Welcome to Andy Worthington’s website. Andy is a writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. He is internationally recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.”
In 2013, in recognition of his work on Guantánamo, he was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.
In the nine years Andy has spent working full-time on Guantánamo and related issues (since he began researching his book The Guantánamo Files in 2006, which was published in September 2007), he has worked as a consultant for the United Nations, as the lead writer on a report on secret detention in 2010, and in a follow-up capacity in 2015.
Andy also worked as a media partner with WikiLeaks, for the release of classified military files relating to the Guantánamo prisoners, in April 2011, which he subsequently began analyzing in depth for an ongoing 70-part, million-word series, “The Complete Guantánamo Files.”
Andy has also been involved with a number of NGOs. In 2011-12, he worked with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights on a number of Guantánamo reports. In 2008, he worked for the legal charity Reprieve, and between 2009 and 2011 with Cageprisoners (now CAGE). He has also worked with Amnesty International, primarily in promoting, to student audiences across the UK, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” the documentary film he co-directed with Polly Nash, which was released in 2009.
In January 2012, to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, Andy established the campaigning website, Close Guantánamo, with the US lawyer Tom Wilner and with support from a number of prominent lawyers, retired military officials and human rights organizations. He regularly visits the US to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo (and has done since 2008), and he has also traveled to Kuwait, Poland, Norway and the European Parliament in Brussels on Guantánamo-related business. See below for video of him calling for the prison’s closure outside the White House on January 11, 2015, the 13th anniversary of its opening:
In November 2014, Andy established We Stand With Shaker with the campaigner Joanne MacInnes, to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo. The campaign successfully focused on celebrities and MPs standing with a giant inflatable figure of Shaker. In October 2015, Andy and Joanne set up another campaign, Fast For Shaker, encouraging celebrities, MPs and members of the general public worldwide to undertake a 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with Shaker, and to keep pressure on the Obama administration to honour its promise to release him, which was made on September 25. Shaker was finally freed on October 30.
Andy writes most regularly for this site (which receives around 500,000 page views every month, and was archived by the British Library in January 2011), and has published 2,500 articles here since May 2007. He also writes three articles a month for the Close Guantánamo website, and sends out two newsletters a month to those who have signed up to the campaign to close the prison.
He has also written for several mainstream media outlets — for the Guardian, and the New York Times, for whom he wrote a front-page story in 2008 with Carlotta Gall, about the lies told by the Bush administration regarding an Afghan prisoner, Abdul Razzaq Hekmati, who died in Guantánamo in December 2007. He has also written for Truthout, Al-Jazeera English, Al-Jazeera America and PolicyMic (now Mic), and in March 2015, with Tom Wilner, he wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, “Dispelling the myths of Guantánamo Bay.”
From 2008 to 2013, Andy wrote a weekly column for the Future of Freedom Foundation. In 2011, he was commissioned to write an article, “Guantánamo, Torture and President Obama’s Failures,” for CounterPunch’s anthology, Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, and in 2009 Dahlia Lithwick included his article, “A History of Music Torture in the ‘War on Terror,’” in her anthology for Kaplan, The Best American Legal Writing 2009.
As well as covering Guantánamo and the “war on terror,” Andy also writes about the opportunistic “age of austerity” imposed in the UK by the Tory government, addressing the shameful targeting of the most vulnerable members of society (especially the disabled and the unemployed), campaigning to save the NHS (particularly as part of the successful campaign to save Lewisham Hospital in 2012-13), and also writing about the housing crisis.
Andy is also the lead singer and chief songwriter in a band, The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ was released in July 2015. See below for ‘Song for Shaker Aamer’, featured in the campaign video for We Stand With Shaker:
Andy is also a photographer. He regularly photographs political protests, featured on his Flickr account, and in May 2012, he embarked on a major project of social history — photographing the whole of London by bike, providing a detailed visual account (with accompanying text and essays) of the fabric of London at this particular time. This project will soon be launched on its own website, ‘The State of London.’
Prior to becoming focused on Guantánamo and the “war on terror,” Andy also wrote two other books, both still in print: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion, a history of Britain’s counter-culture as focused on Stonehenge, and The Battle of the Beanfield, about Margaret Thatcher’s suppression of one particular strand of that counter-culture, the travellers movement, in 1985.
Please contact Andy if you would like to interview him, or if you would like to engage him as a speaker or a writer, or to ask his band to play.
Please also note that much of Andy’s campaigning work — not just the writing, but also many of his media appearances and personal appearances — is unpaid, so if you like what he does please consider clicking on the ‘Donate’ button above and providing him with some financial support.
Writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. 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.
Email Andy Worthington
Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist: