Archive for December, 2012

Andy Worthington and David Remes Discuss Guantánamo on Revolution Truth

Last week, I took part in a panel discussion organized by Revolution Truth, along with David Remes, the attorney for a number of Guantánamo prisoners, which was presented by the activist Tangerine Bolen, with her co-host Pamela Sue Taylor.

The show, entitled, “GTMO, The Rule of Law and the NDAA,” lasted a little over an hour, and is available here as an MP3. A description of the show is here, and I’ve also posted it below as a YouTube video, which has just been made available today.

This was a fascinating show, and it was great to spend an hour on a show with Tangerine, who I got to know through her work at Revolution Truth, and her role as a plaintiff in the case brought by herself, Chris Hedges and others against the US government regarding the mandatory military custody provisions for alleged terror suspects that is contained in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This led to a memorable victory in a US courtroom earlier this year, which I wrote about in my article, Why Does the Government So Desperately Want Indefinite Detention for Terror Suspects? Read the rest of this entry »

Blue Skies and Golden Light: Photos of the River Thames in September

The boys on the beachLooking towards RotherhitheThe river wall on the Isle of DogsSteps to the riverLooking north from the shore of the ThamesThe infinite sky
Looking up to New Atlas WharfAnother green worldThe sky above RotherhitheA Haunchwood brickCanary Wharf: the classic viewTower Bridge and the Paralympic symbols
More London: Private PropertyTower Bridge and the Paralympic screenReeds Wharf's floating gardenReeds Wharf and Canary WharfReeds Wharf, Tower Bridge and the CityThe Shard from Rotherhithe
Canary Wharf bathed in golden lightGolden light on One Canada SquareThe towers of Canary Wharf

Blue Skies and Golden Light: The River Thames in September, a set on Flickr.

After my recent five-part series of photo sets from south east London — my home turf — in November, I promised to publish some photos from September, from the huge archive of photos I’ve been building up over the last five months, as part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, and also to publish photos from further afield in London.

In the first of five previously unpublished sets from September (and the 66th set overall in my London photo project) the photos here are from a journey I made by bike on September 6, a gloriously sunny day, when I took my son Tyler and his friend Louis to the South Bank and back, travelling there via Greenwich Foot Tunnel and the Isle of Dogs, and returning via Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, a great circular tour of the River Thames to the east of central London, which involves two of my very favourite journeys in the whole of London. Read the rest of this entry »

Quarterly Fundraiser Day 3: Please Support My Campaigning Work on Guantánamo

Please support my work!

It’s the third day of my quarterly fundraiser, in which I ask you, my friends and supporters, to help support my work as an independent journalist, researcher and activist — primarily on Guantánamo, and America’s embrace of torture and indefinite detention, but also on other issues, including, in the UK, ideologically driven austerity programmes targeting the most vulnerable members of society.

I’m sorry to report that, so far, I have only received $140 towards my target of $2500, and hope that you can at least help me to reach $1300 before the week is over — that works out at just $100 a week over the next three months.

If you appreciate the work that I do — and if you understand that most of it is unpaid — a donation of $25 or £15 would work out at two dollars a week or £1 a week; a small price, I hope, for maintaining this website, with its associated costs, and for allowing me to keep campaigning for the closure of Guantánamo, to work as an activist on other issues, to take part in events, and to undertake radio interviews, when I receive no funding for most of that work. I don’t have an NGO or a university backing me, and I rely on your support to make it possible. Read the rest of this entry »

Save Lewisham Hospital: Last Chance to Respond to Consultation – and Vigil on Thursday

For Lewisham residents, and residents of any other boroughs in south east London who are concerned about the future of the NHS, Thursday December 13, 2012 — tomorrow, as I write this — is a very important day. By midnight tomorrow, anyone wishing to respond officially to the disgraceful proposals to shut Lewisham Hospital’s A&E Department needs to have submitted their responses. And before that deadline, between 4 pm and 7 pm, there will be a torchlit vigil outside Lewisham Hospital, which everyone is encouraged to attend!

It is too late to post your response, but you can still email your responses, although the best way to respond by far is to fill in the response on the website of the Special Administrator appointed by the government to deal with the debt-ridden South London Hospital Trust, based in Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley, which is largely in debt because of outrageous PFI deals. To help you, the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign has provided a step-by-step guide, and Dr. Louise Irvine, a local GP who has campaigning tirelessly against the proposals, has also provided a useful guide here.

Please do this now, if you haven’t already! Now! Read the rest of this entry »

Supermaxed: Andy Worthington Speaks at Stop the War Guantánamo Event, Goldsmith’s College, December 12

For anyone in south east London who wants to know more about Guantánamo, about what is happening there now, and about the fate of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, please feel free to come along to “Supermaxed,” an event at Goldsmith’s College in New Cross this Wednesday, December 12, 2012, which has been put together by Goldsmiths Stop the War society. The event runs from 5-8 pm, and is in the RHB Small Cinema — Room 185 in the main building (recently renamed the Richard Hoggart Building).

