More Video and Radio from the Resistance to the Continued Existence of Guantánamo on the 17th Anniversary of Its Opening

23.1.19

Witness Against Torture campaigners form a circle outside the White House towards the end of the annual vigil calling for the closure of Guantanamo, on January 11, 2019 (Photo: Andy Worthington).Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! 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. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.




 

How time flies. It’s almost a week since I left the US after my annual visit to call for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on and around the anniversary of its opening, and here I am still posting videos and audio links of shows I took part in.

That’s a good sign, however. On the last two anniversaries, the focus on Guantánamo had almost entirely disappeared. Two years ago, we were caught in the limbo between the outgoing administration of Barack Obama and the imminent arrival of Donald Trump, and last year, after Trump’s first year in office, the outrage and exhaustion was such that Guantánamo barely got a look-in.

A year on, and you’d be excused for thinking that the situation would only be worse, but although that certainly seems true when it comes to Trump — now obsessed with his Mexican wall, and having shut down the federal government for the longest period in US history (marking a calendar month today) — it is not true of those opposing him on many fronts, including Guantánamo.

This year, there was real energy in the anniversary events calling for the closure of Guantánamo — the annual panel discussion at New America, at which myself and Tom Wilner, representing the Close Guantánamo campaign, were joined by Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch, the annual vigil outside the White House, at which speakers from over a dozen organizations spoke, and, earlier, at a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill, co-sponsored by Amnesty International USA and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, at which former prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi spoke by video link from Mauritania.

I posted links and commentary about some of these events in earlier articles, here and here (as well as my photos of the vigil here), and am now picking up the story after my return to New York, during my last few days in the city before my return home. On Tuesday January 15, a day of aching cold, I wandered up through Manhattan from Third Avenue, between 46th and 47th Streets (where I’d been at RT’s studios — more on this later!) to West 59th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, for a half-hour interview for public access TV with Paul DeRienzo, who had interviewed me for Pacifica’s WBAI radio station on the previous Saturday, at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s studios, a busy non-profit community media center, which has been in existence for 28 years.

The interview was a freewheeling investigation into the disaster area that is Guantánamo, looking back, for example, on the colossal mistakes that were made in rounding up the men and boys who ended up in Guantánamo. We also discussed the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program, and the role played by significant individuals like John Yoo, who wrote the notorious “torture memos” in 2002, which sought to re-define torture so that the CIA could use it with impunity, and I also spoke about the difference between the torture programs implemented at Guantánamo, and those used in the CIA “black sites.”

The video is below, via YouTube, and I hope you have time to watch it and will share it if you find it useful.

On the morning of January 16, I undertook a radio interview — with Bob Connors and Tom Walker for the Peace and Justice Report on WSLR, a community radio station in Sarasota, Florida. Bob and Tom interviewed me for the first time last year, and it was great to talk to them again. We discussed the Guantánamo story in depth, and I was also delighted that they played two songs by my band The Four Fathers, ‘How Much Is A Life Worth?’ and ‘Close Guantánamo.’

The show is available here, on the Peace and Justice Report page, under Jan. 16, and the interview starts around 20 minutes in.

On Thursday morning — my last day in the US — I undertook another radio interview, with Linda Olson-Osterlund, on KBOO FM, a community radio show in Portland, Oregon. Linda and I have been speaking several times a year for ten years now, and it’s always good to talk to her. She was guest-presenting a show called ‘Voices from the Edge,’ and the show is available here, and here as an MP3.

Linda also played a song by The Four Fathers, closing her show with ‘Fighting Injustice,’ a live favourite, and a personal mantra for me, with its chorus, “If you ain’t fighting injustice, you’re living on the dark side.”

That’s about it for now — although I hope that, sometime soon, the video from my talk at Revolution Books in Harlem, on Sunday January 13, will be available — and, as hinted at above, there’s also something very interesting forthcoming from RT!

For now, however, I’ll leave you with the links above, and, for Spanish speakers, an article based on a phone interview I undertook just before the anniversary, which appeared in the newspaper El Diario on January 11.

* * * * *

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 music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in 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), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, the resistance continues.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, providing further media from my recent trip to the US to call for the closure of Guantanamo on the 17th anniversary of its opening – the video of a half-hour interview on public access TV in New York with Paul DeRienzo, and two radio shows, with Bob Connors and Tom Walker on the Peace and Justice Report, on WSLR, a community radio station in Sarasota, Florida, and with Linda Olson-Osterlund on ‘Voices from the Edge’ on KBOO FM, a community radio station in Portland, Oregon.

    I hope you have time to watch/listen, and that you’ll share the links if you find them useful.

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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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