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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2013
1:42 PM

CONTACT: Witness Against Torture

Frida Berrigan, 347-683-4928  
frida.berrigan@gmail.com      
Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119
jvaron@aol.com

Day 84 of the Guantanamo Hunger Strike

WASHINGTON - May 1 - The dire hunger strike at Guantanamo - now in its 84th day - has forced again the issue of the prison's existence.  Yesterday President Obama promised (again) to take action.  At this crucial moment, with the lives of the hunger strikers in the balance, we need to apply all the pressure we can to turn that promise into a plan and that plan into action.

Please sign, share, tweet and promote a Close Gtmo petition that we collaborated on with Col. Morris Davis and Change.org.  It had 700 signatures at 3 pm yesterday, 20,000 by 6pm, and was at 55,000 as of midnight.  It only takes 1 minute.  And there's a nifty feature where you can, by responding to an email from change.org, invite all your Facebook friends to sign, invite by twitter, etc.  By these means, it can skyrocket.  We'd love to get 500,000 signatures, which is not inconceivable – but only possible with everyone’s help.  Change.org/CloseGitmo

We are generally no great fan of petitions, which can feel passive.>  But this one -- NOW -- is so crucial.  Folks are near death at GTMO.  The president has spoken but can quickly cower before the largely manufactured "difficulty" of closing GTMO; he and Congress can again claim public indifference as their out.  But oodles of signatures is one quick way to blow away the myth of public indifference.

Please sign, talk it up with friends, and join in some of the actions listed below, so that many of the folks at GTMO can go home.

CCR's Pardiss Kebriaei was on Democracy Now! this morning to discuss the ongoing human rights crisis at Guantanamo prison and the immediate actions President Barack Obama can take to prevent hunger strikers’ deaths.  Watch here: http://bit.ly/18pcqmh

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WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE ROLLING FAST

Give up food for a dayas 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.

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PHONE CALLS & LETTER WRITING

We have generated over 500 calls since the Hunger Strike began.  We are particularly focusing on calls to the U.S. Southern Command (where you will be able to speak to a person), but ask folks to call all of the numbers here:  Call the White House (202-456-1111, 202-456-1414), U.S. Southern Command (305-437-1213) and Department of Defense (703-571-3343) to express concern over the hunger strike and insist on Guantanamo’s closing.

The Men in Guantanamo know of our efforts in response to their hunger strike and indefinite detention.  Download and send this letter to a man detained in Guantánamo.

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VIGILS (DC, CHICAGO, NY)

Communities in Washington, DC, Chicago, and NY have been holding regular vigils focused on Guantanamo.  In DC, there is a vigil each Friday at the White House from 12-1pm.  Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, will speak at this Friday’s vigil.  In Chicago, there is a vigil every Friday, 4:30pm at State & Jackson.  For more information on vigils (or to let us know about a vigil you are planning), contact witnesstorture@gmail.com

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CONGRESSIONAL OUTREACH

We have begun to reach out to members of Congress to push for movement towards Guantanamo’s closure, and are working on a Congressional Briefing for late next week – details and an outreach plan to come.  In the meantime, please call or e-mail your congressperson and senator to express concern over what is happening at Guantanamo, and highlight Sen. Diane Feinstein’s letter urging the Obama Administration to transfer cleared Guantanamo prisoners.

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MAY 17 - DAY 100 (SAVE THE DATE)

May 17 will mark the Day 100 of the Guantanamo Hunger Strike.  We are working in a coalition with many other groups and will be announcing plans for May 17 - 19 very soon.  If you are interested in nonviolent civil resistance on May 17, please let us know by sending an email to witnesstorture@gmail.com

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WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE SOCIAL MEDIA

Our Facebook page has been getting more and more traffic, and some weeks has reached over 200,000 people.  This is only possible when people like, share, and comment on posts.  Please ‘like’ us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/witnesstorture & Follow Us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/witnesstorture

Postany pictures of your local activities to http://www.flickr.com/groups/witnesstorture/, and we will help spread the word on http://witnesstorture.tumblr.com/

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DONATE

Witness Against Torture is completely volunteer driven and run.  We have no paid staff, but do have expenses associated with our organizing work.  If you are able, please donate here.

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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.



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