Andy Worthington Visits the US to Campaign for the Closure of Guantánamo on the 9th Anniverary of the Prison’s Opening, January 6-12, 2011


The 9th anniversary of the opening of the “War on Terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay is on January 11, and, in the hope of raising awareness of the need for action to close Guantánamo and to secure fair trials or release from the prison for the 174 men still held, Andy Worthington, freelance investigative journalist, author of The Guantánamo Files and co-director of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” is traveling to the US to take part in a number of events during the week of this baleful anniversary, with the support of The World Can’t Wait and Witness Against Torture. Details of events are below, and for further information, or to interview Andy or to ask him to take part in further events, please contact Debra Sweet of The World Can’t Wait or Andy himself.

Sadly, two years into Barack Obama’s Presidency, and a year after the failure of his promise to close Guantánamo within a year, the outlook for the remaining 174 prisoners in Guantánamo is bleaker than it has been at any time since June 27, 2004, the day before the Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners had habeas corpus rights.

Although 90 of the remaining 174 prisoners have been “approved for transfer” for at least a year by the Guantánamo Review Task Force, established by President Obama to review the cases of the remaining prisoners, 58 of these men are Yemenis, whose release is prevented by a moratorium on the release of any Yemeni prisoners, which was issued by the President last January, in response to hysterical overreaction to the news that the failed Christmas Day plane bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had been recruited in Yemen. In addition, Congress has now stepped in, unconstitutionally restricting the President’s powers by declaring Yemen as one of several countries that are too dangerous for prisoners to be released to.

The remaining 32 men “approved for transfer” are mostly still held because of fears that they will face torture or other ill-treatment in their home countries, and because no third countries have been found that will accept them. They should, therefore, be offered new homes in the United States, but the Obama administration, the courts and Congress have all acted to prevent the relocation of a single cleared Guantánamo prisoner to the US mainland.

Of the remaining 84 prisoners, three are imprisoned after trials by Military Commission, 33 were recommended for trials by the Task Force, and 48 others were recommended for indefinite detention without charge or trial. Congress recently passed legislation preventing the transfer of any of these men to the US mainland to face trials, and also preventing the administration from buying a US prison to rehouse them, but this is not the only stumbling block to attempts to secure justice for any of these men.

Although the adminstration has been prevented from proceeding with the planned federal court trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, officials have also shown little appetite for trials by Military Commission either, especially after the negative publicity that greeted the plea deal negotiated in October with the former child prisoner Omar Khadr, who was obliged to plead guilty to war crimes invented by Congress and endorsed by the administration.

In addition, it was recently announced that President Obama is set to sign an executive order formalizing the indefinite detention of the 48 men designated for indefinite detention by the Task Force. This will allow them a periodic review of their cases, but it remains an unjustifiable position for the administration to maintain (and is symptomatic of the administration’s disregard for the US courts and the prisoners’ ongoing habeas petitions), and the combination of factors in play as Guantánamo begins the 10th year of its lawless business — the executive order regarding indefinite detention, the unwillingness to proceed with any trials, and the self-imposed obstacles preventing the release of 90 men whose release was recommended by the Task Force — means that, on this particular anniversary, there is a very real possibility, without concerted effort by Americans opposed to the existence of Guantánamo and all it stands for, that almost everyone still held at Guantánamo will continue to be held indefinitely.

To raise awareness of these issues, and to call for action, Andy is taking part in the following events:

Thursday January 6, 7.30 pm: Special Forum — “WikiLeaks, State Secrets, Guantánamo and Torture” with Andy Worthington, Katie Gallagher, Pardiss Kebriaei, Leili Kashani and Jeremy Varon.
The Brecht Forum, 451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets), New York, NY 10014.

For this special event, Andy Worthington will be joined by Katie Gallagher, Pardiss Kebriaei and Leili Kashani from the Center for Constitutional Rights and Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture to discuss the importance of WikiLeaks, attempts to extradite Julian Assange to the US, the dangerous isolation of Bradley Manning, revelations about Guantánamo and US interference to suppress torture investigations in Germany and Spain, and the significance of other stories not covered by Wikileaks — in particular, the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three prisoners at Guantánamo in June 2006.
For further information, and to register for this event, see the Brecht Forum website, or phone: 212-242-4201. This event is free for Brecht Forum Subscribers. Otherwise, admission is on a sliding scale: $6/$10/$15.

Friday January 7, 7 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” followed by Q&A with Andy Worthington and Scott Horton.
Revolution Books, 146 West 26th Street (between 6th & 7th Ave.), New York, NY 10001.

