This is the second part of the transcript of a Parliamentary debate that took place last Wednesday, April 24, 2013, eleven years, two months and ten days after Shaker Aamer, a British resident, arrived at Guantánamo, six years after he was told that the Bush administration no longer wanted to hold him, nearly six years after his return to the UK was first requested by the British government (under Gordon Brown), and over three years since he was officially cleared for release by the inter-agency task force that President Obama established after he took office in January 2009.
That he is still held — as are 85 other men cleared for release by the task force — is so monstrously unjust that is is unsurprising that many of the men, including Shaker, are part of a prison-wide hunger strike, which has been ongoing for nearly three months, to draw attention to their plight.
The men have been failed by all three branches of the US government — by President Obama, who promised to close the prison within a year when he took office; by Congress, where cynical lawmakers have imposed almost insurmountable obstacles to their release; and by the courts, where a handful of judges (in the DC Circuit Court) have gutted habeas corpus of all meaning for the men held in Guantánamo, and have been allowed to do so by the Supreme Court.
In addition to the 86 cleared prisoners, the 80 other men held in Guantánamo are also entitled to believe that they will never receive anything resembling justice. 46 were designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial in an executive order issued by President Obama two years ago, on the basis that they are supposedly too dangerous to release, even though insufficient evidence exists to put them on trial. This was a disgraceful move on the President’s part, as the reasons that the evidence is insufficient to put the men on trial is because it consists largely of worthless statements extracted using torture or other abusive means. Moreover, the men have never received the reviews of their cases that President Obama promised two years ago.
For the other prisoners, there is also no hope, as trials have essentially stalled, with Congress blocking federal court trials, and judges ruling that, in the military commissions, men have been tried and convicted for war crimes that do not exist, and were invented by Congress.
As I explained when I posted the first part of the debate on Saturday, the trigger for the Parliamentary debate was an e-petition to the British government, calling on ministers to “undertake urgent new initiatives to achieve the immediate transfer of Shaker Aamer to the UK from continuing indefinite detention in Guantánamo Bay,” which secured over 100,000 signatures, through the tireless work of numerous campaigners, making it eligible for a discussion in Parliament.
Jane Ellison, the Conservative MP for Battersea, Shaker’s constituency, requested the debate, which took place in Westminster Hall, and it will, hopefully, be followed sometime next month by a full debate in the House of Commons.
As I explained when I posted photos from a demonstration in Parliament Square that followed the debate, the MPs who spoke made “an unassailable case for Shaker’s immediate release,” as is clear from the extensive statements made by MPs in the first part of the debate — primarily, Jane Ellison, the Green MP Caroline Lucas, and the Labour MPs John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn, Kerry McCarthy and Yasmin Qureshi.
This second part is a less inspiring read, although it is of great importance, as it features Alistair Burt, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, attempting to explain why Shaker is still held, even though the UK still has a “special relationship” with the US, and was America’s closest ally in the “war on terror,” and could, if the political will existed, prioritize Shaker’s return as a key policy.
Clearly, that hasn’t happened, and nor is it likely to happen, unless millions of us get out in the streets to demand his freedom, although that doesn’t, of course, mean that Shaker won’t be released. I happen to believe that, even with the British government’s fudging — with Burt stating that the government is committed to securing Shaker’s release, but is unable to sway US opinion — Shaker’s release remains the key to unlocking the stalled release of prisoners from Guantánamo.
Unless President Obama is genuinely content not to release any more prisoners, and to be judged as a colossal failure on Guantánamo — the man who promised to close it, but then failed to do so because it was politically inconvenient — he needs to find a way to revive the process of releasing prisoners.
One way is by directly challenging Congress, where lawmakers are preventing the release of prisoners to countries they regard as dangerous, through sections of the National Defense Authorization Act, which also stipulate that the Secretary of Defense must certify that anyone the administration intends to release must be unable to engage in any activities that threaten the US — and this is, of course, an impossible guarantee. Another route would be for the President and the Secretary of Defense to use a waiver that exists in the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing them to bypass the obstacles raised by Congress if it is in America’s best interests.
