On January 11, I was one of several speakers at a rally to mark the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo outside The White House (organized by, and including speakers from the Center for Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International USA, and September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows), as well as other groups, including The World Can’t Wait. The other speakers, as mentioned here, were Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy and policy director of terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights, Pardiss Kebriaei, Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney representing men detained at Guantánamo, Valerie Lucznikowska of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Frida Berrigan of Witness Against Torture, and peace activist Kathy Kelly reading out a statement by former prisoner Omar Deghayes. For more on the context of the days calls for urgent action from President Obama, Congress and the American people, see my article, The Political Prisoners of Guantánamo.
All the speeches were filmed by a number of media organizations and individuals, and I hope to make footage of the entire rally available soon, but in the meantime I’m posting below a short report by Press TV, featuring a brief clip of my speech, and part of an interview outside the Department of Justice, following a procession of 173 hooded protestors in orange jumpsuits who had walked from The White House, as well as a clip of Valerie Lucznikowska’s speech:
More extensive coverage of the protest outside the Department of Justice, including a short speech I gave, and other interviews and speeches (with peace activists Ruth Hooke and Ray McGovern, and peace poet Luke Nephew), filmed by the wonderfully dedicated activist Bill Hughes, is below:
Note: The photo at the top of this article (click to enlarge) is by Sarah Hogarth, whose many photos of the day’s protests are available here, and I hope to be posting some of my favorite images in a separate article soon.
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 Bianca Jagger. Bianca Jagger said: RT Video: Outside d White House & d DoJ, #AndyWorthington Slams #PresidentObama’s Failure to Close #Guantánamo.. http://bit.ly/dFw0xb [...]
On Digg, cosmicsurfer wrote:
Throughout the 2008 campaign, then Senator Obama promised that his administration would bring transparency and accountability to the White House and to his administration and that he would close Guantanamo by the end of 2009.
Since he came to office, the conditions at Guantanamo did improve somewhat but what he did not do was close Guantanamo, nor did he release the detainees, nor did he allow them their Constitutional rights and guarantees to include their ability to hold the US accountable for the abuse and torture they endured; Nor did President Obama stop many of the abuses started under Bush from the Patriot Act to warrantless wiretapping (in fact he expanded Bagram) to holding “suspects” without charge for years!
PRESIDENT Obama has refused to allow transparency and has refused to hold those who committed the crimes of torture and abuse accountable; He has even attempted to stop other nations from bringing charges against those who, under the last administration, committed crimes against the Geneva Conventions and against the laws of many countries (including our own), that include using those countries for black sites and transporting renditioned civilians through them.
WHEN will we have transparency and accountability? Not, apparently, even when promised …
“yes we can”…
On Facebook, Jaq White wrote:
Great to see you were at the protest Andy… great stuff! The fight goes on, you’re a shining light x
Thanks, Jaq. How lovely to hear from you. I got back from the States yesterday, and am feeling rather exhausted right now after a frenetic week of events, buoyed up only by the excellence of all the activists, lawyers and supporters I met — oh, OK, and the double espressos too!
Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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