Nov. 21: Guantánamo Event at SOAS with Andy Worthington, Moazzam Begg and Mansoor Adayfi


The flier for the Guantánamo event at SOAS on November 21, 2023.

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I’m delighted to announce that, a week on Tuesday, on November 21, I’m taking part in a panel discussion about Guantánamo in SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) in London, with two former prisoners, the British citizen Moazzam Begg, who is the outreach director at CAGE, and, via Zoom, Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni citizen who was resettled in Serbia in 2016, after being held at Guantánamo for 14 years without charge or trial, and who has only this year secured the return of his passport, allowing him to travel to other countries. The chair of the event is Deepa Govindarajan Driver, an academic and trade unionist, and a legal observer in the Julian Assange case for the Unified European Left at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The event, ‘The Legacy of the War on Terror: Guantánamo Bay’, is organised by SOAS ICOP (Influencing the Corridors of Power), which was set up to bring together politicians and university researchers to, as ICOP describe it, “address the democratic deficit that we believe results from encroaching government control on freedom of speech and assembly on SOAS and other campuses.”

The 90-minute event, with individual presentations followed by a Q&A session, runs from 7 to 8.30pm, and takes place in the Khalili Lecture Theatre, in the Main Building at SOAS, at 10 Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG. Entry is free, but you need to book in advance, via the Eventbrite page here. The event will be recorded, and a video will be made available afterwards.

It will be great to be speaking again alongside Mansoor and Moazzam, after the wonderful few days we spent together in Brussels at the end of September, for an event about Guantánamo in the European Parliament, which I helped to initiate and to organize with the independent Irish MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, and with Mansoor. The video of that event, and my report about it, is available here, and see here for the video of my presentation.

Unfortunately, all the positive impetus of that event dissipated a week later, after deadly attacks in Israel by Hamas militants were followed by a sustained assault on Gaza by the Israeli military that is still ongoing five weeks later, and that has led, to date, to 11,078 Palestinians being killed — mostly civilians, including 4,412 children and 2,918 women, as well as a complete siege, cutting off water, food, fuel and medical supplies.

As images and stories of unbelievable horror pour out of Gaza, it has been difficult  to concentrate on anything else, but with the 22nd anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo coming up in just two months’ time — and with just one year of Joe Biden’s presidency left — the event is an important opportunity to try to remind people of why it remains crucial to remember the prison and the men held there, and to keep pushing for its closure.

Although only 30 men are still held, they are all held in conditions of fundamental lawlessness, whether they are the 16 men unanimously approved for release by high-level US government review processes, who are still held in large part because the decisions to approve them for release were taken by administrative review processes that are not legally binding, the 11 men held in the broken military commission trial system, which is haunted and fundamentally undermined by the use of torture in CIA “black sites”, or the three men still held as “forever prisoners”, who have never been charged or tried, and have also not been approved for release.

If you’re in London or nearby, I hope you can join us on November 21 for what promises to be a powerful discussion.

* * * * *

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 (see the ongoing 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 you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

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, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

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.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting ‘The Legacy of the War on Terror: Guantanamo Bay’, an inspiring panel discussion about Guantanamo, taking place in SOAS in London on Tuesday November 21, featuring myself, and former prisoners Moazzam Begg and, via zoom, Mansoor Adayfi.

    The event is free, but you need to book via Eventbrite here:

    For those not in or near London, it will be recorded and made available as a video afterwards.

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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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The Battle of the Beanfield

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Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

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Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo


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