The UK is a thoroughly safe country to release a prisoner to — and efforts from the UK to frame Shaker’s release as an opportunity to help President Obama to overcome his difficulties, to revisit his failed promise to close Guantánamo, and to secure his legacy are surely worthwhile, and of mutual benefit to both the US and the UK.
One other problem, of course, which Alistair Burt touched on, is that the US seems only to have officially approved Shaker for transfer to Saudi Arabia (where, of course, this eloquent and knowledgeable man would be silenced), although clearly there is no way that the UK can accept this, as Shaker was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK, and his wife and children are all British citizens, and, in any case, sending him to Saudi Arabia would provoke huge and politically damaging indignation in the UK. It is, therefore, another point on which the UK can push to help President Obama.
I hope you have time to read the transcript, and to share it if you find it worthwhile.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Alistair Burt):
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Robertson. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Jane Ellison) for raising this issue and for her work in supporting Shaker Aamer’s family, which she has done consistently since she was elected. She has done all she can to raise his case, including through conversations with me at the Foreign Office.
I also acknowledge the work of the right hon. Member for Tooting (Sadiq Khan), whom parliamentary convention prevents from speaking in the debate. He has been an advocate and a concerned Member of Parliament for other parts of the family. We fully appreciate his presence and the reasons why he cannot speak. I also thank colleagues who have made interventions and speeches during the debate.
I will do my best to deal with as many of the questions that have been raised as possible. I would like to put some remarks on the record first and then to deal with some of the issues that have been raised in questions. I will not be able to deal with all the questions. Some refer to confidential discussions we have with the United States, which we cannot go into. Some deal with intelligence matters, which no Government discuss in public. I do not have the answers to one or two of the questions with me, including some of those asked by the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas). I thought I might deal with her list of questions by writing to her and putting a copy of the letter in the Library so that other Members can see it. However, let me deal as best as I can with some of the issues that have been raised.
For absolute clarity, let me say that the Government’s consistent position is no different from that of our predecessor. It is the long-standing policy of the Government that we should seek the release and return of those UK nationals and former legal residents who have been held at Guantánamo Bay and, in so doing, assist the US Administration in their efforts to close the detention facility. There is no change in Government policy; our policy is to support efforts in the United States to close Guantánamo and to seek the return of UK residents and nationals―that now comes down to Mr Shaker Aamer.
As Members will be aware, Shaker Aamer was part of an exceptional request in 2007 by the then Foreign Secretary for the release and return of all former legal UK residents held in Guantánamo Bay. Securing the release and return of Mr Aamer, the last remaining former British legal resident, remains a high priority for the Government. It remains the Government’s understanding that Mr Aamer has only ever been cleared for transfer, and not release. The US authorities have not charged him with any crime, and nor do they intend to prosecute him. It is the Government’s belief that it is Mr Aamer’s wish to return to the United Kingdom to be reunited with his wife and family. We therefore continue to make it clear to the US that seeing Mr Aamer released and returned to the United Kingdom is a priority for us.
Mr Aamer’s case has been repeatedly raised by the Foreign and Defence Secretaries with their US counterparts. That level of engagement has been undertaken on the understanding that the US Secretaries of Defence and State, in consultation with the director of national intelligence, have the authority to affect Mr Aamer’s release and return. It is the Government’s intention to raise Mr Aamer’s case with new office holders as soon as is practical. In support of that ministerial level engagement, I raised Mr Aamer’s case with Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns just a week ago last Monday, at a face-to-face meeting in Washington. In addition, senior officials continue to discuss Mr Aamer’s case with their US counterparts.
Despite the high level of public and parliamentary interest in Mr Aamer’s case, it remains necessary for the Government to keep the details of diplomatic discussions with the United States Administration confidential. Any breach of their expectation of confidentiality would likely hinder UK efforts to secure Mr Aamer’s release and return. Confidentiality aside, we welcome the continued engagement of Members of the House who share our common vision to see Mr Aamer returned to his family in the United Kingdom. We remain committed to offering assistance to those parliamentarians who wish to raise his case directly with figures in the United States. We also welcome the degree of interest from the public and the signing of the petition, which led directly to my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea raising this issue today.
Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab):
I am sure the Minister is absolutely sincere in what he is trying to do. I appreciate what he says about confidentiality. A lot of constituents regularly raise this matter with me, and they cannot understand why, given the special relationship with the United States, it is not possible to get a more positive response. Is there anything further the Minister can say about the reasons he is being given by US officials?
Let me deal with that when I respond to the remarks and questions from the hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) on that subject. There is a limited amount I can say, because, ultimately, it is the United States that is holding Mr Aamer, not us. There is only so much we know about the reasons, but I will say a little more about that later.
I reiterate that the Government continue to support President Obama’s commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. We understand the requirement for detainee transfers and releases to satisfy US legislation. Previous legislation passed by the United States Congress — namely, the 2011 National Defence Authorisation Act — all but precluded transfers out of Guantánamo Bay. That legislation was renewed by the US Government for 2012 in largely the same terms, but it allowed for the US Secretary of Defence to exercise a waiver should stringent conditions be met.
Despite our best endeavours, Mr Aamer was not released in 2012. Indeed, no detainees were released from Guantánamo Bay in 2012 [Note: none were released under the NDAA, but four were freed in 2012 — two as a result of a court order, and two others as a result of plea deals in their military commissions]. The National Defence Authorisation Act was renewed in January 2013. All Guantánamo Bay detainees cleared for transfer or release now require a waiver under the Act before they can be transferred or released from the detention facility, regardless of their destination country. The Government continue to work with US counterparts to consider the implications of the NDAA 2013 for Mr Aamer’s release. Notwithstanding that, any decision regarding Mr Aamer’s release ultimately remains in the hands of the United States Government. I will have a little more to say about that in a moment.
Let me deal briefly with welfare issues and then return to some of the questions colleagues raised in the debate. We continue to take concerns about Mr Aamer’s welfare very seriously. The US Department of Defence has confirmed to us that Mr Aamer is participating in the current hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay.
Notwithstanding that, the US authorities have assured us that he is in a stable condition, that he is not in solitary confinement and that he is being offered medical treatment. In addition, the FCO has asked the US Department of Defence substantively to respond to specific allegations that have been made. We have no reason not to believe the welfare assurances we have been given by United States authorities. I should add that the International Committee of the Red Cross has access to Guantanamo detainees.
Has anybody from the Foreign Office actually visited Guantánamo Bay and seen for themselves the condition of Shaker Aamer? If they saw him, there would be independent evidence to say that he was fine and that he was being treated properly, and we would not worry so much. If it is being said he is being treated well, has any effort been made to go to see him? If not, has permission been refused?
The reason is that we cannot offer a non-British national, which is Mr Aamer’s status, consular assistance. Consular access and responsibilities are afforded to states only in respect of their nationals. Our consular policy towards non-British nationals is clear; we cannot help non-nationals, no matter how long they have lived in the UK, and regardless of their connections to the UK. However, although we are not able to visit him in Guantánamo Bay, we routinely inquire about Mr Aamer’s welfare, and we always follow up allegations of poor health, as a matter of priority. We are confident that the assurances that we receive from the US are accurate and credible, and have no reason to believe otherwise.
I appreciate that because Mr Aamer is not a British national he cannot technically or legally speaking be given consular assistance, but bearing in mind the fact that the British Government are making representations on his behalf for him to be released back here it would not be that difficult for someone independently to go and speak to him, and then come back and say, “He’s okay; the suggestion that he is being tortured or treated badly is all wrong.” That would shut people up if they are wrong in saying he has been treated badly. That is all. It is just common sense.
As far as I am aware, there is independent access to Guantánamo detainees through the ICRC. That provides exactly the independent reference that the hon. Lady would look for. Our consular policy is clear.
On the point about the ICRC, I suspect that the Minister will not be able to answer now, but will he, having inquired of the ICRC, write to me and other hon. Members to tell us when it last visited and whether there was a chance to meet Mr Aamer and make an assessment? If that was possible, could that be put on the record?
