President Obama has 100 days left to close Guantánamo
Dear friends and supporters,
As you read this message, “Close Guantánamo” supporters across the U.S. and around the world are sending in photos of themselves with posters reminding President Obama that tomorrow, Oct. 11, he has just 100 days left to fulfill the promise to close the ill-conceived “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay that he made on his second day in office, nearly eight long years ago.
To join the supporters, please print off a “100 days” poster
, take a photo with it, and send it to us at email@example.com, and we’ll publicize it on the website, with the nearly 500 other photos we’ve received since launching the Countdown to Close Guantánamo in January
. See here
. We’ll also be sharing some of the photos on Facebook
. Please also feel free to send a personal message to the president, whether as encouragement or criticism, and please be aware that, if you miss Oct. 11, you can still send in photos, as we’ll be publicizing them all week and into next week as well.
On closing Guantánamo, President Obama has certainly lacked urgency in fulfilling his promise, but he has also faced stiff— and unprincipled — opposition in Congress, where lawmakers have interfered with his ability to release prisoners as recommended by high-level, inter-agency review processes, and have also imposed an absolute ban on bringing any prisoner to the U.S. mainland for any reason — the key obstacle to his closure of the prison before he leaves office.
Yesterday, the Miami Herald
, home to Carol Rosenberg, the most indefatigable reporter on Guantánamo for the last 14 years, published an editorial that endorsed the position we at “Close Guantánamo” have taken since we launched nearly five years ago.
“Guantánamo detention facility has failed; shut it down!” was the Herald’s editors’ unambiguous headline, followed by an analysis of the unacceptable economic cost of Guantánamo — “the most expensive prison on Earth, costing an astounding $7.29 million per prisoner per year” — and a description of the failures of justice at the prison. In part, these failures are through the broken military commission trial system
that is incapable of delivering justice against the handful of men actually accused of serious crimes (including the 9/11 attacks), but in general a systemic failure of the entire operation has been through the shamefully poor intelligence applied to the majority of the 79 men and boys
held by the military at Guantánamo throughout its nearly 15-year history.
We have been discussing these failures of intelligence throughout Guantánamo’s history, and, most recently, our co-founder Andy Worthington has been monitoring how they have emerged in the Periodic Review Boards
, which, since November 2013, but mainly throughout this year, have been reviewing the cases of 64 men previously regarded as “too dangerous to release.”
With over half the men reviewed ending up approved for release, it is clear that these assessments were often inaccurate, and, as the Miami Herald notes, the latest report
by Carol Rosenberg, confirming our findings over the years, “has found that many of the so-called ‘worst of the worst’ really weren’t. At all.” Her article reviewing the reviews includes “multiple cases of mistaken identity, and others who were sold to gullible U.S. forces by bounty hunters who knew the prisoners were not terrorists.”
We continue to call for the closure of the prison — perhaps through a slim Congressional majority in the new year, or through an executive order, but more probably through President Obama handing on to his successor less than 40 prisoners, whose transfer to a facility or facilities on the mainland ought to be accepted — and we hope you will join us in the last stage of the Countdown to Close Guantánamo before the Presidential Election. The next date on our calendar is Nov. 30, when President Obama will have just 50 days left to fulfill his promise.
For further information on Guantánamo, torture, the military commissions, and the men held at the prison throughout its history, please see Andy’s latest op-ed for Al-Jazeera, Guantánamo torture victims should be allowed UN visit
, and also check out his updated, definitive six-part prison list on his website
, which lists every prisoner held at Guantánamo, with links to the 2000 articles Andy has written about Guantánamo over the last nine 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.