayed out until the afternoon, leaving a semi-dark space for those who’d been out overnight or quite early to rest and re-gather their strength.
Continue reading Fast for Justice 2012: Day 7

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