For immediate release
January 23, 2009
The Guantánamo Bay Detention Center continues to be an enormous stain on America’s
reputation. Newly elected President Obama has taken the first step in removing
this stain by keeping his campaign promise to the American people.
The temporary halting of proceedings at Gitmo gives us the “audacity
to hope” that President Obama will be able to restore America’s good name,
which has been repeatedly tarnished during the past eight years.
We appreciate the tough decisions that President Obama has been forced to make
and admire him for taking these difficult tasks on. We look forward to hearing
his plan for closing Guantánamo Bay forever, finding a just way to try the detainees
and putting an end to this horrific chapter in America’s history.
# # #
Lorie Van Auken
Additonally, please see earlier statement below, which further explains our
September 11th Advocates Statement
April 3, 2008
As women whose husbands were killed on September 11 2001, we feel strongly
that the perpetrators of that horrific crime should be brought to justice. But
first it is imperative to prove that these six detainees are indeed the guilty
Unfortunately, the Administration insists on trying the suspects in the broken
military commissions system. Prosecuting these men within a system that is secretive
in nature and lacking in due process, and which uses evidence tainted by questionable
interrogation methods and possibly even torture, is a dangerous endeavor. All
Americans, and indeed the entire international community, must have the opportunity
to witness for themselves the body of evidence that ties these individuals to
the 9/11 terrorists’ plot. Otherwise the credibility of any verdict will
lack legitimacy. Moreover, unless these trials are above reproach, any convictions
will bring the wrath of the international community, damaging what is left of
America’s standing in the world. Considering that we continue to rely
heavily on cooperation from other nations to provide us with intelligence information
on would be terrorists, this course of action can only be detrimental to these
crucial relationships, thereby jeopardizing our national security.
These trials, when they finally take place, will be scrutinized around the
globe. Unless the victims’ families, the American public and the entire
world can be convinced that we are trying and convicting the people who are
truly responsible for the 9/11 crimes, these trials will be seen as a miserable
failure, dimming our prospects of improved international relationships, and
making us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks in the future.
On behalf of ourselves, our husbands, and our families, we support the American
Civil Liberties Union in its pursuit of justice and insistence on due process.
The only outcome worth pursuing is the truth, and the only way get there is
by fair trials that uphold the Constitution.
September 11th Advocates
Lorie Van Auken