Obama’s last month - and our last push on closing Guantánamo
Dear friends and supporters,
Time is running out for President Obama to close Guantánamo before he leave office, and Donald Trump takes over, and last week, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, the home of U.S. Special Operations Command and Central Command, the outgoing president gave what is widely expected to be his final speech on counter-terrorism, in which he tried to defend his record.
However, as Close Guantánamo co-founder Andy Worthington noted in his article analyzing Obama’s speech, In Final Counter-Terrorism Speech, Obama Targets Trump But Fails to Acknowledge His Own Mistakes on Guantánamo and War
, Obama may lack Trump’s crude enthusiasm for torture, but his record on counter-terrorism has generally been poor — dominated by drone strikes and, of course, by his failure to close Guantánamo, despite promising to do so on his second day in office back in January 2009, as Andy wrote about at the time
59 men are still held at Guantánamo
, 22 of whom have been approved for release, and despite Obama’s failure we will continue to highlight the need for the prison to be closed though our Countdown to Close Guantánamo, which we launched at the start of the year.
Nearly 600 photos have now been submitted by celebrities and concerned citizens across the U.S. and around the world, holding posters counting down to the end of Obama’s presidency, reminding the president how many days he had left to fulfill his promise. The posters were initially every 50 days, but for the last two months we have increased the frequency to every five days.
Today (Dec. 15), 35 days remain for Obama to close Guantánamo, and if you would like to get involved, joining the campaign’s other co-founder, the attorney Tom Wilner, please print off a poster
, take a photo with it and send it to us at email@example.com. You can also send a message to the president, if you wish, and let us know where you are so we can demonstrate the breadth of support worldwide for the closure of Guantánamo.
You can see all the photos here: Celebrity photos
, Public photos (4)
and Public photos
, Public photos (2)
and Public photos (3)
. We think it has been a worthwhile project to demonstrate that, across the world, there are people who still care about Guantánamo, even though it is no longer headline news, and was barely discussed during the presidential campaign.
Please also feel free to take further photos over the next month with the following posters:
30 days to go on Dec. 20
25 days to go on Christmas Day
20 days to go on Dec. 30
15 days to go on Jan. 4
10 days to go on Jan. 9
In our next newsletter, we’ll be letting you know about the events we’re currently planning to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo on Jan. 11, when Andy will be visiting the U.S. from his home in London, as he has every year since 2011, to protest about its continued existence outside the White House, and to take part in a number of events. including Tom and Andy's annual panel discussion at New America on Jan. 11.
Please also note that, although we have secured the support of a handful of individuals to maintain the Close Guantánamo campaign and website since its launch five years ago, we are now actively seeking donations from supporters to keep it going, via the PayPal “Donate” button on the top right of the website
. All donations are welcome, but if you can become a monthly sustainer that will be particularly appreciated.
To do so, please tick the box marked, "Make This Recurring (Monthly)," and fill in the amount you wish to donate every month.
We appreciate your support as we move into the third presidency in which Guantánamo — a prison that should never have been opened in the first place — remains open, under a new president whose rhetoric is alarming, and whose appointments, in some cases, threaten to turn back the clock to the excesses of the Bush years.
With thanks, as ever, for your ongoing support.
The "Close Guantánamo" team
P.S. Please, if you will, also ask your friends and family to join us
-- just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email. Please also note that we can be found on Twitter here
and on Facebook here