Daily Update – Day 6 of the Fast for Justice

Campaigns // Film

Dear friends,

Today was a busy one – and tomorrow and Monday will be busier still.

Still lots of organizing and planning and meeting and acting – all of which become a little more difficult as we go deeper into our fast.  But a spirit has also descended on our community here, now numbering over 70 people…a spirit of connection, and gratitude, and resolve.

Today we joined friends in Code Pink for the Torture Tour, visiting the Virginia homes of John Brennan and Dick Cheney (where two were arrested), then going to CIA headquarters in Langley for a vigil and speaking event.  A photo album of the tour can be found here.  In the afternoon, some of our group joined a planning meeting for organizing an anti-militarization mobilization in DC in March, and some went to a rally to remember Leelah Alcorn and honor Leelah’s wishes for folks to stand up for the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people everywhere. The day ended with our From Ferguson to Guantanamo panel discussion.

And tomorrow we will be at the White House at 1pm for a demonstration marking January 11th.

Thanks to those who responded to our invitation to share resources for the breaking of our fast on Monday.  More details on how to join us if you are local – but much more to happen before (and shortly after) then.

In Peace,

Witness Against Torture

Links to Media Coverage of Torture Tour

Two anti-torture protesters arrested at Dick Cheney’s house

Human Rights Activists Protest Torture Policies on Former VP Dick Cheney’s Porch

Demonstrators mark 14th anniversary of opening of Guantanamo prison with torture protest on Dick Cheney’s lawn

Dick Cheney Has Anti-Torture Protesters Arrested At Demonstration Outside of His House

Two Arrested After Protests At The CIA And Home Of Dick Cheney [VIDEO]


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Saturday, January 10 – Day 6

John Brennan’s home, in a modest suburban neighborhood, was remarkably unprotected. Only a few police officers and cars were there to meet us when we arrived (although more showed up soon). Medea Benjamin led the group from the street up the short driveway that led to a cluster of houses in a circle, including Brennan’s house. Singing what has become our theme song (“we’re gonna build a nation/that don’t torture no one/but it’s gonna take courage/for that change to come”), we walked past the police officers who tried to stop us and moved directly in front of Brennan’s house. There, using our sound system, we spoke directly to Brennan. Several people from the group spoke, condemning the CIA’s and his actions. After about a half hour of speaking, singing, holding banners, and capturing images, and with a police force growing in size and agitation, we filed away from Brennan’s home, singing ‘we’re gonna build a nation…’

At Dick Cheney’s house, police stood in front of the front door.  Our group processed toward a gate that was slightly ajar which led to the back door, where we could easily see through the windows.  When the police who were out front did arrive in the back yard, Tighe Barry of Code Pink was wearing a mask representing Dick Cheney and standing behind a prop for prison bars.  Members of the group encouraged the police to arrest Dick Cheney, and they did, but they actually had nabbed Tighe.  Eighty-three year old Eve Tetaz, longtime Witness Against Torture community member, was also arrested, apparently for moving too slowly.   Both were released a few hours later.

The planning meeting for the spring anti-war action brainstormed ideas and debated some organizing strategies for a national call to action. At the moment, it appears there will be a mobilization in Washington DC March 20-21 that would consist of town hall type meetings, live streaming, and localized teach-ins. Stay tuned for more information in the near future.

In the shadow of the old Carnegie Library, the city’s former central library, a crowd of more than 500 concerned citizens rallied to remember and honor Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen who committed suicide last month when she walked out into a highway near her Ohio home. Lordes, one of the speakers, said that at 38 years old she was already three years past the average lifespan of transwomen in the U.S. “We are here to declare that Leelah’s life mattered, and that she commissioned all of us to fix society.” Following the rally the large group marched in the cold streets to the Department of Justice (DOJ) with a stop at the Family Research Council where a memorial for Leelah was built. Once at the DOJ, the group’s list of demands were read. The demands include an immediate ban to the dangerous pseudo-scientific “conversion therapy,” required sensitivity training for teachers, parents and other public officials, and greater access to needed hormone treatment for those transitioning. It was a powerful and dramatic march and rally and the organizing group pledged further actions in the near future in the pursuit for full trans rights and respect.

