Fast day 5

posted by Mike on January 15th, 2010

In which Witness Against Torture visits a John Yoo talk, and random passersby insult him.

(If my summaries are a little sparse for you, Kate Cowley has been writing excellent, detailed summaries of each day at the Witness Against Torture website.)

posted by Mike in Shut Down Guantanamo | on January 15th, 2010 | Permanent Link to “Fast day 5” | No Comments »

Guantanamo fast day 3: Ghost walking

posted by Mike on January 13th, 2010

I spent the day messing with cameras and computers in a cafe, and reading about the earthquake in Haiti. My companions meanwhile walked the halls of the Senate offices in black hoods and orange jumpsuits. Remarkably, there were no arrests or evictions.

Witness Against Torture: 2010 fast day 2

posted by Mike on January 12th, 2010

Thanks for all the kind messages of support. Did some good traditional and non-traditional lobbying today. And Carmen Trotta and I returned to the White House for our sadly long-running series of Guantanamo vigil videos.

2010 Guantanamo fast: Day 1

posted by Mike on January 12th, 2010

“It’s not just fasting from food—we’re not supposed to be some sort of athlethes of fasting. It’s also fasting from our own egos.” –Bill Streit, from our morning reflection. We’ll see how the ego fasting goes…

Reminded today that this time last year in DC we were told dozens of times a day, “Go home! It’s closed! He closed it!” We’re pretty far from that now.

Had an evening discussion at Georgetown Law School with lawyers, activists, and curious passersby about “Where do we go from here?” My favorite comments were about “the importance of telling stories,” of not just piling on the facts and logic but engaging the imagination.

2010 Guantanamo fast: Day 0: Have fun storming the castle

posted by Mike on January 10th, 2010

Valerie: Bye bye boys!

Miracle Max: Have fun storming the castle!

Valerie: Think it will work?

Miracle Max: It would take a miracle.

(from “The Princess Bride”)

I’m in Washington DC today with about 2 dozen others to begin 12 days of work, prayer, and fasting for the closure of the Guantanamo prison and an end to America’s policies of torture.
Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 11-22: Prayer, fasting, and action to close Guantanamo

posted by Mike on January 5th, 2010

2010_logo_250pxOn January 11, 2002, the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was first used as an illegal prison in the War on Terror.

On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order closing the base within a year.

Almost a year later, there are 198 men in the prison, scores of whom have been cleared for release by the U.S. government. And it doesn’t look like the prison is closing any time soon.

So Witness Against Torture and other groups have organized a special effort this January 11-22 to close the Guantanamo prison. They are calling for immediate release for those cleared and swift trials for those still suspected of crimes.

I will be joining a few dozen people in Washington, DC for 11 days of prayer, liquid-only fasting, and action. (I was part of a similar 100-day effort last year.) It’s good to be in DC working on national issues; we’ll be able to talk with people face-to-face, rather than just writing letters and making phone calls. I can’t say for certain that something like this is more effective than angry blog posts and letters-to-the-editor, but it sure feels it.

The 100 Days Campaign is over

posted by Mike on May 2nd, 2009

Though there will likely be a trial later in the summer for those arrested April 30, the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture is now over.

Bus stop, May 1

Yesterday we went down to the bus stop where we’ve begun our day so many times, and rode down to the White House to join the long-time Friday vigil there and mark the anniversary of the Catholic Worker.

We finally got a good picture of the entire “core team.”

May 1, 2009
Matt Vogel, Amanda Daloisio, Sr. Takako Ichikawa, Tobias and Matt Daloisio, Mike Benedetti, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, Carmen Trotta, and Tanya Theriault

I’m planning to mull things over for a month before writing anything about the successes and failures of the campaign. Thanks for all the support and love!

61 arrested at White House in Guantanamo protest

posted by Mike on April 30th, 2009

100 Days Project to Close GuantanamoTo cap the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture, 150 people in black hoods and orange jumpsuits, joined by 50 others, marched from the Capitol to the White House. After a brief rally, 61 of these, stood on the White House sidewalk holding a banner reading JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED. Each person carried the name of one of the 55 detainees cleared for release by the Bush Administration, but not yet released, or the name of one of the 5 prisoners who died at the prison.

After being warned to disperse, they were arrested.

Much more at the 100 Days Campaign site.

Russia Today:

Huffington Post has an article and video of Carmen Trotta at the top of his game.

“Faith-Based Anti-Torture Activists Demonstrate/Risk Arrest at White House 4/30 to Demand Prosecution of U.S. Torture and Release of Innocent Detainees”

posted by Mike on April 24th, 2009

Witness Against Torture:

Witness Against Torture’s “100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture” will conclude on Thursday, April 30th with an 11:15 am rally at Lafayette Park and a noon protest at the White House, in which 55 activists, representing the 55 men cleared for release but still in Guantanamo, will risk arrest– the first such arrest action at the Obama White House. The demonstrations– in which faith-based activists will play a leading role– reflect mounting frustration at President Obama’s failure to live up to his campaign promise to break with the Bush administration’s detention policies and bring accountability to government. “Despite early, encouraging signs,” says Matthew Daloisio of Witness Against Torture (WAT), “the first months of the Obama administration have been a grave disappointment with respect to detainee issues and torture. Many of the immoral and illegal policies of the Bush administration remain in place, and President Obama has been reluctant to investigate possible, past crimes. We are demonstrating at the White House to push Obama to fully reverse the Bush policies and commit to a criminal inquiry.”

Band Together: street politics and old-time music

posted by Mike on April 17th, 2009

“Band Together” combines street outreach on political issues with live, old-time music. I talked with some of the people behind the concept about their experiences and what advice they’d give to others looking to try it.

Download the podcast, subscribe, or see other formats.

Band Together is a human rights advocacy project. We use live artistic performances in public places to capture people’s attention and turn it toward human rights. We strive to educate people on the most urgent issues of our time, and facilitate action that will lead to a change in legislative policy on these issues.