Well, my friends, it has been quite a year so far, with the death of my father in February and my own rather severe illness in March and April, which had me suffering sleep deprivation at home for two weeks, then hospitalized for another two weeks, and then largely housebound for another month.
I’m glad to report that I am fully recovered, that I remain healthy after my brush with mortality, and that I continue to be no longer a smoker, but it’s certainly time for another break, as, although I have tried not to work quite as relentlessly as I did before, I suspect that all that has changed is my attitude, and that I’m not quite as manic and fiery as I was before my illness.
Certainly, my involvement with WikiLeaks, who contacted me out of the blue just after I was discharged from hospital, and sought my assistance in liaising with its mainstream media partners for the release of classified military documents from Guantánamo, hurled me back into manic work when I should probably have been convalescing.
However, this was an excellent opportunity not only to help mainstream reporters understand the significance of the documents, but also to direct a whole new area of research — a detailed analysis of the documents, the Detainee Assessment Briefs, which provide the military’s analysis of almost all the prisoners — for those of us who still care about the horrendous injustice of Guantánamo, and who wish to know the details of what has taken place there over the last nine years and seven months.
I am partway through my analysis of the Detainee Assessment Briefs, which I’m adding to the existing knowledge about the prisoners to form an online reference library that will have detailed profiles of all the prisoners. By the end of the year, when this is complete, it will contain around 750,000 words, and will be pulled together under the heading, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” when I can get that together. At present, the first 200 complete profiles are available — or will soon be available — under the headings, WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo and WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released from 2002 to 2004.
As a result of WikiLeaks’ intervention, designed to raise public awareness of Guantánamo when it was on the slide, I have been working pretty much non-stop all year (even through my illness) and now need to get away for two weeks. Sadly, even WikiLeaks couldn’t put the shame and injustice of Guantánamo back on the front pages for long, and when I return I’ll be liaising with various human rights organizations to raise Guantánamo (and the plight of the remaining 171 prisoners) as a topic of grave importance on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and also on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, on January 11, 2012.
For now, though, I’ll be in Greece, relaxing with my family and creating some space in my head and some relaxation in my bones so that I will have energy for the long struggle ahead. We’ll be in Athens for a week, and then on a small island for another week, and I’m looking forward to the sun, to good food, and — along the way, hopefully — to meeting a few people who can fill me in thoroughly about what’s happening in Greece. We had this holiday booked before the latest manifestation of the Greek crisis, but I can’t honestly say that I can cut myself off from everything for two weeks when the ordinary people of Greece are being asked to suffer swingeing cuts, the wholesale privatization of Greece’s assets, and financial misery for a generation or more.
Have a pleasant two weeks, my friends. I’ll be publishing the occasional updates to “The Complete Guantánamo Files” when I can locate a cybercafé, but mainly I’ll be refreshingly incommunicado for the next 14 days.
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August 8, 2011
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, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in June 2011, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), 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.
On Facebook, Sarah Hashim wrote:
Have a well deserved holiday Andy!
Carol Anne Grayson wrote:
Take care and enjoy… you definitely deserve it…
Thank you, my friends, for your kind wishes. I intend to do some serious relaxing!
Shahla Nuh wrote:
Take care and enjoy your time off
Christine Casner wrote:
Enjoy, Andy!! You deserve it!!! I will have lots to share upon your return. Peace my friend. Love ya, CC ♥
Thanks, Shahla and Chris. Great to hear from you. And Chris, thanks also for the card you sent me, which arrived last week. Very kind!
Louise Gordon wrote:
Have a great time! And do “focus the mind.”
Dhyanne Green wrote:
Andy, to you and your family have a wonderful time full of joy, fun, laughter, good company and excellent food and wine [in moderation]. You give so much it is excellent that you are giving to yourself. Continue ‘being kind to others and kinder to yourself’. Peace – Love – Blessings
Christine Casner wrote:
Naim AbdurRafi wrote:
Keep up the good work.
Kathleen Kelly wrote:
Enjoy–you really deserve it!!
Zaynab Khadr wrote:
Have a good time and come back with renewed energy, we need people like you to keep reminding us of the important things out there. Have a safe holiday.
Thanks, Louise, Dhyanne, Chris (again), Naim, Kathleen and Zaynab, for the lovely supportive words. It’s 5.40 am here, and I’ve had virtually no sleep, but the adrenalin will kick in as soon as we hit Athens!
Have a good rest Andy; you’ve earned it.
Thanks, Ed. Much appreciated.
Have a great holiday! Or should I say, έχουν μια μεγάλη διακοπές.
Sandra Nichols wrote:
have a great time you deserve a well earned break ::-)
Phil Steele wrote:
Have a good break and keep up the good work.
Ciudadano Kane Kane wrote:
Have a nice holiday, Andy.
Beverly Hendricks wrote:
Andy, it’s amazing how productive you’ve managed to be throughout this difficult year. During that time I’ve gotten to know your work, and I hugely appreciate it. Thanks so much. Keep taking care of yourself and enjoy your well-deserved vacation.
Idrees Amin Shah wrote:
”and for the worth things done” u surely deserve holidays and so does ur family too..thr remains lot of things to done…i i wish u a very happy journey..
Tenzin Nanette Miles wrote:
You nurture the earth with your work, now on holiday let it nurture you. Enjoy.
Linda Olson-Osterlund wrote:
Have a wonderful time! Family, Food & Sun, so good!
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
Enjoy your vacation, Andy. I asked two politically interested friends about a possible visit. Both like the idea and will keep it in mind. I can’t promise anything.
Thank you, friends, for your lovely words of friendship and support. I’m in Athens, and it’s incredibly hot! I’ve just discovered that we have Internet access in the apartment, so I’ll be online occasionally, but I’ll be strictly rationing my involvement, to spend most of my time with my family, wandering and soaking up the history … and catching the odd glimpse of the current situation. There was a group of young protestors passing a microphone around in Syntagma Square yesterday evening, but it’s generally very quiet, with nothing happening for the three buses of riot police, parked up opposite the Parliament building with truncheons and riot shields …
Beverly Hendricks wrote:
It will be interesting to get your occasional updates, Andy.
Thanks, Beverly. Here’s the first, prepared before I left:
As I’m away, I’m resisting the temptation to get drawn into commentary about what’s happening elsewhere — on the streets of London, for example. I just saw this, though, which I thought was interesting (it included a link to one of my articles):
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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