The Battle of the Beanfield 25th Anniversary: An Interview with Phil Shakesby

1.6.10

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield, a notoriously violent, one-sided confrontation between 450 unarmed travellers and green activists, and a quasi-military police force of over 1,300 police and MoD personnel, which crippled the New traveller movement in the UK, brought to an end the annual Stonehenge Free Festival, and marked the start of a concerted effort to curtail civil liberties in the UK, particular as they related to protests and gatherings without prior consent. To mark the occasion, as I discussed in an article last week, I’m showing the 1991 documentary about the Beanfield, “Operation Solstice,” which features footage that the State tried to suppress, at The Broca coffee shop in Brockley, London SE4, at 7 pm, and there are also screenings in Bradford and Brighton, and the premiere of a new play in Exeter.

To mark the anniversary, I also reproduce below Chapter 2 of The Battle of the Beanfield, the book I compiled and edited for the 20th anniversary in 2005 (copies of which are still available). The interview, with traveller Phil Shakesby (also known as Phil the Beer) was conducted 20 years ago for “Operation Solstice” by Gareth Morris (who directed the documentary with Neil Goodwin) and Caroline Thomas, and was one of several that I transcribed in full for the book, and it covers events from the summer of 1984 through to the Beanfield on June 1, 1985. It has a particular resonance today because Phil passed away on April 26 this year, aged 57.

An Interview with Phil Shakesby

Nostell Priory, 1984

It was the back end of the summer time. We’d done the normal summer circuit — Stonehenge, Inglestone Common — and then people went on to Cumbria and then down to Nostell Priory. It was a paying do. They had all kinds of bands on, some big name bands. We were all parked up in this big horseshoe affair, and it was all going quite nicely. Then the trouble started.

It was the time of the miners’ strike, and the police had been herding them off into a field and battling it out with them. When the police steamed into Nostell Priory, they were fresh from beating up this bloody mega-wodge of miners. The first we knew of it was about half past eleven, when Alex came steaming past my gaff shouting, ‘The Old Bill’s coming up!’ As I leapt outside and looked up this huge field, there was these great big blocks of bobbies, just like the Roman epics, at least four or five hundred of them. And they came charging across the field towards us, with these batons banging on their riot shields, shouting a war cry. Oh, my goodness!

They surrounded us just right of the marquee. At that point we were well and truly sorted. As I say, they had these mega bloody riot sticks, and wagons chasing through the site running into benders. Now they didn’t know whether there was anybody in these benders, and they’d run into them at high speed, just loving the way that they exploded. The tarp and all the poles would blow out, scattering the contents all over the place. And they did several of these. One of the lads managed to fire up his truck and chase after this thing, and, of course, a few more riot wagons came in then, and they eventually stopped him by ramming him from either side.

The main Super Duper comes over when they’ve actually surrounded us, and he’s asking for Boris and Doris, who are the ring-leaders as far as he’s concerned, because we’d billed ourselves as, ‘The Peace Convoy, backed by Boris and Doris’ — who were two geese that we had on site. So on all the fly-posters it was ‘Boris and Doris proudly presents…’ sort of thing. So they wanted to arrest Boris and Doris. And of course, your arse is tweeting like nobody’s business because there’s all this thing going on. Your gaffs are being wrecked right before you, and you’re surrounded by all this police, and then the Chief Super Duper marches up and says, ‘Right, I want Boris and Doris to step out here now!’ as all 200 of us fell about guffawing. I mean, you couldn’t do anything else. Your arse is tweeting away one moment, and then there’s this loony toon asking for two geese to step forward. It was the funny moment of it all. Wicked!

The other thing that went down: these guys that looked just like us — there was about seven of them. They’d infiltrated us that summer and done a bloody good job. They’d been wheeling and dealing along with some of the other lads that did that kind of thing. As we’re surrounded, people are getting these lumps out of their back pockets and shoving them to one side. They were arresting us — arm up the back — and filing us out through the crowd and pushing us into the main bulk of the bobbies with the tackle.

It came to my turn to hand myself in. As I did, these two bobbies took hold of me and cuffed me up with two lots of cuffs, and quite smartly marched me away down the field. As they marched me down I looked to the right at my home. I had a Pilot Showman’s trailer, and the contents are literally flying out of the windows that they’d broken. They were supposedly looking for drugs but they were systematically smashing up every home in the place. In fact, the trailer next to me, the inside was a total and utter wreck. There was nothing left.

