Photos and Report: Eight Global Vigils for the Closure of Guantánamo on February 7, 2024

Photos from the coordinated global vigils for the closure of Guantánamo on February 7, 2024. Clockwise, from top L, Washington, D.C., London, Mexico City and Cobleskill, NY.

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As the prison at Guantánamo Bay continues its miserable existence, now in its 23rd year of denying justice to the men held, and betraying every legal principle that is supposed to distinguish the US from dictatorships, I’m grateful to the campaigners across the US, and around the world, who, following the annual protests for Guantánamo’s closure on January 11, the 22nd anniversary of its opening, have resumed the monthly vigils that I initiated a year ago to try to keep a light shining on Guantánamo once a month rather than just once a year.

Via organizations including numerous Amnesty International groups, the UK Guantánamo Network, Witness Against Torture and The World Can’t Wait, vigils took place on Wednesday (February 7) in Washington, D.C., Cobleskill, NY, Detroit and San Francisco, as well as in Mexico City and London, where I joined fellow campaigners outside the Houses of Parliament, and in Brussels and Copenhagen, where campaigners held their vigils on the preceding days.

Campaigners outside the White House in Washington, D.C. on February 7, 2024.
Campaigners in Parliament Square in London on February 7, 2024 (Photo: Andy Worthington).
Campaigners at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City on February 7, 2024.
Campaigners in San Francisco, at United Nations Plaza, San Francisco Civic Center, on February 7, 2024.
Campaigners in Veterans Park, in Cobleskill, NY, on February 7, 2024.
Campaigners with Detroit Amnesty outside the Federal Building on Michigan Avenue in Detroit on February 7, 2024.
Campaigners in Brussels with the Comité Free.Assange.Belgium.
Campaigners in Copenhagen, with Amnesty Events Copenhagen.

My friends in Mexico City, Natalia Rivera Scott and Alli McCracken, describe these monthly events as “Small vigils, big hearts,” and I’ve recently taken the liberty of paraphrasing that particular motto as “Our numbers may be small, but our hearts are big, and our message is still so very important.”

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Held for 1,000 Days Since Being Approved for Release from Guantánamo: Uthman Abd Al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman

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In the first of a new series of profiles of men held at Guantánamo — specifically, the 16 men (out of the 30 still held) who have long been approved for release by high-level US government review processes — I’m focusing on Uthman Abd Al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman, a 43-year old Yemeni citizen, who, today, has been held for 1,000 days since the US authorities first decided that they no longer wanted to hold him.

Uthman arrived at Guantánamo on January 16, 2002, five days after the prison opened, when he was just 21 years old, and, as a result, he has been held for over half his life at Guantánamo. The photo is from his classified military file, released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and dating from April 2008, meaning that he would have been 27 years old, or younger, when it was taken.

Since his arrival at Guantánamo — 8,058 days ago (that’s 22 years and 22 days) — Uthman has been held without charge or trial, and with no sign of when, if ever, he will eventually be freed, even though the high-level government review process that approved him for release concluded unanimously, on May 13, 2021, that “continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

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Video: Andy Worthington Calls for the Closure of Guantánamo at London Rally on Jan. 20, 2024

A screenshot of the video of Andy Worthington calling for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay at the London rally for the prison’s closure on January 20, 2024.

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Two weeks ago, on Saturday January 20, a march and rally for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay was held in London, marking the 22nd anniversary of the the prison’s opening on January 11. The event was organized by the UK Guantánamo Network, a coalition of campaigning groups including numerous Amnesty International members from across London and the south east.

I posted a detailed report about that event, illustrated with photos by myself and by photographer Sinai Noor, two weeks ago, and I’m now following up with the video of the speech I gave at the rally, following the procession of campaigners in orange jumpsuits from Old Palace Yard, by the Houses of Parliament, through Parliament Square, and up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square.

My speech followed a brave and principled speech by Apsana Begum MP, which is available on X here, where, I’m glad to note, it has had nearly 20,000 views, and I was followed by a number of UK Guantánamo Network campaigners — Aaron Humphrey-May, Harry McWhirter, Lise Rossi and Dave Esbester, whose speeches are available on Canva and filmed by Melissa Schweizer, as well as a poem read out by another campaigner.

