Shaker Aamer’s Latest Words from Guantánamo; Thanks Roger Waters, Says, “I Am An Innocent Man and a Good Person”


Andy Worthington and Joanne MacInnes of We Stand With Shaker with music legend Roger Waters (ex-Pink Floyd) at the launch of the campaign outside the Houses of Parliament on November 24, 2014 (Photo: Stefano Massimo).In the latest news about Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, who has long been cleared for release, and who wants only to return to his family in London, his lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of the legal action charity Reprieve, released sections from a number of Shaker’s recent letters from the prison. Clive made Shaker’s words available to We Stand With Shaker, the campaign group I established with Joanne MacInnes last November.

The quotes were subsequently made available to the media and were read out in Parliament yesterday by Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour, Islington North), a member of the cross-party Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group, and one of four MPs — along with the Conservatives David Davis and Andrew Mitchell, and his Labour colleague Andy Slaughter — who visited Washington D.C. two weeks ago to discuss Shaker’s case with senior officials.

In a foreign affairs debate in the House of Commons yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn urged ministers to “step up the fight to free Mr. Aamer,” as the Daily Mail described it. “He has never been charged, never been prosecuted, never been through any legal process whatsoever,” Mr. Corbyn said, adding, “Can we have an undertaking from the Foreign Office to follow this up with real vigour to push the Obama administration to name the date by which Shaker Aamer will be released and returned to his family?”

Below are Shaker Aamer’s words, from his latest letters, in which he thanks those MPs who took part in the Parliamentary debate on his case on March 17, which led to the government backing the motion calling for his release from Guantánamo and his return to his family in London. Shaker also thanked two particular supporters — Dr. David Nicholl, the neurologist and human rights campaigner from Birmingham, who recent ran around the White House and ran the London Marathon to highlight Shaker’s plight, and music legend Roger Waters, formerly the chief songwriter of Pink Floyd, who is a high-profile supporter of Shaker’s release.

Roger is a great supporter of my work, and he attended the launch of We Stand With Shaker in November and the Valentine’s Day protest outside the US Embassy in February, where he recorded an interview with Sky News. Last summer he also made a powerful video, in which he explained his support for Shaker after being sent Shaker’s words by Clive, which I’m delighted to post below, followed by Shaker’s latest message from Guantánamo:

Shaker Aamer from Roger Waters on Vimeo.

Shaker Aamer’s latest words from Guantánamo

I was reading the Parliamentary debate on my case [see here and here]. I was shocked to see how much these MP’s really care, not only care but really engage and ask the smart questions. I love these good people, not only for asking to release me, but for their effort to close Guantánamo, and how much they are against it. There is not enough gratitude and thanks, I can’t cover my debt to these people in Parliament and outside, including all the people who gave the effort and the time to sign the petition.

I want to thank in particular the four MPs who went all the way to Washington to raise my case. And Dr. David Nicholl from Birmingham, who is running a marathon for me — I hope you win your marathon, David, just as I hope I win mine [here in Guantánamo].

And my special thanks and gratitude goes to the legend Roger Waters. I saw you on RT, speaking good about me and asking for my freedom, next to “Shaker the balloon” [the inflatable figure of Shaker that is at the heart of the We Stand With Shaker campaign]. Please, Roger, don’t ask for justice — demand it. Be sure, Roger, you and everyone else, that I am an innocent man and a good person who never participated in any animal harm let alone human being. We are in Gitmo as the black sheep of US government.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers). He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the co-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 the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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.

4 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, David Nicholl wrote:

    His words are bizarrely revealing and show Guantanamo really is a Gulag….as a compliant prisoner we now know that he can watch Russia Today in a US prison on Cuba, yet books such as the Gulag Archipelago & The Innocent Man are banned. Get Shaker home!!!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    David, yes, it’s horrible to get insights into the horrors of Guantanamo, isn’t it? More and more, for those paying attention, we can see the pressure that is exerted to get prisoners to be “compliant,” so they can be approved for release (whether or not they actually get freed). What an imposition if you’re one of those prisoners for whom being compliant is extraordinarily difficult, or even impossible.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Deborah Hitz wrote:

    yes, Andy. It is horrible.. There are many of us pulling for Shaker and we hope that he’ll be reunited with his family soon! I’m so thankful for these updates. We know Shaker is innocent! Thank you, Dr Nicholl and Roger Waters, also! Please keep sharing with us so that we know what is happening to the people there and who they are. Thanks again, Andy!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Deborah. Thanks for caring.

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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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