Our Mission

Witness to Guantanamo (WtG) is the world’s most comprehensive collection of filmed stories about the prison camps at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

Our mission is to give voice to former detainees and others who have witnessed the impact of the detention center. We offer these compelling stories to promote public dialogue, foster a shared humanity, and inspire future generations to never again repeat the mistakes of Guantanamo.

Witnesses from both sides of the wire and across the political spectrum offer rare perspectives on Guantanamo. Their stories reveal a legal black hole that delivered underwhelming security and overwhelming injustice. They move us to take action to restore America’s reputation as a beacon of human rights and the rule of law. And they encourage the global community to embrace humanity as our greatest tool to make the world a safer place.

As tragic losses from extremist terror become far too frequent, WtG remains committed to telling the world the extraordinary and moving stories of Guantanamo.

Peter Jan Honigsberg

FOUNDER & DIRECTOR

Professor Peter Jan Honigsberg began Witness to Guantanamo (WtG) in fall 2008, after realizing that no one was filming, collecting and preserving the voices and stories of Guantanamo. He modelled WtG after grassroots truth commissions and the Shoah Foundation’s collection of Holocaust survivor testimonies. Professor Honigsberg’s father, who fled Nazi Austria, was among the 52,000 video testimonies recorded by Shoah.

Prof. Honigsberg, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, conducts the interviews for WtG. He visited Guantanamo in 2007, and is the author of several books including Our Nation Unhinged: The Human Consequences of the War on Terror and Crossing Border Street: A Civil Rights Memoir. He has also written law review articles and blog pieces, including pieces for the Huffington Post. Professor Honigsberg is currently writing a book on his work with Witness to Guantanamo.

Johnny Symons

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER

Johnny Symons is an Emmy-nominated social issue documentary filmmaker. He has directed and produced four feature films: Daddy & Papa (PBS; Sundance premiere), Beyond Conception (Discovery Channel), Ask Not (PBS) and Out Run (PBS). He co-produced the Academy Award-nominated Long Night’s Journey Into Day (HBO; Sundance Grand Jury Prize). Symons has a master’s in documentary production from Stanford and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State.

Eva Moss

CREATIVE DIRECTOR & EDITOR

Eva Moss’ 10+ years working on award-winning and Emmy-nominated social issue documentaries for public television have honed her skills as a storyteller and facilitator of action. The films she has helped produce, edit, film and distribute have been widely used as tools to raise awareness and promote change. In particular her role as an engagement coordinator has made her appreciate the power of media to be used to further specific outreach goals- be those community, political, environmental, consumer, educational, or brand- building. She searches out unique stories that make us feel connected to one another and to the important issues of our time.

Adriana Puente

DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT

Adriana Puente is a strategic planning and development consultant to small businesses and nonprofits. Her work across a number of industries and functional areas makes her uniquely qualified to help clients develop strategies to achieve their mission and share the story of their brand with the world. She spent years working in operations, product strategy and marketing for one of the nation’s largest retailers. She has also worked as a legal and policy advocate for public offices and nonprofits in California, Texas and Washington D.C. As a writer, she continues to analyze the social relationships, institutions, and cultures that profoundly shape our lives and history, exploring society and how it can be changed for the better. Adriana is a trained teacher and lawyer, with a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and a JD from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Virginia Anderson, Chair

Laura Truffaut

Gary Alexander

Mary Louise Zernicke

Peter Jan Honigsberg

The Witness to Guantanamo project has received generous assistance from numerous organizations and individuals, including the University of San Francisco, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve (London), the Guantanamo Justice Center, Cageprisoners and others.

A special thank you to the funders who have made this work possible:
  • The Sigrid Rausing Trust
  • The Anita Roddick Foundation
  • The Left Tilt Fund
  • Open Society Foundation
  • The Levinson Foundation
  • The Oak Foundation/Global Dialogue Foundation
  • The Lynn Handleman Charitable Foundation
  • The Samuel Rubin Foundation
  • Open Society
  • The Uplands Foundation
  • LEF Foundation
  • Jesuit Foundation
  • Ai L. Nguyen

And thank you to all of those who have so generously and courageously agreed to share their stories with the world.

Witness to Guantanamo is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives.

Some interviewees fall into more than one POV. They are categorized below according to their primary role in Guantanamo.