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Close Guantánamo: Our Achievements in 2023, Marking Guantánamo’s 22nd Anniversary on Jan. 11, and What We Can Do in 2024

Photos from the coordinated global vigils for the closure of Guantánamo on Wednesday June 7, 2023. Clockwise, from top L, London, Washington, D.C., Brussels and Detroit.

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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.

Thanks to everyone who took part in events marking the 22nd anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on January 11 — via the 20 vigils for the prison’s closure that took place across the US and around the world, via our ongoing photo campaign, for which over 120 people sent in photos of themselves with a poster marking 8,036 days of the prison’s existence on January 11, and calling for its closure, and via a number of online events.

One of these events was an online panel discussion, hosted by the New America think-tank in Washington, D.C., at which I was joined by the eloquent former prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, who, until recently, was the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism.

Last year, Fionnuala became the first UN Rapporteur to visit the prison, subsequently producing what I described at the time as “a devastatingly critical report about systemic, historic and ongoing human rights abuses at the prison,” in which she concluded that, despite some improvements to the regime under Presidents Obama and Biden, the totality of ongoing conditions at the prison amounts to “ongoing cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” which, in certain cases, “may also meet the legal threshold for torture.”

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Video: Guantánamo at 22 – Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin and Andy Worthington at New America

A screenshot of “Guantánamo at Twenty-Two: What is the Future of the Prison Camp?”, hosted by New America on January 11, 2024.

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On January 11, the 22nd anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, I was delighted to take part in an online panel discussion, “Guantánamo at Twenty-Two: What is the Future of the Prison Camp?”, hosted by New America, the US think-tank located close to the White House in Washington, D.C.

I’ve been taking part in annual panel discussions about Guantánamo at New America since 2011, normally with Tom Wilner, the US attorney with whom I co-founded the Close Guantánamo campaign in 2012, but this year Tom wasn’t available, and I was pleased that my suggestions for two compelling replacements — former prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the author of the best-selling Guantánamo Diary, and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism — were met with enthusiasm.

The moderator was Peter Bergen, New America’s Vice President, and the video, via YouTube, is posted below. It was a powerful event, and I hope that you have time to watch it, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful.

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Photos and Report: The Close Guantánamo March and Rally in Central London, Jan. 20, 2024

Campaigners with the UK Guantánamo Network in Parliament Square during the march and rally for the closure of Guantánamo on January 20, 2024 (Photo: Sinai Noor).

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On Saturday (January 20), a colourful and inspiring march and rally for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay took place in central London, organized by the UK Guantánamo Network, which consists of members of a number of local Amnesty International groups from across London and the south east, plus other campaigners, myself included.

The event was organized to mark the recent 22nd anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, on January 11, when a handful of campaigners braved bitterly cold weather to stage a vigil outside the US Embassy in Nine Elms, as part of the monthly coordinated global vigils for Guantánamo’s closure that I initiated a year ago. See here for my report about, and photos from the 16 vigils that took place in the US and around the world to mark the anniversary.

Complementing that vigil, the march and rally took place on a Saturday for maximum visibility, and would have taken place on Saturday January 13 had it not been for the fact that a massive March for Palestine was scheduled for that particular date, which I posted photos of — and commentary about — here.

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Photos and Report: The Global Vigils for the Closure of Guantánamo on the 22nd Anniversary of the Prison’s Opening

Coordinated global vigils for the closure of Guantánamo on January 11, 2024. Clockwise from top left: New York, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and London.

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.