I’ve got down to where they’re photographing us and I’m complaining to this sergeant that my home is being smashed up. They’re not searching it at all –they’re smashing it up. And he just scribbled this number on my forehead and the camera went flash and I was dragged away. I told them what I felt about them. I told them that they were a gorgeous bunch of bastards. And so I was immediately nicked for that, and then they flung me headfirst into the riot wagon.

Anyhow, I slid down across the steely floor of this wagon, and they’ve seen this screwdriver in my back pocket. They pulled me back out by my feet, whipped me round in front of this sergeant, and showed him this screwdriver that I was supposedly going to use on them. And in fact, what the crack was, when they steamed in at half past eleven I was just finishing me fittings. You know, as you do when you’re working, you slip things in your back pocket so you know where it is. It was about five minutes later when the police came in.

We were taken off into the police cells, where we spent three days and nights. And that was pretty wicked. Those that were kicking up, if they didn’t get hosed down, they got a good hiding. I wouldn’t make a statement. When they asked your name it was ‘Joe Clone.’ I wouldn’t let them take me prints, and so they were going to get me sorted. They wanted to sort me there and then, so I offered them, ‘Come on then, let’s have it out now. I’ll have all five of you.’ And they thought that was too cocky for them, so they got these guys in from this borstal training thing, you know, and these guys actually turned up that night.

And there were these guys a few cells down from me who were being, like myself, non-cooperative. You could hear flesh and bone smacking against the brick wall as these borstal types were pummelling them down the way.  And the three guys that were in the cells with me, I told them about how they were getting these guys in to sort me later, and these three are literally crying and whimpering away, because you could hear what was happening to the others down there.

I managed to blag their mattresses and put them in front of me, which made it very spongy for these gorillas to stand on, and I was going to be on the bench doing the business, letting fly with everything. I felt that they were going to snuff me out. A bit extreme, I suppose, but you read about people being battered to death in the cells and nothing ever being done about it. And when you heard these bodies being slapped down the way there, my goodness!

They came up to the door, and I was sat meditating on the bed, sort of thing, trying to keep my composure. All I could hear was my cell-mates going wobbly-lip. And one of these borstal types ripped the latch down on the cell door. I opened my eyes and I looked at these two eyeballs peering through, and my heart was thumping away as these manic eyeballs roamed around the cell. But for some reason they never came in. They just carried on down.

We were regularly rioting throughout the day. Then they decided to give us all tea and coffee, and we thought, ‘Oh brilliant!’ We hadn’t had a drink of tea and coffee in days. You only got water and jam sandwiches and that was it. And of course, an hour or so later, after we had these drinks, it went deadly silent for the first time in days. They’d put Largactil — wodges of it — in the tea. Loads of people actually passed out or fell asleep, or they were laying there with their eyes open but couldn’t do anything. The same thing happened to me. There were just one or two people who hadn’t had this chemical cosh, and they sussed out what was going on pretty quick and started creating even more.

On the third or fourth day we were moved to army jail. This was quite a miserable experience for all concerned. You were banged-up 23 out of 24 hours, with only two half-hour exercise times. It was a miserable place. But when we first got out in the exercise yard we were quite chirpy, and John and I tried to crack a few laughs and warm proceedings up a bit.

In dribs and drabs I served ten days. Most people got up to a fortnight before they were taken to court. If you didn’t give your right name they were going to keep you in indefinitely, but after a fortnight they sussed most of our names out. Loads of us were filed into court in front of this magistrate, who systematically went through us all, finding us guilty and nicking us for whatever it was. Myself, I got two lots of suspended sentences, for six months each, for just being at a festival and complaining that these people were smashing my home up. I felt quite bitter about that, really.

When I came out and found my gaff in the state it were in — it were a total wreck. They’d actually ripped the hangings down that I’d just put up, and ripped out all the panels too, so-called looking for drugs. They were just being totally and utterly destructive. They just wanted to smash our homes up, because they still had this strange thing that if they decommissioned the homes they’re decommissioning us, sort of thing.

I hadn’t been on site long when some of the solicitors and barristers turned up that had been dealing with our cases. And they informed us that the police intended to do the very same thing the next day — to come in and arrest everybody there for whatever fairy tale charge they could make up. Well, of course, that sent paranoia charging right through the whole site.

Operation Amethyst

The next morning everybody was up bright and early. We were running and set off down the motorway, and at every exit we came to there were police cars and riot wagons all the way up and across the bridge. A mega-turnout.  You couldn’t leave the motorway. And this carried on in every county and at every exit as we charged down the M1 all the way to London. It just didn’t stop until we actually hit London.

We ended up at this lovely place in Kent, and at the end of a month staying there, there was just about ten or so left out of the original convoy, and we moved on from there and we went … well, we couldn’t go any further south without becoming amphibious. We thought they were going to run us straight into the sea, as it were. So we started going up north and ended up on this disused airfield. That was where this particular ‘Operation Amethyst’ took place.

As I say, there was very few of us. We’d had the usual hassle with them.  They’d dumped about five tons of this clay on our only route in and out. They’d blocked it good and proper. We spent a couple of days hacking a way through that and eventually shifted it all. And as soon as we’d shifted it, they came along with this reinforced concrete and dumped umpteen tons of that. So we started hacking away at that, but it was almost impossible to get through. Dan, who was with us — The Neck, as he’s known by the London firm — hijacked this JCB that was working just down the way from us, and he set about hacking away at this stuff. There was all this metal intertwined. He had to drive back and charge at it full-pelt with the bucket wide open, sort of thing, and grab into this stuff.

Anyway, we’re working on top of this mound of tackle at the same time with sledgehammers and picks, as this guy, our nearest neighbour, turns out with his shotgun and starts letting go. I was on top of the mound smashing away at this tackle, and all these leaves came floating down from this branch a few feet above my head. I was well impressed by that. People sort of stopped, and I said, ‘No, come on, let’s get on with it. It’s getting to the point when they’re going to have to kill us if they want to stop us. Let’s just carry on.’ And we did. And he fired another shot. The police turned out, and we explained what had happened, and of course they wanted the JCB back. Everything was sorted and sort of fell into place, and we thought things were ok. We finished the work for the night and went back to our homes.

At the crack of dawn the next morning, Special Branch came in with a warrant for guns and drugs. I’d just smoked me last bit of drug as they were banging on the door. I smiled and popped it in the range. It was burning away quite merrily as they steamed in. They had guns under their armpits and guns on their hips, and there was these riflemen set out round about. They were quite frightening, really. It did give you this impression that you were on a short bit of string, that, short of a bullet, some of us are not going to go away. And it seemed that that day was not far off, really, because all of a sudden they’re turning out with guns.

They arrested everyone on site again for whatever it was. As they’re going through my kit for the second time, because they haven’t found anything to arrest me on, Paddy’s being dragged past and he’s saying, ‘You’ll never guess what they’re arresting me for. They’re arresting me for being in possession of my own milk churn.’ These bobbies looked at my milk churn by the door and said, ‘Right, you’re under arrest for being in possession of that milk churn and that tarpaulin.’

When we got down to the local nick there were these blackboards, and all our names are on these blackboards and what cells we were going in. So they knew. They’d already pre-planned to have that particular set of people down the cells, regardless of whether they found anything or not. We were interviewed by Special Branch. As far as they were concerned, we were terrorists. We were to be dealt with as terrorists. They couldn’t find anything to nick us on, and so at the end of the day they’ve said, ‘Psst, if you leave the area we’ll drop the charges — the theft of the milk churn and the tarp.’ And the same with the others. But we dug our heels in and stayed in the area and they never nicked us.

Molesworth

When we got this site established, we pulled off and went up to Molesworth, where the Peace Convoy actually came about then. We’d been told that a few people were up there. We moved on to the Rainbow Village and joined in with the protest. And by just being there you were protesting against these Cruise missiles. I didn’t like Britain being used as a front line defence by some other country. It’s us that’ll get it in the head come the time, so I thought. So I ought to throw my threepence ha’penny’s worth in and see what can be done.

And that’s where I met lots and lots of new faces, and it was all working out pretty well there, though they’d been nicking bods for theft of firewood. It was freezing cold, you know. Winter. So I felt that that was really out of order. I’d never heard of it before. All the years that I’d been on the road, I’d never been nicked for theft of firewood. Being nicked for trying to keep warm, sort of thing.

