I Am Gitmo and 22 Years of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

I Am Gitmo

Its been 22 years since the United States opened its prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Specifically, it was four months after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. And that was when we started seeing images of men and boys arriving there, bound and hooded, in orange jumpsuits, confined indefinitely without charges, legal process or trials. And it was not long after that we began hearing reports that the US government was using torture, and even that prisoners were dying there ” again, without even being charged with any crime let alone tried by any court.

The US justified its tactics as necessary to win the War on Terror. But UN Experts and human rights advocates globally have called for the US to close the facility due to its unrelenting human rights violations.

In 2009, President Obama took steps to close Guantanamo but in 2018, Trump signed an executive order to keep it open. President Biden then came in, signaling hed close it, but the subject has been largely ignored ever since. Today, thirty prisoners remain. Where To Watch I Am Gitmo In Theaters

Guest – Philippe Diaz, a filmmaker who is shining a spotlight on the humanity of the men and boys who have lived ” and some who have died ” in Guantanamo. His latest film, the award-winning I Am Gitmo, is a story about a Muslim schoolteacher in Afghanistan who was accused of being involved in the September 11th attacks and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay prison without charges or hope of being released. Philippe is not only the writer and director of I Am Gitmo, but he is also the founder of Cinema Libre Studio – a boutique film company created in 2003 with a consortium of partners to provide an alternative structure for intelligent, independent films to get developed, financed, produced and distributed.

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22 Years of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

The notorious detention center at Guantanamo Bay is high among the most shameful steps taken during George W. Bush’s War on Terror. It remains a symbol of lawlessness and human rights abuses. In a recent letter, 17 US Senators, argued that the detention facility continues to harm U.S. national security by serving as a propaganda tool for Americas enemies and hinder counterterrorism efforts and cooperation with allies.

January 11 2024 marked the 22nd anniversary of Guantnamos opening. It has cost the United States $540 million each year. That’s almost a total of $12 billion and counting. There are now still 30 men remaining in detention at Guantnamo”more than half of whom have not been charged with any crime and have been approved by US national security leadership for transfer out of Guantnamo. Some of these men have been approved for transfer for years, and at least one has been approved for transfer for more than a decade, yet these 16 men have continued to languish in indefinite detention. None of the innocent detainees has ever been compensated for their wrongful detention. Sadly, Guantanamo is but one example of the forms of torture which the United States engages in and supports.

Guest – Rev. Ron Stief, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, who is the Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), an interfaith organization of more than 325 religious organizations committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture. Rev. Stief sits on the Steering Committee of Shoulder to Shoulder / Standing with American Muslims Upholding American Values, co-leads the national advocacy strategy of the Washington DC Interreligious Staff Community, and is a member of the Federal Anti-Solitary Task Force which works to end solitary confinement in federal prisons, jails and immigrant detention.


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