 

Campaigners in Washington, D.C., including representatives of Amnesty International, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), Witness Against Torture and Dorothy Day Catholic Worker held a vigil outside the White House on January 11, 2024. (Photo: NRCAT).
Campaigners in New York City held a vigil on the steps of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue on January 11, 2024. The event was organized by the World Can’t Wait, whose National Director, Debra Sweet, is on the mike. Other supporters included Brooklyn for Peace, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace and NY War Resisters League. Around 60 people attended in total, and other speakers were Daphne Eviatar of Amnesty International USA, Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture, Jessica Murphy of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Imam Saffet Catovic, and Rosemarie Pace and Mary Yelenick of Pax Christi. A video by Joe Friendly is here. The event also raised money for the Guantánamo Survivors Fund. (Photo: Felton Davis).
Campaigners in San Francisco held a vigil outside the Ferry Building on January 11, 2024, organized by Gavrilah Wells of Amnesty International and Curt Wechsler of the World Can’t Wait. Gavrilah wrote, “Curt and I organized a small and poignant event at the SF Ferry Building today. We had a few speakers, a couple chalkers, a table with flyers, postcards and actions to take including donating to the Guantánamo Survivors Fund. Curt made a fantastic board with enlarged photos of 15 of the detainees cleared for release and Amnesty colleague Ron Malveaux read the names and their dates of incarceration and dates they were cleared for release, which was very moving. Faisal, another Amnesty colleague, told his personal story of leaving Afghanistan and spoke about human rights and the history of prisons through the centuries. We also read Mansoor Adayfi’s beautiful words about his dear brother Khalid Qasim — he sounds like such a beautiful and amazing person. I pray he gets safely released ASAP.”
Campaigners in Los Angeles held a vigil outside the Federal Building in Downtown L.A. on January 11, 2024, organized by Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, with speakers including Mohammad Tajsar of the ACLU of Southern California, Jim Lafferty of the Lawyers Guild, Rev. Kelvin Sauls and Vincent DeStefano of the Assange Defense Network.
Campaigners in London, with the UK Guantánamo Network, held a vigil outside the US Embassy in Nine Elms, London on January 11, 2024. (Photo: Andy Worthington).
Campaigners in Mexico City (Natalia Rivera Scott, Alli McCracken and Mary) held a vigil outside the US Embassy on January 11, 2024.
Campaigners in Cobleskill, NY held a vigil on January 11, 2024, organized by the Peacemakers of Schoharie County.
Campaigners in Minneapolis held a vigil on January 11, 2024 outside the Federal Building on 3rd Avenue S, organized by the Minneapolis-St Paul chapter of Amnesty International. Amy Blumenshine took this photo of Aaron Tovo and Wilbur Ince.
Campaigners in Detroit held a vigil on January 11, 2024 outside the Federal Building on Michigan Avenue, organized by Detroit Amnesty. Geraldine Grunow wrote, “We’ll continue to protest the existence of Guantánamo and to lobby for the release of cleared detainees and ‘forever prisoners,’ as well as for adequate support for those already released.”
Campaigners in Raleigh, NC held a vigil on January 11, 2024, organized by NC Stop Torture Now. Christina Cowger wrote, “We had about 25 people outside Rep. Deborah Ross’ office; she’s a Democrat in a safe seat and her constituents have long called on her to speak out about rendition, torture, and Guantánamo, but so far she’s done zilch.” (Photo: Beth Brockman).
Campaigners in Greenfield, MA held a vigil on January 11, 2024, organized by No More Guantanamos, CODEPINK and the World Can’t Wait, and then held a second vigil in Northampton, MA. Around three dozen campaigners had photos taken with Close Guantánamo’s poster marking 8,036 days of the prison’s existence. Photo via the Witness Against Torture Facebook page.
Campaigners in Northampton, MA on January 11, 2024. Photo via the Witness Against Torture Facebook page.
Campaigners outside the State Armory in Augusta, Maine on January 11, 2024. Photo via the Witness Against Torture Facebook page.
Campaigners with the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition, American Muslims for Palestine Toledo and other groups at Lucas County Courthouse in Toledo, Ohio on January 11, 2024. Photo via the Witness Against Torture Facebook page.
Campaigners in Berkeley, LA held a vigil at Berkeley Law School on January 10, 2024, organized by CODEPINK S.F. Bay Area, followed by a bake sale for the Guantánamo Survivors Fund, and, as Cynthia Papermaster explained, to “get signatures on a petition to 1) request that John Yoo [a law professor at UC Berkeley] donate a year’s salary, about $500,000, to the fund and 2) call for Yoo’s prosecution for complicity in torture.” As she asked, “Shouldn’t the author of the legal opinions giving the green light to torture ‘enemy combatants’ feel some responsibilty for the torture of Guantánamo prisoners, most of whom were never charged with crimes?”
Campaigners in Boston, MA (Susan McLucas and Christopher Spicer Hinkle) held a vigil on January 11, 2024 at Boston Common.
Kady Manneh sent this photo of “From Guantánamo to Gaza: War is Terror”, a vigil on January 11, 2024 outside the Celebrezze Federal Building in Cleveland, Ohio.
Campaigners with the Comité Free.Assange.Belgium in Brussels.
Campaigners with Amnesty Events Copenhagen.
In Dublin, former Guantánamo prisoner Mansoor Adayfi sent this photo for the vigils during his book tour in Ireland for his compelling memoir, Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo.