A screening of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington) will be followed by a discussion about the film, the state of Guantánamo on the 9th anniversary of its opening, and accountability for torture with Andy Worthington and Scott Horton, law professor and columnist for Harper’s Magazine.
A donation of $10 is requested for the film, drinks and popcorn, to benefit Revolution Books. For further information, see the Revolution Books website, or contact the store by email or by phone: 212-691-3345. A Facebook page is here.

Sunday January 9, 4 pm: World Can’t Wait open house to celebrate the New Year and a new office, and to welcome Andy Worthington.
The World Can’t Wait, 112 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001.

An open house to mark the opening of The World Can’t Wait‘s new office, and an opportunity to meet Andy Worthington, to discuss actions to help close Guantánamo, and to hold senior Bush administration officials accountable for torture, and also to hear about. and to support the campaigning work of The World Can’t Wait.
For further information, please contact Debra Sweet, National Director, The World Can’t Wait by email or phone the office: 866-973-4463.

Monday January 10, 7 pm: Panel discussion — “War Is A Lie” with David Swanson, plus guests Andy Worthington, Cindy Sheehan and Debra Sweet.
Barnes & Noble Johns Hopkins Bookstore, 3330 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.

En route to Washington D.C. for events marking the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, Andy Worthington will be a guest of the author, blogger and activist David Swanson at an event promoting his latest book War Is A Lie, along with peace activist Cindy Sheehan and Debra Sweet of The World Can’t Wait.
For further information, see the War Is A Crime website, and to contact the store, please phone: 410-662-5850.

Tuesday January 11, 10.30 am: 11-day Vigil and Fast for the Closure of Guantánamo begins outside The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. Press conference at 11 am with Tom Parker (AIUSA), Pardiss Kebriaei (CCR), Andy Worthington, Frida Berrigan and Valerie Lucznikowska.
On the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, anti-torture activists Witness Against Torture launch a Daily Vigil and Fast for Justice that will continue for 11 days and includes demonstrations throughout Washington D.C. The event on January 11 begins with a rally of a coalition of human rights and grassroots groups and individuals, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International USA, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, The World Can’t Wait, Andy Worthington, Cindy Sheehan and, hopefully, peace activist Ray McGovern and others, followed by a press conference at 11 am, a “prisoner procession” to the Department of Justice at 11.45 am, arriving at 12.15 pm, where members of Witness Against Torture will engage in nonviolent direct action. Speakers at the rally will include: Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy and policy director of terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights, Valerie Lucznikowska, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, historian and Guantánamo researcher Andy Worthington, Pardiss Kebriaei, staff attorney, the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing Guantánamo detainees, and Frida Berrigan, Witness Against Torture.
For further information, please visit the Witness Against Torture website, or contact Frida Berrigan by email or phone: 347-683-4928 or Jeremy Varon by email or phone: 732-979-3119. Or contact Aaron Barnard-Luce of AIUSA by email or phone: 202-509-8194, Jen Nessel of CCR by email or phone: 212-614-6449, or Shonna Carter of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows by email or phone: 212-260-5000

Tuesday January 11, 3.30-5 pm: Panel discussion — “Nine Years of Guantánamo: What Now?” with Andy Worthington, Tom Wilner, Morris Davis and Benjamin Wittes.
New America Foundation, 1899 L Street, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036.

On the 9th aniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, Andy Worthington is joined by attorney Tom Wilner, Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor of the Military Commissions at Guantánamo, and Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution, for what promises to be a lively discussion about the future of Guantánamo. Tom Wilner is the former attorney for the Kuwaiti prisoners in Guantánamo, who argued the Guantánamo cases in the Supreme Court (and is hoping to challenge the ongoing detention of one of the two remaining Kuwaiti prisoners before the Supreme Court), Morris Davis resigned in October 2007, after being placed in a chain of command under Pentagon General Counsel William J. Haynes II, who advocated for the use of torture, and Benjamin Wittes has spent several years arguing that new legislation is required authorizing the indefinite detenton of prisoners. Among the topics under discussion will be the viability of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as a basis for detention, the approach taken by the Obama administration and the courts with regard to the prisoners’ habeas corpus claims, and the conficting claims for federal court trials, trials by Mlitary Commission or indefinite detention without charge or trial for the 81 of the remaining 174 prisoners that the adminstration has stated that it wants to try or to detain indefinitely. The discussion will be moderated by Patrick Doherty of the New America Foundation.
For further information, please contact Andrew Lebovitch of the New America Foundation.

Wednesday January 12, 12-1.30 pm: Panel discussion on the future of Guantánamo and accountabiity for torture with Andy Worthington, Juan Méndez, Leili Kashani and Frida Berrigan, plus excerpts from “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.”
American University Washington College of Law, JD Lounge, 6th floor, 4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.

