We Stand With Shaker: Send a Valentine’s Card for Shaker Aamer to the US Ambassador in London, to Ask for His Release from Guantánamo


A Valentine's Day card for Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantanamo, for supporters to send to the US Ambassador to the UK, asking him to tell President Obama that Shaker must be released.Please print the Valentine’s Card for Shaker Aamer, and send it to the US Ambassador at 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6AH, UK.

I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January 2012 with US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.

February 14, Valentine’s Day, is the 13th anniversary of the arrival at Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison — and also the birthday of his youngest son, Faris, who he has never seen. Although Shaker was first told eight years ago, under George W. Bush, that the US no longer wanted to hold him, and was again told that the US no longer wanted to hold him five years ago — by President Obama’s high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force — he is still held.

Since launching the We Stand With Shaker campaign two and half months ago, Joanne MacInnes and I (the co-directors of the campaign) have secured significant support from within the British establishment for Shaker’s release — from the Daily Mail, from the Daily Telegraph‘s chief political commentator Peter Oborne, and from Conservative MPs including Alistair Burt and Andrew Mitchell, as well as from other Conservative MPs and other politicians from across the political spectrum — Labour, Lib Dem, Green and independents.

These supporters have stood with the giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer that is at the heart of the campaign — as have celebrities including actors, musicians, writers and comedians. All these supporters — over 50 to date — can be seen standing with Shaker on our website here, and they can also be found on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, where other supporters are also featured, holding signs showing their support for Shaker.

To mark the occasion of the 13th anniversary of Shaker’s arrival at Guantánamo, and Faris’s 13th birthday — as well as keeping pressure on those holding Shaker — we will be delivering a giant Valentine’s card, signed by our celebrities, to the US Ambassador, Matthew W. Barzun, which states, “We the undersigned urge you to ask President Obama to secure the immediate release from Guantánamo of British resident Shaker Aamer. Please tell the president we want Shaker returned to his loved ones in London NOW.”

Via our designer Kalina Norton/Studio Kalinka, we have made a version of the Valentine’s card that you can print and sign and send to Ambassador Barzun, from anywhere in the world, and we hope you do so in significant numbers. Please do take part, and encourage others to do so.

We intend to deliver the giant Valentine’s card to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square on Friday February 13, and on Valentine’s Day itself (Saturday February 14), we will be in Parliament Square at 12 noon, and we will then march to 10 Downing Street with the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign to deliver a message of solidarity with Shaker to David Cameron, and to urge him to call for Shaker’s immediate return to the UK and his family more vigorously than he has to date.

It is, to be blunt, sickening that Shaker is still held, even though David Cameron recently met President Obama in the US, and both men spoke about his case. The time for words that do nothing is over. David Cameron must tell President Obama that he needs Shaker to be returned to the UK, and President Obama must notify Congress of his intention to do so, providing 30 days’ notice as required by US law. Once that is done, there is no practical reason why Shaker cannot be home in a month’s time.

That address again:

Matthew W. Barzun
Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
US Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square
London W1K 6AH

You can also phone and leave a message: 020 7499 9000 in the UK, or 01144 20 7499 9000 from the US.

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.

20 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Diana Murtaugh Coleman wrote:

    Excellent initiative, Andy!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Diana. Great to hear from you!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    I’ll be sending one from the US…

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. Good news!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    Going to get mine printed tomorrow and sent off

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Marion!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Mine is printed, signed and on its way to the post office

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Jessy Mumpo wrote:

    Great. Will print a load off for the Raise Your Voice for Shaker Aamer Amnesty event.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan and Jessy. Your support is greatly appreciated!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Sara Hussain wrote:

    So glad this popped up in my feed! Downloaded will print and post tomorrow inshaAllah

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Sara. Very glad you saw it!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    When we send it do we sign and put our details in or just sign?

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    You can just sign, Marion. It’s not like Guantanamo. You don’t have to provide an address.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Maura Hurley wrote:

    okay to send from outside the UK?

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    And Maura, yes, it’s absolutely fine to send cards from outside the UK – especially from US citizens, I would think!

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    Thanks Andy – Really staggered that people don’t know who Shaker is, unbelievable

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s depressing, isn’t it, Marion, when so many Z-list celebs are household names.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    You hit the proverbial nail on the head, I steer well clear from all the reality tv/magazine rubbish, but am astounded by how many people buy into it.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Maura Hurley – I sent mine from the US…The more he gets from inside the US, the better the point is made. We are sick of the ridiculous procrastination and inhuman response towards these illegally held men! Shaker Aamer needs to be free and with him, the other 50+ men cleared for release…then we can start on the rest…

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. Yes indeed!

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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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