Congressman James T. Walsh
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Hillary Clinton
Syracuse, New York 13261
Re: Guantanamo Bay
Dear Congressman Walsh:
We come to your office today to express our shame and outrage that the Bush Administration — with Congressional complicity — maintains its illegal and immoral prison at the US Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Further, we are here to demand that, as our elected representative, you do all in your power to close that vile facility.
On January 11, 2002 the first Afghan prisoners arrived at Guantanamo. Since that day more than 775 prisoners of various nationalities have been held at that concentration camp.
All have been brutalized. Some, perhaps most, have been tortured. Dozens have attempted suicide. Seventeen were taken to Guantanamo as minors. Some were only 10, 12 and 13 years old. None has been convicted of a criminal offense.
We are appalled that this past fall, after almost five years of Guantanamo’s global notoriety, the U.S. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act. The MCA, among its other props of totalitarianism, denies Guantanamo prisoners habeas corpus,
the presumption of innocence, the right to trial within a reasonable time.
The MCA betrays not only our national ideals, it betrays our domestic security, our domestic freedom. Its precedents, we fear, may well pave the way for similar abuse within the United States.
We have come to your office on Guantanamo’s fifth anniversary as part of an international effort calling for its immediate closure.
Further we call for:
· repeal of the Military Commissions Act and restoration of habeas corpus,
· an airtight ban on torture…and on all other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners by anyone: the military, prison guards, civilian and foreign contractors, the CIA or other intelligence agency, and
· the cessation of extraordinary rendition.
Congressman Walsh, we appreciate your recent stand against funding for the new $125 million expansion of Guantanamo Bay. We want to believe you are rethinking your previous support for the Military Commissions Act and similar legislation denying basic human and civil rights. We urge you to consistently affirm the universality of these principles which undergird any legitimate democracy.
As our Representative, we need to know which side you are on — that of tyranny or that of freedom. And if you are on the side of freedom, we need to know how hard you will work to close Guantanamo.
We look forward to your response.
Carol Baum, Gary Bonaparte, Hari Chathrattil, Joan Conley, Dik Cool, Barbara Humphrey, Andy Mager, Jessica Maxwell, Kim McCoy, Shirley Novak, Ann Tiffany and Rose Viviano
Syracuse Peace Council Steering Committee