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No More Guantanamos

June-August 2011 Newsletter

In this issue:

  • Des Moines, Iowa, chapter fundraises for torture victims
  • NMG and friends observe UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
  • Independence Day activities in North Carolina and Chicago
 
 
 

 

Get involved! Contact us at info@nogitmos.org about starting a local coalition or asking your coalition to join our nationwide network. You may also join here.
 
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New Fund to Help Uighur Former Detainees in Palau

 
No More Guantánamos (NMG) has set up a fund to help three Uighur former detainees and their families, who are now living in Palau. The men have sought work since their resettlement in November 2009, but unemployment in the small island nation is high, and their efforts have been unsuccessful. Moreover, the $500 monthly stipend that each man had been receiving will run out next month, leaving the men with no income. (The Tallahassee Interfaith Coalition had arranged for three Uighurs to have jobs, homes, and transportation had they been allowed to resettle in Tallahassee.  Read their resettlement plan here.)  Support also awaited them within the Uighur community of Fairfax County, Virginia, but alas, Judge Ricardo Urbina’s order to release the Uighurs within the U.S. was overturned on appeal by the Bush and Obama administrations.)
 

All three men have families living with them:


100 percent of the money contributed to the fund will benefit the men and their families, to cover medical care and other basic needs. However, donations are not tax-deductible. Donations by check may be sent to NMG at PO Box 618, Whately, MA 01093. (Please write “Palau Uighurs” in the Memo line.) Make donations by credit card here. To place a link on your website, please contact us at info (at) nogitmos.org. We welcome your support. 


Grassroots News:

 

Des Moines, Iowa, chapter fundraises for torture victims

On Wednesday, August 3, at 5:45 p.m., the Des Moines Anti-Torture Collective is hosting a benefit concert for victims of torture at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines. Proceeds will benefit the work of Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) International.
 
NMG and friends observe UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Witness Against Torture (WAT), an NMG colleague organization, was one of several U.S. organizations that traveled to Washington, DC, to observe the week leading up to UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On June 23, 15 WAT members stood in the gallery of the House of Representatives to read a statement protesting provisions in the House’s Defense Appropriations bill that would prevent transfers of cleared detainees from Guantánamo Bay prison. They were removed and arrested. Read the statement and learn more about WAT’s week of activities here.

 
Pioneer Valley No More Guantánamos in Massachusetts drafted a proclamation to mark UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The mayor of the city of Northampton and the select boards of the towns of Amherst and Whately enacted proclamations.

 

Independence Day Activities

Members of North Carolina Stop Torture Now staffed a table on the grounds of the Carrboro Town Hall to collect endorsements for a NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture, the group’s current undertaking. Learn more about how the group is seeking accountability for North Carolina’s role in extraordinary rendition here (PDF).
 
The Witness Against Torture Chicago group mounted a sidewalk exhibit, called "Facing Freedom: Independence from Indefinite Detention," to coincide with the Independence Day commemoration by the Lincoln Park neighborhood on the grounds of the Chicago History Museum.
 
       

During a community celebration marked by a brass band, a children's parade, a squad of British redcoats, "the world's tallest Uncle Sam," recognition of veterans from all the services, and a keynote by Congressman Mike Quigley, Witness Against Torture Chicago shared information with attendees about the struggle to end indefinite detention and torture in places like Guantanamo, Bagram Air Force Base, and even in U.S. prisons and Chicago's own jails.
 
WAT Chicago's activities were inspired in part by a current exhibit at the The Chicago History Museum and by recent announcements by Congressman Quigley. Learn more about the exhibit here.
 
Congressman Quigley, who represents the area of Chicago that includes the Lincoln Park neighborhood on the North Side, recently visited Guantanamo and on his return stated: "We must do all we can to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility that threatens our national security every day." WAT Chicago worked with Congressman Quigley's staff in advance of the 4th of July event, and his remarks for the day traced the arc of the struggle for freedom in America from the historical events covered in the museum's exhibit to the need to end indefinite detention (as described in WAT's sidewalk exhibit of the "9th" Facing Freedom struggle).
 
WAT Chicago members collected signatures on letters addressed to Congressman Quigley and other local congressmen, as well as U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, about the need to end indefinite detention. They concluded their successful event with a potluck picnic.  Plans are afoot for additional actions in the weeks and months ahead.
 

Senate Passage of Defense Legislation Could Keep Cleared Detainees in Guantánamo Forever

Can your nation’s government, or another government, provide assurance that you will never commit a terrorist act? Would they be willing to provide such assurance in order to accept you as a resident? And if there is one documented incident of someone from your country, who was released from Guantánamo, going on to commit a terrorist act, even if you never knew the person, then you are out of luck, stuck in Guantánamo.

That in a nutshell is how the authors of sections of the Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 (HR 2219) pertaining to the prison at Guantánamo Bay plan to assure that no one currently in the prison ever leaves, regardless of their innocence. The bill, with those provisions, passed the House of Representatives on July 8th, and the Senate will vote on a bill with similar provisions soon.

Please call your senators to explain why these diabolical provisions must be removed from the bill.  Look up their telephone numbers at www.senate.gov. Before you make your calls, read an excellent guest column in the Seattle Times, The impossible task of predicting future actions of Guantánamo Bay detainees, by Jamie Mayerfeld.


The CIA's secret rendition sites in Somalia

Journalist Jeremy Scahill has uncovered two facilities used by the CIA in Somalia, in a back corner of the airport in Mogadishu and in the basement of the National Security Agency headquarters. His story, The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia, will appear in the August 1-8, 2011, issue of The Nation. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman interviewed Scahill about the secret sites on DN’s July 13 broadcast.

NMG and other human rights groups challenge government secrecy on waterboarding

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and three other plaintiffs have challenged a lower court decision supporting the U.S. govenrment’s denial of a Freedom of Information Act request for information related to the government’s waterboarding program. NMG is one of ten civil liberties and human rights organizations that on June 10 urged a court of appeals to overturn a federal judge’s decision upholding the CIA’s right to withhold information related to “intelligence methods.”

The brief Amici Curiae “[seek]reversal of the district court judgment insofar as it applied Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) exemptions to deny access to Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) documents pertaining to waterboarding, an activity publicly acknowledged by the President to be torture, and therefore, a serious violation of law.”

NMG wrote in the brief that we are “concerned about the effect on public dialogue of public officials’ claims that waterboarding of some of these prisoners was justified because it saved American lives. It also believes that the public has a right and a need to know about men whom our government has detained on the basis of confessions or allegations secured through waterboarding, including those that were later determined to be false.” 


Please support NMG's work to demand human rights for detainees.

 

No More Guantánamos is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Contribute by credit card or mail your check to

No More Guantánamos
P.O. Box 618
Whately, MA  01093

Web: www.nogitmos.org

Email: info (at) nogitmos.org

Telephone: 413-665-1150