Next March it will be eight years since I gave my life over to chronicling Guantánamo and the 779 men (and boys) held there, and campaigning to get the prison closed. I did this initially through my book The Guantánamo Files, and, for the last six and a half years, I have continued to seek the prison’s closure — and to educate people about the men held there and the lies told in the “war on terror” — as a full-time independent investigative journalist.
Nearly four years ago, I began to put together chronological lists of all my articles, in the hope that doing so would make it as easy as possible for readers and researchers to navigate my work — the 2100 articles and pages I have published since May 2007. Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to keep up to date with this project for the last two years, hence this belated entry covering all the articles I wrote from July to December 2012.
In this period, as well as relentlessly covering Guantánamo, I continued to be involved in campaigning to resist the age of austerity cynically introduced by the Tory-led government here in the UK, which is being used to wage a disgusting and disgraceful civil war against the poor, the unemployed and the disabled, and whose main aim is to destroy the state provision of services. In the period covered in this article, my previous efforts to save the NHS from privatisation fed into a campaign even closer to home, as the government and senior NHS managers proposed to severely cut services at Lewisham Hospital, my local hospital in south east London, to pay for the debts of a neighbouring NHS trust that had got into financial difficulties — in part because of ruinous private finance (PFI) deals, providing unjustifiable profits to private companies building hospitals for the government. Read the rest of this entry »
Poplar Dock, Canary Wharf and Greenwich on the Eve of the Olympics, a set on Flickr.
This photo set is the 82nd in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, and is the last of five sets taken on July 25 last year, a wonderful sunny day two days before the Olympic Games began, when I cycled east from Whitechapel along the A11 — Mile End Road, which becomes Bow Road and crosses the A12 on the way to the Olympic Park along Stratford High Street. I then cycled around the perimeter of the Olympic Park, up to Leyton on the eastern side, then along the A12 at the north, and then back south via Hackney Wick and Old Ford on the east, then through Bow, Bromley-by-Bow, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, stopping in on Greenwich before returning home to Brockley.
The first two sets recording this journey were “Adventures in History: The Mile End Road,” and “From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day,” canned the third set — “The Olympics Minus One Day: Photos from the Frontline in Stratford” (and see here too) — was published last July, to capture some of the Olympic fervour at the time — even though I was extremely cynical about the outrageous and unaudited cost of the Olympics and the hideous patriotism milked by the government to deflect attention from its own evil heart, and even though I almost always prefer the fruits of cooperation to the chest-thumping Darwinism of competitive sport. Read the rest of this entry »
East End Odyssey: A Journey from Leyton to Poplar, a set on Flickr.
This photo set is the 81st in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, and is the third of four sets which either precede or follow on from a set I published last July, entitled, “The Olympics Minus One Day: Photos from the Frontline in Stratford” (and see here too), in which I cycled east from Whitechapel along the A11 — Mile End Road, which becomes Bow Road and crosses the A12 on the way to the Olympic Park along Stratford High Street. In the Olympics set I published in July, I then cycled up to Leyton, along the A12 at the north of the Olympic Park, and then back south via Hackney Wick, Old Ford, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, stopping in on Greenwich before returning home to Brockley.
The previous two sets, “Adventures in History: The Mile End Road,” and “From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day,” covered the first part of this journey, right up to my first glimpse of the Olympic Park from the Bow Flyover. This set largely picks up where the Olympics set left off, although it includes a few photos not specifically related to the Olympics, which I took in Leyton and Hackney Wick and Old Ford, while making my way around the perimeter of the Olympic Park. Read the rest of this entry »
From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day, a set on Flickr.
This photo set, the 80th in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, is the second of three that precedes and follows on from a set I published last July, entitled, “The Olympics Minus One Day: Photos from the Frontline in Stratford” (and see here too), in which I cycled east from Whitechapel along the A11 — Mile End Road, which becomes Bow Road and crosses the A12 on the way to the Olympic Park along Stratford High Street. In the Olympics set I published in July, I then cycled up to Leyton, along the A12 at the north of the Olympic Park, and then back south via Hackney Wick, Old Ford, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, stopping in on Greenwich before returning home to Brockley.
Following the previous set, “Adventures in History: The Mile End Road,” in which I passed various historical landmarks on the way to Queen Mary, University of London and the Regent’s Canal, this set begins at the “green bridge” that crossed Mile End Road, and then traces my journey along Bow Road, past the derelict St. Clement’s Hospital, and other landmarks, to Bow Church, marooned on a traffic island, and the Bow Flyover, which vaults over the A12, where bikes were exempt from the Olympic traffic ban, and I had great views, from a highway that is never normally empty in the daytime, of the Olympic Park, the Lea Navigation (the River Lea), the A12 and the northern reaches of Bow and Stratford. Read the rest of this entry »
Consumer Overkill: Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, a set on Flickr.
