ACTION ALERT: 157 Held without Charge. Lives Are on the Line, Close Guantanamo Now!

April 16th, 2013 - by admin

The World Can’t Wait / SF Bay Area Chapter – 2013-04-16 23:40:58

Special to EAW

(April 16, 2013) — Today is April 16, and in the USA, people are going about their daily lives — it’s jobs, it’s school, it’s everything we have to deal with to get from day to day. Yesterday lots of people were especially stressing about taxes.

In the prison at Guantánamo, prisoners whose Hunger Strike began on February 7 are thinking about life, and about death. In that torture chamber, 130 men have been on hunger strike for nearly 70 days in a collective challenge to the conscience of the world.


Thursday April 18, 4:00-5:00 PM
Vigil/Speak Out — Orange jump-suited “prisoner” action
Steps of San Francisco City Hall
1 Carlton Goodlett Place (Civic Center Plaza side of City Hall)

(April 16, 2013) — Our previous action was at the federal building as representative of the national disgrace and responsibility. This time we’ll be at a City Hall — ongoing public protests also have to bring this home to every corner of the country.

[The Guantanamo] hunger strike has been ongoing for almost 70 days. On Saturday the prisoners were assaulted in a violent raid of the prison communal cellblock.

If you read the New York Tiimes Op-Ed page on Monday [See EAW stories ], you read the cry from one hunger striking prisoner — describing the despair of the prisoners, the torture of force-feedings. There seems to be no limit to the levels of the US government’s brutal assault against any rights or humanity of these “detainees” (and what is the difference between being a prisoner and being “detained” when most of the men in Guantanamo have now been there for over 10 years or more?).

Here’s a KPFA Flashpoints interview of London-based Guantánamo expert/journalist Andy Worthington, detainee attorney Candace Gorman of Chicago, and Stephanie Tang with World Can’t Wait.

In the early hours of April 13, the guards brutally moved to extract the prisoners from the communal cell and move them each into solitary confinement. Already there had been intensifying and violent techniques used against the prisoners to get them to stop the hunger strike.

According to statements from the military, its concerns were to gain control over the situation where the prisoners’ hunger strike has spread to a huge majority of the prison, and there are possibilities of prisoners dying without their captors being able to prevent this.

To justify this raid, the military claims to the press that more detainees were joining the hunger strike” in secret” by hanging blankets over cell cameras to block camera views to avoid being force-fed.

To justify shooting off four “less than lethal rounds” at prisoners to quell their attempts to fight back during these forced cell extractions, the military claims prisoners were armed — with broomsticks and mop handles and some water bottles with tape around them.

According to the Miami Herald, the operational plan for this raid by military personnel on the morning of April 13th was made known to President Obama before it took place.

The hunger strike by the Guantánamo prisoners is their cry to the world, which we must hear and support. Right now, today — our voices and our actions can make a difference.

Join people of conscience here and around the world to absolutely condemn the escalated violence perpetrated against the prisoners at Guantánamo in the brutal pre-dawn raid against them during their months-long mass hunger strike on Saturday, April 13.

Join us to stand with the hunger strikers. Join us to salute their courage and embrace their humanity. World Can’t Wait remains committed to resisting and opposing the crime that is Guantánamo, through ever-growing and consistent, visible protest and exposure of the crimes of our government.

This action by most of the 166 men still held in Guantánamo (a majority of whom have long been cleared for release yet remain behind these bars) is morally justifiable in light of their continued detention and torture they have endured without charge or trial.

What has NO justification are the actions of President Obama and his administration, the actions of the military personnel under Obama’s command, and the inaction of a passive and silent American public that should be refusing to accept torture and other degrading, inhuman treatment of prisoners, and refusing to allow our government to carry out these crimes in our name.

There is only one way to ensure the safety and health of the Guantánamo prisoners: Shut Down Guantánamo and End Indefinite Detention! We call on all people of conscience, whatever your religious faith, political affiliation, or identification:

Join us in raising the righteous demands that
1) the 157 prisoners now held without charge must be released and the others must be provided a fair trial, and
2) Guantanamo must be shut down, NOW.

We remain committed to resisting and opposing the crime that is Guantánamo, through ever-growing and consistent, visible protest and exposure of the crimes of our government.

World Can’t Wait – National: 866.973.4463
SF Bay Area Chapter: 415.864.5153