The evening panel discussion took place in the sanctuary of the church where we are staying and begun with powerful poems from the Peace Poets. They performed “Power Concedes Nothing” (derived from Frederick Douglass), “Everything is Possible,” and “Sweet, sweet solidarity.”

The panel that followed was challenging and affirming, engaging and instructive.  The four panelists were Marsha Coleman-Adebayo (DC Hands-Up Coalition), Salim Adofo (National Black United Front), Aliya Hana Hussain (Center for Constitutional Rights), and Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence) –  with facilitation of the panel by Jerica Arents (Witness Against Torture).

Among some of the reflections panelists shared:

Ferguson turned a moment into a movement.

Ferguson and Guantanamo have in common White Supremacy, impunity for police, and so many innocents who have been jailed.

We have to deal with this White Supremacy Beast.

What feeds the Beast of White Supremacy is the constant promotion of fear, that white people need to protect what they have and their “security.”

Prisoners at Guantanamo talked about Ferguson, saying “They’re being treated like non-humans, like us.

One of the challenges of activism is stepping out and not knowing what you’re going to find on the other side.

People in our movement have actually been given strength from the mothers whose children have been killed.

We are getting better at working together, forming coalitions. It’s hard because people come to the table with all their isms and schisms.

Attica is connected to South Africa is connected to Guantanamo is connected to Ferguson. We have to look at the global picture.

Malcolm X said, “Don’t be surprised that I was in prison. Don’t you know that if you’re black in America, you’re in prison?”

I want us to question uniforms. Because someone wears a uniform and has been trained to kill does not mean he should be exalted.

About being allies: You have to give people the space to solve the problem on their own.

We need to enlarge our understanding of what genocide means.

We need to have brutally honest conversations with each other.

We need to teach our children and young people about militarism.

All of these struggles are preparing us for the really big struggle where we confront the class of people who are destroying life on this planet.

We need to stick in there for the long haul.


Daily Update – Day 5 of the Fast for Justice

Campaigns // Film

Dear friends,

This update feels incomplete as we write, but it is getting late and we are leaving in a few short hours for the Torturer’s Tour, and preparing for a panel discussion Saturday night entitled From Ferguson to Guantanamo….followed by Sunday’s  demonstration marking January 11th, and breaking the fast and actions on Monday.

This powerful 3 minute film of our presence at the White House is well worth watching and sharing, and these images capture some of the beauty of holding Fahd Ghazy’s portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.

Our days are full thru Tuesday and we will be gathering to break our fast Monday morning.  We have a space reserved for our meal together, and are now asking for our extended community to help provide that meal.  If any folks are able to help us either coordinate food locally, or share some resources to help us have food brought in, please be in touch to let us know.

In Peace,

Witness Against Torture

Links to Press Releases

“Torturers Tour” at Homes of John Brennan and Dick Cheney, Followed by Vigil at CIA Headquarters

Groups to Rally Sunday at White House on 13th Guantánamo Anniversary


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Friday, January 9 – Day 5

Today, we did a variation of the performance we did on Tuesday at Union Station focusing on the words and image of Fahd Ghazy. This time we did it at the White House with a larger group. We dramatically positioned Frank in a jumpsuit and hood kneeling on the ground to represent Fahd during the readings.

At the end, right after reading Fahd’s words, “Now that you know, you cannot turn away,” we had each person in our troupe come to the microphone to finish the phrase: “I will not turn away because…” The voice and expression of each person, one after the other, was a powerful and moving testament to our commitments and an invitation to those watching to also refuse to turn away.

I will not turn away because…

“… I see beauty in the eyes of each person.”

“… I am a mother who has lost a son.”

“… I am a human being, a Muslim, a target of the war on terror.”

“… I am blessed to know love and family, and will never deny that to another.”

