Archive for May, 2022

A Fundraiser Marking the 10th Anniversary of My Photo-Journalism Project ‘The State of London’

The most recent photos from Andy Worthington’s ongoing photo-journalism project ‘The State of London‘, which marks its 10th anniversary on May 11, 2022.

Please click on the ‘Donate’ button below to make a donation to support my photo-journalism project ‘The State of London’.





 

Ten years ago today, on May 11, 2012, I set out on my bike, with a little Canon camera that my wife had bought me for Christmas, to record the ever-changing landscape of London in photographs, intending to visit and take photos in all 120 postcodes of the London Postal District (those beginning with WC, EC, E N, NW, SE, SW and W), which covers 241 square miles. It took me two and a half years to visit every postcode at least once, and rather longer to find the camera that particularly suited the requirements of the project. In February 2019, after a number of upgrades, I ended up with the camera I still have, a Canon PowerShot G7X Mk. II, and if I have one regret about this project, it’s that I didn’t buy it sooner.

Back in May 2012, I had no idea where this journey would take me, but ten years later it has become a running commentary on the best and the worst of this sprawling, infuriating and sometimes inspiring city that has been my home for the last 37 years.

Exactly five years after I first embarked on this photographic project, on May 11, 2017, I set up the Facebook page ‘The State of London’ to post a photo a day, with an accompanying essay, from these journeys, where I have now posted nearly 1,800 photos and essays, and where, I’m delighted to report, the project now has over 5,000 likes and over 5,400 followers. I also post the daily photos on Twitter, where the page has over 1,250 followers.

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Guantánamo’s Youngest Prisoner, Hassan Bin Attash, Approved for Release; 21 of the 37 Men Still Held Are Now Awaiting Their Freedom

Hassan bin Attash, photographed sometime after his arrival at Guantánamo in 2004, after being held and tortured in Jordan for two years on behalf of the US authorities. Hassan is now 36 or 37 years old, but no up-to-date photo of him exists.

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. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

I’m pleased to report that, after nearly 18 years of imprisonment without charge or trial at Guantánamo, preceded by two years in proxy torture prisons and CIA “black sites,” Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner, Hassan bin Attash, a Yemeni brought up in Saudi Arabia, has been approved for release by a Periodic Review Board, a parole-type process established under President Obama, Just 16 or 17 years old when he was first seized, in a house raid in Pakistan on September 11, 2002, Hassan has, as a result, spent over half his life imprisoned without charge or trial.

Between 2014 and 2016, the PRBs reviewed the cases of 64 men at Guantánamo who were accurately described in the media as “forever prisoners.” 41 of them, including Hassan, had been designated as “too dangerous to release” by Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, which had reviewed the cases of the 240 men inherited from George W. Bush in 2009, with the task force members conceding, however, that they had insufficient evidence against them to put them on trial.

23 others had been recommended for trials by the task force — until a number of successful appeals in the military commissions (the trial system ill-advisedly invented for Guantánamo) made it clear that war crimes trials were inappropriate for low-level terrorist designations like “providing material support for terrorism,” which had been the rationale behind many of the prosecution recommendations.

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Video: “Guantánamo Diary Revisited” – Q&A with Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Director John Goetz and Andy Worthington

The flier for the online screening of “Guantánamo Diary Revisited,” made available by its distributors in the US and Canada, Cinema Libre Studio, as a fundraiser for Andy Worthington’s work, followed by a Q&A with Mohamedou Ould Slahi, director John Goetz, and Andy. In the film, Goetz assists Slahi in tracking down some of those involved in his torture, the intention being to invite them to tea, and to let them know that he has forgiven everyone responsible for his 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. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

Two weeks ago, Cinema Libre Studio, in Los Angeles, generously allowed the documentary film “Guantánamo Diary Revisited“, for which they are the distributor in the US and Canada, to be shown in an online screening as a fundraiser for my ongoing work on Guantánamo (via my website here, and also via the Close Guantánamo campaign), and I’m pleased to report that it raised several hundred dollars to support my work.

Directed by the journalist John Goetz, the film follows former Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi (aka Salahi), as, with the help of Goetz, he tracks down some of those responsible for his torture, meeting with a variety of responses, ranging from guilt to denial, which makes for a very powerful documentary.

The film is available on DVD, and also via a number of streaming services, and if you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll find the opportunity to do so, as it provides a unique insight into the mentality of those who were on the front line of implementing torture at Guantánamo.

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Algerian Suffering from PTSD, and Mistakenly Identified as an Associate of Abu Zubaydah, Is Approved for Release from Guantánamo

A prisoner at Guantánamo (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images). No photo of Saeed Bakhouch has been made public, and, as noted below, a photo that the US military claims is of him is of another unidentified prisoner instead.

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. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, with the US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.

On April 21, I was alerted to the news that an Algerian prisoner at Guantánamo, Said Bakush (also known as Saeed Bakhouch or Saeed Bakhouche) had been approved for release on April 13 by a Periodic Review Board, a parole-type process initiated by President Obama. The PRB process involves “senior officials from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Staff; and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” who decide “whether continued detention of particular individuals held at Guantánamo remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

The news was surprising, as it was the first time that a prisoner had been approved for release by a PRB without directly taking part in the process. This was undoubtedly newsworthy, but his approval for release wasn’t reported in the mainstream media, in part, I suspect, because so little information was available on the PRB website, but also because some kind of detective work is required to establish exactly who Saeed Bakhouch is.

As I reported back in 2016, in an article entitled, The Man They Don’t Know: Saeed Bakhouche, an Algerian, Faces a Periodic Review Board at Guantánamo, the US authorities apparently knew so little about Bakhouch that the photo they used on his Detainee Assessment Brief, one of the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011, was of someone else entirely, as his attorney, Candace Gorman, told me at the time.

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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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