Walking to Guantnamo

Peace marchers aim to keep the abuse of 'enemy combatants' visible

By Frida Berrigan

It was tough getting used to being a spectacle, but that is exactly what we were--a motley gaggle of gringos walking through Cuba in short pants and matching gray T-shirts that read "Witness Against Torture: A March to Visit the Prisoners at Guantánamo." [RETURN TO ARTICLE]

  • Reader Comments

    I admire your courage and determination Ms. Berrigan. I stand in solidarity with you and all of the innocent prisoners at Guantanamo.

    Posted by Liberal on Feb 1, 2006 at 5:19 PM

    Guanatanamo should be made visible to the US public. Or, more properly phrased, they should not be allowed to forget it (which many I’ve heard from have a real talent for doing!).

    “We don’t want to be held back by the law. What we need to do is more important than that we act within it.”

    When the extra-legal prison at Gitmo was created, this was what I could imagine them saying. If they were ever to be truly candid, that is.

    Charge them, try them, get the mf’n due process in gear, or release them.

    Posted by Kuya on Feb 2, 2006 at 1:41 AM

    Thank you to all of the marchers for being so willing to put your beliefs into action, for taking such a strong stand, and going all out to help bring the world’s attention to something that is an affront to those who truly care about justice and human rights.

    Guantanamo defies all standards of basic decency in how any human beings should be treated, and stands as testament to the utter hypocrisy and absurdity of the lies about ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, etc. that the Bush administration keeps proclaiming to be spreading abroad, while they surveil, ignore, supress, and prosecute the ‘democratic’ voice of dissent at home.

    Your actions are an inspiration to all of us who know our government is taking a wrong turn down a very dark path away from everything that is best in human ideals.  You have shone a spotlight into that darkness, and, like Guantanamo whistle-blower chaplain James Lee, show us a powerful image of where this country is going wrong and needs to turn away from it’s present descent, and the need to find our way to a higher road. 

    When we find that better way, hopefully we can look back on this period - at places like Abu Graib and Guantanamo, as well as the many detention centers within this country where people are warehoused and forgotten, often for years - the same way we look back at Japanese internment camps during WWII or Alcatraz, or medieval dungeons and other antiquated hell-holes, as reflecting a darker, less enlightened period of human evolution.

    Posted by snopeace on Feb 5, 2006 at 2:21 AM

    Correction:  In the previous posting, meant to say James ‘Yee’ , NOT ‘Lee’...

    His book is highly recommended reading!!

    Posted by snopeace on Feb 5, 2006 at 2:28 AM

    The imprisonment of hundreds of prisoners at guatanamo bay without legal recourse either in US courts or international law, being denied either a writ of habeus corpus or the scrutiny of international human rights organizations is a modern tyranny which must be challenged no less than that of the Taliban or Saddam Hussien.  It is the penultimate US hypocracy!  Niether Rumsfeld nor anyone in charge of the facility has come forward with any evidence as to why any of these men should be kept in detention.  If there was solid evidence of there connections to terrorism there would be ample displays of such in the US and international media.  The silence on such evidence can only be taken as an indication that there is none and that the reasons for holding these men is mostly an unprecendentedly cruel and twisted form of symbolic politics which furthers, through its hideous imagery, the warmongering Bush agenda.

    Let the Justice Dept. or the US military engage in the transparency required of a western democracy and stop hiding behind the 9/11 cliche in order to violate international law and every common norm of international repect for human rights and decency.  Let them establish an internationally accepted and mandated mode of dealing with these individuals or free them.  If they are being held on the grounds of committing terrorism let them have a publically open trial. 

    Holding prisoners incognito and indefinately for the purposes of torture and interrogation is illegal and immoral!  It violates every known norm of legal due process in the tradition of western democracies.  Whether or not these individuals are from such democracies is irrelevant!  The epthet “enemy combatant” has no true legal definition in ANY legal system and is not a legal category under which one’s legal status and treatment may be defined and mandated.

    The US Supreme Court decision of the Summer of 2004, in which Justice Sandra Day O’Conner wrote the Court’s Opinion in the Hamdi Case, clearly stated, “going to war does not give the executive a blank check…”, with regard to the treatment of individuals (especially US citizens like Yasir Hamdi) under the law.  Let’s remember this ruling from one of American legal history’s most moderate and prudent Jurists and hold the Bush Regime accountable to democratic norms of justice and due process of law.

    Posted by cabdriverinchicago on Feb 5, 2006 at 12:20 PM

    I thought readers might be interested in a brief update on the marchers’ legal situation. Ten of us have received letters from the Treasury Department’s Office for Foreign Assets Control demanding information about our trip. We have responded, but are refusing to answer questions. Our press release can be read at http://www.witnesstorture.org/node/254

    Posted by fridabee on Feb 8, 2006 at 11:09 AM

    I went to cut and paste the URL that Fridabee shared and found that I can’t cut from these ITT pages. Has anyone else experienced this?

    Posted by David in Canada on Feb 8, 2006 at 9:04 PM

    Would it work better like this?
    <http://www.witnesstorture.org/node/254>

    Posted by fridabee on Feb 9, 2006 at 9:52 AM

    Nope, but a little HTML magic will make it a hyperlink. like this :

    http://witnesstorture.org/node/254

    Still can’t cut text from others’ comments. Have to type URLs into the browser address bar.

    How barbaric.

    Posted by David in Canada on Feb 9, 2006 at 11:41 AM

    Keep up the good work Frida. You and the prisoners at Guatanamo are in my prayers.

    Posted by David in Canada on Feb 9, 2006 at 11:48 AM

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