High-ranking bobbies and officials would regularly come on, and I took them to one side and had a word with them about it. But they weren’t having none of it. I put it to them that we can have it tit-for-tat, if you like. ‘If you’re going to carry on nicking people for collecting firewood, I can always block off your main entrance’, I told them. They sort of said, ‘Go ahead’, so we did. Ten of us moved onto their main road, which only left them the one way in. There was no exit. And it stayed like that all the time, because they carried on nicking people for collecting the firewood. And we told them, when they stopped nicking people or when they dropped the charges, we’d open the road up, but until then it would be tit-for-tat. Well, they never did relent, so we kept the road blocked for three weeks.

It was quite a good do. Loads of Joe Public turning out at weekends, and coming along with old Wellingtons and old sets of work boots, and all kinds of stuff. There was this free food area, where loads of potatoes were done in the ovens, and loads and loads of food was always on the go at weekends. It was quite a good do down there.

A children’s parade at the Rainbow Village, Molesworth, 1984.

But on the night when they came in … It was about half past eleven. There’s this huge trail of motors that you could see in the distance. I’d never seen so many headlights in all my life, sort of Old Bill-wise. You knew who it was straight away. It was the Old Bill and the army, and there were thousands of them coming in. As they came closer and closer, the panic set in. People were running around with lumps of stash and sort of bimbling off in different directions and doing like they do. They steamed in and surrounded us. They had it well-timed. We were promptly ringed by the Old Bill, as these army sappers were running around with coils of barbed wire.

Talk about overkill. There were 1,500 Royal Engineers, 100 military police, and about 500 riot cops. It were the biggest Royal Engineer operation since the war. And Michael Heseltine flew in like Action Man. You know he has this long hair — well, he had this bloody hair-net on as well — quite a cod! Yeah, that was the do — Michael Heseltine.

Long Marston

After Molesworth, this main lump was put up in Bedford, and then on to Long Marston. We had a wodge of jam sandwiches steam in. They were trying to cut us up and slow us down. All you could do was keep going at the same speed and go up their back end and push them along, you know.  As we went through the different counties we had jam sandwiches, then we had these riot vans doing the same thing, and then all these motorcycle cops. It was quite a wacky race, if you like, from Bedfordshire to Long Marston. And then, in the last twenty miles, all the Old Bill that had been interfering with us disappeared. Instead of trying to stop us, the local Old Bill in Stratford are going, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s alright. Just steam on up there.’ They even gave us directions.

When we got to the site, of course, there was the landowner in this bloody great mechanical digger, not letting us in. And the entrance was quite a big entrance. Jed was over one side and I was on the other. He’d come over with this big set of jaws at your windscreen, Jed would inch in a bit, and it would swing over to him and give him loads of grief. I’d inch in and it’d swing back to me. And on the third time, as Jed inched in and was about to go for the gate, he just swung the bucket round and went ‘Wham!’ straight through the roof and through the windscreen. And Jed is just sat there going, ‘Wow!’

Seconds later, Jed’s leapt out the cab, out through the hole where the windscreen went, and chased off up to this huge machine. And, of course, as he’s going up, this landowner has brought the arm in and he’s giving it some. Jed’s running around trying to get to the cab, and he’s following with this bucket affair trying to crush him. I leapt out of the motor and I went over as well, so he had both of us to contend with. And then, as he was having a dig at me, Jed got into his cab round the other side. He’s giving him a punch or two and he’s got him by the throat, and this huge arm sort of fell to the ground and it’s twitching away like a good ‘un, as Jed’s rattling his neck, and I drove my coach and trailer through the middle of this arm — this huge bloody arm — as everybody else followed in.

The convoy at Long Marston, May 1985. Photo © Alan Lodge.

The main bulk of the people came together there and we ended up with this quite large convoy. And it was from there that we set out to move down to the Stones. We’d put the word out. We’d been and seen Spider’s lot in Bristol and Pikey’s lot on the east coast, and our main lump was in the middle of the country, sort of thing, and we’d arranged to meet up on the first large field after Savernake Forest. And of course, Bald-Headed Ray had actually taken Savernake Forest for us, so that’s where our main bulk ended up. Later on, both Spider’s and Pikey’s lot came in, and it was quite a good festival we had going that night.

The Battle of the Beanfield

The next morning came along, and it was about half nine in the morning. I was listening to the local radio and it reported that there were 300 hippies actually at Stonehenge, and of course at that I was quite elated and I rushed off and told people. And it’s, ‘Ali! Ali! Come on, let’s go!’ We had this huge convoy with this carnival-cum-fairy-type atmosphere, you know — flags waving, Bob Marley on the ghetto blaster. It was wicked. And eventually we all set off and slowly meandered down the road towards what we now know as the Beanfield.

