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Joint Chiefs, World, Want Guantanamo Closed

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January 14, 2008

We’d like to think it isn’t a coincidence that only a few days after our Close Guantanamo Day of Action, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, announced that he too would like to see Guantanamo close. “I’d like to see it shut down,” Mullen told Reuters. “I believe that from the standpoint of how it reflects on us that it’s been pretty damaging.”

We couldn’t agree more. Last Friday, which marked the sixth anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at Guantanamo Bay, activists around the world joined in protest of the U.S. government’s refusal to shut it down.

The ACLU, working with our national network of affiliates, hosted tons of events – from readings to protests to vigils. You can check out pictures from the ACLU events, and read ACLU national staffers Jenny Egan and Reid Rowe‘s accounts of taking the Close Guantanamo message to the national morning TV shows in New York. We also have dispatches from Florida, Massachusetts and Progressive Island, where we hosted an online event in Second Life.

Lastly, we’d like to thank everyone who blogged about the campaign, and ask them to keep it up. As long as prisoners languish behind Gitmo’s walls, we’ll be calling for its closure, and we need your help. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, sign our pledge and tell your friends.

Now isn’t the time to become complacent. Case in point: While the world protested last Friday, an appeals court threw out a lawsuit brought by four former Guantanamo detainees against then Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld. According to The Washington Post, the court found the detainees “have no right to sue top Pentagon officials and military officers for torture, abuse and violations of their religious rights.” The decision shows just how much more work remains to be done. Let’s keep up the pressure on this administration to shut Guantanamo down once and for all.