Andy Worthington Speaks at Two London Events on the CIA Torture Report and the Banned Books of Guantánamo, February 2015


Andy Worthington and the We Stand With Shaker poster at the protest against Guantanamo outside the Whirte House on January 11, 2015, the 13th anniversary of the opening of the prison (Photo: Medea Benjamin for Andy Worthington).I’m delighted to report that I’ve been asked to take part in two panel discussions over the next two weeks, and I hope that, if you’re in London, you’ll be able to come along.

The first is at the University of Westminster on Wednesday February 11, when I’ll be discussing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA torture programme with Philippe Sands QC, a law professor at UCL and a barrister at Matrix Chambers (and the author of Torture Team), and Carla Ferstman, the director of REDRESS, a human rights organisation that “helps torture survivors obtain justice and reparation,” and “works with survivors to help restore their dignity and to make torturers accountable.” The discussion will be chaired by Dr. Emma McClean, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Westminster.

This is how the event is described on the university website:

In December 2014, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) ‘Detention and Interrogation Program’. The complete report runs to 6000 pages and, despite calls for its release, remains classified. The 525 page declassified summary along with the executive summary of the 6,000 page report provides, amongst other [topics], a detailed account of the techniques used by the CIA in the ‘war on terror’, exposes the ineffectiveness of such techniques as a means of gathering reliable intelligence information, and raises, in the words of Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Committee, ‘critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight’.

Unsurprisingly the report prompted calls for those responsible for the programme to be held to account, while the redacted segments of the report refocused our attention on the role of the UK and other European states. This discussion will examine the implications of the Feinstein Report for the UK in terms of accountability, prevention and transparency.

The executive summary contained genuinely shocking information, and, in addition to the body of evidence about the Bush administration’s torture program that has been built up over many years, ought to lead to prosecutions, as I discussed in my response to its publication in December, “Punishment, not apology after CIA torture report.” However, there still appears to be no appetite for accountability on the part of the Obama administration, and I hope our evening will provide some indication of how this impasse — in itself illegal — can be overcome.

The second event takes place at the Mosaic Rooms, on Cromwell Road in Earl’s Court, on Thursday February 19, when I’ll be discussing ‘The Banned Books of Guantánamo‘ with Cori Crider, the Strategic Director of the legal action charity Reprieve, Ian Cobain of the Guardian, whose book Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture is banned at Guantánamo, as is my book The Guantánamo Files, and Jo Glanville, the director of English PEN, who previous worked for the BBC and at Index on Censorship (where she published a feature on The Guantánamo Files when my book was first published).

This will be a fascinating event, following up on an excellent series of articles about ‘The Banned Books of Guantánamo’ that Vice published in December, even though, on that occasion, my book was overlooked, and it also complements an exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms, ‘Mouths At The Invisible Event‘ by David Birkin.

The listings for both events — and, importantly, how to register or RSVP — are below:

Wednesday February 11, 2015, 5.30 for 6pm: The US Senate Report on Torture: Prevention, Accountability and Transparency – Panel Discussion with Philippe Sands, Andy Worthington and Carla Ferstman
The Boardroom, The University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW.

At this event, journalist and Guantánamo expert Andy Worthington joins law professor and Philippe Sands and Carla Ferstman, the director of REDRESS, to discuss the CIA torture report.
If you wish to come to this event, you must register here. Admission is free, but registration is required.
For further information, please contact Emma McClean.

Thursday February 19, 2015, 7pm: The Banned Books of Guantánamo – Panel discussion with Ian Cobain, Cori Crider, Andy Worthington and Jo Glanville
The Mosaic Rooms, A.M.Qattan Foundation, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW.

At this event, journalist and Guantánamo expert Andy Worthington joins Ian Cobain of the Guardian, Cori Crider of Reprieve and Jo Glanville, the director of English PEN to discuss censorship at Guantánamo, and the books that, in the prison’s long and repressive history, have been banned.
This event is free, but you must RSVP.
For further information, please contact Angelina Radakovic.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

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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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