I can certainly do that, and am happy to write to my hon. Friend; but I want to make it clear that we take the allegations extremely seriously. We have asked the US Department of Defence to respond to specific allegations about treatment and we will continue to do so. As I say, we think independent access, through the facilities that are available, is important; but I will happily respond to my hon. Friend in due course.
Eric Joyce (Falkirk) (Ind):
I take the Minister’s point about the issues to do with mistreatment or otherwise, but does he agree that there is not really a precedent for holding someone, ostensibly as a prisoner of war, for 11 years? The only precedent that I can think of is the gulags after the second world war; that is not something that we would care to accept as a common practice.
Let me now deal with some of the questions that colleagues have raised in the debate, starting with why Mr Aamer is in Guantánamo Bay, which is the central question. I will say what I said before: he is not being held by the United Kingdom, so we do not have a reason why he is detained. In our view the detention is wrong and he should not be there. I make that very clear. The United States must satisfy itself that it has reasons.
It is genuinely very difficult to comment on why the United States might think that Mr Aamer is rightly in Guantánamo Bay. We have to discuss the detail with the US to seek to secure his release. That is sensitive, and we do not discuss intelligence matters. We have always held the view that indefinite detention without review or fair trial is unacceptable. We welcome the President’s continuing commitment to closing the detention facility and to maintaining a lawful, sustainable and principled regime for the handling of detainees there. Beyond our making it clear that we do not consider the detention of Mr Aamer to be right or correct, the United States plainly has a different point of view. The process of our arguing for Mr Aamer’s release is seeking to persuade the US; to a certain extent the parliamentary and public pressure in the United Kingdom adds to that sense of persuasion that the detention is not right or appropriate. That remains the Government’s view.
Will the Minister tell us exactly what the US Secretary for Defence says about why Mr Aamer is in Guantánamo Bay at all? What reason do the US offer for putting someone who was legally resident in this country in prison for so long, with no legal process?
Forgive me; that is one of the questions that I cannot answer in direct terms, because that forms part of the confidential discussions that we need to have with the United States in relation to this matter. A breach of its confidentiality in relation to it would damage the efforts that we are continuing to undertake in relation to Mr Aamer’s release. Although I fully understand the reason for asking the question, and the degree of frustration about my not being able to give a response, those are my reasons for not going into it. Plainly, there is an obvious difference of opinion.
The debate is becoming increasingly Kafkaesque; it is like a nightmare. Can the Minister at least tell us whether he knows why the US will not release Mr Aamer? It is one thing not being able to tell us; but can he tell us whether he knows why? Can he indicate his assessment of what the US tells him?
In all fairness, we are getting into the same sort of area. I do not make light of this. Plainly, I have a supposition about why the United States might want to retain Mr Aamer. It is inconsequential in terms of the United Kingdom’s position on his release from detention, and whether we think the detention is wrong. We do. It is clear we have a difference of opinion with the United States in relation to this; but going into the detail of what we think and what they think is part of the confidential discussion we need to have on his behalf, in order to seek his release. Going into that detail here is not something I can do, understandable though it would be to Parliament, as it is an intelligence matter, which a previous Government would understand well, and would deal with in exactly the same terms.
I understand that the Minister cannot tell us the details of the discussions that have been happening, but when he next has a chance to discuss the matter, can he raise something with the US authorities? Mr Aamer’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, has said that he has access to classified material from MI6, which he cannot share — a bit like the Minister — even with his client. However, he is able to give some information from the documents, and he can say that the British security services are actively misleading their US counterparts to ensure that he is never allowed to return to Britain; and that they have gone round bad-mouthing Mr Aamer and saying things that are simply false. Not only were they part of his abuse, but they falsified evidence against him.
I understand the point fully, and, again, the answer is partly the same that I would have given a moment ago, in terms of allegations made against British security forces and the like. However, I will say two things in response. I can say clearly that we are using, and will continue to use, our best endeavours to secure Shaker Aamer’s release. I am aware of the allegations that have been made, and want to make it clear that all parts of Government are pulling in the same direction, for Mr Shaker Aamer’s release.
