A group from “World Can’t Wait, Witness Against Torture” and the American Civil Liberties Union came to the main area of Grand Central Station in New York City on Thursday to say a loud “NO!” to Trump’s plan to keep Guantanamo open and fill it with more indefinite detainees. In all, members from many organizations took part in the action including September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Witness Against Torture, the Justice for Muslims Collective, World Can’t Wait and the Center for Constitutional Rights. I was there to take photos and recorded a Facebook livestream:
Posted by Cat Watters on Thursday, February 1, 2018
The first photo of this article, I captured Jeremy Varon of Peaceful Tomorrows holding his “CLOSE GTMO” sign. Varon addressed the circle of demonstrators and the public at Grand Central Station raising “egregious violations of due process” against those held in GTMO.
Varon expressed Trump’s plan to “indefinitely detain whomever he wants with no charge or trial and no process by which people can plead their innocence and ever be released from the prison.” Varon went on to discuss the lawsuit against Trump by the Center for Constitutional Rights for his egregious human rights violations. Varon stated that Trump’s policy on Guantanamo is based on his racist view of Muslims and compared it to the Muslim ban and “rooted in vile racism”.
The group had planned the day’s demonstration to bring awareness to many misconceptions to Guantanamo and those who have been held without due process or trail. Many have also been cleared for release years ago and yet, are still held.
Description of the event from the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases:
Calling on all to come out to Grand Central Station, Thursday Feb. 1, at noon. We’ll be gathering at the clock in the main area to protest Trump’s plan to keep Guantanamo open!
We’ll have signs or bring your own. We’ll have orange jumpsuits if you wish to don one. World Can’t Wait is joining with Witness Against Torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International and others to let the world know that we demand Guantanamo be closed now!
The US prison at Guantanamo is one of the towering human rights violations of the 21st century: extraordinary rendition, false imprisonment, inhumane treatment—including torture and death. Forty-one men are still there, almost all without any charges and five of whom have been cleared for release, not released yet and now without a chance from Trump. And, he plans to bring more prisoners there.
Demonstrators chanted in call-and-response fashion, “I will invite members of our group to share their wisdom with the people of NYC”. Then, group members took turns addressing the public with facts about what’s going on in GTMO and demanding freedom and justice.
Also see investigative journalist and author of the Guantanamo Files, Andy Worthington’s Close Guantanamo page, a great resource for continued coverage. They have a promotional video to watch on the Close Guantanamo campaign that was published to mark Donald Trump’s first month in office and to call on him to close Guantanamo for good, and not to keep it open and to “load it up with some bad dudes.” as he said.
The video includes protesters from Witness Against Torture, the World Can’t Wait and CODEPINK: Women for Peace. The same Andy Worthington mentioned above wrote the song in the video that the titles, “Close Guantanamo (2017 mix)”. The recording performed by Andy Worthington and his band The Four Fathers is available as a download via Bandcamp.
Please watch the promotional video for the Close Guantanamo campaign, issued to mark Donald Trump’s first month in office and to call on him to close #Guantanamo for good, and not to keep it open and to “load it up with some bad dudes,” as he promised on the campaign trail, and as he has been threatening since taking office via a number of leaked draft executive orders calling for an end to all releases from the prison, for members of Islamic State to be sent there, and for torture to be revived as official US policy. The video features dozens of photos of campaigners holding posters asking Trump to close Guantanamo, including members of Witness Against Torture, the World Can't Wait and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and we’d like to ask you to join us. Please print off a poster, take a photo with it, and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org://www.closeguantanamo.org/dyn/1484860317102/CloseGuantanamoDonaldTrump.pdfPlease also feel free to include a message to Donald Trump, and, if you wish, let us know where you're from, to show the breadth of opposition to his plans across the US and around the world.See all the photos here: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/Donald-Trump-No-photosThe song that accompanies the video is "Close Guantanamo (2017 mix)", written by Andy Worthington and performed by his band The Four Fathers, which is available as a download via Bandcamp: https://thefourfathers.bandcamp.com/track/close-guantanamo-2017-mixThe original song was used in our campaign video in November, aimed at President Obama, and it has now been remixed and revised with an added verse about Donald Trump and his “dystopian views.”The video is by The Four Fathers’ drummer, Brendan Horstead, with text by Andy.
Posted by Close Guantanamo on Tuesday, February 21, 2017
More of my photos from the event:
See my Facebook livestream video of the Close Guantanamo Action and comment!
Phyllis Rodriguez of Peaceful Tomorrows said to me, “I am the mother of a victim of the 9/11 attacks. What is happening in GTMO is not in my name and is not in the name of us, Americans. Guantanamo is reviled by most countries in the world, it violates our basic principles and demeans us as people who live under a progressive Constitution”.