Archive for September, 2012

Quarterly Fundraiser Day 5: The Future of My Guantánamo Work Is In Your Hands

Please support my work!

Hello, my friends, readers and supporters. For several years now, I have been asking you, every three months, for donations to support my work as an independent freelance journalist and researcher, specializing in Guantánamo and the “war on terror,” which I first began researching and writing about on a full-time basis six and a half years ago.

All contributions to support my work are welcome, whether it’s $25, $100 or $500 — or, of course, the equivalent in pounds sterling or any other currency. Clicking on the link above, readers can pay via PayPal from anywhere in the world, but if you’re in the UK and want to help without using PayPal, you can send me a cheque (address here — scroll down to the bottom of the page), and if you’re not a PayPal user and want to send a check from the US (or from anywhere else in the world, for that matter), please feel free to do so, but bear in mind that I have to pay a $10/£6.50 processing fee on every transaction. Securely packaged cash is also an option!

In my six and a half years of working on Guantánamo, as well as writing a book and co-directing a documentary film, and making numerous appearances on TV and radio, I have written nearly 1,300 articles about Guantánamo, and have also embarked on a project to tell the stories of all the prisoners based on the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, on which I worked as a media partner. In that project, I have so far analyzed and told the stories of over half the 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo throughout its long and wretched history, and have been able to demonstrate, in more detail than before, how untrustworthy are the government’s allegations against the majority of the men held. Read the rest of this entry »

A Future for Occupy? Why We Need A Campaign for Genuinely Affordable Housing

A year ago, when Occupy Wall Street began, people occupying public spaces in large numbers and refusing to go home was innovative and radical, but then those spaces were reclaimed by the establishment — with violence, or through legal machinations — essentially bringing the first phase in this new era of protest and activism to an end.

Anyone thinking that the Occupy movement has gone away, however, is missing the point. Just as the movement introduced a powerful new concept — the 99 percent versus the 1 percent — into political discourse, so the complaints that motivated people to occupy public spaces in the first place have not gone away.

Essentially, we live in a broken system, broken by criminals who have not been held responsible for their actions, criminals on Wall Street and in the City of London and Canary Wharf, motivated by greed on a colossal scale, who, aided and abetted by venal and/or stupid politicians, crashed the global economy in 2008 but then got away with it.

Saved by government bailouts, the criminals continue to live lives of almost unprecedented wealth and greed, while the rest of the people — the 99 percent — are being made to pay for the crimes of these thieves through savage austerity programs that are driven by malignant ideologies and are also, it should be noted, economically suicidal. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: On Omar Khadr’s 26th Birthday, Supporters Call for his Return to Canada from Guantánamo

Sign the petition!
Watch the video!
Post your own “Omar Khadr is Welcome Here” photo!

The imprisonment of Omar Khadr, just 15 years old when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan, has always been a disgrace of colossal proportions. The US and the Canadian government have both ignored their obligations to rehabilitate rather than punish children caught up in armed conflict, and the Obama administration then arranged for him to agree to a plea deal in which he admitted that he had thrown the grenade that killed a US soldier prior to his capture, and was an alien unprivileged enemy belligerent whose actions constituted a war crime. It is by no means clear that Omar did in fact throw the grenade, although it is understandable that he agreed to the plea deal to be released from Guantánamo. As a result of the plea deal, announced at the end of October 2010, Omar received an eight-year sentence, with one year to be served at Guantánamo, and the remaining seven in Canada.

Although it remains unforgivable that the US government arranged for a prisoner who was a child when captured to be regarded as a war criminal for being involved in combat during a war, and although it will be an indelible black mark against the Obama administration when the history books about this period are written, the baton of injustice has, for the last eleven months, passed back to Canada, where the government of Stephen Harper is refusing to honor its part of the plea deal, according to which Omar would have returned to Canada last October. Read the rest of this entry »

Quarterly Fundraiser Day 3: $2000 Still Needed to Support My Work on Guantánamo, Torture and Injustice

Please support my work!

Every three months, I ask you, my friends, readers and supporters, to donate whatever you can to enable me to carry on working as a freelance investigative journalist, researching and writing about Guantánamo and the “war on terror,” as I have been doing for the last six and a half years. Although I receive some financial support from two backers, much of the work I do is unpaid, and it is only your generous support that enables me to continue.

All contributions to support my work are welcome, whether it’s $25, $100 or $500 — or, of course, the equivalent in pounds sterling or any other currency. Readers can pay via PayPal from anywhere in the world, but if you’re in the UK and want to help without using PayPal, you can send me a cheque (address here — scroll down to the bottom of the page), and if you’re not a PayPal user and want to send a check from the US (or from anywhere else in the world, for that matter), please feel free to do so, but bear in mind that I have to pay a $10/£6.50 processing fee on every transaction. Securely packaged cash is also an option!