On September 10, 2012, the BBC World Service gave me an excuse to photograph the West End of London, in all its garish consumer glory, after I had taken part in a news programme, discussing the potential handover of the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan to Afghan control — a topic I know something about as a result of the research and writing I have undertaken for the last seven years as a world expert on the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Afterwards, as I recorded in a previous photo set, Shops, Flags and the BBC: Regent Street in September, I cycled from the BBC’s newly redeveloped headquarters in Broadcasting House, down Regent Street, which, at the time, was still flying the flags of the world for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking in the shops, the shoppers, the building sites and the mad interchange with Oxford Street at Oxford Circus, and ending up, as this set shows, in Piccadilly Circus, from where I followed the tourist hordes down Coventry Street, across the top of Haymarket, and into Leicester Square, where the big cinema chains hold their premieres, where the fast food and the tourist paraphernalia are plentiful, and where the small park at the heart of Leicester Square received an extensive redesign in time for the Olympic Games. Read the rest of this entry »
Shops, Ships and Union Jacks: A Surreal Tour Around Canary Wharf, a set on Flickr.
This photo set — the 60th in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike — is the last in a series of five sets recording a journey I made one sunny day in July, from my home in south London, through New Cross and Bermondsey by bike, across Tower Bridge, and up through Shadwell to Commercial Road, which I followed — with many fruitful deviations — along its whole length, to the junction where West India Road bears off towards Canary Wharf, and Commercial Road becomes East India Road.
As my camera battery had run out, but I couldn’t bear not having a working camera, I decided to find one in Canary Wharf, which was more difficult than I expected, as the shop I needed was some distance from where I parked my bike, through a series of shopping malls whose scale surprised me, as they now constitute another city entirely. Read the rest of this entry »
Please, please, please sign and promote the petition, initiated by Pat Onions and other disabled activists, calling for the British government to “stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families.” The petition needs to reach 100,000 signatures by November 1 to be eligible for Parliamentary debate.
One month ago, the Paralympic Games came to an end, and there were hopes that, after two weeks in which disabled people had been the focus of the media and the British people, and had performed spectacularly well, the time might be ripe for those fortunate enough not to be physically or mentally disabled to realise that they were being lied to by their government, and that the Tories’ wretched assault on disabled people as cheats and scroungers was both cruel and deeply unfair.
In a cynical attempt to cut expenditure on welfare, the government has embarked upon a particularly horrific assault on the mentally and/or physically disabled through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), administered by the French-based multinational company Atos Healthcare, and designed to find disabled people fit for work, even when, as in a heartbreakingly large number of cases, they are not.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of disabled people will lose between £20 and £131.50 a week when the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) that is a crucial part of their support is ”replaced with the more restrictive Personal Independence Payments as part of a £2.2billion cost-cutting plan,” as the Sunday Mirror explained last month. As the Mirror also explained, “The DLA currently goes to around 3.2 million people at a cost of £12.6 billion a year. Analysts estimate up to 500,000 disabled people will have their allowance entirely withdrawn over the next four years as eligibility criteria is tightened.” Read the rest of this entry »
Blackheath and Greenwich: Olympic Memories and Other Journeys, a set on Flickr.
In my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began in May, the extent of my cycling, and of my photography, has far exceeded my ability to upload the photos to my Flickr account. I have over 160 photos sets to upload, of photos taken before my family holiday in August, and in the six weeks since my return — photos from the West End, the City, from east London, north London, west London and south London.
As autumn continues, and the days get shorter, and the weather — presumably — will become less conducive to photography, I will no doubt find more time to make these photos available, but for now I’m dipping in and out of the archive, uploading whatever draws my attention, and to that end this latest set features photos from a visit I made, with my son Tyler, to Blackheath, the big, high plateau to the east of where I live in Brockley, in south east London, on August 1. This was when the Olympic Games were in full swing, and Greenwich Park, accessed from Blackheath as well as from the centre of Greenwich, at the foot of the hill, was the venue for the equestrian events, which I initially photographed here. Read the rest of this entry »
On Friday August 31, 2012, I attended a protest in Triton Square, just north of Euston Road, outside the offices of Atos Healthcare, the multinational company that is running the government’s vile review process for disabled people, which is designed to find them fit for work when they are not. See the Flickr set here.
Afterwards, as part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, I took the opportunity to take photographs as I travelled through Fitzrovia to Oxford Street, where I met my wife and my son for a visit to HMV in search of DVDs and CDs, and then, afterwards, to take photos of Oxford Street, and then to visit Trafalgar Square, where a screen had been set up for the Paralympic Games. I then crossed the river on the Hungerford Bridge, taking photos from the elevated walkway beside Charing Cross station, and on to the Southbank Centre. The previous Flickr sets are here and here. Read the rest of this entry »
The Paralympics Demonstration Against Atos Healthcare in London, a set on Flickr.
Yesterday, Friday August 31, was the last day of the Atos Games, a week of events organised by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and UK Uncut against the jaw-dropping hypocrisy involved in Atos Healthcare, the French IT giant, being allowed to sponsor the Paralympic Games, while the company is also in charge of running the government’s Work Capability Assessments, a review process that is designed to find disabled people fit for work.
As a result, huge numbers of disabled people, who are not fit for work by any genuinely objective measure, are being driven into poverty — a wretched and cruel policy for a government that claims to have Christian values — and the results are leading directly to suicides, or other deaths through the stress involved. Undeterred, however, the government recently renewed Atos’ contract, to the tune of £400 million, and ministers are permanently involved in ignoring the inconvenient truth that, on appeal, tens of thousands of decisions made by Atos’ representatives are being overturned. The average is 40 percent, but in Scotland campaigners discovered that, when claimants were helped by representatives of Citizens Advice Bureaux, 70 percent of decisions were overturned on appeal. Read the rest of this entry »
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