Reporting from the US, Including My Photos of the Close Guantánamo Rally Outside the White House, Jan. 11, 2020


Photos from the rally calling for the closure of Guantánamo outside the White House on January 11, 2020, the 18th anniversary of the prison’s opening. Photos by Andy Worthington, except the photo of Andy, which is by Witness Against Torture.

See my photos of the rally on Flickr here.

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It’s now five days since a sad occasion that I traveled to the US from the UK to mark — and to rail against: the 18th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, on January 11, when I took part in a rally outside the White House organized by numerous rights groups, including Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Witness Against Torture.

This was the tenth year in a row that I’ve traveled to the US to mark the anniversary, and I’m still here, about to take part in a speaking event at Revolution Books in Harlem this evening, and also taking part in numerous media interviews — for the Scott Horton Show, and with Sunsara Taylor on her show “We Only Want the World” on WBAI in New York. Yesterday, I was interviewed on RT America (video posted below), today I’m speaking with Paul DiRienzo on WBAI and with Mickey Duff for “Project Censored” on KPFA, Pacifica Radio in Berkeley — and tomorrow I’ll be speaking with Latif Nasser on WNYC, New York Public Radio, and on the Michael Slate Show in Los Angeles. Do get in touch if you’d like to be added to this list!

Here’s that RT America video, which represents, I believe, the sole focus on Guantánamo, on the 18th anniversary of its opening, in the whole of the US-based broadcast media:

I wrote about Saturday’s rally a few days ago, and also posted a video of all the speeches and performances on the day, courtesy of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which had previous livestreamed it, and I’ve also posted photos I took on the day of campaigners holding up posters showing how many days the prison had been open on the anniversary — 6.575 days — via the Close Guantánamo campaign that I set up in 2012 with the attorney Tom Wilner, and our initiative the Gitmo Clock, which counts in real time how long Guantánamo has been open.

So I hope you have time to check out the photos — and that you’ll reflect on what it means that the 18th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay went unremarked by the US mainstream media, which seems, long ago, to have abdicated its responsibility to pay attention to crimes committed in the name of the American people by its leaders. No excuse for the presence of Guantánamo exists, and it is a stunning failure of the mainstream media to have not noticed as the 18th anniversary came and went, and Guantánamo is close to having been in the control of Donald Trump for three almost unbearably long and bleak years.

Lest we forget, Trump has only released one man from the 41 men he inherited from Barack Obama, and he only did that because the man in question had reached a plea deal in his military commission trial in 2014, which stipulated that he had to be released; or, rather, transferred to his home country, Saudi Arabia, for continued detention. Trump doesn’t care that, of the other 40, only nine are facing, or have faced trials, and that the military commission system, although a facsimile of a valid judicial process, is a poor and broken thing, incapable of delivering justice.

Nor, moreover, does Trump care that the 31 other men do not even have the illusion of justice — five unanimously approved for release by high-level government review processes under Obama, but still held because Obama didn’t get them out, and no mechanism exists to compel Trump to release them, and 26 others eligible for the parole-type Periodic Review Boards established by Obama, which led to 38 men being approved for release between 2014 and 2016, but which, since Trump took office, have delivered no recommendations for any prisoners to be released, gutting the entire process of legitimacy to such an extent that the prisoners are all boycotting the proceedings, having concluded that they are a sham, and that no relief exists to shine a light through the lawless and hopeless darkness in which they are all, sadly and intolerably, enveloped.

Thank you, dear readers, for caring, and I’ll be back soon with further reports about Guantánamo, and from my US trip to try to keep its horrors alive in the hearts of all decent Americans.

* * * * *

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, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.55), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from seven 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, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, 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.

7 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest report on my current trip to the US to call for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay on the 18th anniversary of its opening, including a link to my photos of the rally outside the White House on Saturday, featuring Witness Against Torture campaigners in their orange jumpsuits and hoods, both outside the White House and outside the Trump International Hotel just down the road.

    Also in this article: links to the radio shows I’ve undertaken so far (with many more to come), and, embedded in the article, via YouTube, my TV interview yesterday with RT America, which represents, I believe, the sole focus on Guantanamo, on the 18th anniversary of its opening, in the whole of the US-based broadcast media, so many thanks to RT for that.

    The interview is nearly seven minutes in total, and provided me with a great opportunity to explain why Guantanamo is such an abomination, and why it must be closed. I hope you’ll share it if you find it helpful.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Geraldine Grunow wrote:

    Thank you for this report and for all your work here.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the supportive words, Geraldine – and for your interest!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Marie Meza wrote:

    Great interview!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Marie. Much appreciated – and great to see you in D.C. on Saturday!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Priya Reddy wrote:

    Great to see you Andy! You really are an excellent, passionate, powerful and effective speaker! Thank you! 🙏🏽👊🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    You have made my day, Priya! Thank you very much – and thanks to you and RT for filling the reporting void on Guantanamo.

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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