Back in 2007, as the 6th anniversary of Guantanamo accepting prisoners approached, Shepard created the iconic POW-USA image for Witness Against Torture. Activists immediately found that the new image attracted important press attention, and thanks to Shepard’s donation of posters and stickers, the image soon became well-known. When Shepard donated the image, he quoted George Orwell: “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”
Here we are in 2012, and January 11th is the 10th anniversary of Guantanamo functioning as a prison, so this is an important moment for the country and for President Obama. Although he pledged to close Guantanamo, it is, obviously, still open, and still holding more than 170 men indefinitely – despite Supreme Court rulings that they be given due process and despite dozens of them being cleared of wrongdoing by the Bush administration. We, in Witness Against Torture, will be fasting for ten days from January 2 to 12 – one day for each year that Guantanamo has been open – and will be bringing thousands of people to Washington – traveling on buses from all over the country – to form a human chain of more than 2,000 jump suited “detainees” from the White House to the Capitol, in protest of all those men held indefinitely and without the right of habeas corpus in both Guantanamo and Bagram.
The POW-USA image has been updated with a new tag-line to reflect the 10th anniversary. Witness Against Torture is raising funds to continue the campaign to shut down Guantanamo and end the illegal and immoral detention and torture practices that have been carried out by the US government over the last decade. The money goes directly toward helping us to organize future events and to pay lawyers who work with us when we get arrested for direct action protests. In fact, the jury trial of 14 of our activists is scheduled this week, in Washington, for an action in which they stood, one by one, in the Gallery of the US House of Representatives this past June; they were petitioning lawmakers to uphold the Constitution by not making funding for Guantanamo permanent. Support Witness Against Torture by purchasing a POW-USA 10th Anniversary shirt TODAY!
Click here for more information on the Witness Against Torture organization.