World protests illegal U.S. prison at Guantnamo

By Jim Lane

DALLAS, Texas—Handcuffed and black-hooded 'prisoners' in orange jumpsuits stood quietly amid angry protesters who demanded, 'Shut Down Guantanamo!' outside the federal courthouse here on Jan. 11. Hadi Jawad of the Dallas Peace Center and Chip Pitts of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee of Greater Dallas explained to reporters that similar groups were gathering all over the world in concerted action 'from Australia and Amsterdam, to Amherst and Boise and Wichita, in more than 40 other cities around the world.' The occasion marked the sixth anniversary of the first uncharged prisoners' being brought to the U.S. torture center at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. The Cubans have also protested the military facility as illegally occupying their territory. Local chapters of Amnesty International, Code Pink and the Council on American-Islamic Relations also sponsored the Dallas demonstration. Pitts urged the crowd to keep up their good work. He said that a number of the Guantánamo hostages have been released, and international pressure continues to build against the extralegal activities of the Bush administration. Jawad listed the demands of those participating in the action: * Repeal the Military Commissions Act and restore habeas corpus, * Charge and try or release all detainees, * Clearly and unequivocally forbid torture and all other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, by the military, the CIA, prison guards, civilian contractors or anyone else, * Pay reparations to current and former detainees and their families for violations of their human rights, and * Shut down Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and all other U.S. prisons overseas, including secret CIA detention facilities. For more information on the International Day of Action, please visit www.witnesstorture.org.