“… the existence of the prison at Guantanamo is illegal and immoral.”

“… we need the courage to face the truth of the ugliness.”

“… I am a human being horrified at enforced hopelessness.”

“… I too, in a small way, have suffered.”

“… the U.S. does this in my name and I never gave my permission.”

Then, some of our group took our action to the National Portrait Gallery. The gallery’s entrance leads into a lovely, large atrium.  Seeing the space, and noting that about 50 people, seated at small tables, were conversing over meals, we decided that we would begin with soft singing.

We quickly arranged ourselves in a V-formation.  In the center, Brian and Paulette held the banner carrying a portrait of Fahd Ghazy’s face.  Leaflets were distributed to onlookers.  No one expressed animosity.  A little girl seemed especially pleased to see us, and when she approached, her parents seemed not to mind.

Frank Lopez invited people to open their hearts to Fahd Ghazy’s story and see his humanity.  Our soft singing was interspersed with excerpts from Fahd’s letter. We unraveled Fahd’s portrait. Onlookers were reading the leaflets and many were listening.  Some would have seen a security guard approach Brian to tell him that he couldn’t show that portrait in this place.  Some might have heard the guard tell Chrissy, as she read, “This can’t happen here.”  Kathy walked forward to read the next excerpt, we continued singing, and then Frank, in the role of Fahd, began to recite his excerpt as the security guard, joined by other armed guards, ordered Frank to stop.

Slowly he rose, and slowly we processed out of the National Portrait Gallery.  Frank, who had memorized the final excerpt from Fahd’s letter, filled the space with Fahd’s words:  “Now that you have heard me, you cannot turn away.”  The little girl, wide-eyed, watched us every step of our way.

Luke rejoined us on the front steps for a brief closure time. He had stayed behind to thank the onlookers.

As we go through this week living in community with the focus of calling attention to the horrors of Guantanamo and torture, we challenge ourselves to look at ways of practicing compassion within a system of such widespread dehumanization. A sense of hope is brought to the public while we stand in front of the White House singing “We’re gonna build a nation that don’t torture no one…” Taking action as a spiritual practice also raises the question of who has the power to forgive? Fahd Gazy wrote that there is no guilt or innocence in Guantanamo, but there is right and wrong.  It is difficult to see what is in a person’s heart and what leads to a change of heart. In our creation of community here in DC we envision a true world house where all belong, where there are no winners and losers. Fahd’s story invites us to admit mistakes, and forgive. We want to liberate the prisoners and make amends.

Chris Spicer wrote this reflection today:

When I write a letter to a detainee it must begin politely. Great greetings of peace, Yes peace! And I know you have peace, have a peaceful heart, that you long for peace; and as a follower of the way of peace I acknowledge anger and resentment, brutal wrongdoing. As a follower of the way of peace, I send my hope for your patience.

Because when I write a detainee I trust the final end of all knowing, the great return to our common origin, this nature and destiny of the human being, and wanting really to put this act of knowing in the service of recognizing your dignity, your way of peace; I consider this act enabling liberty for both of us, preserving our endowment for the right to choices of faith, family, friends, a corner to mark private.

Composing words through which to meet you in power’s place, at rest in peace, I exercise the desire for shared ground, for a place where truth resides, for a moment, lasting, with a freedom that has the ground of peace. Finally I move the pen. I hail you, I fast for you.

How’s a busy mom supposed to find the time to protest Guantánamo?

By Frida Berrigan

This is how it starts.

I am sitting on the floor in the living room. My son Seamus — a two-and-a-half-year-old — is cuddled in my lap. I am talking to my sister on the phone and then, suddenly, I am covered in vomit.

“Ah, Kate. I am going to have to call you back. Seamus just hurled all over me.”

I throw down the phone and carry my screaming son upstairs and into the bathtub. He has the flu.

