On Monday January 10, during my short US tour, on the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, which was designed to publicize the plight of the remaining 173 prisoners, who have been largely abandoned by the law, and by the Obama administration (see “The Political Prisoners of Guantánamo“), I spent the morning in Washington D.C., having travelled there from New York the evening before with Debra Sweet, the National Director of The World Can’t Wait, who organized my trip to the US. At lunchtime on Tuesday, I met with Guantánamo attorneys to discuss possible strategies for the year ahead, and was then picked up by the prolific blogger and activist David Swanson, and taken to Russia Today, where we did a brief interview about gun control, which is cross-posted below.
We then headed off — with Debra — to Baltimore, where both Debra and I were David’s guests at an event promoting War Is A Lie, his compelling new book, and a manifesto for a war-free America. This was the first time I had met David, after years of correspondence between us, and it was great to spend time with him, and also to meet so many committed activists in the Baltimore area.
For the event in the evening, at the Barnes & Noble branch near John Hopkins University, a large and lively crowd enthusiastically welcomed the presentation of an award to Bill Hughes, an indefatigable activist who films everything that takes place in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. Area, and after a choir sang the old gospel song, “Down by the Riverside” (aka “Ain’t Gonna Study War No More”) — which struck all of us as something that should happen more often — David talked about his book, I discussed Guantánamo, and Debra spoke about the work of The World Can’t Wait, and I’m delighted that videos of my talk and of David’s presentation, are available below, via YouTube.
Andy Worthington in Baltimore.
David Swanson in Baltimore.
Andy Worthington, David Swanson and Danny Schechter on Russia Today.
Andy Worthington is the author of 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) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. 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 July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andy Worthington and Andy Worthington. Andy Worthington said: Video: In Baltimore, Andy Worthington on Why Obama Has Failed to Close #Guantanamo, and David Swanson on “War Is A Lie” http://bit.ly/hQ9EJ7 […]
Mike Hersh wrote:
You, David and Debra spoke with honesty, decency, intelligence, and moral power tonight (Monday). It was an honor to hear you and to share ideas over dinner–even if you are from Germany!
Very funny, Mike. Thanks for the supportive words for myself, David and Debra. It was a great event, it was wonderful to meet so many excellent people, and, yes, I will also carry away with me the memory of that young woman at the bar (in the restaurant where we and others met before the event) hearing me speak in my, er, pretty damn obvious English accent, and asking me, “Are you from Germany?” That’s the funniest thing since a waiter in Sri Lanka many years ago asked me and my Scottish wife if we were Japanese.
Mike Hersh wrote:
Japanese? That’s even crazier than German. So this is becoming a pattern with you? What ever happened to asking open questions, “Where are you from?” as opposed to venturing ridiculous guesses?
Seriously, thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. As you pointed out, the entire Gitmo operation has been a travesty. Compounding the paranoid cynicism, holding those who are known to pose no threat is a monumental outrage
Once a nation makes an official report declaring people in custody deserve release, there can be no excuse for holding them. Doing so is a systematic, premeditated, ongoing human right violation.
Emad Saad wrote:
My view is that: the freak president didn’t fail, he actually never intended to close Guantanamo
John H Kennedy wrote:
Right on Emad… rank and file Democrats are finally starting to see Obama for the right winger
pretending to be a Democrat, that he really is.
Failure to protect our rights under the Constitution and failure to enforce our Federal Laws, such as the Anti-Torture Laws IS Inexcusable.
Protecting other Presidents and co-conspirators from Federal Law creates a double standard of Justice that will destroy America.
Here’s an excellent message sent to my great friend Debra Sweet of The World Can’t Wait, after we were the guests of David Swanson In Baltimore on January 10, as part of my US tour to call for the closure of Guantanamo on the 9th anniversary of the prison’s opening:
I watched both you and Andy give talks to Baltimore on Monday. Andy and I are facebook friends and I have his books…and have supported the fight against the concentration camp called Guantanamo…a place of the greatest shame ever to smear the US history. Sadly I have to wait 107 days before the publication of War is a Lie by David Swanson in the UK but I have bought my advance copy.
I watch with gathering horror at what is being done to the Palestinians whose land is being stolen by law under the jackboot of Israeli law, of the massacre of so many innocent lives in both Iraq and Afghanistan, of the UK’s complicity in the illegal rendition (kidnap?) of so called terror suspects and of the USA and the UK’s unholy alliance in fermenting war for oil and calling it a righteous war on terror. I despair sometimes but stay strong knowing we have the right…I write poetry for peace sites and yet my youngest son is in his final run-up to deployment to Afghanistan with his regiment where he will face unknown dangers and become part of the greatest criminal act of deception that has ever been perpetrated in the name of freedom.
And slowly the peace movement here in Carlisle UK is growing as war fatigue and the endless stream of coffins return home and so many more return injured beyond our worst nightmares. Sixty of us took part in the World March for Peace and Nonviolence event I organised a year ago…slowly we are growing in numbers…this year I showed the Day After Peace on Peace One Day in a local centre and I read some hard hitting poems to our Mayor.
Our voice is so puny against the roar for war
but still we must say in a quiet way “Peace”
and I wish and wish that I could do more
to help the overdue Guantanamo release.
Thank you for showing us that we belong to something bigger, something greater than ourselves, and something that win in the end win. Your voice adds to all the other voices of reason till we in turn become that roar.
Blessings on all you do.
Return from Guantanamo
Somewhere between the truth
and its victims,
lies the semi truths
we will never ever be told.
Somewhere in a land of secrecy,
of clouded wit
those trapped by a freedom,
held in iron chains,
shackled by manacles,
not seeing the glimmers
of each new day
that turns its shadow,
within its sheltered path:
lost within the pain
of never knowing
that they are missed and gone.
We cannot know
all the reasons they were held,
nor ever can anyone tell:
trapped within systems;
of secrets, enigmas,
of state mysteries,
double bluffs and just plain lies.
upon the altars of democracy,
rarely seeing the charge
against them to defend.
How can we defend
such actions in our names;
these miscarriages of justice,
that most of us
just choose not to see?
David Gould © 24th March 2009
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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