Photos: Renewed Resistance to Donald Trump at the Close Guantánamo Vigil Outside the White House, Jan. 11, 2019

20.1.19

Witness Against Torture campaigners calling for the closure of Guantanamo at the annual vigil outside the White House on January 11, 2019, the 17th anniversary of the opening of the prison (Photo: Andy Worthington).See my photos on Flickr here!

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It’s now nine days since the 17th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo — a day that I marked by flying to New York, taking the bus to Washington, D.C., appearing at an annual panel discussion at the New America think-tank (broadcast live by C-SPAN), and taking part in another annual event: a vigil outside the White House, featuring members of the campaigning group Witness Against Torture and speakers from over a dozen rights groups, including Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Reprieve US. The video of the entire vigil is here.

I also took over 40 photos of campaigners with posters showing how Guantánamo had been open for 6,210 days on the anniversary — posters I had made via the Close Guantánamo campaign that I co-founded seven years ago, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, with the US attorney Tom Wilner — and I published them on our website and on social media, and on my return to New York I undertook a number of TV and radio appearances. I wrote about some of these events, TV shows and radio appearances here and here, and will be posting another article bringing the story up to date in a few days’ time, but for now I wanted to share with you another project I undertook during the vigil — taking photos, which are available on my Flickr page, to add to previous sets I posted in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

I know that the best opportunity for there to be interest in these photos was as soon as possible after the event — or even tweeted or posted to Instagram or Facebook at the time — but the problem with fixating on the media moment is that, nine days later, no one notices that the problem that needed highlighted has now been forgotten.

And yet, of course, as I regularly explain, the prison at Guantánamo Bay, where men are held indefinitely without charge or trial, or, if charged, are held in a broken system incapable of delivering justice, is a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and every day it is open is a source of shame for all decent Americans.

And so those of us who care about the ever-pressing need for Guantánamo to be closed must keep on finding ways of preventing it from being forgotten — ten days after the anniversary, 20 days after, a month after, three months after, six months after and so on.

The photo project referred to above is ongoing, with posters for 6,300 days on April 11, 6,400 days on July 20 and 6,500 days on October 28, and I invite you to get involved in sending in photos on those dates, and also to visit and share another ongoing Close Guantánamo initiative, the Gitmo Clock, which counts in real time how long Guantánamo has been open, and urges Donald Trump to close it.

I’ll also continue to focus on the stories of the Guantánamo prisoners, and to mark significant anniversaries throughout the year, but, as myself and other campaigners realized in Washington, D.C. and New York over the last two weeks, we also need to take the opportunity that has arisen through the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives in November to follow up on preliminary meetings that were organized through campaigners and took place in Washington, D.C. last week, focusing on the need for Democrats to get Guantánamo back on their radar, and also to understand the significance of Donald Trump’s decision to close the Office of the Envoy for Guantánamo Closure, set up under Barack Obama, which arranged prisoner resettlements and monitored released prisoners for national security reasons, which I wrote about last year, in an article entitled, Guantánamo’s Lost Diaspora: How Donald Trump’s Closure of the Office Monitoring Ex-Prisoners is Bad for Them – and US Security, in which I explained how Trump’s decision to close the envoy’s office has endangered some former prisoners, and may even have led to the deaths of two Libyans repatriated to Senegal after being resettled in Senegal.

If you’re interested in being involved in these ongoing efforts to get Guantánamo back on the political radar, then please get in touch, and also feel free to contact your Senators and your Representatives, especially those Democrats in the House who might be interested in addressing the shameful and unwavering injustice that is Guantánamo.

Also see the photo album here:

We mourn Guantanamo

* * * * *

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.

4 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to my photo set, on Flickr, of the vigil outside the White House on January 11, the 17th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, featuring Witness Against Torture campaigners, in hoods and orange jumpsuits, and speakers from a number of participating organizations, including Maha Hilal​ of the Justice for Muslims Collective, Medea Benjamin​ of CODEPINK, and Maria Luisa Rosal​ of School of the Americas Watch.

    I also discuss the need for all of us who care about the need for Guantanamo to be closed to keep working beyond the anniversary – following up on the contacts that campaigners made last week with Democrats in Congress, for example, and I also hope you’ll support my ongoing endeavours via the Close Guantanamo​ campaign – the Gitmo Clock (http://www.gtmoclock.com), which counts in real time how long Guantanamo has been open, and also our ongoing poster campaign: https://www.closeguantanamo.org/Gitmo-Clock-2018-photos-2

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Check out Witness Against Torture’s extensive photo set from their week-long Fast for Justice here: http://www.witnessagainsttorture.com/photo-set/fast-for-justice-2019/

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia R Scott wrote:

    🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 amazing!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Witness Against Torture certainly know how to put on a good show to remind the world of what it means to be a Guantanamo prisoner, Natalia!

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