[EDITOR'S NOTE:] In solidarity with the ACLU, we've turned the blog orange today to protest the 6th anniversary of the first detainees arriving at Guantanamo Bay. This guest post is from Jenny Egan, Advocacy Coordinator for the ACLU's National Security Project.
On January 11, 2002, 20 prisoners were led off a C-141 transport plane from Afghanistan and onto awaiting buses at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. From there, they were loaded onto a ferry and finally driven into the now-notorious Camp X-Ray.
A month later, the Defense Department released the first photos and they shocked the world. We saw the first searing photos of men in orange jumpsuits, turquoise facemasks and giant headphones being forced to kneel in the gravel, a line of 6-by-8 foot outdoor wire cages in the distance.
There are few things that are more anathema to the ideals of American democracy than the prospect of indefinite detention. Being jailed without trial goes against the essential tenets of our democracy.
Today, January 11, marks the six-year anniversary of the U.S.-run prison camp. In that time, Guantánamo has become a symbol of national disgrace — representative of America's willingness to torture prisoners and detain them for indefinite periods of time. Boys as young as 13 and men as old as 98 have been at Guantánamo and four men have died. 775 people have been imprisoned at Guantánamo, but not one trial has ever been completed.
The ACLU and many other organizations have declared today a day of protest to raise awareness about the issue and help drive the movement to close Guantánamo. We’re calling on people of conscience everywhere to wear orange today, because orange has become synonymous with the jumpsuits worn by prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. We have over 30 events going on around the country. From Raleigh to Boise, Seattle to Tampa. (My favorite is probably the “Orange You Mad Un-Happy Hour” in LA) People in Paris, Brisbane, and London are holding rallies and protests.
But today is just the start. Our Close Guantánamo campaign will be ongoing. We’re asking people to continue to wear an orange ribbon every day until Guantánamo Bay is closed and the U.S. denounces its twin policies of cruel treatment and indefinite detention.