Most recently, in relation to Guantánamo, I helped to tell the scandalous truth about how the Obama administration allowed a cleared prisoner to die at Guantánamo because it was political inconvenient to release him. 86 other men are in his position — cleared for release but still held — so it remains imperative that pressure is exerted to persuade President Obama to release all of these cleared prisoners before any more of them die in captivity. Read the rest of this entry »

Crowds and Culture: Photos of Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross and the Southbank Centre

The Paralympics in Trafalgar SquareSt. Martin-in-the-FieldsEntrance to the crypt, St. Martin-in-the-FieldsLooking down Villiers StreetParalympics volunteers, Charing CrossDrinking in The Princess of Wales
Dark mirrorLooking down Villiers Street from aboveLooking up Villiers Street from aboveReflections on Villiers StreetVictoria Embankment GardensThe wine bar and the sweet shop
The green corridorGreen surveillanceThe EmbankmentThe view from the bridgeGiant pillars in the riverBig building blocks on the South Bank
Skeleton head for "Parliament in Flames"Festival on the South BankA new space at the Southbank CentreThe Whitehouse Apartments

Crowds and Culture: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross and the Southbank Centre, a set on Flickr.

On Friday August 31, 2012, I attended a protest in Triton Square, just north of Euston Road, outside the offices of Atos Healthcare, the multinational company that is running the government’s vile review process for disabled people, which is designed to find them fit for work when they are not. See the Flickr set here.

Afterwards, as part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, I took the opportunity to take photographs as I travelled through Fitzrovia to Oxford Street, where I met my wife and my son for a visit to HMV in search of DVDs and CDs, and then, afterwards, to take photos of Oxford Street, and then to visit Trafalgar Square, where a screen had been set up for the Paralympic Games. I then crossed the river on the Hungerford Bridge, taking photos from the elevated walkway beside Charing Cross station, and on to the Southbank Centre. The previous Flickr sets are here and here. Read the rest of this entry »

On Occupy’s First Anniversary, We Are Still the 99 Percent, and the 1 Percent Are Still the Problem

Exactly one year ago today, on September 17, 2011, activists began camping out in New York’s Zuccotti Park, the spearhead of a new movement that soon spread around the world. Known as Occupy Wall Street, and inspiring a movement that became known as the Occupy movement, the New York encampment was inspired by an Adbusters article in July, which was in turn inspired by the revolutionary movements that had swept the Middle East at the start of the year — in Tunisia and Egypt, where two dictators had been toppled by people power.

“#OccupyWallStreet,” Adbusters announced. “Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?” they asked, continuing, “On Sept 17, flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and Occupy Wall Street.”

One year on, and the Occupy movement’s novel power — taking over public spaces and refusing to go home — has been defeated, often with violence, and much of the mainstream media is either ignoring the movement or deriding it, but that, to be honest, is irrelevant, as the mainstream media, more often that not, are part of the problem and not the solution. Read the rest of this entry »

Please Help Me Raise $2500 to Support My Work on Guantánamo, My Activism and My Photography

Please support my work!

It’s that time of year again when I ask you, my friends, readers and supporters, to help me to continue my work exposing the ongoing injustices at Guantánamo as an independent freelance journalist. I put out a call for support every three months, and the last appeal was in June, when 26 supporters generously donated a total of $2400.

Much of the work that I do is unpaid, and it is often only your financial support that enables me to keep on writing about the prisoners at Guantánamo, using my six and a half years of experience researching and writing about all the men who have been held at Guantánamo — and the 167 men who are still held — to try and keep attention focused on the need to close the prison. This involves me trying, as I have been doing throughout this time, to tell their stories and to humanize them, to prevent them being dismissed as the faceless, nameless prisoners without rights that the Bush administration wanted, and that the Obama administration has done almost nothing to dispel.

Most recently, I have been using my knowledge to tell the story of Adnan Latif, a Yemeni, and a mentally troubled prisoner who had been cleared for release on numerous occasions, Adnan Latif nevertheless died at the prison the weekend before last, failed by all three branches of the US government, as I explained in my article, Obama, the Courts and Congress Are All Responsible for the Latest Death at Guantánamo. His case highlights the need for permanent pressure on the administration to secure the release of the 86 men still held at Guantánamo who have been cleared for release, to prevent any further deaths in custody of men the US doesn’t want to hold, but has failed to release. Read the rest of this entry »

Retail Frenzy: Photos of Oxford Street on a Saturday

Kate Moss at MangoFuture Systems, Oxford StreetStreet stall, Oxford StreetSwarovski, Oxford StreetCalzedonia, Oxford StreetUnion Jacks and Olympic Mascots
Crossrail building site, Oxford StreetInside the Crossrail building siteSale up!Oxford Street, looking east to Centre PointSubway, I ♥ London and Thai massageThe street cleaner
It's probably nothing, but …A vast Primark is comingCrossrail works, Soho SquareSoho SquareLovers, children and casualtiesThe big trees, Soho Square
The main Crossrail works, Tottenham Court RoadEd's Easy Diner

Retail Frenzy: Oxford Street on a Saturday, a set on Flickr.

