Photos and Report: Occupying Dick Cheney’s House and Protesting About Guantánamo, Torture and Drones Outside CIA HQ

22.1.15

Campaigners against Guantanao, torture and the use of drones outside CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia on January 10, 2015, the day before the 13th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo (Photo: Andy Worthington).

Click here to see the whole of my photo set on Flickr.

On January 10, 2015, during my US tour to call for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on and around the 13th anniversary of its opening (on January 11), I joined activists with Code Pink and Witness Against Torture for a day of action  in Virginia, outside Washington D.C.

I was staying with Code Pink coordinator Joan Stallard, along with Debra Sweet, the national director of the World Can’t Wait, who organized my tour (for the fifth January in succession). Debra and I had driven from New York the day before, where I had been since Tuesday evening (January 6), and where I had been staying with my old friend The Talking Dog in Brooklyn. I indulged in some socializing at a Center for Constitutional Rights event on January 7, visited a high school and spoke to some students with Debra, and spoke at another event on January 8, with two Guantánamo lawyers, Ramzi Kassem and Omar Farah of CCR. I described We Stand With Shaker, the campaign to free Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and we also watched the promotional video, featuring my “Song for Shaker Aamer,” as well as CCR’s film about Fahd Ghazy, one of their Yemeni clients. A video of my talk is available here.

I also had the opportunity to walk the streets of Manhattan — and to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot — in spite of the seriously cold weather, but just as I was getting used to being in New York City, Washington D.C. beckoned. On the evening of January 9, after a drive full of animated chatter about politics and the state of the world, we (anti-drone activist Nick, our driver, film-maker/photographer Kat Watters, Debra and I) stopped by at the church where Witness Against Torture activists were staying — and fasting — and I gave a short and hopefully constructive speech and played my song for Shaker on an acoustic guitar.

The next thing I knew, it was Saturday morning and although we had missed the first action of the day — a protest outside the house of CIA director John Brennan — I was watching as an activist dressed as Dick Cheney and calling for the arrest of Dick Cheney was — briefly — arrested outside Cheney’s house in McLean, a stone’s throw from CIA headquarters. The ironies of this were lost on the police, who were humiliated because they had been blocking the wrong road and had failed to stop the activists not only getting to Cheney’s house, but occupying his lawn when it turned out that his gate was unlocked. However, it made for a great protest, and we were all relieved when the not-real Dick Cheney (Tighe Barry of Code Pink) and another arrested activist (83-year old Eve Tetaz) were released after a short time in police custody.

We then made our way to one of the entrances to CIA headquarters, where I had been involved in a protest two years before, and where I spoke again, although I’m not sure if it was filmed. It was great to hang out with so many great activists, and I hope you enjoy the photos, and share them if you do. In the near future, I’ll be posting more photos, from the 13th anniversary protest in Washington D.C., and you can also see photos I took of activists holding “We Stand With Shaker” placards here (as part of a new campaign calling for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, which I launched in November with fellow activist Joanne MacInnes).

A link to the photos is also below:

Anti-torture activists occupy Dick Cheney's lawn

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, 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).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

16 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted the link to the photo set last night on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my newest photo set on Flickr – from January 10, during my US tour to coincide with the anniversary of the opening of ‪Guantanamo‬, these are photos of the invasion of Dick Cheney’s house by activists from Code Pink and Witness Against Torture, and a protest against Guantanamo, torture and drones outside CIA headquarters. A great day!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Beverly Hendricks wrote:

    …and his house is ugly too.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, lacking in any sensitivity, Beverly – just like its owner!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    There are also photos of activists holding We Stand With Shaker placards outside CIA headquarters on the website. Here’s me: http://tmblr.co/ZJJ72m1aSwCDp

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Peace activist and author David Swanson and his son: http://tmblr.co/ZJJ72m1aSpb4K

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Marsha Badanes wrote:

    Bless ’em!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Marsha!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    All photos of We Stand With Shaker supporters with signs can be seen here: http://westandwithshaker.org/tagged/signs
    And please send in your own photo of yourself standing with an “I Stand With Shaker” sign! http://westandwithshaker.org/submit/

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Sylvia Martin wrote:

    Fantastic! Were they arrested?

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Tighe Barry and 83-year old Eve Tetaz were briefly arrested, Sylvia. The police were trying to cover their embarrassment about having failed to stop us getting to Cheney’s house in the first place! Here’s Tighe after he was freed: http://tmblr.co/ZJJ72m1aS-K7_

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Karen Martin wrote:

    Andy and Code Pink gals make a great combo to protest torture!! Thanks for being there.
    Locally in our paper, we’ve had a LTE on torture, and an Opinion piece both by fellow members of our Peace & Justice group in Cheboygan Michigan.
    And another pending.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Karen, and glad to hear about your engagement with the local media. It was great to be with Code Pink and Witness Against Torture activists. Made me wish I could be with them more often – and, of course, my good friend Debra Sweet of the World Can’t Wait, who organized my trip.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Karen Martin wrote:

    Here’s the LTE from yesterday in the Cheboygan Cheboygan Daily Tribune. If you ever start feeling like “too few care”…been there, but even in rural CONSERVATIVE Cheboygan…there are those who care.

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR

    CIA torture practices barbaric

    After a painful year of violence and darkness, we have learned of the CIA’s behavior in misleading Congress about its torture practices — practices which violate U.S. and international law. It was shocking to learn medical personnel and psychologists assisted, violating ethical standards to do no harm. We are told that those who have put another stain on the reputation of this country will not be held legally responsible. We’re told we must “move forward.” That’s impossible. You make things right first. Only then can you move forward.

    Torture is a bad idea. It is barbaric. “Confessions” prove unreliable and contribute to ill-advised decision making. Torture is a threat to our security by inviting retaliation in kind. Torture is a bad idea spiritually. In demeaning and dehumanizing others, we dehumanize ourselves. We are left morally rudderless and sick in our souls.

    I join with others calling for legal action and the resignation of the director of the CIA, as well as health care professionals who collaborated with medical and psychological experimentation on human beings to be barred from further practice. I call on Congress to release the complete report to the American people as was done with the Pentagon Papers. Democracy cannot exist unless we are aware of what our government is doing in our name.

    Will we hold the powerful accountable? Will we have the moral courage and vision to create a more humane world? Or will our fears and pride make us complicit with violence and terror? We must confront the reality of our conduct and the example we set. Because we love our country, we must insist she be a clearer force for goodness in the world. Torture is unworthy of a civilized people. We have grown our economy and military might. Now it’s time to grow our souls.

    Rev Debra Hansen
    Levering

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Great letter, Karen. And my thanks to the Rev. Debra Hansen.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Sanchez Montebello wrote:

    BRAVO!!!!!

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Sanchez! I hope to get a West Coast visit in before the end of the year. Planning to publish a book of my collected writings, and do a tour with it. Any ideas about logistics. funding etc. will be gratefully received.

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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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