There will be a candlelight vigil at the federal building in Seattle on Wed., Jan. 11, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., to mark the tenth anniversary of the arrival of prisoners at Guantanamo.[1]  --  Sponsored by the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture and many other organizations, this event calls attention to the determined adherence of principled Americans to the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, and human rights.  --  Amnesty International has called the detention camp at Guantanamo "the gulag of our times."  --  German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2006:  "An institution like Guantánamo, in its present form, cannot and must not exist in the long term."  --  Colin Powell's chief of staff has stated under oath that top U.S. officials, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, knew that the majority of the detainees initially sent to Guantánamo were innocent, but that the detainees had been kept there for reasons of political expedience....


WHAT: Candlelight vigil on 10th anniversary of Guantanamo
WHO:  Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture et al.
WHEN:  Wednesday, January 11, 2012 -- 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
WHERE:  Jackson Federal Building, 2nd Avenue between Madison and Marion, Seattle


** National Day of Action against Guantanamo **

Participate in the candlelight vigil at the Jackson Federal Building, 2nd
Avenue between Madison and Marion, downtown Seattle 5:00-6:00 p.m., on
Wednesday, January 11th.

Sponsors:  Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT), National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), Amnesty International-Group 4, Amnesty International, USA, Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation, Code Pink, American Civil Liberties Union-Washington (ACLU-WA).  Additional co-sponsors are being added.


January 11 is the tenth anniversary of the arrival of prisoners at Guantanamo.

We join with others across the country in this National Day of Action Against

We refuse to be silent in response to the continuation and hardening of the regime of indefinite detention without charges or trial most clearly represented by Guantanamo prison and the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Guantanamo is a symbol of a decade of damage to human rights and to the rule of law.  We refuse to be silent about the illegitimate military commissions used to try some suspects held at Guantanamo prison.  We refuse to be silent about the failure to hold accountable those responsible for torture and cruel treatment at Guantanamo and elsewhere.


For further information:

* Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT)

* Rob Crawford (WSRCAT): 206-463-5653

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

* Amnesty International USA's Day of Action website

* Also, Sara Schmidt, Regional Field Organizer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or Larry Ebersole, Area Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

* American Civil Liberties Union-WA: Summer Robinson: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



* 171 prisoners remain at GTMO, even though most of them have been cleared for release by President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force.

* Current administration policy and acts of Congress -- the 2011 and now the 2012 National Defense Authorization Acts -- make the release of any prisoners virtually impossible, whether or not they have been involved in terrorist activity.

* Guantanamo has become a stain on America.  Its continued operation tramples the rule of law, both the U.S. Constitution and international law.

* Guantanamo has meant imprisonment in harsh conditions of over 779 men over the years since 2002.  Most of these men were captured either simply by being at the wrong place at the wrong time or were identified by individuals who received bounties.  Many were tortured and many more subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

* Guantánamo detainees should either be charged and prosecuted in fair trials in federal courts or released to countries that will respect their human rights.

* The current Administration continues to block accountability for torture and cruel treatment by its failure to undertake independent and thorough investigations and by attempting to prevent courts from hearing lawsuits brought by formerly detained men.  Any detainee whom the United States does not intend to prosecute should be released.


The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed by President Obama on
12/31/11, contains an unacceptable sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision that violates the U.S. Constitution and international law.  Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director, says:  “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.”   The NDAA is therefore an offense against core human rights.

* Although President Obama issued a signing statement laying out “serious reservations” about the detention provisions, the statement would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations, nor by the Obama Administration itself given another terrorist emergency or a further change in domestic political climate.

* Given Obama’s use of secret OLC interpretations of existing law to authorize the assassination of a U.S citizen alleged to be a terrorist, and given that existing law governing the president’s detention authority is ambiguous, the President’s signing statement that U.S. citizens would not be militarily detained cannot be relied upon.  Similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used by President Bush to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody.  The legislative history of the NDAA reveals that many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again.

* Since 2009, President Obama has employed indefinite detention powers (as well as trial by military commission powers) similar to those claimed by President Bush.  The NDAA codifies those powers.  The adopted compromise Amendment offered by Sen. Feinstein does nothing to negate those claimed powers.

* The NDAA makes it virtually impossible to transfer detainees who have been cleared of any wrongdoing from Guantanamo to foreign countries for resettlement or repatriation, continuing their unlawful and immoral detention and making it more difficult to close Guantanamo, as President Obama pledged to do in one of his first acts in office.  It also prohibits the transfer of prisoners from military to civilian detention.

* If Obama really believed the NDAA contains provisions that are unconstitutional, then he should have vetoed the legislation.  His signing the legislation into law accompanied by a signing statement about the sections he is troubled by is an opportunistic avoidance of political confrontation over national security issues and an effort to preserve presidential prerogative.