Video: On Democracy Now! Roger Waters and Andy Worthington Discuss the Countdown to Close Guantánamo and the Campaign to Free Shaker Aamer

22.1.16

Andy Worthington, Roger Waters and 16-year old cellist Alexander Rohatyn on Democracy Now! on January 22, 2016. Andy and Roger were launching the Countdown to Close Guantanamo, and Roger and Alexander played Roger's version of "We Shall Overcome."Last Friday, during my brief US tour to campaign for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on and around the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison (on Jan. 11), I was invited onto Democracy Now! with my friend and supporter, the music legend Roger Waters, the chief songwriter with Pink Floyd.

We were asked on the show to discuss, with Amy Goodman, the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, the new campaign I’ve just launched to get Guantánamo closed for good before President Obama leaves office next January, and the successful campaign to free Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo.

The video of our discussion — plus Roger playing his version of “We Shall Overcome” with 16-year old cellist Alexander Rohatyn — was the lead item on today’s show, and is now online and posted below (the song is here). Please share it widely! It’s also on YouTube here.

The Countdown to Close Guantánamo is a new initiative, launched via the Close Guantánamo campaign that I set up in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, with the US attorney Tom Wilner (who represented the Guantánamo prisoners in their Supreme Court cases in 2004 and 2008). We set up the website and campaign to call for the prison’s closure and to educate people about why it must be closed — because it is a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and because indefinite detention without charge or trial is unacceptable — and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo is our effort to keep pressure on President Obama, in his last year in office, to get Guantánamo closed, once and for all, before his presidency ends next January.

With one year to go, we are encouraging people to print off a poster calling for President Obama to close Guantánamo, to take a photo with the poster, and to email it to us, or post it on our Facebook page or via Twitter. All the photos will go up on our website — see Celebrity Photos and Public Photos — and on social media. if you want to send a message, and if you want to identify where in the world you are, then please do so as well.

UPDATE Jan. 31: Here’s the latest poster — telling President Obama he now has just 350 days to close Guantánamo.

We are following up on the success of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, launched by myself and the activist Joanne MacInnes in November 2014, which featured celebrities and MPs standing with a giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer, and which also featured members of the public, from around the world, holding signs in solidarity with Shaker, an initiative we repeated just before Shaker’s release with the Fast For Shaker.

On Democracy Now! Roger spoke eloquently about how he became involved in the campaign to free Shaker, via a letter sent to him by Shaker’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, in which Shaker quoted from Roger’s Pink Floyd song, “Hey You,” and he explained how he then became involved in the We Stand With Shaker campaign. I also spoke about how We Stand With Shaker added to the pressure exerted by the long-running Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, and how MPs — from across the political spectrum — became involved, as did the media, and, in particular, the Daily Mail, helping to secure Shaker’s release last October. Roger brilliantly describes Shaker’s spirit, and many photos from the campaign are also shown, plus some rare footage of the inflatable in action.

I hope you will watch the video, and will share it, and I also hope that you will get involved in the Countdown to Close Guantánamo. We need to make sure that this is the year that Guantánamo is finally shut for good.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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.

13 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, featuring the video of me and Roger Waters on Democracy Now! promoting the launch of the Countdown to Close Guantanamo and talking about We Stand With Shaker and the campaign to free Shaker Aamer. What a great show! Thanks to Amy Goodman and the team for getting us in to record the show in New York last Friday. Also check out Roger playing “We Shall Overcome” with 16-year old cellist Alexander Rohatyn (in the picture with me and Roger).

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    So here’s what you have to do now! Send us a photo for the Countdown to Close Guantanamo. Print off the poster, photograph yourself with it and send it to us – or post it to the Close Guantanamo page: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/dyn/1453313926608/CloseGuantanamoCountdownFinal.pdf
    Our email: info@closeguantanamo.org
    Info about the Countdown to Close Guantanamo is here: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/Articles/196-The-Countdown-to-Close-Guantanamo-Launches-Send-in-Your-Photos-Asking-President-Obama-to-Fulfill-His-Promise-to-Close-the-Prison

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Elizabeth Ferrari wrote:

    Great segment and good to see you. In the 90s, my husband opened for Roger in Santa Cruz. This morning, regretted anew I was unable to drive over the hill with them that night.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I imagine it would have been great, Elizabeth. Roger was very generous and gave me and my family a ticket to see The Wall at Wembley a few years ago. It was spectacular! And so good to see hard-hitting politics in a stadium!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Andi Vincent wrote:

    Cool

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes indeed, Andi!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Ann Alexander wrote:

    Nice one Andy

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ann. One of the high points of my trip. I hope to regale you with some stories one of these days!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Rosie Much wrote:

    Brilliant well done Andy

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Rosie. Very pleased with it!

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eih8ZD1xet8

  12. Appeals Court Rules That Tories' Hated, Useless Bedroom Tax ... - News4Security says...

    […] and inept government of David Cameron and George Osborne, as I ve been so busy lately with my work trying to get the prison at Guant namo Bay closed1. However, not a day goes by that I m not enraged by their persistent efforts to destroy the state […]

  13. Appeals Court Rules That Tories' Hated, Useless Bedroom Tax … | Kit4Security says...

    […] and inept government of David Cameron and George Osborne, as I ve been so busy lately with my work trying to get the prison at Guant namo Bay closed1. However, not a day goes by that I m not enraged by their persistent efforts to destroy the state […]

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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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