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Public Inquiry
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LONDON - Catholic Workers join solidarity with Guantanamo hunger strike - tip of the iceberg in U.S. "dirty wars"

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday May 23, 2013 08:46author by Ciaron - Giuseppe Conlon House Report this post to the editors

Last week, we made our way to the book launch of Dirty Wars - the world is a battlefield" by former New York Catholic Worker now celebrated investigatory journalist Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy gave an excellent speech naming Guantanamo as the most visible point of a massive iceberg of a U.S. policy of torture and assassination. So if Obama closes Guantanamo and escalates his assassination program while maintaining other black site torture chambers we will know our work is far from over.

So I bought the book, joined the queue, got my snap and have started churning through this well documented tome. I highly recommend getting your hands on this one if you want to be brought up to speed on the nature of how the empire is waging wars these daze. A documentary accompanies the book and it just won an award at the Sundance Festival. Check out the trailer here

On Friday, some folks from the London Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace joined hundreds internationally on the day long solidarity fast marking the 100th. day of the ongoing hunger strike by Guantanamo prisoners. One of the driving U.S. campaign groups "Witness Against Torture" was set up from the Catholic Worker pilgrimage walking through Cuba to Guanatanamo Bay several years ago. This grouping has done much to keep Guantanamo on the radar, in the courts with civil disobedience and visible on the streets of the U.S.A.

The solidarity demonstration at the U.S. embassy in London coincided with the annual European Catholic Worker gathering, so 20 Catholic Workers drove up to London from our base in Kent. We included Catholic Workers from Australia, England, Germany Scotland, Sweden and The Netherlands.

PHOTOS of solidarity demonstration outside U.S. embassy in London


Ben Griffin Veterans for Peace, British special forces veteran Iraq & Afghanistan
*Ben's speech starts 2 mins 50 secs into this clip

Catholic Worker, former prisoner of U.S. Ciaron O'Reilly
*Ciaron's speech starts 3. mins 30 secs into this clip

Further speeches could be found on London Guantanamo Campaign Facebook

****GITME OUT OF GITMO (5 mins)
Melbourne activists occupy U.S. consulate
*an Australian "gallows humour" helpful in viewing this clip

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author by Audiopublication date Thu May 23, 2013 09:20Report this post to the editors

AUDIO -Jeremy Scahill speaking at London launch of - "Dirty Wars - the World is a Battlefield"

author by London Guantanamo Campaignpublication date Thu May 23, 2013 21:16Report this post to the editors

London Guantanamo Campaign report of solidarity actions on 100th. day of hunger strike

author by Witness Against Torturepublication date Fri May 24, 2013 23:09author address NYC USAReport this post to the editors

New York City/Washington, D.C. – Responding to the hunger strike at Guantanamo, President Obama announced in a speech today his wish to re-start the transfer of men from Guantanamo and for the closure of the US prison. Anti-Guantanamo activists insist that the speech be followed by concrete steps — including the immediate transfer of men from the prison — to show that the Obama administration is serious. 86 men have been cleared for transfer and must be released now.

We agree with President Obama that "GTMO has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law." The President must use his executive power and political leadership to at last close Guantanamo and end indefinite detention. He must renounce the unprecedented, illegitimate, and increasingly discredited Military Commissions as an unacceptable substitute for true due process; and he must reject any policy of indefinite detention without charge or trial, and commit to bring credible suspects within a proper judicial system. We applaud the courageous interruption of Obama's speech, which underscores the emergency situation at the prison, and need for rapid closure of Guantanamo.

"It should not take men starving themselves to have President Obama stand up for the Constitution and human rights.” Says Matthew W. Daloisio, organizer with Witness Against Torture. “We are more 11 years into the crime of Guantánamo and over 100 days into the current hunger strike. The promise to transfer those cleared is important, but without immediate steps to release actual people, it is only another promise."

“We have heard noble sentiments before from President Obama,” added Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture. “We will hold him to account. It is not enough to release those who should have been released years ago. Indefinite detention must end. And the rule of law will never be fulfilled in Military Commissions. Moving Guantanamo is not closing Guantanamo. All held in the prison must be charged, tried in legitimate courts, or released. We’ll be in the streets, at the steps of courthouses, in jail if necessary to make sure that Guantanamo closes.”

President Obama ended the Guantanamo portion of his speech today by asking the American people to "look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?"

We may wish that this is not who we are. But we will be judged by our actions, not our speeches.

Witness Against Torture and other groups will continue their vigils, rallies, solidarity fasts, calls to the White House, and direct actions until Guantanamo is shuttered.

Since the hunger strike began in early February, Witness Against Torture has held vigils in more than 30 cities and towns, had regular rallies at the White House, circulated a petition — signed by more than 210,000 people — demanding the closure of Guantanamo, helped organize a briefing for Congressional staff; coordinated a rolling fast in solidarity with the Hunger Strike and daily calls to the White House, Pentagon and the US Southern Command; and committed acts of civil disobedience.


Give up food for a day as part of Witness Against Torture’s ROLLING FAST. Over 200 people have participated by fasting for some period of time since the Guantanamo Hunger Strike began. Sign up for one day, or more. Sign up as a community or as an office! Download and send this letter to a man detained in Guantánamo. The men on Hunger Strike know of, and very much appreciate our collective efforts at solidarity.



The Peace Poets, Witness Against Torture, and anti-mass incarceration activists have collaborated on The Hunger Strike Song. (PLEASE POST AND SHARE)
We will continue to gather for vigils, street theatre, song and action in NYC, including this Friday, May 24th in Washington Square Park (5:30pm), and next week for as part of a week of actions. More information on weekly vigils in Chicago, Washington DC, and other locations can be found on our website.


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author by Solidaritypublication date Tue May 28, 2013 08:54Report this post to the editors

VID (5mins) - Call to Prayer from the cells of the Guantanamo hunger strike lock down

On May 15, military officials at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility escorted visiting media to maximum security Camp 5, where non compliant prisoners are held, for a rare opportunity to observe the prisoners' morning prayer. Aliya Hussain, who works with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Global Justice Initiative, tweeted after she watched the video, "Despite all that's cruel and unjust at Guantanamo, humanity perseveres."

The visit to Camp 5 took place amid a mass hunger strike that is now entering its fourth month and counts 103 prisoners as taking part in the protest and 32 who are being force-fed. Media arrived at the camp at 4:30 am and were instructed to remain silent as the officer in charge of the camp did not want prisoners to know we were present. The prisoners did not leave their cells for prayer so we were unable to see them. What you are hearing (at 3:00 into the video) is the leader's call to prayer being done from inside of his prison cell. The closest we in the media came to a seeing a prisoner on the cell block is when one man stuck his arms through a bean hole to hand the guard an unknown object. The guards walking the block are checking the prisoners cells every one to three minutes in accordance with their standard operating procedures. They are wearing "splash shields" over their faces to protect from being splashed with urine and feces, the military said.

As we exited the camp and waited outside for the gate to open, I looked up behind me and could see three very narrow prison cell windows. In one stood a prisoner dressed in white. He stared at me and gave me a "thumbs down" sign.

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