A group of Iowans who went to the nation’s capital this week are under arrest. Spokesman Frank Cordaro, a longtime activist himself, says they expected it. They were part of a group of several hundred people, he says, who showed up at the federal courthouse in Washington and tried to get into the docket there the names of nearly 400 people still detained at a federal prison at a U.S. military base at Guantanamo.
Cordaro says they want to "get some of the most basic…rights for people who apparently for the last five years had no rights." The men held at Guantanamo were rounded up shortly after Nine-Eleven on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda or the taliban, and 85 of them have been cleared to be released or sent to other countries though they have not been allowed to leave.
Cordaro says that’s why peace activists from all over the nation converged on Washington. It is the fifth anniversary of the opening of the prison in Guantanamo, Cuba. The U.S. has a strategic naval base there. The group plans to remain a headache for police in the nation’s capital.
Many were hauled off to jail with no identification, and Cordaro says they plan to give booking officers instead the names of some of the people incarcerated at Guantanamo, "to at least get their names on the federal docket." Cordaro, a former Roman Catholic priest, is no stranger to protest. He spent several months last year in jail after taking part at a protest at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha.