Amnesty International reminded me about something today.
That our country has a secret prison where we 'detain' people for indefinite amounts of time without trials.
It's called Guanatanamo Bay, and it's been open for 10 years.
According to the New York Times, in January of 2009, Obama issued an executive order instructing the CIA to close down Guanatanamo within the year, calling the secret prison camp "a damaging symbol to the world."
Three years later, the New York Times reports that 171 prisoners remain there now. You can read a docket listing the prisoners' full names. Many of them have been held since 2002, when the prison opened.
Help put an end to this unfair treatment by signing Amnesty's petition to Obama, participating in Amnesty's National Day of Action Against Guantanamo on January 11th in D.C., or simply becoming better education on the situation, for instance by reading Poems from Guantanamo Bay, poems written directly by the prisoners and edited by Marc Falkoff.
The full text of Amnesty's e-mail is included below:
January 11, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of "war on terror" detainees at Guantanamo. We're not going to let this day pass quietly.
Sign Amnesty's global petition urging President Obama to finally follow through on his promise to close Guantanamo. Help us meet our goal of 100,000 signatures worldwide — signatures we plan to deliver straight to the White House door.
We haven't forgotten President Obama's pledge to close Guantanamo, one of his first acts as president. Nearly three years later, the President has failed to keep his end of the bargain.
Even worse, President Obama has yet again relented to extremists in Congress. On New Year's Eve, he signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, along with its appalling detention provisions.
We lost that fight, but there's reason for hope. The battle over the NDAA united activists across the ideological divide, who put differences aside and came together to oppose the NDAA.
January 11th isn't just any anniversary. This year, it's acritical moment to rise up against a shameful decade of human rights abuses perpetrated in our name. We can't let the recent outrage against the NDAA simply ebb away — help us channel this passion into a movement rededicated to closing Guantanamo!
Guantanamo is a costly human rights catastrophe. Military and intelligence experts have repeatedly asserted that Guantanamo and the violations it stands for are immoral, illegal and counterproductive to US national security.
There is a simple solution to closing Guantanamo — either charge detainees and give them a fair trial in US federal court, or release them.
Sign our petition to tell President Obama that we are tired of his excuses. Guantanamo must be closed.
For many, the New Year holiday embodies humanity's hopes for the future. Here's to 2012 — and with your help, this could be Guantanamo's final year.
Director, Security with Human Rights Campaign
Amnesty International USA
P.S. It's not too late to join us in Washington, DC on January 11th for a National Day of Action Against Guantanamo. Lend a hand to our human chain!