As part of my project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began in May — and which I still don’t have an official title for, or any funding — I have been making almost daily bike trips around London, accumulating several thousand photos that I haven’t yet been able to post, in addition to those already published on Flickr. I intend to post a set a day for the foreseeable future.

Initially I started cycling around with a camera to get fit, and to devote time to photography, a love of mine that has been overshadowed for the last six years by my dedication to exposing the US crimes at Guantánamo and elsewhere in the “war on terror,” but I soon became enthralled by my city, the one that I have lived in for 27 years, but which, it turned out, was quite unknown to me, beyond familiar areas. Cycling is a perfect way of getting to know a place, and since May I have covered extensive sections of south east London, and also ventured into north and east London, south west London, the West End and the City. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama, the Courts and Congress Are All Responsible for the Latest Death at Guantánamo

I felt sick when I heard the news: that the man who died at Guantánamo last weekend was Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni. I had been aware of his case for six years, and had followed it closely. He had been cleared for release under President Bush (in December 2006) and under President Obama (as a result of the Guantánamo Review Task Force’s deliberations in 2009). He had also had his habeas corpus petition granted in a US court, but, disgracefully, he had not been freed.

Instead of being released, Adnan Latif was failed by all three branches of the US government. President Obama was content to allow him to rot in Guantánamo, having announced a moratorium on releasing any Yemenis from Guantánamo after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian recruited in Yemen, tried and failed to blow up a plane in December 2009. That ban was still in place when Latif died, and had been put in place largely because of pressure from Congress.

Also to blame are the D.C. Circuit Court and the Supreme Court. Latif had his habeas corpus petition granted in July 2010, but then the D.C. Circuit Court moved the goalposts, ordering the lower court judges to give the government’s alleged evidence — however obviously inadequate — the presumption of accuracy. Latif’s case came before the D.C. Circuit Court in October 2011, when two of the three judges — Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Karen LeCraft Henderson — reversed his successful habeas petition, and only Judge David Tatel dissented, noting that there was no reason for his colleagues to assume that the government’s intelligence report about Latif, made at the time of his capture, was accurate, as it was “produced in the fog of war, by a clandestine method that we know almost nothing about.” In addition, Judge Tatel noted that it was “hard to see what is left of the Supreme Court’s command,” in 2008’s Boumediene v. Bush ruling, granting the prisoners constitutionally guaranteed habeas corpus rights, that the habeas review process be “meaningful.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Photographic Journey around Fitzrovia, Central London’s Former Bohemia

Nelson statue in Triton SquareNew Regent's Place towers under construction1 Triton SquareThe mirrored medical buildingUniversity College HospitalThe Euston Tower
Building in Warren StreetA heavenly afternoon in Fitzroy SquareThe ice cream van and the buntingBuilding site for new UCL research centreArup HQSaatchi & Saatchi HQ
Where Charlotte Street meets Goodge StreetThe BT Tower and a stunted treeThe former Middlesex Hospital siteThe Fitzroy Place building site - and chapelFitzroy Place and the BT TowerReflection in the Haunch of Venison
The Welsh ChapelTrees on Market Place

A Journey around Fitzrovia, Central London’s Former Bohemia, a set on Flickr.

On August 31, 2012, after I took part in a demonstration against the involvement of the multinational corporation Atos Healthcare in the government’s disgraceful disability reviews, designed to find disabled people for work when they are not, I cycled from Triton Square, where the protest had taken place — a small but highly corporate private development on the northern side of the Euston Road — through Fitzrovia — the area south of Euston Road, and north of Oxford Street, bounded by Gower Street to the east and Great Portland Street to the west — to Oxford Street, and then on to Trafalgar Square, across the river to Waterloo and back to my home in Brockley through Bermondsey.

I still have many hundreds of photos to post of trips I made in July and early August (before my family holiday in Italy) as part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, but in an effort to try and keep up with the trips I have made since returning from Italy, I’m making a concerted effort to post the most recent photos first, beginning with these. Read the rest of this entry »

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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.
Email Andy Worthington

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The Battle of the Beanfield

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Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

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Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo


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