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Vol. 73/No. 30      August 10, 2009

Close all U.S. prison camps now!
Hundreds of prisoners at the detention center on the U.S.-run Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan have been conducting a strike since at least July 1 against their indefinite, arbitrary detention. They are refusing to leave their cells to shower, exercise, or communicate with family members. Working people should see this as a chance to demand the closing of Washington’s prison camps around the world, which threaten workers’ rights in the United States and internationally.

The administration of U.S. president Barack Obama has said it will close the infamous prison camp at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In recent years that prison has come to be seen as a symbol for the brutal treatment and torture the U.S. rulers dish out to detainees worldwide—many of whom were simply swept up by the U.S. military, FBI, or CIA. The decision to close the Guantánamo prison reflects the political liability it has become for Washington.

Yet the Obama administration has insisted that prisoners from around the world being held at Bagram can be jailed indefinitely without charges and have no right to challenge their detention. The methods of torture the prisoners face are illustrated in the 2002 death of a man many U.S. intelligence officers admit was innocent. He died after being beaten for several days.

While the White House so far talks about closing the prison at Guantánamo, the U.S. government is expanding the Bagram jail to hold more prisoners. The target of Washington’s “war on terror” is not primarily suspect groups of “foreigners” or “terrorists.” Washington’s main target is working people here in the United States as they prepare to confront the growing resistance to the assault on our rights and standard of living. A section of the U.S. ruling class wants to put Guantánamo prisoners on trial in front of U.S. federal courts, laying the basis for more regular use of “terrorism” charges against working people through the “civilian” court system.

An increasing layer of working people in the United States can identify with those in Washington’s prisons abroad as the number of workers behind bars within U.S. borders continues to grow.

The U.S. ruling class is trying to set a precedent with its detention practices as they prepare for the class battles they know will come with capitalism’s economic and social crises. This is why working people everywhere should demand that Washington close its prison camps now and end arbitrary detentions!
Related articles:
Two are indicted in FBI ‘terror’ probe of Somalis in U.S. cities
UK: Pakistani students fight ‘terrorism’ arrests
Lessons from FBI’s secret war on political rights  
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