Meanwhile, my friends are fasting in Washington, D.C. They are vigiling, witnessing and organizing to shut down Guantánamo, end torture and ensure accountability for the perpetrators. They are wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods (over very warm coats). They are at the Pentagon, the White House and the Capitol, as the new Congress is sworn in. They are embodying solidarity by showing up for demonstrations against police brutality and U.S. military aid to Mexico. They are waking up early, going to bed late and sleeping on mats on the floor. They are hungry and cold. They are meeting, planning, praying and singing.

I am not there. I am missing it and I am missing them.

Witness Against Torture started nearly 10 years ago as a small group of people looking at the issues of torture, indefinite detention, collective punishment, scapegoating, racism and violence in the George W. Bush administration’s Global War on Terror. Through prayer, study and building community, we were able to stretch ourselves over fear to do what our consciences told us was right. We got on a plane, flew to Cuba and began walking to Guantánamo. We aimed to walk right onto the U.S. naval base and visit the men (at the time there were more than 700 Muslims and Arabs and others interred there). We got pretty close to the base and there we vigiled and prayed and fasted for five days while we held press conferences, did international media work and called the U.S. base incessantly asking to be let in. Flying back to Newark, N.J., we told customs agents that we had been to Cuba, hoping that we’d be tried for violating travel and financial restrictions. We never were.

Nine years later, those Cuba travel laws are all changing, but the reality for the more than 100 men still at Guantánamo remains the same. More men (nine) have died at Guantánamo than have been tried for their alleged crimes by military commissions (eight). Sixty-three of those still imprisoned at Guantánamo have been cleared for release by both the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Shaker Aamer, Fahd Ghazy and 61 others: These are the men my friends are fasting for in D.C. and beyond. This coming Sunday will mark 12 years of indefinite detention and separation for the men at Guantánamo.

Since coming home from Cuba in December 2005, Witness Against Torture has grown from 25 people to thousands. We have worked to make January 11a day of national shame. Each year, we have gathered in Washington, D.C., in anger, outrage and the hope that we won’t have to do it again the following year. And then we do it again the next year, and now it is 2015.

Today is day five of their fast. Our fast? I am not fasting. I am still nursing a 17-pound, 10-month-old and her demand for liquid nutrition is near constant. I am not fasting, but I have sworn off sweets and beer until the Witness Against Torture fast ends with breakfast on Tuesday, January 13.

It does not feel like enough, especially because I am not in D.C.

Seamus has stopped vomiting, but he still has a fever and is miserable. It is just by grace (and the bionic nursing baby immune system) that Madeline has not gotten his nasty bug, but she is teething and has a runny nose. While my friends have been marching, vigiling and singing, I have been marooned in various rooms in our house, with Seamus whining on one side of my lap and Madeline nursing on the other. My clothes are covered in kid snot, I have not been able to go to the bathroom by myself, and all I want at the end of the day is a beer and a brownie. (This unmet want makes me feel like my token fast is some small sacrifice after all. I guess that is something.)

I planned to take the kids to Baltimore to see their Grandma Liz and then on to D.C. on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, and now maybe Friday or evenSaturday. We will see how they feel. I am struggling so much with this! I am still getting used to this being responsible for other people phenomenon called motherhood: I have to think about the health and warmth, food and nutrition, well-being and safety of two very little people. When we went to Cuba in 2005, I was not a mother, I was not nursing and I had never been covered in baby snot or toddler vomit. It doesn’t seem like so long ago and I am not a different person, but it is hard to be here when my friends and part of my heart are in D.C., working so hard for justice, accountability and all that I hold so dear.

Thank you friends. I am with you in spirit. But those of you with immune systems degraded by cold, fasting and tiredness are surely happy I am not any closer.


Daily Update – Day 4 of the Fast for Justice

Campaigns // Film

Dear friends,

As another day in DC comes to a close…and the last few remain in our makeshift office – a small room off the larger church basement space were other folks are sleeping – conversation continues about planning, and remembering, and resisting, and learning.

Our update is shorter today, as much of our time has been spent planning our next few days which include a Torturer’s Tour, a From Ferguson to Guantanamo panel discussion, and a demonstration marking January 11th and the beginning of 14 years of torture and indefinite detention.

