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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/12/11

Justice Dept. Blockaded to Stop Torture, Shut Down Guantanamo

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Witness Against Torture and activists from other human rights organizations protest DOJ handling of torture and Guantanamo by Witness Against Torture

Witness Against Torture Leads Demonstrations to Mark Ninth Anniversary of Guantanamo

WASHINGTON --Sixty anti-torture activists blockaded the entrances to the Department of Justice for an hour and a half this afternoon. The action was to protest Washington's failure to close the Guanta'namo detention center and continued use of torture against detainees at Guanta'namo and other prisons that comprise the "gulag" operated by the military and security agencies around the world.

"Sixty people blocked three entrances to the Justice Department," said Matt Daloisio of Witness Against Torture, which organized the day of action against torture. No arrests were made. "Warnings were issued at one point, but the police appeared to change their plans and called off bringing buses to take away the blockaders. U.S. authorities have deeply disgraced this country by refusing to end torture and provide its War-on-Terror prisoners with speedy trials. Rather than call more attention to this fact by detaining activists who put themselves at risk today to bring this message to the public, they backed off."

The Day of Action extended beyond Washington. Ten were arrested at the Federal Building in Chicago, Illinois this afternoon, and actions were also held in Miami, Pittsburgh, Madison and elsewhere.

"This first day of action was a significant success," said Cooke. The actions kick off an 11-day Fast for Justice to end torture and close Guanta'namo. Over 100 people around the country have signed up for the 11-day, liquid-only fast. Close to 50 fasters will be in Washington for the entire period, holding a vigil each day in front of the Justice Department.

The blockade followed a rally at the White House attended by more than 350 people and that included Witness Against Torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International, and British journalist Andy Worthington, author of The Guanta'namo Files and co-director of the documentary Outside the Law: Stories from Guanta'namo.

Visit Witness Against Torture's Website, , for photos and video of today's blockade and text of WATs's letter of demands to Attorney General Eric Holder.

The following video shows parts of the protest in D.C. on Tuesday, January 11th. It features author Andy Worthington and frequent contributor to OpEdNews, Ray McGovern. Also, Luke Nephew delivers a reading of a poem.


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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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