Also, as to the Government’s response to allegations of wrongdoing in the past by British security services, and our attempts to open things up and to give compensation where things have been wrong, the Prime Minister has said explicitly that torture and rendition are not part of British security activity, whether or not they have been in the past. We have opened that up and offered compensation where things have been wrong. I think that the hon. Lady will appreciate that it is not in our interest, having gone so far in relation to other cases, to seek to do something contrary now. I give an assurance that all parts of the British Government system are pulling in the same direction, for the return of Mr Shaker Aamer.
I am grateful for that assurance about the activities of all parts of the UK Government. Can the Minister shed any light on the point that we discussed earlier about the reason for the change on the part of the US authorities from apparently clearing Mr Aamer for release, to clearing him only for release to Saudi Arabia?
As far as I am aware — I checked with officials during the debate — our understanding is that he has only ever been cleared for transfer. I am not aware that he has been cleared only for transfer to one place. [Interruption.] He has been cleared for transfer to Saudi Arabia; but it is our understanding that he has always been cleared for transfer to Saudi Arabia. That does not, of course, prevent the United Kingdom from seeking to get him returned to the United Kingdom. We believe Shaker Aamer should be returned here, to his family and everything else. Our understanding is that the United States has not changed its position and that it has always been the case — he is cleared for transfer to Saudi Arabia.
It is bizarre that the very people who could find themselves in the dock as a result of this witness’s evidence are preventing the Minister from telling us why that witness cannot be released. That is extraordinary.
The level of seriousness with which the American Government will treat this matter depends on the level at which it is raised by this Government. I fully accept that Ministers, including the Minister himself, have raised it consistently, but that means that the Prime Minister, at some stage, has to come into play. After this debate, will the Minister communicate to the Prime Minister that the House now feels it is time for him to intervene personally in the matter by using his relationship with Barack Obama?
I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, and, of course, the Prime Minister will be made aware of the substance of this debate and the strength of feeling, which I know he understands. I cannot make a commitment on the Prime Minister’s behalf to raise particular issues, but I make it very clear that I think the debate should be read widely. Besides the United Kingdom, I hope the debate will influence opinion elsewhere. The matter has been raised with the US Secretary of State and Defence Secretary, and the reason for raising it at that level is, of course, that we believe they are the chief interlocutors who have responsibility under the Act and, ultimately, will need to respond to Congress. We will continue to use our best efforts to get the result we are seeking, but I fully take and understand the hon. Gentleman’s point, and I am quite sure that it will be further considered.
One or two questions have been asked on other issues. My hon. Friend the Member for Battersea asked whether the FCO is considering the new provisions in the NDAA to identify obstacles and opportunities for Shaker Aamer’s release. She asked what progress has been made. The NDAA 2012 allows for the US Defence Secretary to exercise a waiver should stringent conditions be met. We have tried, as I have said, to use our best endeavour to ensure that that happens. We are continuing to work with counterparts to try to understand the implications of the NDAA 2013 for Mr Aamer’s release, but so far that has not been successful. We understand that no detainees were released last year. Ultimately, that remains in their hands, but we are continuing to press.
My hon. Friend and other hon. Members asked for details on any guarantees or securities that we could give on our behalf in relation to Shaker Aamer’s return to the United Kingdom and any onward activity. I cannot give an answer to that, because, again, it clearly forms part of the confidential discussions we must have. I have to rely on previous intelligence assurances given to the House about our not being able to comment in detail on that.
This will be a brief intervention. Have the British Government reiterated the UK’s excellent track record on previous returners from Guantánamo? Stating that would seem to me to be entirely legitimate and not within the bounds of confidential intelligence discussions.
I can state that the subsequent activities and conduct of those who have been released from Guantánamo Bay to the United Kingdom and elsewhere is clearly one of the considerations that we would expect the United States Administration to take into account. My hon. Friend’s point is well made.
A question was also asked about the business of this law of war and how long it is likely to last. Again, we have had no indication from the United States about the length of time that that particular provision might cover. It is a matter for them, but, again, we have made it clear, as a number of colleagues have said, that it does not address the fundamental issues of detention without charge or trial that are at the heart and root of the matter.
