Video: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo, Shaker Aamer and We Stand With Shaker at Deptford Cinema, Dec. 18, 2015


Shaker Aamer with Andy Worthington and Joy Hurcombe, the chair of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, at a meeting in the Houses of Parliament on November 17, 2015.On Friday, I was delighted to present, for the first time, a multi-media evening of my work, in which I spoke about my writing about Guantánamo and my campaigning to get the prison closed, including the We Stand With Shaker campaign, followed by a set by my band The Four Fathers, playing our repertoire of political songs. If anyone in London wants to follow up with a similar evening of a talk followed by music, then please get in touch.

The event was at Deptford Cinema, a great little independent community cinema in south east London — the only independent cinema in the Borough of Lewisham, in fact — which is well worth anyone’s support, and I’m delighted that a friend, Andrew, filmed my talk and has made a significant part of it available on YouTube.

Andrew became involved in We Stand With Shaker via his involvement in CAAB (the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases), for whom I was a speaker at their annual July 4 protest at the NSA’s Menwith Hill spy base in Yorkshire in 2013, and I’m grateful to him for recording it and making it available to a wider audience.

The 44-minute video is below, and I hope you have time to watch it, and to share it if you find it useful:

I first spoke about how I became involved with Guantánamo, and how I spent 14 months researching and analyzing the 8,000 pages of documents that the Pentagon was obliged to release after losing a freedom of information lawsuit in 2006, which was the basis of my book The Guantánamo Files, published in 2007. Since then, I have been working full-time as an independent journalist, researcher and human rights campaigner, publishing over 1,800 articles about Guantánamo, and also setting up the Close Guantánamo campaign with US attorney Tom Wilner in 2012, and We Stand With Shaker with the activist Joanne MacInnes in November 2014, dedicated to securing the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison.

Andrew began recording as I was speaking about Shaker, who, as a result of concerted action by campaigners, MPs and the media, was freed on October 30 — eight years after he was first told the US no longer wanted to hold him — and returned to his family in London, a free man at last. I spoke about his case, showed some short clips from his recent BBC interview, and also showed some photos from his secret visit to Parliament on November 17, when he met MPs and supporters from We Stand With Shaker and the long-running Save Shaker Aamer Campaign.

As the photo above shows, I was one of the people who met Shaker that day, discovering first-hand, for the first time, his charisma, his passion for justice, and the resilience that helped him, amazingly, endure over 13 years and eight months in Guantánamo, and to emerge looking and sounding remarkably well.

The video ends with a Q&A session with members of the audience, involving questions about, to cite just a few examples, whether or not Guantánamo will ever close, and whether the US still maintains any “black sites” around the world.

After my talk, as mentioned above, my band The Four Fathers played a set of eight songs — my compositions “Song for Shaker Aamer,” “Tory Bullshit Blues” and “Fighting Injustice,” a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War,” “She’s Back” (guitarist Richard Clare’s song about Pussy Riot), my new songs “Riot” and “London,” and “81 Million Dollars,” my song about the US torture program.

You can buy our album “Love and War” here, as a download, or on CD, and the video of us playing “Song for Shaker Aamer” at Deptford Cinema with new lyrics reflecting Shaker’s release is here, with more videos to follow. The song was originally used in the campaign video for We Stand With Shaker, last November.

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, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign, the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), 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.

22 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting the video of my talk about ‪Guantanamo‬, We Stand With Shaker and the release of Shaker Aamer at Deptford Cinema on Friday, which was followed by a political set by my band The Four Fathers, including ‘Song for Shaker Aamer.’ The photo above is from when I met Shaker, at a meeting in Parliament a month ago (also with Joy Hurcombe of Save Shaker, MPs and other campaigners).

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Dave Cólding wrote:

    Andy Worthington. A true revolutionary!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Dave!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Dave Cólding wrote:

    And thank you Andy, toward your good works, for the common good.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Dave!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Pam Arnold wrote:

    Well done Andy!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Pam. Good to hear from you.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Sue Glenton wrote:

    Great to see you together

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Sue. It was wonderful to meet him finally!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Faqiirah Ilaallaah wrote:

    Really moving to see you together.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Faqiirah. Yes, I spent all day grinning from ear to ear!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Jamal Ajouaou wrote:

    Good Picture , Andy Rare quality I admire both of you shaker patients hopes and inspirations and you Typical determination courage for justice for the british people .all the way until the moment of truth . picture says it all ,

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jamal, for the kind words!

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Sarah Kay wrote:

    Oh I hadn’t seen you met Shaker! It must have been incredible for you after all this hard work. I’d be humbled to meet him some day. It’s still surreal to see him in the flesh and smiling – Andy, I couldn’t be more grateful for the work you’ve done.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Sarah. Yes, it was rather a special day. I hope Shaker’s getting to have a healthy, healing time with his family over the holiday season.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Jessy Mumpo wrote:

    Lovely smiles all round, looks like a wonderful meeting.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it was very special, Jessy. Lots of the MPs who had worked hard to secure Shaker’s release – inc. John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn, David Davis and Caroline Lucas – and lots of campaigners too.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    You were with him Andy 🙂 how wonderful for both of you

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it was a very special day, Marion. I hope there will be more in 2016.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Angie Graham wrote:

    Great job Andy!!!! Be very proud!!! Happy Christmas Xx

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Angie. Good to hear from you. Happy Christmas to you too!

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    I hope everyone’s been having a happy, healthy and relaxing day. I’m in Scotland, where I had a great day with my wife’s family. Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this, and watching the video.

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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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