It’s been a busy month — firstly, with my visit to the US to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo, focused on the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison on January 11, and then with the launch of my new campaign, the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, on January 20. That campaign was officially launched on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, when I appeared with Roger Waters, a supporter of my work and of the campaign to get Guantánamo closed, who also played a major role in publicizing the We Stand With Shaker campaign that I launched in November 2014, with the activist Joanne MacInnes, to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo.
Chris and I spoke about my tour, Roger Waters, the successful campaign to get Shaker released the Countdown to Close Guantánamo and how the prison might finally be closed, and I hope you have time to listen to the show. Read the rest of this entry »
So the sabre-rattling in the West has begun yet again, cruelly and idiotically calling for more bombing in Syria, one of the most devastated countries in the world, in response to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris — even though the terrorists were European citizens, and even though the ongoing war in Syria has, to date, created a refugee crisis unprecedented in modern history. In response, I’m hoping that anyone interested in peace — and in understanding the true horrors of war — will find the time to listen to a profoundly enlightening interview I came across by chance last Friday, on the 70th anniversary of the day the Nuremberg trials began.
On BBC Radio 4, the PM programme interviewed Benjamin Ferencz, 95, the last surviving prosecutor from the trials, who was just 27 years old when, in 1947, he became the Chief Prosecutor in the ninth of the twelve Nuremberg trials, of 24 officers of the Einsatzgruppen, mobile SS death squads, who operated behind the front line in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. and who, from 1941 to 1943 alone, murdered more than one million Jews and tens of thousands of other people, including gypsies and the disabled.
Ferencz’s testimony about what he witnessed at the liberation of the Nazis’ death camps, and his experience of the trials — and his subsequent conviction that he had to devote his life to peace — ought to be required listening for everyone, from our politicians to every single one of our fellow citizens. Read the rest of this entry »
Below is an interview I undertook with the New York-based activist Cat Watters, on her show Organic News, on Awake Radio, which took place just after the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, who was released and returned to the UK on October 30. Also on the show was my friend Debra Sweet, of the World Can’t Wait, who, every January, gets me over to the US for tours calling for the closure of Guantánamo, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the prison’s opening (see my last three visits here, here and here).
The main topic of discussion of course, was Shaker’s release after a long, long campaign to secure his freedom, in which I played a part through the We Stand With Shaker campaign that I launched a year ago with the activist Joanne MacInnes.
Debra also spoke — about the prison-wide hunger strike in 2013 that did so much to remind the world of the prisoners’ plight, in which, of course, Shaker played a part, as I explained at the time — see here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Read the rest of this entry »
In the wake of the wonderful news that Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, has finally been released from the prison, and returned, a free man, to his family in the UK, a couple of old friends from the US — Scott Horton and Peter B. Collins — interviewed me for their radio shows.
Scott and I have been talking — generally several times a year — since 2007, primarily about Guantánamo, but also about torture, Bagram prison in Afghanistan, and other aspects of the “war on terror” that George W. Bush launched after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and that President Obama has failed to fully repudiate.
Our 20-minute interview is here, as an MP3. Scott’s own website has been having problems for the last week — it was down for many days, and now it’s back up, but the last few years’ interviews are still missing. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s ten days since Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, was released and brought back to the UK to be reunited with his family, and after an immediate media whirlwind everything went very quiet, with a few noble exceptions — Richie Allen, the Manchester-based Irish broadcaster, Scott Horton, the US libertarian, and Peter B. Collins, the West Coast progressive radio host, who all got in touch and asked for interviews.
I’ve known all three for some time, and tonight I’m promoting my interview with Richie — it’s on YouTube via David Icke’s website, and you can also find it here on Podomatic. The other two shows aren’t available right now — Scott’s website has been down for a few days, and my interview with Peter, for Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs website, hasn’t been uploaded yet.
In a 30-minute interview, I spoke to Richie about Shaker’s release, and attempted to answer questions about how his health might be — a question that I couldn’t really answer, as those close to him are keeping very quiet right now, and allowing him to recover in peace. Read the rest of this entry »
Following Friday’s sudden news of the arrival back in the UK of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, there was an intense media frenzy, the likes of which I’ve never experienced. For several hours, the phone was ringing off the hook, I was conducting interview after interview — on the phone or by Skype — with Skype calls incoming while I was being interviewed, and the phone ringing incessantly, as I found myself unable to switch it off.
Below is a brief run-through of where my media appearances can be found. Apologies for the delay, but it’s taken me many hours to track everything down, and I simply didn’t have the time – or was, frankly, too exhausted and in need of distraction — to do so until now.