For those of us who care about quaint notions like the rule of law, due process, habeas corpus, the Geneva Conventions, the prohibition on the use of torture, the right to a fair trial, and the right not to be indefinitely imprisoned without charge or trial, the arrival, every year, of January 11 is always a difficult occasion.

January 11, 2002 was when the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay first opened, when all of the above were jettisoned by the Bush administration in a bonfire of all domestic and international laws and treaties regarding the imprisonment of individuals.

This year marked the 22nd anniversary of the opening of the prison, and yet, alarmingly, all of the violations outlined above are still largely in place, and, just as alarmingly, almost no one in the United States — in the government, the media and the population as a whole — even cares, even though, in the last seven years, just eleven men have been freed from the prison.

The violations of all domestic and international norms regarding the imprisonment of individuals at Guantánamo are so severe that last June, after Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, became the first UN Rapporteur to be allowed to visit the prison, she wrote in a devastating report that the systemic legal and medical problems at Guantánamo, as well as the ongoing dehumanization of the men held, and the restrictions on contact with their families, were so severe that they amount to “ongoing cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” that “may also meet the legal threshold for torture.”

30 men are still held at Guantánamo — out of the 779 men and boys held at the prison since it first opened — and yet all are still trapped in circumstances that would be intolerable if they were applied anywhere else in the US justice system, or, indeed, anywhere else in the world.

16 of these men have been unanimously approved for release by high-level US government review processes, and yet they have continued to be held for years since the US authorities first decided that they no longer wanted to hold them indefinitely without charge or trial. In the cases of 13 of these men, they had been held for between 475 and 1,169 days since these decisions were taken, as of January 11, and in the other three cases for an unforgivable 5,102 days.

There is is still no sign of when, if ever, they will be freed, because the decisions taken to release them were purely administrative, and therefore have no legal weight, meaning that there is no one they can appeal to if, as is clearly the case, the executive branch has demonstrably failed to regard the restoration of their freedom as any kind of priority.

Three others remain as “forever prisoners” — neither charged nor approved for release — and, although the remaining eleven have been charged with crimes, they are caught up in the broken military commission trial system, which has proven to be incapable of delivering justice — fundamentally because the men in question were brutally and extensively tortured in CIA “black sites,” and the use of torture is incompatible with any practical implementation of justice.

Last year, in other opinions by the UN Special Mandates, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a devastating opinion in the case of one of the “forever prisoners,” Abu Zubaydah, for whom the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program was first implemented, in which they condemned his ongoing imprisonment as arbitrary detention, ordered his release and compensation, and also expressed “grave concern” that the very basis of the detention system at Guantánamo “may constitute crimes against humanity.”

The Working Group also issued another devastating opinion in the case of one of the men charged, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, also calling for his release and compensation, and quoting a medical expert, Dr. Sondra Crosby, who, after visiting him several years ago, described him as “one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.” Al-Nashiri’s trial judge later condemned efforts by the government to erase the effects of his torture via testimony obtained “non-coercively” after his arrival at Guantánamo, and yet, although these stories (and Fionnuala’s report) caused brief ripples of interest in the media, the Biden administration’s response has been one of almost total indifference.

Although few people care about Guantánamo, those who do — and who recognize that last year’s reports have quite definitively portrayed the prison as an active crime scene — have persistently taken upon themselves the weight of everyone else’s abdication of responsibility, campaigning, petitioning and contacting their elected representatives, and persistently highlighting both the legal, moral and ethical abominations of Guantánamo, and its impact of the men held, who they have persistently sought to humanize.

