BAAQUP marked the 11th sad anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay concentration camp by posting this image in several East Bay bus shelters.
Eleven years after the first prisoners of war were dragged, hooded and in chains, to Guantanamo, 169 men remain imprisoned there. They have faced no charges and been convicted of nothing, but they are held under some of the harshest conditions perpetrated by our government, which imprisons more people than any other country, most of them in terrible conditions. (One in 99 Americans is in prison, but for African American men, that number is 1 in 15, and for African American men aged 20-34, it’s 1 in 9. One in 36 Latino men is in prison.)
86 of the men held in indefinite, near secret detention at Guantanamo have been cleared for release to their own countries or third countries. That means the government itself acknowledges they are guilty of nothing. But they remain in prison. One of those, a Yemeni man named Adnan Latif, recently became the seventh prisoner to commit suicide at Guantanamo.
On his second day in office in 2009, President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo within a year. But four years later, he has not done so. While Congress has stymied some of his efforts, the administration has not been aggressive in seeking ways to deliver on this promise. Instead, they have taken legal steps to curb prisoners’ access to lawyers and media. While complaining about Congressional restrictions on transferring prisoners out of the Guantanamo gulag, the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which enshrines extra-legal imprisonment and government spying for another year.
At the same time, Obama has radically stepped up the use of drones to kill civilians, including U.S. citizens, in Pakistan, Yemen and anywhere else in the world.