After making a brief statement to the Press Association (as featured in this Independent article), I spoke briefly by phone to Sky News (their coverage is here), and then took part in the Victoria Derbyshire Show on BBC2. The show has featured Shaker’s story twice in recent weeks. I appeared on it following the launch of Fast For Shaker, the campaign I set up with my colleague Joanne MacInnes as an off-shoot of our We Stand With Shaker campaign, and Shaker’s own words, read out by an actor, were featured in another show shortly after. Read the rest of this entry »
On Sunday, I was delighted to be interviewed by journalist and activist Anastasia Kyriacou for her show on Shoreditch Radio, ‘Anastasia Says.’ The show is here, and it lasts for 45 minutes.
Over the course of the show, I was allowed to explain how I became involved in the story of Guantánamo, why it is such a moral, legal and ethical abomination, and why, far too often, the liberal media, by insisting on “objectivity,” plays into the hands of the dark forces running our world — because the right-wing media does no such thing (see Fox News, the Sun and much of the Daily Mail‘s output, for example), and because the injustices of the world demand our involvement not our detached commentary.
Anastasia and I also spoke about my campaigning — from Close Guantánamo, which I established with the US lawyer Tom Wilner in 2012, to We Stand With Shaker, which I established last November with Joanne MacInnes to highlight the case of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, by asking celebrities and MPs to stand with a giant inflatable figure of Shaker, and Fast For Shaker, launched just two weeks ago, in which Joanne and I have been asking celebrities, MPs and concerned citizens around the world to fast for 24 hours in solidarity with Shaker, who is due to be released this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »
Located in the Bay Area of California, near San Francisco, Peter B. Collins is a great progressive radio host, and someone I have known for many years. He has interviewed me about Guantánamo numerous times over the years (see here for our interviews from the last three years), and interviews with him are always particularly satisfying — and for listeners, hopefully, very informative — because he is very knowledgeable and because the shows last for an average of an hour, allowing us time to really delve into the multi-faceted injustices of Guantánamo and the “war on terror.”
On this occasion, Peter wanted to speak to me on the back of the news that Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, is to be freed after nearly 14 years in US custody without charge or trial, despite the fact that he was approved for release under President Bush in 2007, and under President Obama in 2009, by a high-level, inter-agency review process.
Peter generously acknowledged the role played in this long-overdue development by the We Stand With Shaker campaign that I launched with the activist Joanne MacInnes last November, which has involved celebrities and MPs standing with a giant inflatable figure of Shaker, and he also promoted my band The Four Fathers and our ‘Song for Shaker Aamer‘, which was used in the We Stand With Shaker campaign video, and which I made available as a download last week — also making available our album ‘Love and War,’ which features the song, as a download or on CD. Read the rest of this entry »
On September 25, as the news broke that Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, is to be released, the radio host Scott Horton got in touch to ask for a quick interview, and I was, of course, delighted to speak to him, as we have spoken numerous times over the years since he first interviewed me in 2007. Our 15-minute interview is here, as an MP3, and I hope you have time to listen to it, and to share it if you find it useful. You can also find it on Scott’s website here.
Scott asked me to run through Shaker’s story, so I explained how he is a charismatic, eloquent man who always resisted the injustices implemented by the Bush administration in its “war on terror,” and, as a result, came to be regarded as a dangerous individual.
However, although he has persistently caused trouble — righteous, indignant trouble — in US custody, his captors never had a case against him for any activities prior to his capture at the end of 2001 in Afghanistan, where, he has always maintained, he had traveled to provide humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. As a result, in 2007, under the Bush administration, he was told that the US no longer wanted to hold him, and in 2009 he was approved for release by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force established by President Obama shortly after taking office. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to an emergency involving the radio station’s management, the show cannot take place, as there will be no one at the station, and one of Hamja’s previous shows will be played instead. Apologies for any inconvenience. I will try and reschedule.
On Sunday, at 3pm GMT (that’s 10am Eastern Time), I’ll be hosting a two-hour radio show on One Harmony Radio, an online community radio station in Brockley, south east London, where I live. I’m standing in for activist/curator Hamja Ahsan, who has to attend Eid celebrations.
Here’s One Harmony Radio‘s website, so please listen online at 3pm on Sunday!
I appeared on the show with Hamja on June 28, and had a great time, reading from my books The Guantánamo Files , The Battle of the Beanfield and Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion, playing some of my favourite songs — including a number of roots reggae classics — and also playing “Fighting Injustice,” a song I wrote that is featured on my band The Four Fathers‘ debut album, “Love and War” — available for just £7/$11, which can be sent anywhere in the world. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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