Every year, on the anniversary, vigils take place across the US and around the world calling for the closure of Guantánamo. For ten years, from 2011 to 2020, I traveled to the US to take part in the annual vigil outside the White House, organized by numerous groups including Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Witness Against Torture and the World Can’t Wait.

Covid brought those annual visits to an end, but by the time that crisis had passed the interest in Guantánamo had dwindled to such an extent that it didn’t seem worthwhile any longer for me to contribute to the pollution caused by air travel to visit the country that is responsible for Guantánamo, but where the opportunities to use my vast knowledge of the prison, and those held there, to express my indignation and to try and reach out to people has become almost non-existent.

A year ago, after the typical flurry of activity on and around the anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, I decided to try to amplify the voices of activists on a more regular basis, following up on the monthly vigils that a group of activists, myself included, had recently started holding in London (largely involving activists with various local Amnesty International groups, coming together with other campaigners as the UK Guantánamo Network) by reaching out to friends and colleagues in the US and elsewhere around the world to encourage them to join us in holding monthly coordinated global vigils for Guantánamo’s closure.

With the support of Amnesty International USA and other groups (most noticeably Witness Against Torture and the World Can’t Wait), these have become a regular occurrence, typically involving coordinated protests in Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cobleskill, NY, Detroit and Minneapolis, as well as London, Mexico City, Copenhagen and Brussels, and on January 11 these protests were augmented by other protests in Raleigh, NC, in Greenfield and Northampton, MA, in Augusta, Maine, in Toledo, Ohio, in Cleveland, Ohio, in Boston and in Berkeley.

Please see below for more photos from these vigils, at which campaigners also took photos with the Close Guantánamo campaign’s poster marking 8,036 days of the prison’s existence on January 11, as part of an ongoing campaign that began six years ago, and that involves posters marking every 100 days of Guantánamo’s existence, as well as marking the anniversaries of its opening. We received over 100 photos for January 11, and in December, when we marked 8,000 days, we received 170 photos.

I hope that as many people as possible will join us in 2024, as we resume our monthly vigils in February, on Wednesday February 7, continuing on the first Wednesday of every month thereafter, and that you’ll also join us for the ongoing photo campaign, marking 8,100 days of Guantánamo’s existence on March 15, 8,200 days on June 23, 8,300 days on October 1, and, sadly, 8,400 days on January 9, 2025, just two days before the 23rd anniversary of the prison’s opening. Hopefully, by then, the population of Guantánamo will be significantly smaller than it is now.

The vigil outside the White House on January 11, 2024. (Photo: NRCAT).
A very appropriate banner at the vigil outside the White House on January 11, 2024. (Photo: NRCAT).
Another important banner at the vigil outside the White House on January 11, 2024. (Photo: NRCAT).
Campaigners at the vigil outside the White House on January 11, 2024. (Photo: NRCAT).
The vigil in New York City on January 11, 2024. (Photo: Felton Davis).
The vigil in New York City on January 11, 2024. (Photo: Felton Davis).
The vigil in New York City on January 11, 2024. (Photo: Felton Davis).
Curt Wechsler with the display showing 15 of the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo at the vigil in San Francisco on January 11, 2024.
Andy Worthington with the poster showing the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo at the vigil in London on January 11, 2024. As Andy said on the day, “It may be deeply unfashionable to focus on the animosity towards Muslims of all four presidents who have been in charge of Guantánamo, but it is undeniably true. In President Biden’s case, having facilitated the deaths of tens of thousands of Muslim civilians in Gaza over the last three months, it would be helpful if he not only called for an immediate ceasefire, but also tried to at least repair some of the damage by releasing the 16 Muslim men at Guantánamo who have long been approved for release but who are still held.”
Rosemary, at the vigil in London, holding up the poster showing how long the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo have been held since the US authorities first decided that they no longer wanted to hold them. (Photo: Andy Worthington).
Ciaron O’Reilly, a long-standing campaigner for Julian Assange, with a poster he made for the 22nd anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo outside the US Embassy in London on January 11, 2024.
The vigil in Mexico City on January 11, 2024.
A great aerial shot of the vigil in Mexico City on January 11, 2024.
Another great aerial shot of the vigil in Mexico City on January 11, 2024.
A placard at the vigil in Detroit on January 11, 2024, adjusted over the last 12 years, since 2012, to reflect how long Guantánamo has been open.
The vigil in Raleigh, NC on January 11, 2024. (Photo: Beth Brockman).
The vigil at Boston Common on January 11, 2024.
A call to arrest UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, the author of the notorious “torture memos” of August 2002, at the vigil in Berkeley on January 10, 2024.
The check for $500,000 for the Guantánamo Survivors Fund that campaigners in Berkeley sought to have signed by John Yoo at their vigil on January 10, 2024. As Cynthia Papermaster explained, “At the end of our action we went to Dean Chermerinsky’s office to ask him to get John Yoo’s signature on the check for $500,000. We left the check with Erwin’s assistant and she said she would give it to the Dean with our request. Significantly, in 2014, Dean Chemerinsky told the Nation that Yoo should be criminally prosecuted. “I think he [John Yoo] should be,” Chemerinsky said. “All who planned, all who implemented, all who carried out the torture should be criminally prosecuted. How else do we as a society express our outrage? How else do we deter it in the future, except by criminal prosecutions?”

