Photos: “Close Guantánamo” Protest Outside the White House on January 11, 2015, the 13th Anniversary of Prison’s Opening

27.1.15

Close Guantanamo: protestors outside the White House on January 11, 2015, the 13th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo (Photo: Andy Worthington).Click here to see the whole of my photo set on Flickr.

January 11, 2015 was the 13th anniversary of the opening of the Bush administration’s prison at Guantánamo Bay, which has been President Obama’s responsibility for the last six years, and for the fifth year running I attended the protest outside the White House, on behalf of two campaigns that I’m deeply involved in — Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker — along with representatives of groups including Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture and World Can’t Wait, as part of a US tour that also took in New York City, Boston and other locations in Massachusetts, and Chicago.

See the video of me speaking outside the White House here, (and see more videos here), the video of a panel discussion in Washington D.C. that I took part in here, and videos of a panel discussion in New York that I took part in here. More videos will be forthcoming soon of talks I gave at various locations in Massachusetts, as well as links to radio interviews, to augment those collected here.

The anniversary event this year was generally uplifting, in part because the sun shone for a change, but also because of recent good news regarding Guantánamo (with the release of dozens of prisoners), and also because of the energy of those involved; in part, clearly, because of the passion of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which seemed to me to have the possibility of remaining a major force in grass-roots American politics — for the worst of reasons, of course (because of the homicidal nature of the police, especially for young black men), but with more power behind it than I recall seeing at any time since the Occupy movement (and that, of course, was not about the deadly everyday reality of racism).

I spent some time with the activists of Witness Against Torture, who occupied a church for over a week of fasting and actions, and I was particularly inspired by an event on the evening before the anniversary, at the church, entitled, “From Ferguson to Guantánamo,” when, as I mentioned in an earlier post, “a panel discussed endemic racism, the police’s impunity in killing black men, the bloated, racist and hideously punitive domestic prison system, the horrors of solitary confinement (in US prisons) and the horrors of Guantánamo.”

Videos from that evening — featuring Marsha Coleman-Adebayo (DC Hands-Up Coalition), Salim Adofo (National Black United Front — and also see here), Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence), and Aliya Hana Hussain (Center for Constitutional Rights) — are available here. I was deeply impressed by the accounts of Marsha and Kathy in particular, and I ask you to think of Kathy right now, as she has just begun a three-month prison sentence.

As she explained in a recent article:

In December, 2014, Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in federal prison after Georgia Walker and I had attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of Whiteman Air Force Base, asking him to stop his troops from piloting lethal drone flights over Afghanistan from within the base. Judge Whitworth allowed me over a month to surrender myself to prison; but whether you are a soldier or a civilian, a target or an unlucky bystander, you can’t surrender to a drone.

In the near future, I’ll post some more photos from January 11, as we marched from the White House — first of all to the Justice Department, and then to an open area above the Washington D.C. Central Holding Cells, where Shahid Buttar of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee performed “Welcome to the Terrordrome,” his excellent rap about the “war on terror.” For now, however, I hope you enjoy these photos — and also reflect that, just possibly, we may not be meeting outside the White House every January 11 for the rest of our lives.

A link to the photos is also below:

"We Stand With Shaker" outside the White House

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.

2 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this. I just added a few lines to it. I felt I’d rushed it, and hadn’t quite said all I wanted to.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    From the set, check out The Peace Poets, seen here outside the White House, who write and perform the kind of conscious, passionate, articulate spoken word pieces that the establishment doesn’t want people hearing: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andyworthington/16383501525/in/set-72157648181863054
    http://thepeacepoets.com/

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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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