The event involves a screening of “The Road to Guantánamo,” the 2006 film by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, which was one of the inspirations for me to begin my investigations into Guantánamo that led me to where I am today, and also features a Q&A session with myself and Hilary Stauffer, the deputy director of Reprieve, the legal action charity headed by Clive Stafford Smith. I’m delighted to be speaking at this event, to help to spread the word about the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo and the need for those in the UK to press the British government to secure the immediate release of Shaker Aamer, and I’m particularly pleased because, to be honest, Stop the War as a whole has rarely engaged as fully with the horrors of Guantánamo, torture and indefinite detention as it should have, even though Guantánamo, the CIA’s “black sites,” Bagram, Abu Ghraib and all the other illegitimate — but supposedly legitimate — prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq were created as a direct result of the wars whose existence Stop the War was created to oppose. Read the rest of this entry »

The Death of Empathy in Cruel, Heartless Britain

Last Wednesday, while George Osborne was delivering his Autumn Statement, taking aim at the most vulnerable members of society once more, with another savage attack on the welfare state, I was in central London, and I returned home after he had made his smug and visibly heartless performance in the House of Commons, when the Evening Standard was already announcing his new attack on the poor and disabled.

The Standard‘s headline — “George Osborne hits welfare for poor and raids pensions of rich” — was not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Chancellor’s statement, but it failed to dent the prejudices of the two women next to me, who were returning home, presumably from their office jobs. As they idly perused the paper, they complained about the amount of money the unemployed receive, followed swiftly by a complaint that they then sit around at home doing nothing. There was no mention of the fact that most of what the unemployed receive from the government goes to their landlords, or that there is still only one job for every five people who are unemployed, let alone the fact that a large proportion of benefits are actually paid to working people who aren’t otherwise paid enough money to survive on. Why let anything that might lead you to regard the unemployed as fellow human beings interfere with some knee-jerk bigotry?

Complaining that they too were suffering, they then spent the rest of their journey home — disturbingly, to Brockley, where I also live — rather undermining their case, by talking about party dresses and which gyms they attended. Read the rest of this entry »

Quarterly Fundraiser: Please Help Me Raise $2500 to Support My Work on Guantánamo and Social Justice

Please support my work!

Dear friends,

Times are hard, and I don’t want to make them any harder, but the time has come around again when I ask you, if you can, to help support my work as an independent investigative journalist, researcher and commentator. I put out an appeal every three months, and my last appeal was in September, when 22 friends and supporters provided over $1200 to help me continue my work.

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!

As an independent investigator and journalist, much of the work I do is unpaid, and it is often only your financial support that enables me to keep on writing about the prisoners at Guantánamo, whose stories I have been researching and writing about for nearly seven years. Although I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t get tiring pushing for the closure of Guantánamo after so long, especially in the face of so much indifference, the existence of the prison remains an affront to all notions of decency — with the 166 men still held facing indefinite detention, for the rest of their lives, unless significant steps are taken to increase pressure on Congress and the President to release them or to put them on trial. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Guantánamo Ever Be Closed?

Nearly eleven years after the Bush administration’s “war on terror” prison opened on the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, its much-mooted closure seems as remote as ever.

Last week, there were encouraging noises, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, presented a report prepared by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), looking at the feasibility of housing prisoners in the US. The report found that there were 104 suitable facilities; 98 run by the Department of Justice, and six by the military. Releasing the report, Sen. Feinstein said, “This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantánamo without imperiling our national security.”

On the military side, there are three Naval brigs — at Charleston, South Carolina, Chesapeake, Virginia, and Miramar, California — as well as the correction facilities at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Lewis-McChord in Washington, and the Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth. In total, these facilities are almost half-empty. Read the rest of this entry »

Photos of South East London At Night: Tunnels, the River and the Surrey Canal

Whitepost Lane at nightThe steep footpathLewisham tunnelSt. Mark's, GreenwichThe stained glass roomCanary Wharf from Greenwich
Delany HouseCanary Wharf from Wood WharfWall of skipsSkips and shadowsThe route of the Grand Surrey CanalBarred
Night skipVictoria WharfThe Pepys Estate at nightThe sports cage on the route of the Surrey CanalSurrey Canal RoadCold Blow Lane
The tunnel on Cold Blow LaneShardeloes Road, the route of the Croydon Canal

South East London At Night: Tunnels, the River and the Surrey Canal, a set on Flickr.

As part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike — and specifically as the last part of five photo sets recording various autumnal journeys around my home in Brockley, in south east London — the photos collected here record a journey I made on the evening of November 12, 2012, for around two hours, from 9 to 11 pm. This is the 65th photo set in my project, and see here, here, here and here for the previous four sets.

Beginning at my home in Brockley, I cycled down the hill through Lewisham and the edge of Deptford to Greenwich, and then down to the River Thames at Cutty Sark Gardens, along the Deptford shoreline, past Deptford Green, and on to the derelict site of Convoys Wharf, where there are horrible plans to build a £1 billion mini-city for the rich. I then travelled inland to Evelyn Street, the main road that runs to Surrey Quays. Read the rest of this entry »

An Impossible Suicide at Guantánamo

I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January with US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email. 

Even in death, injustice stalks former Guantánamo prisoner Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, who died at the prison in September, six years after he was cleared for release. At “Close Guantánamo,” we covered Adnan’s story at the time of his death, and quoted his lawyers, who stated, “However he died, Adnan’s death is a reminder of the injustice of Guantánamo, and the urgency of closing the prison. May this unnecessary tragedy spur the government to release the detainees it does not intend to prosecute.”

We continue to believe that the death of Adnan Latif is the most powerful reminder of why President Obama must take the lead on releasing the 86 surviving prisoners cleared for release by his interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force, which issued its report in January 2010, and, in particular, the 55 cleared prisoners whose names were publicly made available for the first time ever by the government in a court case in September, as we explained in our exclusive report, “Who Are the 55 Cleared Guantánamo Prisoners on the List Released by the Obama Administration?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.
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