16 years of Guantanamo and a year of Trump: The work for justice continues
Close Guantanamo, Stop Torture:
Seeking Justice and Resisting Islamophobia in the Age of Trump
We invite you to join us in community in Washington, DC, January 7 – 14, for Witness Against Torture’s 2018 Fast for Justice. Please let us know you’re coming– for the week or any part of it– by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will gather for a week of events marking a tragic and ongoing history: After 16 years, the US detention camp at Guantanamo remains a living symbol of US torture and human rights abuses and a place of misery for the 41 Muslim men it still houses. Five of the men have been long cleared for release and yet still languish there. The Trump administration is holding 26 of the detainees for indefinite detention without charge or trial. The Pentagon has plans to try only a small handful of the prisoners.
It is easy to lose hope in these troubling times. Yet we know that hope resides not in calculating future probabilities, but in bearing witness to injustice in this present moment. It resides in lifting up human dignity. It resides in imploring our fellow citizens not to turn their eyes away. And so, once again, we gather.
Highlights of WAT’s 2018 Fast for Justice
Here is a preliminary skeleton structure for the week (Jan. 7 – 14):
Sunday evening: arrive anytime after 3; settle in and gather for evening circle
Monday: share the morning meal and begin the fast; opening circle; begin planning the week’s actions
Tuesday: morning circle; plan and carry out actions; evening event (Mark Fallon talk: see below)
Wednesday: morning circle; plan and carry out actions; evening event (Book launch and Peace Poets: see below)
Thursday: 11:30 am White House rally with coalition partners; action; possible evening vigil
Friday: morning circle; afternoon No Foreign Military Bases demonstration in Baltimore; possible evening circle
Saturday: all-day retreat to examine our capacity and how to move forward; evening meal to break the fast together and celebrate our community
Sunday morning: breakfast, circle and closing ceremony; depart.
January 9 – Mark Fallon Event
Author Mark Fallon presents Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon, and US Government Conspired to Torture, at Kramerbooks at 1517 Conn. Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 6:30 pm.
Mark Fallon is a former intelligence officer and investigator at the heart of America’s “war on terror.” Karen Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security, calls his book “Essential reading for those who wish to understand this dark period in American history.”
January 10 – Book Launch, Performance, and Speakers
There is a Man Under that Hood: Closing Guantánamo and Stopping Torture in the Age of Trump
The Impact Hub
419 7th St. NW, Washington, DC
Jan. 10, 6-8 pm
Please join Witness Against Torture, the Peace Poets and friends for a book launch and performance on the eve of our annual January 11 demonstrations against Guantanamo.
The book, There is a Man Under that Hood, collects highlights from eight years of anti-torture photography curated by Justin Norman, and pairs them with Luke Nephew’s powerful poem by the same name. The contents are book-ended by a foreword from WAT’s Jeremy Varon and an afterword from Omar Farah, Senior Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The Peace Poets will perform pieces from current human rights struggles. UK author Andy Worthington will address the state of Guantanamo in the era of Trump. And legal advocates will report on the fate of their clients still in the prison. Together we will celebrate our resistance to torture and work to close Guantanamo.
The 72-page book is available for pre-order in hardcover for $25. Release is set for January 10th, 2018. The proceeds will be used to further the human rights work of the creators.
January 11 – Rally Marking 16 years of Guantanamo
Please join human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantanamo attorneys, 9-11 family members, ex-military officials, and members of diverse faith communities in Washington, D.C. on January 11, 2018 as we rally against Guantanamo, indefinite detention, and Islamophobia and call for the immediate transfer of the cleared detainees. The rally at the White House will begin at 11:30 am.
Just days after Donald Trump retweeted anti-Muslim propaganda, the Supreme Court decided to implement Muslim Ban 3.0 while the lower courts adjudicate the ban’s constitutionality, by kicking the case back to the 4th and 9th Circuit courts. However, they have allowed the racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Muslim ban to go into effect in the meantime. See this op-ed from the ACLU.
In response, the Justice for Muslims Collective organized an emergency rally at the Supreme Court on December 7th. Co-directors Maha Hilal and Darakshan Raja MC’d the event that highlighted the voices of inspiring Muslim women speaking truth to power:
Here’s a link to the livestream video of the rally.
North Carolina Torture Accountability Hearings
On November 30 and December 1, several hundred people gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina for an extraordinary event: the public hearings of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. Over two days, eight commissioners heard riveting and often heart rending testimony about the global rendition and torture program undertaken by the United States following the 9/11 attacks. The witnesses included the world’s leading rendition researcher; military, ex-military, and ex-intelligence officers outspoken against torture; legal experts on human rights; psychologists who treat torture victims; and, via Skype, survivors of US torture. The Commission grew out of local, North Carolina efforts to protest Aero Contractors — a private airline company contracted by the CIA to carry out likely hundreds of rendition flights ferrying US captive to torture by the CIA or foreign governments. The commissioners will author a report based on the hearings.
The NCCIT hearings were a landmark event. The Bush administration sought to define out of existence, conceal, and immunize grave crimes. The Obama administration chose not to prosecute potential perpetrators of torture operating under legal directives from Bush’s DoJ. Several lawsuits targeting torture policies have been dismissed from federal and international courts for reasons of executive privilege, state’s secrets provisions, and pressure from the US government. It has therefore been up to civil society actors like the NCCIT to provide at least symbolic forms of accountability for years of US torture. The hearings further educated the public about US conduct, solidified the legal case that torture occurred, and may help to deter future uses of torture by fortifying a public narrative that it happened and that it was wrong. The hearings also brought victims of torture into a judicial-style inquiry, simulating forms of due process that has been denied them.
For more on the hearings, including links to media and video archive of them, go to the NCCIT website.
We Must Resist: Join WAT in DC in January!
For 13 years Witness Against Torture has championed the cause of the Muslim men unjustly imprisoned at Guantanamo, also using our witness to shine a light on other U.S. institutions of racist, Islamophobic state violence.
Now, as our outrageous Narcissist-In-Chief distracts the world, those very institutions are quietly cementing into place and strengthening the security state that is stripping entire groups of people of due process rights and protection under the law.
We must resist: come to DC in January to witness in community with us and to engage the future together!
Donate to support our work
Please consider a donation to help fund our annual Fast for Justice this January. We are completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff; all of the money you donate goes to funding the work we do together. We are fiscally sponsored by the Washington Peace Center. The Washington Peace Center is a verified US-registered non profit. If you are able, click here to donate.