For the final event of this short US tour, Andy Worthington will be joined by Juan Méndez, Visiting Professor of Law at the American University Washington College of Law, and the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Leili Kashani of the Center for Constitutional Rights for further discussion about how to push for the closure of Guantánamo, fair trials, the release of cleared prisoners, an end to indefinite detention without charge or trial, and accountability for torture. The panel discussion will be moderated by Frida Berrigan of Witness Against Torture, excerpts from “Outside the Law; Stories from Guantánamo” will be shown, and refreshments will be served.
For further information, please contact Kate Kelly or Ann Warshaw of WCL.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

19 Responses

  1. Tweets that mention Andy Worthington Visits the US to Campaign for the Closure of Guantánamo on the 9th Anniverary of the Prison’s Opening, January 6-12, 2011 | Andy Worthington -- says...

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andy Worthington, StuckInTheMoment46. StuckInTheMoment46 said: RT @iamjoeanybody: Andy Worthington Visits the US to Campaign for the Closure of Guantánamo 9th Anniverary of … […]

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Jayne Sparks wrote:

    You’re so good! Happy new year and good luck with your mission :0)X

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Joe Anybody wrote:


  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Virginia Simson wrote:

    I wish you would write up something for OpEd News and get it posted !! I think people should know on the broadest possible basis. It is in telling the stories and making people REAL that we will finally get these POWs released … and awaken people to the reality of the damage that this has done even to US serviceman through this awful “policy.” Just tell folks there what you hope to be achieved and how we can write our papers with fresh reminders of what’s going on. There are action pages there to access, Andy and we’ll write if you give us the chance.
    Best wishes on your journey !

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Virginia also wrote:

    I messaged Rob Kall – and suggested he do a podcast with you while you are in the US …
    Here’s hoping he’ll do that. He has a radio show, too.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the kind comments, Joe, Virginia and Jayne.
    Virginia, I’ll get in touch with Rob as well. I know my articles have been posted on Op-Ed News, but perhaps I should try and get them on there more regularly.

  7. Ending Bush’s big lie on Guantánamo » World Uyghur Congress says...

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  8. As Activists Plan Protest for 9th Anniv. of Guantánamo, Former Gitmo Commander Subpoenaed in Spain over Prisoner Torture + Ending Bush’s big lie on Guantánamo « Dandelion Salad says...

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  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s a message I received from a reader named BB, after the screening of “Outside the Law” Stories from Guantanamo” at Revolution Books in New York on January 7, followed by a Q&A session with myself and Scott Horton, law professor and Harper’s columnist:

    Hi Andy,

    I really like your work and what you had to say tonight. Can you say where you are screening your film? There is no section on your site about screenings or how to get a screening. I have searched all the Nav but can’t find it if it is there. I would like to send it to people, but am at a loss as to where to tell them to see it or to procure a DVD.

    I want to send it to Anapolic and West Point grad friends, who are former USMC and Army officers and Columbia and Georgetown Law graduates. They say things like Abu Ghraib was a “training error” and “heads rolled” Rumsfeld and the Commander Kaminsky whatsit when we talk about these things. Horton’s explanations about failure to conduct “field hearings” to look at evidence in light of those hefty $250K equivalent bounties the US was paying out there. Civilians trumping career military on operational decisions like that should be exposed and curtailed, but anyway under the doctrine of “first strike” the damage has already been done to recruit more “enemies” into the ageless “teeth” strategy of territorial expansion!

    I will never never never get used to the American who say “mistake”, “incompetence” only because of their ignorance of deep history and how this country has always run. Was the parking of the old WWI “warships” in Pearl Harbor a mistake? Was cutting of Japanese shipments of minerals from US mines while those old antiquated warships were parked there a mistake? Was leaving the ads paid for by the German Embassy out of the American papers to get Americans to cheerfully sign up for the Lusitania a mistake? Was planning war games for all the air force planes on 9/11 a mistake? Let them keep calling it a mistake. That’s what we want. To err is human…To do deliberately is evil incarnate…and unfathomable and we want to keep it that way!

    McCain was not kidding when he said on the campaign trail that “we will be in Iraq for 100 yrs”…And they build their Green Zone for 100 yrs of business…which will be there for its mercenary occupants whether the 50 states are or not!

    It is ridiculous to me that anybody can think that anything about this charade has been a mistake. Cheney got paid to do the job for the 6500 families (per Le Monde 6600 per Pelosi) who earn from the dividends and capital gains from these oil and military stocks. The want the remaining 50% of the Post-Peak oil anywhere in the Middle East, no matter the cost of extraction and “security services” since they are subsidized by the US taxpayer. They may have been raised to “keep their pictures out of the paper” and that is why they paid him to do this job! And many others like him. That is the value prop of that job to get the measly few millions these people get during their lifetimes.

