Quarterly Fundraiser Marking the 15th Anniversary of My Writing and Campaigning to Close Guantánamo

8.3.21

Andy Worthington outside the White House, singing and playing guitar in Washington, D.C., and campaigning in London with a megaphone.

Please click on the ‘Donate’ button below to make a donation towards the $2,500 (£2,000) I’m trying to raise to support my work on Guantánamo for the next three months.




 

Dear friends and supporters — and any charitable passers-by,

Every three months, I ask you — if you can — to make a donation to support my ongoing work trying to get the prison at Guantánamo Bay closed.

As a freelance journalist and campaigner, I’m reliant on your support, as I have no institutional backing, so if you can make a donation to support my ongoing efforts to close Guantánamo, please click on the “Donate” button above to make a payment via PayPal. Any amount will be gratefully received — whether it’s $10, $25, $100, or even $500 — or the equivalent in any other currency.

You can also make a recurring payment on a monthly basis by ticking the box marked, “Make this a monthly donation,” and filling in the amount you wish to donate every month. If you are able to do so, a regular, monthly donation would be very much appreciated.

The donation page is set to dollars, because the majority of those interested in my Guantánamo work are based in the US, but PayPal will convert any amount you wish to pay from any other currency — and you don’t have to have a PayPal account to make a donation.

Readers can pay via PayPal from anywhere in the world, but if you’re in the UK and want to help without using PayPal, you can send me a cheque (to 164A Tressillian Road, London SE4 1XY), and if you’re not a PayPal user and want to send cash from anywhere else in the world, that’s also an option. Please note, however, that foreign checks are no longer accepted at UK banks — only electronic transfers. Do, however, contact me if you’d like to support me by paying directly into my account.

This particular fundraiser marks a significant occasion in this long journey, as it is now 15 years since I first started working on Guantánamo full-time, researching and telling the stories of the prisoners, and campaigning for the prison’s closure.

One particularly significant date was March 9, 2006, 15 years ago tomorrow, when Channel 4 broadcast “The Road to Guantánamo,” a docu-drama by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, dramatizing the story of the “Tipton Three,” three young men from the West Midlands who had been held at Guantánamo from 2002 until their release in March 2004, and who also appear in the film, telling the harrowing stories dramatized by the directors. At the same I bought and devoured “Enemy Combatant”, the memoir of Moazzam Begg, another British citizen held at Guantánamo, who had been seized in Pakistan in January 2002, and who was released from Guantánamo in January 2005. Both the film and the book told compelling stories of US brutality towards men whose alleged involvement with al-Qaeda or the Taliban seemed to be very much in doubt.

Also significant was March 3, 2006, when the Pentagon lost a Freedom of Information lawsuit submitted by the Associated Press, and was obliged to release 5,000 pages of documents relating to the prisoners — transcripts of the tribunals that had been held to, in most cases, approve their designation, on capture, as “enemy combatants” who could be held indefinitely without charge or trial. However, because the Pentagon dragged its feet complying with the judge’s order to release relevant documents, it wasn’t until April 20, 2006 and May 15, 2006 that two other documents were released that were to prove invaluable — firstly, a list of the names, nationalities and prisoner numbers (ISNs) of the 558 prisoners who had been through these tribunals, and, secondly, a list of the names, nationalities, ISNs, date of birth, and place of birth, of all of the 759 prisoners who, at that time, had been held at Guantánamo (14 more arrived from CIA “black sites in September 2006, and six more in 2007-08, the last arrivals at the prison).

With all of these documents available, I began matching documents to names, building up a picture of who all these men — and boys — were, which, over the next year, I put together as a book, “The Guantánamo Files,” which was published in September 2007, and which (with subsequent online updates) remains the only effort to tell the stories of everyone held at Guantánamo that has been undertaken. Since then I’ve written over 2,300 articles about Guantánamo, co-directed a documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” co-founded two campaigning organizations, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker, and worked with the United Nations and WikiLeaks. I’ve also made numerous media and personal appearances, and have visited the US on over a dozen occasions to call for Guantánamo’s closure.

There have been ups and downs along the way. The good news, of course, is that the prison’s population has decreased from many hundreds when I started my work to just 40 now, and that Donald Trump, who refused to make any progress whatsoever towards closing the prison in his four dismal years in office, is now gone, but I’m sure we all recall from the Obama years that it is easier for a Democratic president to say that they want to close Guantánamo than to see that take place.

President Biden has made encouraging noises regarding the closure of Guantánamo, but we have yet to see any definitive progress. With your help, I will keep on writing about Guantánamo, and campaigning for its closure — which I don’t intend to stop until the prison, is, one day, finally closed for good.

With thanks, as ever, for your support.

Andy Worthington
London
March 8, 2021

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), 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 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, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.55).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the 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, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, 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.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Dear friends and supporters, it’s my quarterly fundraiser, in which I’m trying to raise $2,500 (£2,000) to support my Guantanamo work over the next three months – writing about the prison and the men still held, and campaigning to get it closed.

    This fundraiser comes at a significant time, because it marks 15 years since I first began working on Guantanamo on a full-time basis. If you can make a donation to support my work, which is all reader-funded, it will be very gratefully received.

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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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