Skip to main content

Bringing Guantanamo to the White House


On April 18, 2007 at 9:30 AM, around fifty anti-torture activists, including Baltimore's Max Obuszewski and Joy First from Madison, Wisconsin, went to U.S. District Court, 333 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. for trial to face a charge of disorderly conduct as a result of a January 11 arrest in the atrium of the same courthouse. Courthouse officials, though,
seemed surprised that the defendants appeared in Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson's courtroom.

After the Jan. 11 arrest, most of those in custody refused to provide any identification and simply gave the name of a Guantanamo Bay detainee. Presumably, the government did not expect any of the eighty-nine individuals
arrested to appear for trial as they were released with John and Jane Doe citations. While the prosecutors, Judge Robinson and the marshals deliberated behind closed doors, the defendants began reading names and stories of the men being illegally detained at the Guantanamo gulag.

Since the government was unprepared for a trial, a large majority of the defendants decided to leave the courthouse at 10:15 AM in order to march through the city and call for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Once outside, they donned the infamous orange jump suits and black hoods which are worn by those illegally interned in Cuba. At 11 AM, those defendants who remained in court were informed that the government would dismiss all eighty-nine cases.

The orange-clad anti-torture advocates marched to the Rayburn House Office Building, the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice and finally the White House. At each site, the advocates demanded justice and due process for the detainees. At the White House, to emphasize the dire conditions faced by the detainees, fourteen of the demonstrators locked themselves to the White House fence on Pennsylvania Ave. After about an hour, the U.S. Park Police brought out bolt cutters to sever the locks and took the resisters into custody.

During the White House demonstration, there were large numbers of tourists and students on spring break who witnessed the action. Coincidentally, representatives of Code Pink came to the White House to chant antiwar slogans as George W. Bush was to meet with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid to discuss supplemental funding of the war in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan and her sister Dede Miller joined with Code Pink to enthusiastically support the demonstration demanding the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

After the prisoners were taken to the Park Police jail in Anacostia, those not arrested renewed their commitment to condemn the government's use of torture and its denial of due process rights to "enemy combatants." Nonviolent civil resistance will continue as a number of anti-torture events are being planned and organized.


Popular posts from this blog

A Proposal for We The People to Institute Positive Change

Hello sisters and brothers, subjects of the United States Empire, it has become clear the elected representatives on Capitol Hill no longer truly represent us and our best interests, but rather are serving their elite major campaign contributors. They serve the interests of the extreme rich and large corporations, certainly not the average American worker, student, or retired individual.

In order to improve our government, we, a collective of dedicated social justice activists, propose three demands to those who have power to legislate within the Federal Government. We list those demands here, and will then discuss how to make sure they pass into the law of the land:

1) Universal single payer health care, something that nearly all other developed nations of the world already possess for their citizens. We, as human beings, have a right to good health and to never be financially crippled in this pursuit of our own well-being. We demand that Congress pass House Resolution 676 and a Sen…

Steve Mihalis, a great friend and man of peace

May we all take up the cause as Steve did, and perhaps more importantly in the *manner* that he did.

I spoke with Steve by phone a week before he passed. He was in a whole lot of pain and the drugs were not helping. I forced back tears, as I was talking with him. The conversation was too brief, as was the time I knew this great guy. As I ended the conversation, I said "Steve, you know what? There's a whole lot of us in D.C. who love you." He just responded that he loved all of us, as well.

I had been arrested with Steve a handful of times, as we resisted the empire's wars and its unjust detaining and mistreatment fellow human beings. He always arrived in DC with a smile and open arms for a hug and a kind word, or two, or three.

Steve never had an unkind word for anyone. He became very involved with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance over the last four years, and that's how I got to know him better.He always provided this wonderful source of positive ene…

Civil resistance intensifies to evil policies so far this year

In honor of Independence Day, I was originally going to write a piece talking about the loss of our republic to the military-corporate empire we live in now, but I thought I would just save myself the additional frustration and post Max from Baltimore's report on civil resistance actions and trials thus far this year! Thanks Max...

Thanks to all of you who were able to risk arrest or to support such protests against the Iraq War. Let us continue to take the risks of peace. This list of appeals, arrests and legal cases is not all-inclusive. Please send additions, corrections and updates to mobuszewski at Included are arrests and pending cases in 2008.


20—[WDC] The government was to file a brief in response to the one filed on Dec. 29, 2007 by Mark Goldstone on behalf of Beth Adams, Ellen Barfield, Michelle Grise, Sherrill Hogen, Kathryn McClanen, Joan Nicholson, Max Obuszewski & Eve Tetaz with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. They are appealing co…