Audio: Andy Worthington Speaks about Guantánamo at the “Independence from America” Protest at RAF Menwith Hill, July 4, 2013

Last week, I had the opportunity to join up with a phenomenal collection of activists — from the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) — on top of the Yorkshire Dales at Menwith Hill, an RAF base that acts as a front for the NSA (the US National Security Agency), which has been in charge of the base since 1966 — a very topical arrangement, given the recent revelations about the NSA by former analyst Edward Snowden.

I had been invited — to speak about Guantánamo — by Lindis Percy, a tireless campaigner against militarism, who has been arrested and imprisoned on numerous occasions, and my talk — just over 20 minutes in total — is available here, as an MP3.

An Indymedia page reporting on the event — including the photo above — is here, and it also includes links to some of the other guests, including Salma Yaqoob, psychotherapist, Chair of Birmingham Stop the War and a spokesperson for Birmingham Central Mosque, who gave a great speech.

My talk was, I believe, a useful explanation of why Guantánamo is still open, and why it remains, as it has always been, a moral, legal and ethical abomination, and a place that should be a source of shame to anyone with a shred of decency.

I spoke about the prison’s history, about the ongoing prison-wide hunger strike, now in its sixth month, about the obstacles raised by Congress to prevent the closure of the prison and the release of prisoners, and about the generally lesser-known obstacles raised by President Obama. Read the rest of this entry »

Andy Worthington Attends Protest Against US Bases in UK and Discusses Guantánamo at Menwith Hill Base on July 4

Several months ago, I responded to a request to attend the annual “Independence From America” protest on July 4, the American Day of Independence, outside RAF Menwith Hill near Harrogate in Yorkshire. The event is organised by the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), and I was invited by Lindis Percy, a veteran activist who has been arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned on numerous occasions, to speak about Guantánamo. I was, of course, delighted to accept the invitation, and I look forward to the brief return to my roots, as I grew up in the north of England.

The protest will be from 5 to 9 pm, and other speakers are Salma Yaqoob, psychotherapist, Chair of Birmingham Stop the War and a spokesperson for Birmingham Central Mosque, and the journalist Martin Wainwright of the Guardian. Other guests include Mizan the Poet, the folk singers Ziggurat, and the East Lancs Clarion Choir, “Quaker Walkers celebrating 100 years of the Northern Friends Peace Board,” and there will also be a drumming workshop with Steve Hill of the Daftasadrum Drum Circle group.

At the time I accepted the invitation, none of us knew how the existence of an alarmingly overreaching surveillance state would be in the news at the time of the protest, as a result of the revelations of the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, because there are few places that symbolize this problem as powerfully as Menwith Hill. Nominally an RAF station that provides communications and intelligence support services to the UK and the US, it has actually been controlled by America since its establishment in 1954, and has been in the control of the NSA (the National Security Agency, the organisation at the heart of Snowden’s complaints) since 1966. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 (The State of London).
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