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Justice Now: Close Guantanamo, End Torture
Day 1 Update 

Dear friends,
Our activists have arrived in DC for our 2020 Fast for Justice and Week of Action.  If you're in the DC area, we'd like to remind you of our events this week: 
  • Thursday's panel on witnessing and resisting our carceral society, 7:00 pm, Festival Center
  • Friday's concert featuring song, poetry, and political comedy, 7:00 pm, First Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Saturday's rally: 1 pm rally at the White House followed by march to Trump Hotel.
Event posters are at the bottom of this message.

In addition, on Monday Andy Worthington and Tom Wilner will speak on a panel at New America: Guantanamo in 2020: What is the Future of the Prison Camp after Eighteen Years?
Jan. 13, 2020, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm at New America, 740 15th St. NW #900, Washington, DC

Click here to see our full schedule for the week. 

Update/reflection: Day 1 WAT's Fast for Justice

Christopher Spicer is compiling reflections from our activists in DC this week for our 2020 Fast for Justice. We will be sharing his and other reflections via email, Facebook, and our website this week.  Here's the first one:

Gathering at First Trinity on Tuesday evening--opening circle

“The only shame is in betraying your ideals
And failing to stand by your beliefs.”
--Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed from Yemen. 
one of 23 “forever prisoners” at Guantánamo who as of today have been held 18 years.

Eighteen of us here the first evening, a mingle of new faces amidst veteran witnesses. We all bring our ears back to hope (‘I hear a beautiful sound, it is the breaking of chains … Let them go home…’). 

“This song touched me. The somber sound. My family is Irish and I learned the fiddle. When I first heard this, I pictured a march or a brogue” said Quin, from Cleveland-based IRTF

Missile Strike

We receive word 7:45pm… a wave of feeling. Wade in the Water, we sing. Down by the Riverside… 

“Let’s pause to take this in” Mike from Cleveland says. Let’s feel this. Breathe.”
“I’m feeling Raw Anger” says Josie from Ohio.
“I’m reaching to something Biblical, adds Mike. “Rend our garments, call a fast.”
“I resonate with that image of repentance” says Lor, retired Lutheran pastor. This war aggression is “in our name.”

Second Circle on Wednesday morning

Twenty-four strong now, we discuss shared agreements and messaging. Step up Step back means, for Chris, W.A.I.T. Why Am I Talking? “As a White Person,” Cheryl from Western Mass says, “sometimes I don’t know. Call me out.” Helen adds, “We have learned we have to work on our white privilege.”

White House Rally Against War in Iran

We marched (in jumpsuits and hoods) to the White House for a rally put on by Code Pink--among other organizations--to protest acts of war against Iran and occupation of Iraq.

Along the way back, Quin from Cleveland spoke with different individuals about their experiences at WAT:


This is her 2nd year coming to WAT facing "the people who are ruling the world."


Brian remembers WAT directly connected John Brennan with acts of torture during his confirmation hearing to be CIA director, which landed WAT on the front page of the NYT and of which Brian is very proud. Brian said: " Things are not worse but they are a whole new type and level of bad."


Don has been coming since 2016 because “until Guantánamo is closed, the work is not done. It doesn't matter who you are or what you have done, torture and indefinite detention are impermissible." Don outlined to me the difference between a life sentence in prison and an indefinite detention, the latter being an act of psychological warfare that leaves you question where you will be tomorrow, next week, or next decade, as is the case for the 40 men left at Guantánamo.

Thanks for your solidarity as together we insist: Justice Now: Close Guantanamo and End Torture! 

Here are our event posters:
January 9: Exhibit and Panel

Guantanamo 18 Years Later: Witnessing and Resisting Our Carceral Society

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Exhibit: 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Panel: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
The Festival Center
1640 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

Join the Center for Constitutional Rights, Justice for Muslims Collective, and Witness Against Torture as we mark the 18th anniversary of Guantánamo’s opening and bring the offshore “War on Terror” prison into a larger conversation on resistance within and to the U.S.’ carceral society.

Reflecting on Japanese-American incarceration during WWII, mass incarceration, migrant detention, and the prison at Guantánamo Bay, panelists will explore the criminalization of communities and the state’s use of confinement as a tool of social control. The discussion will center the ways in which prisoners and detainees have resisted their captivity, and how advocates have organized against those systems.

The event is free and open to the public. Dinner will be served. Please RSVP.

The Justice for Muslims Collective poster exhibition, Shattering Justice & Re-Making the Muslim Threat, will be on display beginning at 5:00 pm and throughout the evening.  The artwork and words provide a visual timeline of the ways Muslims have been marginalized, criminalized and dehumanized from 9/11 until now.   

Facebook event page with speaker list.


January 10: Music, Poetry and Political Comedy
Until Justice, We Resist

January 11: Rally at Lafayette Park, 1 pm
Justice Now: Close Guantanamo and End Torture

RSVP at Facebook event page.




Donate to support our work

Please consider a donation to help fund our annual Fast for Justice this January.  We are completely volunteer driven and run. We have no paid staff; all of the money you donate goes to funding the work we do together. We are fiscally sponsored by the Washington Peace Center. The Washington Peace Center is a verified US-registered non profit. If you are able, click here to donate.


Who we are

Witness Against Torture formed in 2005 when 25 Americans went to Guantánamo Bay and attempted to visit the detention facility. They began to organize more broadly to shut down Guantánamo, end indefinite detention and torture and call out Islamophobia. During our demonstrations, we lift up the words of the detainees themselves, bringing them to public spaces they are not permitted to access. Witness Against Torture will carry on in its activities until torture is decisively ended, its victims are fully acknowledged, Guantánamo and similar facilities are closed, and those who ordered and committed torture are held to account.

Copyright © 2020 Witness Against Torture, All rights reserved.

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