In the final article following my 12-day visit to the US to join protestors calling for the closure of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo on the 10th anniversary of its opening, I’m posting below three videos by filmmaker Ed Haas of the protests in Washington D.C. on the actual anniversary, January 11, 2012, which I wrote about here.
In the first video, Ed asked me about how I became interested in exposing the injustices of Guantánamo and I explained how I became the custodian of the prisoners’ stories, and he also filmed my brief speech to the crowd, as well as the speeches made by the Guantánamo attorney Tom Wilner (my colleague in the newly-launched “Close Guantánamo” campaign), Vince Warren, the executive director of the Center of Constitutional Rights, Stephen Olesky, the attorney for Belkacem Bensayah, an Algerian still held in Guantánamo, and a very powerful speech by Daniel Lakemacher, a former Guantánamo guard and conscientious objector, who was noticeably moved by the presence of other people who care about the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo, and the continuing dehumanization of the men still held there.
In the second video, Ed captured part of the rally outside the White House, and the march to the Supreme Court, via the Justice Department, as well as the speech made outside the Supreme Court by Debra Sweet, the director of The World Can’t Wait, and the facilitator of my visit. The third video features the very moving recitation, by Leili Kashani of the Center for Constitutional Rights, of “Is It True?” written during his detention by a former Guantánamo prisoner, the Jordanian national Usama Abu Kabir, which the crowd echoed using the “call and response” method of transmitting information, which has been a hallmark of the Occupy movement, and was a very powerful experience, which I was delighted to find that Ed had filmed.
Note: Please visit the website of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and sign up to join a growing body of people demanding that President Obama fulfill his unfulfilled promise to close the prison. Please also sign a new White House petition on the “We the People” website calling for the closure of Guantánamo. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 6.
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, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see 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.
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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