So here’s a quick message to invite anyone in Hull — or anywhere near — to come along to Hull University on Tuesday to hear me speak about Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the shameful responsibility of both the British and the American governments for continuing to hold him.
I have been invited to speak by the Hull University Amnesty Society, and the event, which is free, is taking place in the Wilberforce Building, Room LT-15, at 7pm on Tuesday November 27. A Facebook page is here. Please come along if you can! The Wilberforce Building is No. 60 on the map here.
Shaker remains held even though he was first cleared for release under George W. Bush in 2007, and was also cleared for release under President Obama in 2009, through the deliberations of the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force, established by the President to decide who to release, who to try and who to continue holding indefinitely.
This situation has become even more unacceptable — if such a thing is possible — in the last few months, as, in September, the US government released, for the first time, a list of the names of 55 prisoners cleared for release but still held (out of the 86 in total who have been cleared for release but are still held) on which Shaker was included. This was the first time that his status as a cleared prisoner had been made publicly available, and the question now is: why, then, is he still held, when he could be released immediately?
I’ll be answering that question in Hull next week, and talking about the campaign to free him, the petitions (here and here), and the exchanges with his lawyers that Shaker has made available to me exclusively (see here, here and here), as well as speaking generally about the situation at Guantánamo almost eleven years since it first opened, and my work as a freelance investigative journalist, and a writer and campaigner for the “Close Guantánamo” website and campaign.
Regular readers will know that the struggle to close Guantánamo has been harder than ever in the last two years, after Congress passed legislation designed, successfully, to prevent President Obama from releasing any prisoners to countries regarded as dangerous by lawmakers, or those where former prisoners have allegedly become recidivists, or, in other words, have “returned to the battlefield.”
For right-wing lawmakers, of course, almost any other country is dangerous, and the claims about the recidivism of prisoners, which are profoundly unreliable, are regularly disseminated by black propagandists and picked up unquestioningly by the mainstream media, as I have been writing about for many years.
In his second term, and with a waiver that allows him to bypass Congress if he deems it sufficiently important, President Obama now has the opportunity to make up for failing to close Guantánamo, as he promised, and to release Shaker Aamer immediately. We need to make sure that he is listening!
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, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “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 please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Neil Goodwin wrote:
‘An audience with Andy Worthington’ Now there’s posh!! Well done Andy, and good luck with it xx
Christopher John Webster wrote:
Hope it goes well back in your home town…
Thanks, Neil and Chris. Yes, “An Audience with Andy Worthington” is a bit ITV Saturday night, isn’t it, Neil – or perhaps some old luvvy in the West End …
It will be great, Chris. I did an event with the Hull Amnesty group about a year and a half ago, and it was excellent. Actually, all the Amnesty groups I’ve visited have been lovely!
I am going to make every effort to be there. I have always wanted to attend one of these Andy Worthington talks; mostly because if he did not do these talks, almost no one would ever mention the subject. We need more Andy Worthington; to bring an awakening across the whole country and beyond.
I am delighted to hear that. It will be lovely to meet, if you can somehow cross that huge river! And thank you for the very kind words.
I did try hard to sort my self out and attend the Talk at Hull; however I had a message from a relative concerning his illness I had to call and see him and other relatives. I needed to sort this out; but I am disappointed to have missed the event.
Hi Peace Activist,
A pity. It would have been very nice to meet you finally. Hope your family illness has been resolved.
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