Video and Radio Featuring Andy Worthington: The Close Guantánamo Vigil Outside the White House and Two Radio Shows

16.1.19

Andy Worthington photographed outside the White House calling for the closure of Guantanamo on January 11, 2019, the 17th anniversary of the opening of the prison (Photo: Steve Pavey for Witness Against Torture).Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.




 

I’m nearing the end of my ten-day trip to the US to call for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on and around the 17th anniversary of its opening, and in this article I’d like to follow up on my previous analysis of what I’ve found on trip, as explained in my article, On My Annual US Visit to Call for the Closure of Guantánamo, Reporting Resistance in Trump’s Shutdown America.

In that article, I linked to a panel discussion at the New America Foundation, and a radio show I undertook with Michael Slate, and below, bringing the story more up to date, I’m posting below the video of the vigil outside the White House, featuring Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Close Guantánamo, CODEPINK: Women For Peace, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Defending Rights & Dissent, Justice for Muslims Collective, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Witness Against Torture and the World Can’t Wait.

As ever, Witness Against Torture took the lead on actions across the capital during the week before the anniversary, while they were staying a local church and fasting, and their reports can be found here, here, here and here.

For the vigil, Luke Nephew of the Peace Poets and Aliya Hussain of CCR led the gathering and introduced the speakers. My speech, in which I enthusiastically condemned Donald Trump for holding the 40 men still held as his personal prisoners, begins eight minutes in, but I you have time to watch the whole video, which features numerous great speakers including Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Maria Luisa Rosal of School of the Americas Watch, Maha Hilal of Justice for Muslims Collective, Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, and Jessica and Leila Murphy, who lost their father at the World Trade Center on 9/11, and who spoke out eloquently against the vengeance that consumed the US in the wake of the attacks.

The video is below:

I also undertook a number of further radio interviews after my return to New York with blogger The Talking Dog and Debra Sweet, the national director of the World Can’t Wait, on Friday evening — and into Saturday morning.

First I spoke by phone with Paul DeRienzo of Pacifica’s WBAI station for his ‘Trump Watch’ show. The segment on Guantánamo starts around 7 minutes in, and lasts for seven minutes.

Later that day I visited the WBAI studios in Brooklyn for a longer interview with Sunsara Taylor for her show ‘We Only Want the World,’ in which I was able to present a much more detailed explanation of the significance of Guantánamo and why it must be closed. That show is available here as an MP3 (and is also here), and I’m also pleased to note that, in the show, Sunsara played ‘Close Guantánamo‘ by my band The Four Fathers.

Please also check out this MintPress News article by Alexander Rubinstein, who spoke to me at the vigil outside the White House, and then spoke to me again by phone in New York.

As I explained, “All of the work I do is to get Guantánamo closed because it’s a legal, moral and ethical abomination for a country that claims to respect the rule of law to be holding people on the basis under which they’re held at Guantánamo; which is that they are neither held as criminal suspects who will face speedy trials nor are they held as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Convention.”

In fact, as I explained at the vigil, the 40 men still held at Guantánamo are, fundamentally, Donald Trump’s “personal prisoners.” Trump, of course, has no interest in releasing any of them, and, shamefully, there is no mechanism that can oblige him to do so. Legally speaking, therefore, the men at Guantánamo are as fundamentally deprived of all rights as human beings today as they were when the prison was first set up 17 years ago.

I hope you find the above useful, and will share links if you do. And there’s still more to come. Yesterday I appeared with Paul DeRienzo on his half-hour public access TV show ‘Let Them Talk,’ which will be available soon on YouTube, and tomorrow and Thursday I’m also recording two more radio shows, which I’ll make available in due course. I also made two trips to RT — one for a news slot that I’ll try and find online, and another for an exciting interview that I’ll keep under wraps until it’s broadcast, hopefully in a couple of weeks’ time!

Note: The photo at the top of this article shows me holding a Close Guantánamo campaign poster marking 6,210 days of the prison’s existence on January 11, 2019. Check out the campaign here, and also feel free to visit the Gitmo Clock, which counts in real time how long Guantánamo has been open. Future posters are for 6,300 days on April 11, 6,400 days on July 20, and 6,500 days on October 28.

* * * * *

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 music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in 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), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, the resistance continues.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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 report from the US during my ongoing visit to call for the closure of #Guantanamo on and around the 17th anniversary of its opening, which was on January 11. The article features the video of the entire vigil outside the White House on the anniversary, in which numerous speakers – myself included – spoke about Guantanamo and wider issues of racism and imprisonment under Donald Trump, plus links to two radio shows I undertook in New York on my return from Washington, D.C. – on WBAI with Paul DiRienzo and Sunsara Taylor.

    As previously noted, there has been a resurgence of interest in Guantanamo this year, part of a renewed resistance to the shameful presidency of Donald Trump, and while the impact of the government shutdown may be helping to fuel this resistance, it has also been aided by Democrats re-taking the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, and the opportunity for campaigners to at least get the undying shame of Guantanamo’s continued existence back on the table.

    More media links – featuring both radio and TV – are still to come, including a show I recorded yesterday that won’t be aired for a couple of weeks, with a prominent liberal commentator who I won’t name just now, just to keep you in suspense!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia R Scott wrote:

    Gracias Andy
    As always, you have my admiration

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Natalia – and thanks also for your dedication to the prisoners’ plight. I hope they get to hear of your vigil in Mexico City! https://www.facebook.com/CloseGuantanamo/photos/a.324861667536287/2200802479942187/?type=3&theater

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Mansoor Adayfi wrote:

    Andy, I think you should visit Guantanamo.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    I never wanted to go because it felt voyeuristic, Mansoor, and because I didn’t want to hand a PR victory to the US government. I’ve based my work on telling the prisoners’ stories, but if I went there I wouldn’t be able to talk to a single prisoner, while the US could then claim that I’d been shown how well everyone is looked after at Guantanamo, so what am I complaining about.

