Shut Down Guantanamo – Stop Inspiring Terrorism
Monday, January 11, 2016
SE Hawthorne & Grand (East end of Hawthorne Bridge)
Join Portlanders calling to close down the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, exactly 14 years to the day after it opened, with a visibility action at the east end of the Hawthorne bridge, SE Hawthorne and Grand on Monday, January 11 from 3:30 to 5:30 PM. Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group will use its 12-foot-tall “tower of peace” to call attention to the notorious prison where over 100 people still languish in a facility that undermines the supposed rule of law that separates our country from chaos.
Despite a strong signing statement indicating he still desires to close Guantanamo and vetoing the first version of the legislation, President Obama signed the 2016 defense authorization bill which continues to restrict his ability to transfer prisoners out of the facility. While the prison population has been reduced from 775 to 107, Obama has not been successful in closing down the prison in seven years in office, despite campaign pledges to do so.
Most held at the facility have been denied access to legal help; many have been exposed to harsh conditions that have been described as torture. In 2014, dozens of prisoners participated in a hunger strike which drew international attention. The US responded in part by force-feeding the protesting prisoners, then deciding to stop reporting on the prisoners’ actions. Forty-eight of the detainees have been cleared for release. Only three who are there were convicted of crimes (Human Rights First, 11/16/15).
Guantanamo has been referred to as “the most expensive prison on earth,” with the Miami Herald reporting in 2011 that it then cost $800,000 per year per inmate, climbing to an estimated $2.6 million per person in 2014 (Politifact, 12/21/14). Overall, the costs from 2002 to today are well over $3 billion.
Organizers of the event believe that continuing to hold people in an off-shore prison without prosecution is an unacceptable violation of human rights, which is inspiring people to take action against the United States in acts of so-called “terrorism.” It is time to shut it down.
Local groups organizing the action include the Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Amnesty International Group 48, the Portland Close Guantanamo Coalition and Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland. For more information, to get involved or to cosponsor/endorse the event contact Peace and Justice Works at 503-236-3065.