Today in Washington, DC, Amnesty International and the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, staged events protesting Guantanamo. I learned that they were in town from reading VanHelsing at Moonbattery, so I took the Blogger Urban Reconnaissance Vehicle (BURV) and headed downtown. The first thing I found was the Amnesty International’s Guantanamo Cell Tour 2008.
A child who really needed to get a sandwich or two was handing out fliers to passers-by;
Then there was the cell itself;
The woman who was conducting the tour told me that it’s not representative of normal cells, but those of “Class V” prisoners. But according to Fox News, that’s not true;
Amnesty International-USA said the cell, which contains a toilet, sleeping bunk and a small window, is meant to symbolize the U.S. government’s alleged mistreatment of detainees at the prison.
It said the tour is designed to increase public awareness and mount pressure on the Bush administration and Congress to close down the U.S.-controlled detention center. The group planned its display in Washington to coincide with a House Judiciary subcommittee’s hearing on harsh interrogation techniques.
But Charles “Cully” Stimson, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, lashed out against Amnesty’s campaign, calling it a “complete fraud in misrepresenting the condition of detention at Gitmo today.”
Not having been to Guantanamo myself, I can’t attest to either story so I’ll just go with the experts on this. Since AI has an axe to grind and funds to raise, I’ll stick with the ex-government guy. Here’s an interview I did with the “tour guide” Cicely;
The particular Gitmo alum who was identified as the suicide attacker in Mosul last month was Abdullah Salim Ali al-Ajm. Cicely said he was held six years at Gitmo, but that’s not true he was there three years before he was released.
After I was done taping, we all had our picture taken – that’s Gabrielle Birchak and Rob Raffety from Project Breakout.
Their corner of the Mall was virtually ignored by the thousands of tourists out on this sweltering June morning;
But their cell on the Mall was a little bit more realistic than the one I found at the other event in Lafayette Park (across from the White House where there are usually more tourists);
It seems someone should have spoken up and mentioned thats how Americans get treated, not how we treat foreign prisoners. But, oddly, no one did speak up.
I don’t think this guy’s hunger strike began intentionally;
Just as I got there, they formed up for their march – around Lafayette Park.
I was doing an interview with the Washington Post so I missed the shot of them walking by the White House. It might have been part of WaPo’s plan. But the reporter assured me that he wasn’t a communist, so who knows.
These two guys (Raoul might know who they are) were lamenting the fact that their planned protest in Denver wasn’t going to be as good as their protests at Fort Benning’s School of America or Seattle because they weren’t going to be in charge. I’m guessing they’re not happy that the umbrella organization is making them tone down their dissent.
About that time, this guy started eye-balling me;
And sent this woman over to take my picture;
I just noticed this guy from the picture three photos above taking my picture;
I don’t what that was about, but I handed all of them my card and told them if they needed to ask me anything they can reach me at this blog. We’ll see how that turns out. Here’s a video of their little march around Lafayette Park and some REALLY BAD sax playing;
All-in-all it was a pretty pathetic event. They were vastly outnumbered by the apathetic tourists. I didn’t see any support for them from the tourists, hardly any asked questions, and aside from me and the Washington Post reporter, I didn’t see any media. He told me that he was so new at the Post, he didn’t have business cards yet.
Code Pink had the event on their website, but there were none of the usual suspects there – in fact the only people I saw wearing pink were tourists.
There were more participants at the protest in the middle of January in the pouring-ass rain. Today was a sunny June day. I think they’re losing their cache`.
Thanks to Jammie Wearing Fool , Little Green Footballs, Nice Deb, Stop the ACLU , Gateway Pundit, The Real Revo, Inoperable Terran, Libertarian Republican, Pirate’s Cove and McClatchy Watch for the links.
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