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Sunday, 12 February 2006

Blog Against Gitmo

Guantanamo Bay has been in the news again recently. Some of you may recall that a large percentage of inmates were participating in a hunger strike. That number has dropped to four. Why? The New York times reports it's because US Soldiers have been strapping inmates into chairs, shoving feeding tubes down prisoner's noses so forcefully that they faint and then pumping the prisoners so full of food that it causes them pain and to soil themselves and then harshly yanking the tube back out of the noses, so hard it comes up bloody.

Fellow, Americans, these are our tax dollars at work. This is our government. This is our country. The Pentagon's own estimates say that only 45% of prisoners at Gitmo were involved in opposing the US. We have become the sort of regime in which people just disappear and then are tortured outside of judicial oversight. This violates every law and principle that the US is supposed to stand for or at least follow.

What to do?

  1. Blog about or talk about Gitmo.
  2. We must call attention to this situation.
  3. Protest - take it to the streets.
  4. Your city may have a group that protests once a week or once a month. Join them and carry a sign. Protesting is not grim or doomed. It's actually a kind of fun way to meet some people and those in power do headcounts and notice if numbers of protesters are growing or shrinking.
  5. Write letters

I wrote my two senators and one representative:

Dear Honorable Barbara Lee,

I am writing to ask that you take action to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. Yesterday, I read in the New York Times about cruel methods used to force feed prisoners held in there. These people are being held without trial and many of them are innocent of any crime. The system of extra-judicial prisons and secret gulags being run in the war on terror is contrary to the values that America is supposed to stand for. The risk to our nation now is surely not greater than during the cold war or the world wars and we were able to obey international law and maintain our decency during those times. I am proud to be an American but I am ashamed that my government engages in torture. This must be stopped for the sake of our reputation abroad and for the sake of our humanity. If we cannot wage the "war on terror" in a moral way, then we cannot call ourselves defenders of freedom nor can we call it a "war on terror" as we perpetuate terror on innocent people being held without trial in our prisons.

Thank you for your time,

C. Hutchins

Write your rep: http://www.house.gov/writerep/

Write your senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

And, of course, Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper are also noted.

For more information on Gitmo, see this recent Gaurdian article and Amnesty International, who also has a What can you do? page.

Spread the word.

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