I’m very pleased to note that the cosmetics firm Lush has created a Charity Pot calling for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison. The 20-year old company, which has over 900 stores in over 50 countries and is a fixture on many British high streets, supports dozens of small grassroots groups dedicated to environmental issues, animal protection and human rights, raising money for them through its Charity Pots (Facebook page here).
The company’s Shaker Aamer Charity Pot supports the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, who I have worked with for many years to try and secure the release of Shaker Aamer. 100% of the profits from the pots go to the charities that Lush supports, so this is perfect opportunity for those of you who care about plight of Shaker Aamer — most recently highlighted here and here — to support the campaign by buying pots — for personal use, perhaps, or as gifts for friends and family. They cost £6.95 each.
Back in the mists of time, I discovered Lush through a previous incarnation of the company called Cosmetics to Go, and in 2008, while working with Reprieve, the London- based legal action charity, I liaised with the company on a campaign to secure the release from Guantánamo of the Al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj and the British resident Binyam Mohamed, who were featured in a bath bomb called “Guantánamo Garden” (see here and here). By February 2009, both men had been freed (see here for my report on Lush’s response to Sami al-Haj’s release).
Unfortunately, securing the release of Shaker Aamer is proving far more difficult, even though he has twice been cleared for release by the US authorities (in 2007 and 2010), and even though the British government claims to be actively seeking his release and his return to his family in the UK. If you want to do more for Shaker, please sign the international petition calling for his release on the Care 2 Petition Site, and please also sign the new petition on Change.org.
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).
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He must be truly innocent then, as it would be a big hit to Lush’s reputation if it turned out that he was indeed a hard-core Al Qaida terrorist all along. The Americans have badly messed up their own image by rounding up so many innocent people and beating and torturing them for so long. How different the end of WW2 was, when those who were captured by the Americans were top Nazi leaders and, whilst they were made to sleep with the lights on (done after Robert Ley’s suicide) they were not tortured or beaten and had a trial (which however flawed was better then what they would have done if they won WW2).
When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:
This is great. Lush, the cosmetics firm, supports dozens of worthy groups working on environmental issues, animal protection and human rights through the profits from its Charity Pots, and now has a pot available that supports the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign. Buy one for yourself, your friends and your family – they’re £6.95 each – and help keep the pressure on the US and UK government to free Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo NOW!
Hanann Baghdadi wrote:
love them even more now
Ruth Gilburt wrote:
well done Lush! x
Aii Choudury wrote:
Great to hear from you, Hanann, Ruth and Aii, and thanks also to everyone who has liked and shared this. If only more companies that have a presence like Lush also had a similar conscience …
Thanks, Thomas. Yes, I’ve always thought that it’s clear that Shaker was never any sort of militant, and never had been, and it’s reassuring to see Lush being prepared to back the campaign to free him.
Thanks also for the comparison between the end of WWII and the situation now. I wish more people realized how disgraceful it is – and has been for 12 years – for anyone to be treated in the manner that the US has treated its so-called “war on terror” prisoners.
Aisha Noor wrote:
This is unbelievable, I am definitely going to buy as much as I can. Thanks for sharing….. This is amazing
Sum Bukhari wrote:
Go Lush! Time to buy. Next time you’re in lush please buy this…you could save someone’s life.
Hena H. Siddiqui wrote:
Umm Ghazi wrote:
Lush also did a campaign with Reprieve and Bill Bailey just over 5 years ago Aisha
Thanks for the reminder, Umm Ghazi. Yes, I was there! http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2008/03/07/bill-bailey-endorses-lush-and-reprieves-initiative-to-close-guantanamo/
Thanks also for the enthusiastic response to the news, Aisha, Sum and Hena. Much appreciated.
Unfortunately it seems this is only in the UK. For instance Lush in the Netherlands has its own good causes (this month it’s beekeeping). So UK residents, it’s up to you in this case!
Thanks for clarifying that, Anna. I had no idea the causes would be so geographically determined. So there you have it, UK readers, please do your utmost – not just for Shaker and the campaign, but also for those prevented from helping because they live in another country.
Umm Ghazi wrote, in response to 12, above:
Aisha Noor wrote:
Thanks Umm Ghazi for the info. Great news indeed
Aisha Noor wrote:
Thanks Andy for all your informative statuses. Please never stop
I will do my best to keep writing about and campaigning about these injustices, Aisha, until there is permanent and meaningful change – no more indefinite detention without charge or trial, no more torture, no more extra-judicial killings, and no more treating the whole world like a battlefield.
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