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14 Years After 9/11, Renewed Action Required to Close Guantánamo

Dear friends and supporters,

Today, on the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Close Guantánamo co-founder Andy Worthington reminds us why it remains urgent for Guantánamo to be closed, for President Obama to make a renewed effort towards closing the prison, and for defense secretary Ashton Carter to take the necessary steps to free prisoners approved for release.

In his article, 14 Years After 9/11, It's Time for Guantánamo to Be Closed, Andy looks at the administration's recent efforts to find a facility on the U.S. mainland to hold prisoners, and the predictable opposition from Republican lawmakers, but points out that what really needs discussing is how 53 of the remaining 116 prisoners have been approved for release (most since 2010), and how most of the rest of the prisoners are awaiting reviews -- the Periodic Review Boards -- to ascertain whether they too can be approved for release.

As Andy explains, these men -- widely described in the media as the "forever prisoners" -- were either recommended for prosecution by an Obama-appointed task force in 2010, until the trial system at Guantánamo spectacularly collapsed, or were described as "too dangerous to release," even though it was also acknowledged that insufficient evidence existed to put them on trial.

What that means, of course, is that, as Andy puts it, "the so-called evidence consists, in large part, of statements made by other prisoners, either in Guantánamo, in Afghanistan prior to their transfer to Guantánamo, or in CIA 'black sites,' and … torture and other forms of abuse render much of it meaningless."

As Andy also states, "It is also clear, from a detailed analysis of those making the allegations in the files released by WikiLeaks that they also include statements made by prisoners who lied, either to gain privileges, or because they had mental health issues, or simply because they could no longer stand the relentless pressure of interrogations, when they -- along with every other prisoner, including those in the 'black sites' -- were repeatedly shown photo albums of other prisoners (referred to by the U.S. authorities as "the family album") and pressurized to say that they knew people whether they did or not."

In case you missed it, we also recommend Andy's previous article, Mohammed Kamin, an Insignificant Afghan Prisoner in Guantánamo, Asks Review Board to Recommend His Release, about the most recent Periodic Review Board -- a clear example, we think, of a prisoner who should no longer be regarded as a threat.

We hope you agree with us that President Obama and Ashton Carter need to do much more to release prisoners and to work towards to closure of Guantánamo, as the president promised on his second day in office in January 2009.

We also hope that you find these articles useful, and that you will share them if you do.

With thanks, as ever, for your 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.
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