Yesterday a billboard went up in North Carolina. Not your typical commercial billboard. The placement and the content were unique. The billboard with graphic artwork depicting two kneeling black hooded prisoners practically screams “Close Guantanamo!” at passing motorists. The 28 ft long 12 ft. high behemoth is placed 4 miles east of I-95 on Hwy 70 in Johnston County, NC. The Johnston Co. Airport is home to Aero Contractors, notorious CIA torture taxis that delivered “suspects” to Guantanamo and other black sites.
The billboard is the inspiration of graphic designer Ellen Davidson and her partner Tarak Kauff, an ex-paratrooper and national board member of Veterans For Peace, who, along with artist Paul Keskey from New Paltz, NY, designed and are promoting the billboards. They hope to see the billboards appear at sites in cities and towns across the country. Kauff last year completed a 58 day hunger strike reflecting his desire to see Guantánamo closed, the force feeding and other forms of torture stopped, and the prisoners, most of whom have been cleared for release, actually released.
That the billboard is first being displayed in North Carolina must be some kind of ironic poetic justice. In 2012, a report by Prof. Deborah Weissman and students at the Immigration & Human Rights Policy Clinic of the University of North Carolina School of Law said “Aero was intricately involved in the extraordinary rendition of individuals to overseas facilities and black sites,” the report states, “and as a North Carolina-based corporation, could not have carried out these functions without the support and resources of the state of North Carolina and its political subdivisions.”
For information how to place a billboard in your town or city contact Tarak Kauff at firstname.lastname@example.org