24
Jun
2005

Shut Down Guantanamo

"The best thing Washington can now do about this national shame is to shut it down." Editorial in The New York Times, Sunday, June 5, 2005

No, they're not talking about the White House.

The national shame they were referring to is the U.S. run prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo has become a symbol around the world of the Bush Administration’s arrogant disregard for the most basic of human rights.

As part of their so-called war on terror, the Bush Administration has shipped prisoners to Guantanamo in order to keep them out of the reach of law. Prisoners are being held there indefinitely, without access to lawyers (even though the Center for Constitutional Rights won a Supreme Court decision a year ago that allows lawyers access to detainees at the camp). Abuse and even torture are routine, and the Koran has even been desecrated.

In the past few weeks there has been a growing call to close this prison camp. United for Peace and Justice supports that call: Guantanamo must be shut down. Abu Ghraib must be shut down. All of the illegal detention centers and prisons the U.S. is running in places around the world must be shut down. And the practice of sending prisoners to other countries where torture is routinely used (they called this the rendition policy) must end!

Now is the time for action. Here are some ideas of things you can do:

** Activities During the July 4th Holiday
United for Peace and Justice is supporting the call from an ad hoc coalition of individuals and organizations (including playwright Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem, The Center for Constitutional Rights, Code Pink, Not In Our Name, the ACLU, The Culture Project, WEDO and others) for people around the United States to use July 4th activities as an opportunity to raise this issue. In cities and towns around the country people are planning to stage rallies, do dramatic readings, hold vigils and do other public events that highlight the need to shut down Guantanamo. This group has produced designs of American flags that say "Torture Is Immoral and Unpatriotic, Shut down Guantanamo". Go to the UFPJ web site to see the designs and to download copies for your local use: //www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=2901

United for Peace and Justice is producing a special leaflet for distribution during July 4th activities; it will be ready early next week. We will send you a notice when it is available for downloading.

Be sure to add your activities to the calendar on the UFPJ web site: //unitedforpeace.org/modinput4.php?modin=50

** July 5th Calls to Congress
Around the country people will be calling and emailing their members of Congress on Tuesday, July 5th. We urge you to organize a massive telephone and email effort for that day. Let your elected officials know that we want Guantanamo shut down, and that we want torture and abuse of prisoners stopped in all detention facilities.

** Keep the Story in the Media
The media's attention to this issue could easily fade away. Make sure your local papers and broadcast outlets keep this story alive. Let them know about your activities; organize people to write letters to the editor; ask for a meeting with the editorial boards of your papers and push them to take an editorial position on this issue.

** Share This Message
Circulate this message to the members of your group or organization and send it along to other groups that might be interested. Help us spread the word: Torture is wrong. Guantanamo must be shut down. It's time to end the war in Iraq!

** Build for September 24-26
To bring about a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy, including closing down Guantanamo, we need to broaden and strengthen the movement for peace and justice. In all of your organizing activities this summer, we urge you to promote the massive three-day mobilization against the war in Washington, D.C. being planned for September 24-26. This major outpouring of anti-war sentiment has the potential to definitively shift the political momentum away from the present policies of war and occupation, and to build and energize the anti-war movement in a major and decisive way. As you speak to people over the July 4th weekend, and in the weeks and months to come, around the issues of torture, human rights, and war, be sure to tell them about the fall mobilization and encourage their participation.


Be sure to let us know if there is any way the UFPJ national office can help your organizing efforts.

Leslie Cagan
National Coordinator
United for Peace and Justice
//www.unitedforpeace.org
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