Video: Andy Worthington Laments Obama’s Failure to Close Guantánamo – and Fears What Trump Will Do – Outside the Supreme Court on Jan. 11


Andy Worthington calling for the closure of Guantanamo outside the Supreme Court on January 11, the 15th anniversary of the opening of the prison (Photo: Matt Daloisio).Please support my work! I’m currently in the US to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo and trying to raise $1000 (£800) to support my visit.


On Wednesday, I was outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. for the annual protest against the continued existence of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, with representatives from rights groups including Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, plus some powerful spoken word pieces by The Peace Poets.

I spoke about the double disappointment of this depressing anniversary, with Obama just days away from failing to fulfill the promise to close Guantánamo that he made on his second day in office nearly eight years ago, and Donald Trump about to take the prison over with his wild promises to “load it up with some bad dudes,” and I urged those gathered to make it a priority, from Day One of the Trump presidency, to demand that Trump frees those men still held who have been approved for release (19 at present, although we are told that between 13 and 15 will be freed by Obama in his last week), and also to demand that he continues with the latest review process, the Periodic Review Boards, for which 26 of the remaining 55 prisoners continue to be eligible.

The PRBs, which function like parole boards, have reviewed the cases of 64 men in the last three years, and 38 have been approved for release. The 26 other men had their ongoing imprisonment upheld, but their cases are regularly reviewed, and some of them will almost certainly also be approved for release — unless Trump repeals Obama’s 2011 executive order establishing the PRBs.

My video is below, via Vimeo, and I hope you have time to watch it — it’s just under four minutes — and to share it if you find it useful.

Andy Worthington on 15 Years of Guantánamo from Shrieking Tree on Vimeo.

I’ll soon be posting photos from the protest — and of another great Guantánamo-themed event in Washington, D.C., the Tea Project — as well as the video from yesterday’s extremely powerful discussion at Revolution Books in Harlem, at which I was joined by Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at CUNY (City University of New York), who, with his students, represents three men still held at Guantánamo, and has represented ten others, now freed, as well as a long-term Bagram prisoner, also now freed. Ramzi was on great form, and I thought he and I worked very well together— as we have in the past — and we also had a wonderfully attentive audience, who fielded some great questions.

I’m in New York for another week, so please get in touch if you’d like to interview me for TV or radio, or if you’d like to put on an event with me, or if you know of anywhere I can borrow a guitar to sing and play some of the protest songs that I usually play with my band The Four Fathers.

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’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), 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.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, featuring the video of my speech outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the 15th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo, lamenting the double disappointment of this particular anniversary – Obama’s failure to close the prison as he promised, and Donald Trump’s imminent arrival as president, with his disgraceful promise to “load it up with some bad dudes.” Nothing to be happy about, I’m sorry to say, but on Guantanamo there has rarely been anything to celebrate, as every day this wretched place remains open is an affront to all notions of justice. As I pointed out, though, we must be prepared to fight Trump every step of the way, beginning on Day One, with demands that he release those men still held who have been approved for release, and that he continues to allow the Periodic Review Boards to review the cases of all the other men, except the ten facing trials.

  2. Anna says...

    Glad that you managed to appear together with Ramzi 🙂 and looking forward to seeing the video. It must all have been quite weird this year, with supposedly another dozen or so to be released this week (?) and the rest possibly entering yet another and unheard of level of limbo.
    If you’ll be back in DC, don’t miss the Turquoise Mountain’s wonderful Afghan crafts & architecture exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian), 1050 Independence Ave., until January 29th :-).

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you, Anna. The event with Ramzi was really powerful, and I hope it will be up soon.
    Just heard that 10 more prisoners have been freed in Oman, so that’s god news.
    I’m in NYC, but not intending to visit DC again this trip. It’s much nicer here!

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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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