On Jan 11, protesters marked the 16th anniversary of the opening of Gitmo with a protest in front of the White House,. They found Penn Ave closed (as usual) so they held a tea ceremony for the current 41 detainees on the park side sidewalk. Afterwards, five people marched into the prohibited zone in an act of civil disobedience and were arrested.
“Convenient” closures of Penn Ave for “security” reasons are common when protesters are expected in front of the White House, but this time it didn’t work out like the SS and Park Police had expected. Instead of stopping the protest or keeping it out of sight and mind, it was itself a starring element in the civil disobedience.
In this exceptionally dangerous time, with an overt Fascist in the White House, for anyone to engage in civil disobedience is an act requiring exceptional courage. The same is true for the attorneys who continue to represent Gitmo detainees at the risk of being targetted themselves. The failed military commissions have included attempts by the FBI to infiltrate defense attorney’s teams, and “mysterious” but convenient sound system failures in military courtrooms. Many of the detainees can never be put on trial because there is no evidence against them except that obtained under torture. Five detainees now at Gitmo were cleared for release but did not make it out before Trump took office and vowed to hold them no matter what the facts of their cases. Trump is an open enemy of all Muslims, and in his administration justice takes a back seat to hate, as it always does under Fascism.
Trump has vowed nobody will be released from Guantanimo Bay while he is in office, but has been unable to fulfill his pledge to send more detainees there. His administration has however overseen an unprecendented crackdown on dissent of any kind. Publishers of critical books are threatened with cease-and-desist letters which so far have been defied. There has been talk of revoking broadcast licenses of hostile radio and TV stations. Felony charges have been filed in city after city against anti-racist and anti-fascist protesters. Here in DC, there are still 188 people facing over 60 years in prison each if convicted on trumped-up felony charges stemming from Trump’s inauguration on Jan 20,2017.
41 detainees are still in Gitmo
Lining up for a ceremonial serving of tea, removal of hoods, and reading the names of all 41 detainees still at Gitmo
Surprise! Banner holders march onto closed Penn Ave
Five people were arrested.