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.

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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!

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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.

释放维吾尔人

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.

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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:

Day 2 in DC to close Guantanamo and end torture

posted by Mike on January 22nd, 2009

I’m a little sad this morning–the intensity of the fast is over, the house is getting less crowded as people head home, and the little community we formed is in the past.

On the other hand, I’m excited that Obama is signing an executive order today closing Guantanamo within the year, and asking the Secretary of Defense for a report in 30 days about conditions that might violate the Geneva Conventions.

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We’ll continue our presence in DC, to remind people that the detainees are still in there, whatever papers are signed today, and that the executive order leaves open the possibility that they’ll be there another year. There’s been a lot of discussion about what other small, immediate steps Obama can take to improve the situation of these men. We’re waiting to see what exactly Obama signs, and what other statements he makes.

Fast for Justice: Day Nine

posted by Mike on January 19th, 2009

Tomorrow morning we break our nine-day fast in McPherson Square at dawn, amidst thousands of others gathered to celebrate the promise of peace on Inauguration Day.

Folks are out shopping for food; when they get back, we’ll cook up a good vegetable soup for breakfast.

Many things have not gone as planned this week–but then so many things have gone better than planned. This afternoon, we had another “unexpected Obama moment.” After our day’s vigiling, we stepped off the bus, and a minute later the road was shut down:

The more I hear about yesterday’s vigiling at the Inauguration Concert, the more bummed I am that I missed it. Sounds like the concert-goes were just super-positive about the message. And I missed this, which even on YouTube brings a tear to my eye:

When I was hiking, and things got tough, I sang this verse to myself:
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back;
This land was made for you and me.
—Woody Guthrie

Guantanamo fast: Day 7

posted by Mike on January 17th, 2009

Today I’m feeling better–not sick at all. Getting a little skinny, but fasting for 2 more days will be no big deal. Thinking of the scores of Guantanamo prisoners being force-fed, which only happens if they’ve stopped eating for 3 weeks or are below 85% of healthy weight. Fasting is easy, even a very positive experience, when surrounded by a large, supportive group. Stuck in prison, I’d imagine it would take a lot of despair to stop you from eating for so long.

We started the day with most folks attending mass, then went to the White House. We finished the day at Union Station with a children’s “Peace Train” mini-parade hoping to meet Obama at the station. (I think the kids had to leave before he arrived.)

Fast for Justice Day 5: The Senate

posted by Mike on January 15th, 2009

The original plan for the fast to close Guantanamo was to vigil in the same place (Dupont Circle) every day for 2 hours. Instead, we’ve been meeting more vigilers there, then processing to different places.

Today was the Attorney General confirmation hearings for Eric Holder. Several of our group got up early to attend the hearing.