As we made our way down there, we were about ten miles or so away from Stonehenge, when these two old boys stopped us and told us of these large council lorries that were preparing to dump quite a few tons of grit on the road, along with this wodge of bobbies that were there. Mick, who was my co-pilot, he had another look at the map and he worked out that we could by-pass this huge roadblock by doing a quick left and then a right and then carrying on down the main A303 to Stonehenge. Which is what we did. Well, as we got to that point, they’d already hacked off a large portion of the back end. These hit squads of police had, you know, steamed in from out the junctions, blocked the road, and busily started setting about people and their homes, you know, smashing in their windows and knocking people about like they do.

And we were carrying on. I didn’t know any of this was going on, myself. I was in the lead vehicle at the front, as Dale came along on his motorbike. Dale was the outrider. He steamed along and told us, as we were going down the road, what had been happening at the back end. Of course, we knew what to expect at the front end any minute. And sure enough, no more than ten seconds had gone by from Dale telling us, when these riot wagons came steaming up the road two abreast. There was no way you could go round them. A quick negotiation started with the police, but they weren’t prepared to let us go on any further, and in fact we were to hand ourselves in or there’d be bother. Well, we told them there and then that there was no way that people were going to hand themselves in. Then the order was sent out by the high-ranking bobby to arrest all the drivers, and of course this line of riot bobbies had shot out along the side of us and started smashing in the windows.

Well, this chap came up from behind in a flat bed and, by the side of me, rammed into the hedge, and got stuck and reversed out, and then rammed through it again. I thought, ‘What a brilliant idea! Let’s pull into the field off the road.’ So I put my wagon into first gear, which was crawler gear, and made my own hole in the hedge and steamed off through. I’d recently fitted a huge bumper — a really big, heavy-duty sort of fuck-off bumper, you know — and I went and punctured ‘x’ amount of holes in the hedgerow for people to get through, because they’d already heard what were going on at the back end, and what were going on at the front, as these bobbies had just stormed down, and they were just wrecking homes as they went, you know, smashing in the windows. And people started quickly filtering in through the holes, and people had got chainsaws out and were cutting their own holes in the hedge. And what was the main bulk of us then moved into the Beanfield. At first there were quite a lot of people driving around who weren’t quite sure what was what, until we all got parked up and things seemed to settle down a bit.

I was hoping myself that we’d be allowed to leave that field and go to the alternative site. We kept waiting on this Chief Super Duper Grundy, who was the man of the time, and of course he did eventually turn up. I asked him if we could go to the alternative site, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, can we go back to Savernake?’ He said, ‘No, you will hand yourself in and be processed’, and he gave us a deadline as to when we should be doing it.  And of course, all this time-wasting that had gone on was so they could build up the forces that they felt were necessary to comfortably outnumber us, and do the same business on us that they’d been doing on the miners.

I mean, the police say there were people throwing petrol bombs and stuff like this. I never actually saw any of our lot throwing petrol bombs. What I did see was quite a few people that felt very intimidated, very frightened after having their homes smashed. And quite a few people had been beat up at this stage by the police and arrested and taken away, and some were still with us that had been beaten up. And people were prepared to resist to a degree, as such. There were a few young ones that were actually having a bit of a running battle with the riot police, who kept coming into the field in full gear — with the batons and riot shields — having a dig at us. I suppose they wanted to know if they could just walk in and do as they pleased.

As I say, there was a lot of time-wasting so they could get their forces together. There was ITN reporters and other such reporters there who had been talking with the police, and the police had informed them that they were going to come in and do the business. These reporters were very concerned for our safety and welfare. You could see by the way they were shaking that things were going to take a very drastic turn for the worse. And sure enough, they did.

When the time came, things were very quiet, and people were just resigned to hanging in the field and hoping that it would all go away. The police came in and they were battering people where they stood, smashing homes up where they were, just going wild. Maybe about two-thirds of the vehicles actually started moving and took off, and they chased us into a field of beans. By this time there were police everywhere, charging along the side of us, and wherever you went there was a strong police presence. Well, they came in with all kinds of things: fire extinguishers and one thing and another. When they’d done throwing the fire extinguishers at us, they were stoning us with these lumps of flint and such.

