For Immediate Release
October 25, 2022
Press contact: William Fitzgerald, firstname.lastname@example.org
20+ Organizations Demand T-Mobile Not Renew Guantanamo Bay Contracts
A group of more than 20 organizations and a former prisoner sent a letter to the T-Mobile CEO urging him not to renew their cell services contracts at the Guantanamo Bay detention center
Today, alongside 20+ other prominent organizations we sent a letter to T-Mobile CEO, Jeffrey Neal,demanding they not renew their contracts to provide service to Guantanamo Bay. Since 2016, T-Mobile has received over $600,000 in contracts from the infamous base and they continue to profit from one of the locations in the world that’s seen some of the most human rights abuses in recent times.
Organizations who are committed to racial justice—an ideal to which T-Mobile has repeatedly declared its commitment over the past few years— wrote to ask the T-Mobile CEO to end T-Mobile’s contract with the US Navy to provide cellular service at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, home to the notorious military prison.
In order to act in alignment with T-Mobile stated ideals, T-Mobile must stop profiting from the continued existence of Guantanamo Bay Base, a global “symbol of racial and religious injustice, abuse, and disregard for the rule of law.” We understand that the contract will expire soon and we are asking T-Mobile not to renew it. The prison is part of a long history of racist and xenophobic policies and human rights abuses by the United States at the military base.
January 2023 marks 21 years since George W. Bush opened the prison. Since then, 779 Muslim men and boys have been held there, nearly all of them without charge or trial. Today, 36 men remain detained, despite the fact that both Presidents Obama and Biden pledged to shut down the prison.
According to the ACLU, “All of the prisoners have been exposed to the physical and psychological trauma associated with prolonged, indefinite detention.” Many of the remaining men are CIA torture survivors who were subjected to brutal interrogation techniques that included sleep deprivation, stress positions, waterboarding, and more. There remains no measure of accountability for this violence nor reparations for the victims and families impacted by it. It is no coincidence that every prisoner ever held there has been Muslim and that some of the abuse they experienced was rooted in Islamophobia, such as US soldiers desecrating Qurans or force feedings taking place during Ramadan.
T-Mobile has proclaimed itself as a leader among corporations committing to racial justice. In June 2020, CEO Mike Sievert said the company will no longer sponsor ads on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show due to his persistent racist comments. During the 2020 uprising following the murder of George Floyd, VP Jon Frier stated, “Allies have realized that it’s not enough to not be racist. You have to actually be anti-racist…Being neutral is actually part of the problem.”
T-Mobile cannot claim to be working toward anti-racism while simultaneously providing services and telecommunications infrastructure to Guantanamo, a site that is synonymous with racial profiling, torture, and unlawful detention. By doing so, T-Mobile helps keep this horrific site open, while associating their brand with torture. We are calling on T-Mobile to be consistent in its efforts to be anti-racist and lead with these values across the board.
T-Mobile prides itself as “the Un-carrier”—a groundbreaking and industry-leading company—to differentiate itself from other companies. T-Mobile can also differentiate itself by being truly concerned about the role its services and products play in upholding ongoing human rights abuses taking place at Guantanamo. Taking a stance and ending this contract will signal to T-Mobile customers their commitment and willingness to listen to their consumers and uphold their values.
In recent years we have seen corporations be forced to change unjust practices due to pressure from consumers and investors to do what is right. We have witnessed campaigns focused on ending corporate profiteering from mass incarceration through providing a variety of services to prisons, calling on companies to put people and justice over profit.
In line with this call to put people over profits, we demand that T-Mobile not renew this contract that provides infrastructure to a site where abuses take place. If T-Mobile doesn’t address this issue, T-Mobile’s expressed commitments to racial justice appear meaningless, and its brand will continue to be associated with the prison and the injustice that takes place there every day.
The letter asked for a response by 10/5. We followed up again on 10/13, and have not yet gotten a response. As a result of the lack of response, we decided to make this demands public.
Here’s a list of the organizations and former prisoner who signed this letter:
Mansoor Adayfi, Former Guantanamo Prisoner
Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)
Alliance for Global Justice
Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-MN
ICNA Council for Social Justice
Jewish Voice for Peace
Muslim Counterpublics Lab
Muslim Justice League
Muslims for Just Futures
Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
Witness Against Torture
World Can’t Wait