We were also able to put together two short videos of some of our public presences this week, focused on #FreeFahd & #WeStandWithShaker.  Please take two minutes to watch and share.

We have also included in this update a poem written by Luke Nephew, penned under the influence of reading the words from Guantanamo of Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel – which follow Luke’s words below.

In Peace,

Witness Against Torture

*Please share your fasting experiences with us so we can pass them on to the larger community.*



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Thursday, January 8

Today was Day 4 of our fast and the temperature in Washington was well below freezing all day. People are tending to each other very well as we get hungrier, spacier, and (arguably) funnier.

This morning we welcomed some new members to our community (we’re up to 40 now) and did some planning and community-building. Later, we all went to see the movie Selma. It’s a very powerful and moving film about Martin Luther King and the struggle in Selma in the 60’s that led to the Voting Rights Act. The spirit of activism from the civil rights movement fed our own spirits. The images of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church evoked thoughts of other children and places around the world where our military’s bombs fall from drones.

After the movie, many of us fanned out to various sites around the city to scout out possibilities for our actions on the 11th and 12th. Then in the evening, we circled up and got in small groups to think through different options for those days. Looking forward…

History’s Most Necessary Writer
By Luke Nephew

The hunger that the Samir feels
Is no longer knowing at his stomach
It grates over his entire being,
Shredding his peace into pieces
Beating salt into his mind’s open wounds
Most of the time he must focus on just breathing
And out
Don’t begin
To doubt
Just in and out of now, out of here
Traveling as far as memory and imagination can take him
He leaves
He breathes- this how he escapes from the most powerful military in history
An innocent man versus marines, sergeants, racist privates,
His hungry stuttering breadth is the extent of his riot
Can no longer waste fury on the injustice of his engagement
He can only breathe in and out the belief this hunger strike will change it,
He is dying
His pain enflaming
His anguish knotting him tighter and tighter
Today he has become
History’s most necessary writer
They publish a piece of his breadth in the New York Times, will he survive?
His exhale prays that he is not the scribe of a suicide note for the 164 lives
Living death inside the prison, he coughs out curdled fear,
he is still here- that fact alone makes him the writer of a million poems of resistance:
His inhale is filled with tales of Love
Stories his memory paints before he faints, prayers for fresh air, his mother’s face,
His cough is a soliloquy to honor the laughter of daughters, eyes glowing as they look at their father, he is wheezing an ode to hugs
he wants to be hugged
after the force feeding sessions when he’s thrown back in his cell he sighs
a slow trembling elegy, a goodbye
and hours later his breadth scripts the small gifts his imagination lifts into haikus
for little pleasures he remembers buying vegetables, drinking tea and talking softly as the sun sets-
His pen is his breadth- He is STILL writing for for life in the grip of death
History’s most urgent writer- taken, tortured, force-fed-
Composing you chapters to document the devastation of his capture,
and the miraculous survival of human hope-
He’s not done loving
Not yet
I beg him to keep pen to paper, air in lungs-
Please don’t get tired of cutting through the wire
Of revealing our reality, our truth set on fire
Never stop burning for freedom
Please  Please do not stop breathing.

Gitmo Is Killing Me
By Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel


ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.

The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.

I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day.

Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.

I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.

The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.

And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.

I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.

Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call.


Daily Update – Day 3 of the Fast for Justice

Campaigns // Film

Dear friends,

Joy, gratitude, and greetings to you!  We’ve had a full day of reflections, meetings, rehearsals, and street theater that we hope you will enjoy reading about and seeing on flickr and facebook.

Morale is good here, and we continue to expand as new people arrive in DC to witness with us.  It’s exciting to feel the energy building.

Thank you for your solidarity, as we join our spirits with those of our brothers in Guantánamo.

In Peace,

Witness Against Torture

*Please share your fasting experiences with us so we can pass them on to the larger community.*



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DAY 3 – Wednesday, January 7

This morning was a time for introspection and community-building. Sitting in our circle, we all wrote personal responses to prompts that we knew also loom large for the men in Guantanamo.  Luke invited us each to think about people and experiences that have deeply affected us.  Specifically, he asked us to remember people we love, why we love these people, and to also recall instances of separation from and reunion with loved ones.

