Thursday, January 08, 2009



I doubt that there has been such a flocking of petitioners to the crowning of a new Emperor since the ascension of Augustus. Molly has already mentioned one group who will be on hand for the inauguration of Barack Obama in the next few days. There are dozens and dozens of others (perhaps hundreds), some of them visible and public and many working behind the scenes. One of the public presences will be a coalition of groups who want to end the US torture camp at Guantanamo Bay. the Emperor-to-be has already expressed his dislike of said camp, and this is one of the promises that he is more likely to fulfill. Still, without public pressure, the end of the camp is unlikely. The 100 Days Campaign is working to keep the pressure up. Here is what they intend to do and their call for support.


With Barack Obama taking office, we have a historic opportunity to reverse the disastrous policies of the last eight years. As activists who have been working for the closure of this illegal prison and torture chamber, we are glad to hear the President-elect's commitment to "close Guantánamo" and "make sure that we don't torture." But we know that political promises can be little more than words without continuous, visible and effective pressure. We insist on action.

Witness Against Torture announces a new chapter in the campaign to close the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, end torture and indefinite detention, as well as stop extraordinary rendition by the U.S. Government. The 100 Days Campaign brings together a coalition of groups and individuals who will take part in demonstrations, educate Congress and the public, and engage in nonviolent direct action.

We invite you to come to Washington and participate, or else join or plan an action in your own community.

Many activities by peace, social justice and human rights groups are being planned for the first 100 days of the new administration. The 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantánamo and End Torture hopes to collaborate with those are undertaking similar campaigns or events of their own.

We will begin with a Prisoner Procession and nine-day fast on January 11, 2009, which marks seven years since the opening of the prison at Guantánamo. And then, from January 20 with the inauguration of the next President through April 30, we will maintain a regular schedule of activities. At the end of the 100 days, we hope to celebrate both the closure of the detention facility at Guantánamo and the adoption of policies and laws that decisively ban torture by the U.S. government.

The prison at Guantánamo has been at the center of the shameful incarceration policies of the Bush administration. Those policies have denied detainees fundamental legal rights and subjected them to systematic torture at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Such practices violate the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and basic human rights. They have been a source of domestic and international outrage, denigrating America's character, weakening its standing in the world, and threatening - not enhancing - its security.

The Bush administration has tenaciously defended its detention regime, twice defying landmark rulings by the Supreme Court and relying on secrecy, cover-ups, propaganda, outright lies, and corrupt legal arguments to conceal or to justify its methods. A Republican Congress acted to further deprive detainees of rights and permit the CIA to "lawfully" torture.

We say: no more. The 100 Days Campaign therefore demands that the new President, working, when appropriate, in conjunction with Congress and the courts:
***Close the detention facilities at Guantánamo
***Permit, without political interference, the hearing of habeas petitions by current Guantánamo detainees
***Charge those against whom there is sufficient, credible evidence with a crime, and let the others go free, repatriating them to their country of origin or to countries where their safety from persecution can be guaranteed
***Scrap the current Military Commissions process for prosecution of Guantánamo inmates and move those accused of crimes into the federal justice system
***Ban all forms of psychological torture and do away with the exemption for the CIA's enhanced interrogation program from laws barring the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees
***End legal immunity for alleged U.S. torturers
***Close other U.S. detention centers worldwide that do not comply with international human rights standards, such as those at the U.S. Air Base at Bagram and at any remaining CIA black sites
***Allow and abide by meaningful international inspection and oversight of U.S. detention facilities
***Call for a rigorous inquiry, with subpoena powers, to determine the precise origins and evolution of the Bush administrations detention policies and hold architects of this system accountable(Molly truly loves this one. One wonders how Bush in front of a war crimes tribunal would compare with Saddam Hussein. I don't think the comparison would be charitable to Bush)

The campaign calls on all citizens — from jurists to journalists, military personnel to medical professionals, activists to artists to defend the rule of law and human rights by supporting us in these demands.
The 100 Days Campaign was initiated by Witness Against Torture in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Pax Christi USA, School of the Americas Watch, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, United for Peace and Justice, and the War Resisters League. Read more about these groups.

Endorsing groups include the Catholic Peace Fellowship, Code Pink, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Pace e Bene, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and a growing list of others.
***Order a copy of the recently published Witness Against Torture Book and DVD.
***Buy a Witness Against Torture T-Shirt.
***Donate online or send a check made out to "Witness Against Torture" to Mary House Catholic Worker, 55 E. Third Street, New York, NY 10003. .
***Sign on as an endorsing organization.
***Spread the word! Email a friend, download and distribute flyers, or put a button on your website.

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