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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 - January 19 - 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 base.
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 Guantanamo.
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.