Video: Mansoor Adayfi, James Yee and I Discuss Guantánamo and Its Closure in a Zoom Event Organized by Veterans’ and Peace Groups in California

4.3.21

A screenshot of a Zoom event about Guantánamo, organized by veterans’ and peace groups, primarily in California, which took place on Feb. 21, featuring Andy Worthington, Mansoor Adayfi and James Yee as speakers.

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A week last Sunday, February 21, I was delighted to take part in a panel discussion about Guantánamo with former prisoner Mansoor Adayfi, a talented, Yemeni-born author, who was resettled in Serbia in 2016 (and whose memoir, “Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo,” will be published this August), and James Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo, who, for two months in 2003, was wrongly imprisoned as a spy.

The meeting was organized by a number of activist groups in California — Veterans for Peace Los Angeles, the Peace Resource Center of San Diego, the Long Beach Area Peace Network, the MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles and ANSWER Los Angeles, as well as the national Veterans for Peace, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and Close Guantánamo, which I co-founded with the US attorney Tom Wilner in 2012 to campaign for the prison’s closure, and it was streamed live on Facebook.

I’m pleased to discover that it has now been made available on YouTube, on the Veterans for Peace YouTube channel, and I’ve posted it below. I hope you have time to watch it, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful.

The event was introduced by longtime “Close Guantánamo” supporter Dorrine Marshall, who first approached me about it back in January. This, in turn, led to me contacting Mansoor — who I’ve been in touch with for several years, and who has written two great articles for “Close Guantánamo”, about his friends Saifullah Paracha and Khalid Qassim, still held at the prison without charge or trial — to ask if he’d like to take part in it.

In the meantime one of the groups involved also contacted James Yee, who I have also known for many years, and first met back in 2007 when he visited the UK to talk about his experiences (and when filmmaker Polly Nash and I interviewed him for our documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”).

After Dorrine’s introduction, I spoke about Guantánamo’s history, and what we might expect from President Biden, from about three minutes in, until about 18 minutes, and then Mansoor spoke for about 25 minutes, until about 45 minutes in. James then spoke from about 48 minutes until 1:03, followed by a lively and pertinent Q&A session.

At 1:32:30, at Dorrine’s request, I played the first verse and chorus of my song “Fighting Injustice,” a regular feature in the live sets of my band The Four Fathers, and the rest of the event was given over to discussions of how those involved in what was a very well-attended Zoom event can take action to try to secure its closure — through contacting their Senators and Representatives, and through contacting the White House directly.

If you’d like to help the ongoing efforts by “Close Guantánamo” to campaign for the prison’s closure, please take a photo with our poster marking a shameful milestone in Guantánamo’s history next Thursday, March 11, when the prison will have been open for 7,000 days. Please send your photo to info@closeguantanamo.org and we’ll post it on the website, and on social media.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), 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 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).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the 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.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to, and discussing a great Zoom event about Guantanamo, organized by veterans’ and peace groups, primarily in California, which took place on Feb. 21, featuring myself, former prisoner Mansoor Adayfi, and former Muslim chaplain James Yee as speakers.

    It was the first Zoom event I’ve taken part in with Mansoor, who was resettled in Serbia in 2016, although we have been in touch for several years. He has written two wonderful articles for CloseGuantanamo.org about two of the men still held at Guantanamo – his friends Saifullah Paracha and Khalid Qassim – and I’m delighted that his book about his experiences, “Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantanamo,” will be published in August by Hachette.

    I hope you have time to watch the video, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful. And if you’d like to help to keep the spotlight on Guantanamo, please take a photo with the Close Guantanamo poster marking 7,000 shameful days of the prison’s existence on Mar. 11, and send it to info@closeguantanamo.org – or post it on your page and tag me!

    The poster’s here: http://gtmoclock.com/posters/GTMO-Clock-7000.pdf

    And here’s the link for Mansoor’s book: https://www.hachettebooks.com/titles/mansoor-adayfi/dont-forget-us-here/9780306923876/

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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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