As we shared our responses around the circle, we felt a growing sense of community and caring. We brought our families and friends into our circle. We also brought the men in Guantanamo into the circle, knowing they have loved ones that they dearly miss and hope they will soon be reunited with. We understood the importance of seeing the prisoners in all of their humanity, not just as numbers in a prison.

Later in the morning we created and rehearsed an action that we took to Union Station here in D.C.  Using words from a letter written by Fahd Ghazy to his lawyer, a large painted banner of his face, a number of signs, and songs, we presented a performance piece attempting to show his humanity to people moving through the station. We spent over 45 minutes in the station doing our performance three times as we processed from one location to another.

During the dramatic readings of his words, we sang and hummed this song:

We’re gonna to build a nation
That don’t torture no one
But it’s going to take courage
For that change to come

As we walked out of the building we also sang:

Courage, Muslim brothers
You do not walk alone
We will walk with you
And sing your spirit home

Outside of Union Station, Frank invited us to form a circle and briefly express our feelings about the action we’d just created.  Several people expressed surprise and gratitude because of having transformed the spaces inside.

In the evening, Dr. Maha Hilal, an activist who has been part of WAT and has just earned her doctorate, came to share her dissertation. It’s title is “Too Damn Muslim to Be Trusted: The War on Terror and the Muslim American Response.” Her study documented the beliefs and attitudes of Muslim Americans about being targeted since 9/11 – with a majority feeling diminished senses of legal and cultural citizenship.

Malachy Kilbride, who will join our group later in the week, wrote a reflection to share. Here is an excerpt:

The fasting is a spiritual act of solidarity as we align ourselves with the suffering of the Guantanamo captives, their families and friends, and the injustice of this whole bloody mess. The fast in and of itself will not bring an end to this terrible travesty. In a way though, the fasting will also highlight the hunger strikes of the prisoners. Prisoners of Guantanamo have engaged in hunger strikes now for years to protest the illegality of their confinement, treatment, their torture, and their helplessness and hopelessness. In fasting we stand with them, the men who starve for justice.


A Promise Still to Keep: Close Guantánamo, Stop Torture, and End Indefinite Detention

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On the second day of his administration, President Obama pledged to close the detention facility at Guantánamo and reaffirmed the ban on torture. But Guantánamo remains open.

On January 11, 2015 the detention facility will enter its fourteenth year of operation. Despite the recent release of some detained men, more than 100 remain at Guantánamo, including dozens who are cleared for transfer — the great majority of whom are from Yemen. Those still detained suffer the torment of separation from their families and ongoing, indefinite detention. Some detainees remain on hunger strike and are brutally force-fed.

The Senate report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program describes acts of torture that shock the conscience. President Obama banned the CIA torture program by executive order when he took office, but that is insufficient to ensure that torture and other ill-treatment are never used again. Obama’s Justice Department has refused to prosecute those who authorized, ordered, designed and carried out a torture program that is in plain violation of U.S. law and treaty obligations.

President Obama, whose second term will soon end, must fulfill his promise to close the detention facility and end torture. The time to act is now.

Please join human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantánamo attorneys, 9-11 family members, ex-military officials, and members of diverse faith communities in Washington, D.C. on January 11, 2105 as they call on the Obama administration and congress to close Guantánamo, end indefinite detention, ensure accountability for torture, and reaffirm the absolute ban on torture. We will rally at the White House at 1 pm and then march to the Justice Department.

Sponsors: Amnesty International USA, the Blue Lantern Project, the Center for Constitutional Rights, CloseGitmo.net, Code Pink, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the National Religious Coalition Against Torture, Reprieve, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the Torture Abolition and Survivor and Support Coalition, Veterans for Peace, We Stand with Shaker, Witness Against Torture, World Can’t Wait, and others.