And in fact, while things had been quiet that afternoon they had been considering whether to use these high-powered single-shot rifles to put a single shot into each engine lock to stop it, because they knew that we’d climb into the vehicles and try and drive off, like you do when somebody’s coming at you with a manic set of eyes and a large lump of something. You want to run away from it.

We’re charging around, and around and around, and of course as the minutes went by there were less and less of us. And as people were stopping, their homes were systematically broken, and the people were battered and taken away and flung into the riot wagons. It came to the point where there’s just Jed and myself left running in the field. Then there was all these bobbies left to deal with us. There didn’t seem much point in going on, so I drove out of the Beanfield. I’d been in and out of the Beanfield several times already. You just had to move away from where the main bulk were, and go for where there was less bobbies, you know, because you had less stuff being thrown at you at that point.

There was a dividing line between the Beanfield and the grassy field, and there was a dip where my front wheel went down. As I tried rocking the vehicle back and forth on my clutch, it wasn’t coming out, and by that time I’d been surrounded by about 40 policemen. In the same moment, every window in the vehicle came inwards. I’d had nothing broken at that point. It had all been bouncing off the bodywork and some of my windows were Perspex, so all the other windows had been left intact, but in that one instance every window came in.

I’d bolted my doors, and put big coach bolts through them so you couldn’t open them, and there were no handles on the front, so they wouldn’t be able to get in, but they ripped these doors open with the coach bolts in. How they did it I don’t know, but they ripped these doors open. And then this one single riot bobby leapt in and stood on my bed and shouted at Third Eye Jim to get out. He let Third Eye Jim out. He shouted at Mick to get out, and, as he got to the side door, this bobby smashed him right between the eyes with this huge riot stick, and of course Mick flew out the door backwards.

Then he told me to do likewise, and of course I realised as soon as I moved over to the door that he was going to hit me with this stick. Which he did. As soon as I got to the door, sure enough, he went to hit me right between the eyes — the same place he’d hit Mick — so I covered my face, and this baton hit me on the elbow and sent me reeling out the door. And just as they’d got me on to the brow of the field there, because that’s where they were taking our particular lot that was left, these bobbies stopped me and forcibly spun me round and made me look. They said, ‘See that’, and I looked at my home, and there was smoke coming out the side doors. They’d gone and set my home on fire, stopped me and turned me round, and made me look at the flames and the smoke coming out the sides.

The Rastabus, one of the last vehicles to be attacked at the Battle of the Beanfield.

Then they turned me back round and whisked me off and bumped me into the riot wagon, where there was a lot of other people that I knew. We’ve all had the same treatment. I don’t think there was anybody in the wagon that hadn’t been thumped with a riot stick. And of course, from there it was down to the police cells in Amesbury. They nicked over 400 of us. I heard of one poor kid who’d swallowed his entire stash before they steamed on, and of course the Old Bill sussed out pretty quickly that he’s tripping, and they’ve got him in the back of a riot wagon. They’re sitting on his chest and digging him in the kidneys, and threatening how they’re going to snuff him out down the cells, sort of thing, and this kid’s screaming. Oh, my goodness!

They really went for it that day. I’d never seen the Old Bill lose it so much. And of course, the TV footage of them doing the business went walkies. All Joe Public got to see of the Beanfield was shots of our kitchen knives and axes — so-called weapons — and various buses supposedly trying to run the Old Bill over.

Note: For further information about the Beanfield and its impact on civil liberties, see this article I wrote for the Guardian last year, and this accompanying article. Also see these articles about Stonehenge here and here (and also see here for information about a book of photos from the 1994 Solsbury Hill road protest). And for tributes to Phil Shakesby, from some of his friends, see the Festival Zone website.

Andy Worthington is the author of Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion, The Battle of the Beanfield and The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and currently on tour in the UK), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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CD: Love and War

Love and War by The Four Fathers

The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Abu Zubaydah Afghans in Guantanamo Al-Qaeda Andy Worthington British prisoners CIA torture prisons Clive Stafford Smith Close Guantanamo David Cameron Four Fathers Guantanamo Hunger strikes London Military Commission NHS NHS privatisation Periodic Review Boards Photos President Obama Reprieve Shaker Aamer Torture UK austerity UK protest US Congress US courts Video We Stand With Shaker WikiLeaks Yemenis in Guantanamo