The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

ACLU Calls On Obama To Close Guantanamo On Day One Of Presidency

Group Launches Campaign Urging New Administration To Restore Fundamental Rights And Reclaim America’s Moral Leadership


American Civil Liberties Union launched a new campaign today calling on
President-elect Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and end
the military commissions on Day One of his presidency.

Obama, as a candidate, pledged to
"close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to
the Geneva Conventions." In a full page ad in the New York Times today,
the ACLU urges Obama, as president, to fulfill those promises and
immediately restore America's moral leadership in the world.

"There is no room for patience or
delay in these areas. We have to hold President-elect Obama's feet to
the fire if we're going to turn hope into reality," said Anthony D.
Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "We hope that President-elect
Obama, as soon as he is sworn in, will take bold action and sign an
executive order closing Guantanamo and ending the sham military
commissions there. It is time to restore American values of justice,
due process and human rights."

In addition to ordering the closure
of Guantanamo, the ACLU calls on President-elect Obama to sign Day One
executive orders banning the use of torture and abuse and ending the
practice of extraordinary rendition.

"We welcome the end to a Bush
administration that is leaving behind a disastrous legacy of civil
liberties violations, abuse of power and executive overreaching, there
is no room for complacency," said Romero. "We are hopeful that
President Obama will honor the U.S. Constitution and passionately
promote all the rights for which it stands."

In addition to the ad in the New
York Times, the ACLU launched a new Web site where it will premiere a
series of short videos about Guantanamo produced in partnership with
Brave New Foundation, a leading producer of online videos about today's
most pressing issues. The videos will feature interviews with
attorneys, former prison guards and released prisoners, some of whom
will be speaking publicly for the first time.

"We've all seen the reports in the
news about the tragedy that is Guantanamo Bay," said Robert Greenwald,
president of Brave New Foundation. "But Americans haven't yet heard it
directly from those who were there. The ACLU is pioneering the use of
new media in their work and we are so proud to be a part of it. They're
planning to release these videos in full public view on the Internet,
representing a major step forward in terms of transparency on this
issue in particular and on government policy in general. The ACLU and
Brave New Foundation are taking a first, big step out of the secrecy of
the Bush era."

On November 13, the ACLU will hold a
nationwide telephone town hall with supporters and activists from
across the country to discuss the state of civil liberties
transitioning from the Bush administration to the Obama administration.
The call will be moderated by Romero and Caroline Fredrickson, Director
of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. A question and answer period
will follow the discussion.

More information about the town hall is available online at:

The new ACLU Web site goes live with the first video today at:

Romero has posted a statement about the ACLU's campaign at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666