Day 36: Ash Wednesday

posted by Mike on February 25th, 2009

Many of this week’s participants in the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture are Catholics, so Ash Wednesday is an important day.

We wanted to connect the practice of our 100 Days vigil to our Lenten practice, so after visiting the White House sidewalk we processed to St. Matthew’s Cathedral and held a vigil during the transition between masses.

As our text we chose a line from Friday’s first reading:

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke
(Isaiah 58:6)

A vigil like this can easily come across as a protest against the church or the churchgoers, and indeed we’ve already received one angry, eloquent e-mail from someone who understood our message and is sympathetic to the cause, but didn’t like the vigil one bit. Read the rest of this entry »

Guantanamo Uighurs derailed

posted by Mike on February 18th, 2009

A U.S. appeals court has reversed a lower court ruling that the 17 Uighur detainees at Guantanamo should be immediately released into the US. Washington Post:

Two of the judges, Karen LeCraft Henderson and A. Raymond Randolph, found that Urbina overstepped his authority in ordering such a remedy. Only the Executive Branch and Congress have the power to allow people to enter the United States, they ruled.

“The question here is not whether petitioners should be released, but where,” Randolph wrote in an 18-page opinion. “Never in the history of habeas corpus has any court thought it had the power to order an alien held overseas brought into the sovereign territory of a nation and released into the general population.”

In an opinion concurring with Randolph and Henderson, judge Judith W. Rogers wrote that Urbina had the right to order the release of the Uighurs into the United States but had acted “prematurely.”

More analysis from SCOTUSblog.

Day 23 of 100: Worcester goes home

posted by Mike on February 12th, 2009

As part of the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture, we’re inviting groups to join us in Washington, DC, for all or part of a week.

This week’s Worcester participants have gone home, but not without sitting down to recap the experience:

mp3 link, other formats, podcast feed

Today was another long, grueling, satisfying day for those still here. Vigils at the National Mall and White House, conference calls, blogging, writing, and a birthday party. Carmen breaks it down:

Day 21: Worcester comes to town

posted by Mike on February 10th, 2009

A small group from Worcester arrived this week to help with the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture. Good energy and a good attitude.

We started the day outside a press conference at the National Press Club held by a “keep Guantanamo open” group, then moved on to the White House for our daily “Free the Uighurs” vigil, then spent the afternoon visiting Worcester’s Rep. Jim McGovern and staffers for Senators Kennedy and Kerry. Visiting my elected officials was well worth my time.

Day 16 of 100: Podcast

posted by Mike on February 5th, 2009

A chat with some participants in the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture about their vigils at the White House and outside the Panetta CIA Director confirmation hearings, visiting Senators and Representatives, and buying a very special cardboard cut-out on the cheap.

mp3 link, other formats, podcast feed

Obama: Shut Down Guantanamo

Day 13 of 100: Why not phone the White House?

posted by Mike on February 2nd, 2009

Another “Free the Uighurs” vigil today–various media stopped by, and ABC News wrote a nice blog post.

Tomorrow we’re kicking off a national week of phoning the White House and Attorney General (it’ll be Eric Holder’s first day) and saying 1) thanks for planning to close Guantanamo, and 2) free the Uighur detainees immediately.

Text of the “Free the Uighurs” campaign e-mail after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 10: Remembering the Uighurs and all detainees

posted by Mike on January 30th, 2009

There’s been a surprising amount of news about the Uighur detainees at Guantanamo this week, including a documentary on PBS and a lengthy story today on Democracy Now!


And wouldn’t you know it, today’s White House vigil was briefly on Politico 44. (And the main site.)

Uighur vigil on Politico 44

Like last week, we spent this Friday fasting. The vigil was made up of prayers and readings by and about the men who’ve been at Guantanamo.


Day 9 of 100: Free the Uighurs

posted by Mike on January 29th, 2009

This week we’re focusing on the release of the Uighur detainees at Guantanamo. This sub-campaign has some interesting challenges, like answering everyone’s initial question: “Free who?”

Nice weather and good crowds for today’s vigil. The web angle is going slower than I’d like. Still connecting with other groups who are either working on this issue or might want to be in the loop.

Detainee lawyer Emi MacLean on Guantanamo

posted by Mike on January 27th, 2009

Emi MacLean, staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, talks about the current situation at the Guantanamo detention facility, having just returned from the prison. Recorded at the Peace Mural, Washington, DC. Presented by the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture, January 26, 2009.


Download the mp3 or see other formats.

100 Days Campaign podcast feed

Day 3 in DC

posted by Mike on January 23rd, 2009

Glenn Greenwald:

Barack Obama will have spent his first several days in office issuing a series of executive orders which, some quibbling and important caveats and reservations aside, meet or actually exceed even the most optimistic expectations of civil libertarians for what he could or would do quickly . . . .

His Guantanamo order exceeded the expectations of most of us here. Alcohol is prohibited at the temple except for “special celebrations”–and this was deemed a fit occasion.

Even with beer, it was hard to get in the mood. The (beginning of the) end of a terrible situation isn’t normally joyous, but rather a time for sober reflection, and so today’s White House vigil was a prayerful memorial, spent remembering what’s happened at Guantanamo, and what is happening at this minute. People dressed as detainees broke character, took off their hoods, and read passages by or about the detainees. We began and finished with prayers.

Matt Vogel was working the crowd, and thought many of them “got it”:

Bud Courtney reads:

Many have talked about prosecution of US war crimes as being part of a “truth and reconciliation” process. With this memorial, I think we are exploring what non-judicial means we can employ to heal the scars. A good start.

I haven’t seen anything better on the dawning of the “Obama era” than this typically great clip from Jay Smooth: