Ten Years of Writing About Guantánamo: Please Support My Work!

31.5.17

Andy Worthington discussing Guantanamo at an event at Revolution Books in New York in November 2009.Please support my work! After ten years of writing about Guantánamo, I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.

 

Dear friends and supporters,

Exactly ten years ago, on May 31, 2007, I began writing full-time, here on AndyWorthington.co.uk, about Guantánamo and related issues, starting with the sad story of Abdul Rahman al-Amri, who died at the prison the day before. I had completed and delivered the manuscript for my book The Guantánamo Files just two weeks earlier, and had spent the intervening time in the bewildered fog that those who have written books may recall occurring when the birthing of a book is complete. However, when I saw the news of al-Amri’s death, I knew that I had to comment.

In researching and writing The Guantánamo Files, I had studied the publicly available information on all the prisoners— or as many as information was available for — and, as a result, was in a good position to know about al-Amri, a Saudi, and a former soldier. With hundreds of pages of notes on all the prisoners, I thought I’d contact a well-known, left-leaning newspaper to ask if they wanted an article about al-Amri, but was told that they’d take a wire from the Associated Press, and so, thwarted in my one attempt at going mainstream, I decided I would use the blog that my neighbour, Josh King-Farlow, had set up for me the year before, which, at the time, featured pages about my first two books, Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield, and, if I recall correctly, my very first blog post, published in April 2006, a review of Mark Danner’s book, Torture and Truth, about the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Two days after publishing al-Amri’s story, I posted an update, after the Pentagon had, as I predicted in my first article, slandered him in death. As I noted:

US Southern Command claimed, “During his time as a foreign fighter in Afghanistan, he became a mid-level al-Qaeda operative with direct ties to higher-level members including meeting with Osama bin Laden. His associations included (bin Laden’s) bodyguards and al-Qaeda recruiters. He also ran al-Qaeda safe houses.” Quite how it was possible for al-Amri, who arrived in Afghanistan in September 2001, to become a “mid-level al-Qaeda operative” who “ran al-Qaeda safe houses” in the three months before his capture in December has not been explained, and nor is it likely that an explanation will be forthcoming. Far more probable is that these allegations were made by other prisoners –- either in Guantánamo, where bribery and coercion have both been used extensively, or in the CIA’s secret prisons. In both, prisoners were regularly shown a “family album” of Guantánamo prisoners, and were encouraged –- either through violence or the promise of better treatment –- to come up with allegations against those shown in the photos, which, however spurious, were subsequently treated as “evidence.”

After this start, I realized that, every time there was something newsworthy about Guantánamo, I was going to take advantage of the miracle of the internet — and WordPress’s blogging template — to publish my own take on it. My work was soon picked up by Maryam Hassan at Cageprisoners, who began cross-posting everything I did, and I soon also secured interest from CounterPunch, the Huffington Post and Antiwar.com. Since then, I have gone on to write, to date, 2,090 articles about Guantánamo, and 2,837 articles in total here on my website, with other articles covering topics including the parlous state of politics in the UK, under Tory rule since 2010, and my photos of political protests, and, most recently, via the launch of my project, ‘The State of London.’

I’ve also worked with the United Nations, WikiLeaks, Reprieve, Cageprisoners and the Center for Constitutional Rights, had a front-page story published in the New York Times (with Carlotta Gall), have written for the Guardian, Al-Jazeera and numerous other outlets, have appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, have made numerous personal appearances, have made a film about Guantánamo (with Polly Nash), have set up two campaigns, Close Guantánamo (with Tom Wilner) and We Stand With Shaker (with Joanne MacInnes), and have even written and performed a few songs about Guantánamo with my band The Four Fathers (Song for Shaker Aamer and Close Guantánamo).

As I have taken to joking recently, I am running out of new initiatives to undertake — and perhaps next will have to establish Clowning to Close Guantánamo, or perhaps write a ballet as part of my ongoing efforts to get Guantánamo closed.

Throughout most of this time, your support has been invaluable; to be specific, since I first started issuing quarterly fundraisers in 2009. Despite the roll call of activities above, much of what I do — often the majority of it — is unpaid, and is only possible because of your support.

As I prepare for what will hopefully not be another ten years of writing about Guantánamo and campaigning to get the prison closed once and for all, I am grateful as ever for your support. I’ll be embarking on my next quarterly fundraiser in about ten days, but for now if you can make a donation to support my work it will be very gratefully received.

Andy Worthington
London
May 31, 2017

Note: For more on Abdul Rahman al-Amri, please check out Cover-up at Guantanamo: The NCIS Investigation into the “Suicides” of Mohammed Al Hanashi and Abdul Rahman Al Amri, an e-book by Jeffrey Kaye, psychologist and investigator.

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’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). 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.

2 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Today it’s exactly ten years since I began writing articles about Guantanamo and publishing them on my website on an almost daily basis, and so, 2,837 articles later, I’m taking the opportunity to mark the occasion, and to ask you, if you wish, to support my work with a donation if you appreciate what I’ve been doing for the last ten years. Sadly, I’m also remembering the subject of my first article, Abdul Rahman al-Amri, who died at Guantanamo ten years ago yesterday, allegedly by committing suicide, although that has long been disputed.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this. I appreciate your ongoing interest!

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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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