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What You Can Do to Stop US Torture

By War Criminals Watch - Posted on 16 January 2015


by Debra Sweet        One of the presistent fallacies about the US torture camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, is that it was a “mistake” of the Bush Regime, a misguided attempt to “keep America safe.” You hear this from Democrat apologists, who for the last six full years, have been in position to close it.  


But listen to those who control Congress now, and those who passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006. That orgy of the complete abrogation of rights for people the US identified as enemies in the so-called “global war on terror” was vengeance against any group of people who challenged American supremacy.

Their goal was to have a place where they could openly defy international norms. They crow about it, still, and do not intend to give it up.


“I'd do it again in a minute,” Dick Cheney said on “Meet the Press” December 14. Cheney's repeating his basic message that the US has to be ready to go to the “dark side” using, “basically, any means necessary to achieve our objectives.” 


Senator Lindsey Graham, who has never met a piece of repressive legislation he couldn't get behind, said “We have a lot going for us that our enemy doesn’t. We’re actually good people, and they’re bastards,” as an explanation of why he supports everything that was done post-9/11.

So this is what the “good” people did:

“The CIA torturers took sadistic and ghoulish delight in inflicting sexually degrading torture on captives. Detainees were frequently stripped naked and forced to urinate and defecate on themselves. The report describes ‘rectal feeding’—forcing material up the rectums of detainees, a form of rape.

Detainees were subjected to constant and viciously realistic death threats. They were placed in tubs of ice for extended times. One detainee was chained partially nude to a concrete floor and died of hypothermia. Prisoners were subjected to sleep deprivation for up to a week, driven to ‘hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation.’”

We also learned from the Senate's report on torture last month that, though publicly and privately there is intense struggle over letting out the truth about Guantanamo, the black sites, rendition, and torture under Bush, the Democatic leadership in Congress was fully briefed at the time, and kept quiet.

Those in authority who people expected to act to stop these outrages have not done so. Does that mean we leave it alone? NO, it does not. Protest over the next week should bring out people who are determined to stop these depraved crimes.

The torture report — redacted as it was — has inspired renewed focus on the crimes of the Bush Regime. Democracy Now! reported last month:

“The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor. The move follows the release of a Senate report on CIA torture which includes the case of a German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who was captured by CIA agents in 2004 due to mistaken identity and tortured at a secret prison in Afghanistan.”

Torture lawyer John Yoo, defender of almost every single reactionary US position, was given an endowed chair at UC Berkeley Boalt Hall Law School in 2014. 

Right now, there are renewed discussions on how to get him disbarred and investigated. Martin Garbus, the distinguished First Amendment attorney, wrote that the memos written by Yoo and Jay Bybee in 2002 providing legal justifcation for torture were “not used to interpret the law — they were intentionally written to disregard the law.”

Garbus said that if the government does not file a complaint to disbar Yoo and Bybee, he will. Cheers for that!

Close Guantanamo Protest

January 2015 Events: 

Close Guantanamo NOW Actions, Talks, Panels, Films

On January 11, the US torture camp at Guantanamo will have been open 13 years. More than 100 men are still held, the majority of whom were cleared for release years ago. They suffer not knowing if they will be released, held indefinitely. Some are still on protest hunger strike, and being force-fed by the U.S. military. Join World Can't Wait in protesting this shameful anniversary with a series of events around the country.

If you know of other events, email us quickly .

Witness Against Torture's Annual Fast, Rally, and Direct Action to Close Guantánamo and End Torture is happening January 5-13 Washington DC, or you can join the fast from anywhere.

Thursday January 8: New York City 
Stand with Shaker Aamer, Fahd Ghazy & all the Prisoners Unjustly Held 
Featuring British journalist Andy Worthington; Ramzi Kassem of CUNY Law School & attorney for Shaker Aamer; Omar Farah of the Center for Constitutional Rights & attorney for Fahd Ghazy; and Debra Sweet.
6:30 pm Rutgers Presbyterian Church 
236 West 73rd Street @ Broadway, NYC
Facebook Event

Saturday January 10: Langley, VA
Protest of US drone war, targeted killing, and indefinite detention 
Outside the homes of Dick Cheney & John Brennan, CIA director Herndon 
8:00 am -11:30 am at and near CIA Headquarters
Facebook Event

Saturday January 10: Washington, DC
From Ferguson to Guantánamo: Institutionalized Brutality & Torture
A panel discussion with activists and attorneys involved in the struggles against police violence, racial profiling, and US detention policies
8:00 pm First Trinity Lutheran Church 4th & E Street NW Washington DC 
Facebook Event

Sunday, January 11: Washington DC
Vigil & Rally to Close Guantanamo
1:00 pm: Interfaith Prayer Vigil (Sponsored by NRCAT and Interfaith Action for Human Rights) 
1:30 pm Rally to close Guantánamo at the White House followed by a march to the Department of Justice. 
In front of the White House
Facebook Event

Sunday, January 11: Miami, FL 
Protest to Shut Down Guantanamo at US Southern Command
2:00 pm NW 36th St & NW 87th Ave
Doral,  FL
Facebook Event

Sunday, January 11: Los Angeles, CA 
Protests to Close Guantanamo
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Vigil & Rally at Santa Monica Pallisades Park Ocean & Pico 
3 - 6 pm Vigil outside Golden Globes Ceremony TBA

Sunday, January 11: London, UK 
Protest at US Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square Mayfair, London
Facebook Event


Monday, January 12: Washington, DC
Witness Against Torture’s Nonviolent Direct Action
Morning — TBD

Monday, January 12: Washington, DC
Leaving the Dark Side? Empyting Guantanamo and the CIA Torture Report with Andy Worthington, Tom Wilmer, Col Morris Davis & Peter Bergen.   
12:15 pm - 1:45 pm New America Foundation, 1889 L Street NW
Washington, DC

Monday, January 12: Boston, MA
Closing Guantanamo and Seeking Accountability for Torture with Andy Worthington 
6:30 pm Old South Church 645 Boyston Street 

Tuesday, January 13: UC Berkeley, CA
Protests at the opening day of UC Berkeley Boalt Hall Law School, where torture lawyer John Yoo teaches. 

Tuesday, January 13: Harvard Cambridge MA
Closing Guantanamo and Seeking Accountability for Torture with Andy Worthington
12:30 pm Harvard Law School 1563 Massachusetts Avenue 

Wednesday, January 14: Springfield, MA 
Closing Guantánamo and Seeking Accountability for Torture, with Andy Worthington
12:00 pm The Commons, Western New England University School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road

Wednesday January 14: Northampton, MA 
Closing Guantanamo and Seeking Accountability for Torture, with Andy Worthington & Debra Sweet
7:00 pm Friends Meeting House, 43 Center Street, 2nd floor

Thursday January 15: Chicago, IL 
Rally to Protest 14th Year of Guantanamo, Torture & Indefinite Detention 4:30 - 6:00 pm In front of the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan
Facebook Event

Thursday January 15: Chicago, IL 
Guantanamo 13 Years Later: Not One More Year of Torture and Indefinite Detention!
Evening Discussion with Andy Worthington, Guantanamo attorney Candace Gorman, and Debra Sweet. 
7:00 pm Grace Place, 637 South Dearborn. 
Facebook Event


Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


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