    That said, there’s also a practical problem, which is that, as a completely independent journalist and activist, it would also cost a small fortune for me to get to Guantanamo!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    Good to hear Andy! Like Brexit over here, Trump has pretty much shut down all oxygen on anything but Trump … Good or bad he loves the narcissist feed. I hope some light might yet enter the tunnel and bring closure to this terrible legal precedent; to say nothing of the suffering of those caught up by it.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, there’s definitely some hope, David, where there was none last year, but you’re right about Trump’s narcissism, and the media, of course, has fallen completely into the trap of relentlessly feeding his absurd personality cult.

    As for Brexit, I’m glad to be avoiding the wall-to-wall drivel of the mainstream pundits today, but I still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. A 2nd referendum with a two-thirds or 70% threshold would do it, I suppose, but I’d rather see MPs categorically put Brexit down themselves, and then go to the country for a general election, having done the right thing for a change instead of seeking to protect their gravy train jobs or their ridiculously narrow party loyalties.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    Great job Andy. You are very brave to go right into the mouth of the lion. If it was up to me, you’d be knighted.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Tashi!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Lindis Percy wrote:

    So good to see and know what great work you do xxx

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your support as ever, Lindis!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Aleksey Pesky wrote:

    Andy, there is something incomprehensible to me – why does the presidential administration allow such actions near the White House? We have a collision with human rights. 1- indefinite and extrajudicial detention, 2- permission to protest against this near the White House. In Russia, this is impossible, both 1 and 2.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s a great question, Aleksey. In general I’d say that the right to protest in western countries has been secured over centuries, often at the cost of people’s lives. In the UK, for example, judges have ruled that protests that don’t involve violence have to be allowed if people have a grievance against the state’s actions that they think cannot be dealt with in any other way. The use of violence by protestors, on the other hand, tends to rather more drastically challenge the establishment’s tolerance.
    As for Trump, he certainly stepped up his security last year, which was intimidating, and the same might have been true this year had it not been for his shutdown. It’s also worth noting that Trump would ban protest if he thought he could get away with it, and this sort of repression is, I think, something that people in western countries need to watch out for.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Lorraine Barlett wrote:

    Go, man go!

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    I will, Lorraine! I am doing! I did!

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Allison Lee-Clay wrote:

    Yeah Andy Worthington❣️

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Allison. Good to hear from you!

  18. Jan Strain says...

    Thank you Andy! Wished I could be there with you. The story needs to be kept alive and you are doing just that.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. Great to hear from you. I wish you could have been with me and all the other wonderful campaigners too! There was very definitely a cumulative effect this year when everyone’s anger and indignation and righteousness combined!

  20. Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dahr Jamail, Andy Worthington, Janine Bandcroft January 24th, 2019 - Gorilla Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media. says...

    […] speaker. A recognized authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror”, Andy is co-founder of Close Guantánamo, and We Stand With Shaker, campaigns dedicated to bringing justice for inmates of there past and […]

  21. Tom says...

    Re: protests near the White House and other federal buildings in DC. Congress passed a law that says that any protest like this is a felony (formerly a misdemeanor). Why did they pass this? Because they got sick of Medea Benjamin, Code Pink and others getting coverage. If you go to their office and peacefully protest, same thing. Unless of course they see you in a hallway and run away.

    In a sense, it’s like a never ending game. Even if it’s a well known figure (Ellsberg, Martin Sheen, James Cromwell, Hedges and others), odds are only Democracy Now and RT will give it the time of day. Corporate media might have a “correspondent” on the scene. But the rules are these. The camera shot is only on the reporter in front of the White House. You can have audio of the protestors. But if they actually show them on camera, said reporter will never work in TV again. For actually doing their job.

    Has anyone ever done serious jail time for these protests (more than the standard few hours to possible being held overnight)? Once, Cromwell did 3 days in jail. But in his case, being a global celebrity, he got massive worldwide coverage to help his cause.

    Martin Sheen’s been arrested over 100 times and has a long record. Has this prevented him from continuing to work as an actor? No. He’s also a dual US/Irish citizen. So I’m assuming he’s never been barred entry to other countries for any reason.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your thoughts on protest and the media, Tom. It remains a sad truth to me that the mainstream media has, in general, so little interest in Guantanamo. This year’s anniversary was typical. They simply weren’t there at all.

Leave a Reply

Back to the top

Back to home page

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, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
Email Andy Worthington

CD: Love and War

The Four Fathers on Bandcamp

The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

RSS

Posts & Comments

World Wide Web Consortium

XHTML & CSS

WordPress

Powered by WordPress

Designed by Josh King-Farlow

Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist:

Archives

In Touch

Follow me on Facebook

Become a fan on Facebook

Subscribe to me on YouTubeSubscribe to me on YouTube

The State of London

The State of London. 16 photos of London

Andy's Flickr photos

Campaigns

Categories

Tag Cloud

Afghans in Guantanamo Al-Qaeda Andy Worthington British prisoners Center for Constitutional Rights CIA torture prisons Close Guantanamo David Cameron Donald Trump Four Fathers Guantanamo Housing crisis Hunger strikes London Military Commission NHS NHS privatisation Periodic Review Boards Photos President Obama Reprieve Shaker Aamer The Four Fathers Torture UK austerity UK protest US courts Video We Stand With Shaker Yemenis in Guantanamo