By Andy Worthington, November 28, 2016
On November 30, President Obama will have just 50 days left to close the "war on terror" prison at Guantánamo Bay, which he inherited from George W. Bush, but which has been open under his watch for longer than under his predecessor.
To mark the occasion — and spurred on by the threat posed by the president-elect, Donald Trump, who promised on the campaign trail to keep Guantánamo open, we’re urging you to please print off a poster, take a photo with it, and send it to us — with a message to President Obama, if you wish (and to president-elect Trump as well, if you like).
You can also let us know where you are if you’d like to help us show how opposition to the existence of Guantánamo — which is a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and should never have opened — comes from across the U.S. and around the world.
Since our co-founder Andy Worthington launched the Countdown to Close Guantánamo on Democracy Now! in January, with music legend Roger Waters, we have received over 500 photos from celebrities and from concerned citizens, counting down every 50 days towards the end of the Obama presidency, and as the clock runs out for Barack Obama we’re stepping up the pressure.
Below are posters for every five days counting down through December into January. Please take photos with all of them if you wish, and send them to us for the dates shown.
For Dec. 5, marking 45 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown45Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 875Kb)
For Dec .10, marking 40 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown40Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 876Kb)
For Dec. 15, marking 35 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown35Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 866Kb)
For Dec. 20, marking 30 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown30Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 878Kb)
For Dec. 25, marking 25 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown25Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 876Kb)
For Dec. 30, marking 20 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown20Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 865Kb)
For Jan. 4, marking 15 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown15Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 860Kb)
And for Jan. 9, marking 10 days to go:
CloseGuantanamoCountdown10Days.pdf (Adobe PDF - 861Kb)
We’ll make posters for the last days of the countdown available closer to the time.
We do hope you can join us. As noted above, the election of Donald Trump came as a shock to many people working on Guantánamo issues, who had expected that, if Hillary Clinton were elected, Guantánamo would have closed for good. As it is, we can only hope that Donald Trump’s outrageous campaign rhetoric — also threatening to send Americans to Guantánamo to be tried by military commissions, and promising to reintroduce torture — prove to be bluster that he cannot proceed to fulfill, but we must be vigilant and prepared to resist if his rhetoric becomes real.
We commend President Obama for the progress he has made on Guantánamo in the last year, releasing prisoners approved for release by multi-agency government review processes, and putting resources into the Periodic Review Boards that have been assessing whether other men can also be freed — with 34 more men securing recommendations for release in the last three years that would not otherwise have happened.
60 men are still held, and 20 of those men have been approved for release. We particularly hope to hear about the release of these men before the inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20, because we regard it as unlikely that Donald Trump will necessarily honor any commitments made by President Obama across a range of issues, including Guantánamo.
We look forward to your participation in the last stages of the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, and we promise you that, if President Obama cannot manage to close the prison before he leaves office, we will be first in the queue demanding that Donald Trump closes it on Jan. 20, and we’ll keep you posted on that.