For Immediate Release
Murder and CIA Black Sites at Guantanamo?
Witness Against Torture Responds to New Revelations with Vigils at the Pentagon and White House; Demands a Full Investigation and Accountability from the Obama Administration
WASHINGTON - Fifty human rights activists from Witness Against
Torture will gather at the Pentagon and the White House today to demand
a full investigation into allegations-- buttressed by Army
whistleblower Joe Hickman-- of the possible murder of detainees at
Guantanamo, as well as of the existence of a CIA "black site" at the
In a Harper's Magazine article published January 18, 2010, reporter
Scott Horton calls into question the official account of the deaths of
Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi and Yasser Talal
Al-Zahrani - characterized by the U.S. military authorities as suicides
- that occurred at Guantanamo on June 9, 2006. Drawing on stunning
revelations from Joe Hickman, a sergeant with Camp America's exterior
security force at Guantanamo in 2006, Horton also provides strong
evidence for the existence of a CIA secret prison, dubbed "Camp No," at
Witness Against Torture has been working since 2005 for the closure
of Guantanamo, an end to torture, justice for the victims and
accountability for the perpetrators. Currently, more than 150 people
are participating in a Fast for Justice organized by Witness Against
Torture. In the United States and throughout the world, more than 150
people are on Day Nine of a Twelve Day, liquid-only fast. The Fast
began on January 11- the date in 2002 when Guantanamo opened to "war on
terror" detainees. It will end on January 22-- the Obama
administration's widely proclaimed, and now-voided, deadline for
closing Guantanamo. Over 50 of those participating in the "Fast for
Justice" are in Washington, DC, and have been lobbying and vigiling
every day, calling for Guantanamo's closure.
"Barack Obama was elected on promises to close Guantanamo, end
torture, and restore transparency to the White House," says Carmen
Trotta of Witness Against Torture, and one of those on the fast. "The
one year anniversary of Obama's presidency on January 20 will mark a
year of Broken Promises, Broken Laws, and Broken Lives. These serious
allegations must be thoroughly and honestly pursued, if President
Obama's promise of a new era of accountability is to have any meaning.
The deaths of the men at Guantanamo, and its apparent cover up, only
confirm that Guantanamo must be closed immediately."
Today, January 19, activists gather in orange jumpsuits and black
hoods at the Pentagon from 7am-8am, and at the White House from
5:30-6:30pm, calling for an immediate, independent, and transparent
investigation into the events of June 9, 2006 at Guantanamo, and full
disclosure of the details of any CIA black sites that existed or remain
in existence in Guantanamo.
When What Where
7am-8am Vigil at the Pentagon The Pentagon's Metro Entrance
5:30-6:30pm Vigil at the White House In the street between Lafayette Park and the White House sidewalk
Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into being
in December 2005 when 24 activists walked through Cuba to the
Guantanamo base to try to visit the prisoners and to condemn torture
policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education, community
outreach, and non-violent direct action. It is currently leading more
than 150 people around the country in a 12-day "Vigil and Fast for
Justice," and holding daily actions opposing torture and calling for
Guantanamo's closure in Washington, DC.
Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into being in December 2005 when 24 activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn torture policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education, community outreach, and non-violent direct action. For the first 100 days of the Obama administration, the group held a daily vigil at the White House, encouraging the new President to uphold his commitments to shut down Guantanamo.