The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion raised a number of serious issues in relation to letters from Shaker Aamer to the Foreign Secretary. I do not have those details at the moment, but she has a list of questions, and I will deal with them in the manner I suggested by putting a letter in the Library and writing directly to her.
The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) raised issues about the intelligence services, to which I have responded. If not in his terms, I have been able to answer them fully. We take the allegations very seriously. As I have said, the Government’s record of dealing with allegations against the intelligence services in the past has been, I believe, good. Our record of uncovering things that we believe to have been wrong in the past, from Bloody Sunday to Hillsborough, is also good. It is against the Government’s spirit to seek again to be complicit in anything that we believe to be wrong. I hope I have given a clear enough assurance on our views on the detention of Mr Shaker Aamer and our clear determination to have him returned.
The hon. Member for Islington North raised similar issues, and he particularly asked why Mr Aamer was detained. Again, I have given the best answer I can at this stage, but none the less, in relation to whatever reason the United States may have, the United Kingdom will continue to argue that his detention is wrong and that he should be returned.
Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central) (Lab):
The Minister is very generous in giving way. If it was the other way around — if the UK had detained a US resident — would we be getting the same response, and would we accept it?
That is a hypothetical question. As far as I am aware, we do not have anyone detained in the UK who is not going through what we believe to be the appropriate court processes, some of which are very difficult, as we have seen with Mr Abu Qatada. We can be challenged at any time. We do not have any comparable facility. Would we seek to respond? Yes, of course we would. We would respond to legitimate requests from another Government in relation to one of their residents. We would always put our own security first, and we are very clear about that. This is a big political issue in the United States, as we know. This is not just about the President and the Administration; it is about Congress, too.
I will conclude by saying something about that. There is no MP in this room who does not understand or sympathise with the people of the United States and their profound sense of shock after 9/11, in which, of course, a larger number of UK citizens lost their lives than in any other terrorist incident. Certainly, none of us opposes a state’s right to protect itself against terrorism. Parliament debates that regularly and agonises over how to legislate in a complex field to balance security with the very rights and freedoms that are at the heart of what our security is designed to protect. The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion mentioned the Justice and Security Bill, which profoundly concerns those dilemmas and difficulties.
Over the years, we have all come to do our best to understand the complex interplay of motives of those who would cause us harm, and we have sought to defuse them with action directed against those actively engaged in planning or carrying out acts of terrorism, while also doing all we can to de-radicalise those who might be influenced by others or turned in the wrong direction by any action of the UK Government, however unfairly judged — if efforts to protect ourselves are deliberately misinterpreted so as to suggest that a section of the community is being targeted by the state in a manner that denies their rights or discriminates against them, for example. Against such a background in the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom Government simply believe that the continued detention of Shaker Aamer is wrong without charge or trial, and we will continue to do all in our power to seek to return him to the United Kingdom.
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, 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 “Close Guantánamo campaign”, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Please also note that campaigners have been on a hunger strike today, in solidarity with the prisoners – including Shaker. This was initiated by the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign: http://saveshaker.org/fast-in-solidarity-with-shaker-aamer-and-the-guantanamo-hunger-strikers/295
And here’s the latest from my friends and colleagues in Witness Against Torture: http://witnesstorture.org/media/2013/04/26/activists-pressure-to-close-guantanamo-as-hunger-strike-escalates-and-senator-feinstein-calls-for-restart-of-transfers-from-the-prison/
On Facebook, Dejanka Bryant shared the two articles, and wrote:
Please read carefully. This is so important. It is about our democracy.
Holly Marie wrote:
Of course, this isn’t in the news here, AT ALL.
Thank you, Dejanka. And Holly, I’m not sure where “here” is – the US, I’m thinking – but it hasn’t been in the news much in the UK, where it really counts. The mainstream media is getting lazy.
In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a surge on Guantanamo happening on Twitter. My suggestion: tap into it now.
I think I missed your message until it was too late, Tom. My colleague Moe Davis started a petition that got 30,000 signatures in a flash. Good timing, Moe! It’s now got over 43,000 signatures!
Please sign and share: http://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-close-detention-facility-at-guantanamo-bay
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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