    History shows that Francois I had to set up a few well conceived massacres so the hatred and violence would multiply amongst the common people for 70 yrs of very profitable “civil war” blamed on religious sectarianism and dark minds. They would have their excuses for more war taxes for “security” reasons on peasants and the Bourgeoisie. The 100 yrs war with Spain was way over and money was tight! Laissez-faire economies need wars to keep everybody in adequate chips and illusions of chips!

    This is called putting in place the “teeth” on border lands to keep the conflict spontaneously flowing for decades. Bosnia shows that even 600 years can easily dredge up the memories now created in common people who never had a reason to hate each other since 9/11/Bagram/Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo. Those Ottoman Turks laid down some good “teeth”!

    Aragon and Castille did the same thing to recapture Iberia. Catherine the Great was a master and so were the tools of your great Queen Victoria (she of course was way hands off and way out of the papers)! I just cannot believe the ignorance of history. And, I am destined to relive it right along with them, despite my knowing it! So much for the US myth of individual self-determination!

    Anyway. Good luck to you. Please let me know where you’re screening so I can get some friends. I know getting distributors for films like this one is very very difficult in the US since they and the exhibitors are mostly on the reservation, and there are watchdogs keeping them that way!

    Best regards, B

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    This was my reply, in which I also asked BB if I could post his comments:

    Good to hear from you.
    If you’d like to order a copy of the DVD, please visit the following page, where you can buy it for £10 ($16) post-free:

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    And this was BB’s reply:

    I wish wish wish we could get this news out to ordinary Americans but the FCC licenses and local cable monopoly franchises are privately owned but not regulated anymore since 1988. Circa 50% of this country has carefully been left off the broadband grid … and so depend on cable monopolies for any news…

    They are led around by the nose by the private owners of concentrated media who construct this reality around here and are anyway interconnected in shareholdings and board seats with the likes of Big Oil (all seven sisters of Standard Oil owned by Rockefeller), Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, JPMorgan, Prince al-Waleed etc.!

    It is Plutocrat Charade Parade right off the cliff here. Off the cliff for us since they have jets and helicopters! And presumably other countries like Britain who will take them for their money!

    As I study social construction and worked in information media industries since dereg of AT&T, the whys and wherefores of this the careful construction of this Privatized Politburo are too too obvious for me to watch unfold everyday!

    That’s why your work is a relief! Although, a silenced and suppressed relief!

    Best regards, B

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, B. I had discussions with friends last week about the telecoms monopoly. Here in the UK we’re lucky that companies invested in telecoms and also started a price war, so we have — for now at least — cheap and efficient broadband.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    And BB’s fascinating reply:


    Even Paris now has lower prices and more choices for broadband than NY. So does Hongkong, Dubai, etc.

    The dynamic about how the private media ring fenced the mid west and heartland regions for the dis-info cloud would make a really great documentary! The stalling on broadband infrastructure by telecoms industry despite stimulus subsidies available is really telling. That keeps millions of voters stuck with dialup to read alternative news websites, and watching video news is certainly precluded.

    They over indulged in fiber optics in the 1990s, and don’t want to move to MESH either, which is the next generation of reaching rural territories. Like the powers that be over legislation don’t want to see Carbon Taxes on their coal fire plants until they’re fully depreciated, neither do the telecoms industry want to see competition from MESH and wireless antenna technology.

    Remarks by Michael Powell former FCC commissioner under Bush a few years ago suggesting that US universities have not done any serious basic research on antenna technologies are also really telling about how the system works. But, that makes sense since technological R&D is now funded by private corporate money at our best universities, pharma is the best example now, instead of Federal science foundation grants. This is all post-1980s “reforms”.

    It is a shame to see how Americans can be legally misled and kept in the dark by this system. It would be a great story to expose to the world in a new documentary! I am sensitive to it because my family came here from Germany and grandparents etc explained how things worked over there to take the people where they wanted to take them for both world wars!

    Anyway. Great connecting with you Andy. I think you have the stuff to do some more cool movies! I don’t often say that…

    Best regards, BB

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, BB, for the excellent insight, and I agree, a documentary would be very useful indeed. Sadly, your comments only confirm to me how the US is a leader in greed. Where other countries’ corporations often accept that investment is needed first in order to generate profits, much of the US seems to work on the basis of bypassing the investment part, and just going straight for the profits. I see it in my travels in the US, but even in blinkered Britain, which tries not to compare and contrast its situation with other countries, comparisons with other countries are in fact made on a regular basis, whereas much of America is so isolated — and so pumped up with notions of exceptionalism — that people don’t see the extent to which they’re being ripped off.
    The manipulation of the health care debate was a particularly noticeable example.

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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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