* * * * *

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.

Global Events Marking the 22nd Anniversary of the Opening of Guantánamo on Jan. 11

Campaigners calling for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay outside the White House 12 years ago, on January 11, 2012.

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.

Next Thursday, January 11, the US government’s shameful and disgraceful “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 22 years, and a number of online events, as well as in-person vigils and rallies, are taking place across the US and around the world, which are listed below.

This is an unforgivable anniversary for a prison that should never have existed, where men continue to be held indefinitely without charge or trial, or mired in a broken trial system, the military commissions, that is incapable of delivering justice.

Guantánamo’s continued existence ought to be a source of profound shame for the three branches of the US government — the executive, Congress and the judiciary — who have all failed to close it, for the mainstream US media, who have largely failed to recognize the gravity of the crimes committed there over the last 22 years, and for the majority of the American people, who have failed to take an interest in what is being done in their name in this secretive prison on the grounds of a US naval base on the shore of Cuba’s easternmost bay.

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Radio: I Discuss Israel’s Genocide in Gaza and Guantánamo’s 22nd Anniversary with Misty Winston on TNT Radio

A screenshot of Andy Worthington’s recent interview with Misty Winston on TNT Radio.

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On Tuesday, I was delighted to talk to the US radio host Misty Winston, on the Australian-based online radio station TNT Radio, about Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza, and the imminent 22nd anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay. The interview is available here on video, and I’ve also embedded it below, and the audio only version is available here.

Misty and I have spoken many times before, and our interview began 18 minutes into the one-hour show, after Misty spoke about the significance of the Jeffrey Epstein case, and her colleague Adam Clark spoke about the struggle against censorship — and for free speech — in the US election year.

Misty and I began by discussing Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, with Misty thanking me for acknowledging, very early on in what Al Jazeera accurately calls “Israel’s War on Gaza”, but most western media disgracefully describe as the “Israeli-Hamas War”, that, after years of remaining silent on Israel’s crimes over the last 75 years, because I feared its impact on my Guantánamo work, I could no longer remain silent as what is very evidently a genocide began to unfold. Misty also thanked me for my writing, in which I’ve been covering the unforgivable lawlessness of Israel’s three-month assault, via my articles here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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Why I Value Your Support For My Ongoing Work on Guantánamo as a Truly Independent Journalist and Campaigner

Andy Worthington with the poster marking 8,000 days of Guantánamo’s existence on December 6, 2023, and at “Close Guantánamo!”, an inspiring event at the European Parliament in September.

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 over the next three months.





 

It’s nearly 18 years since I first began writing about Guantánamo on a full time basis, first via the research and writing I undertook for my book The Guantánamo Files, (which quite literally consumed my life from March 2006 until May 2007), and, ever since, via the more than 2,500 articles I’ve written for this site, many of which have also been posted on the website of the Close Guantánamo campaign, which I established with the US lawyer Tom Wilner in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the prison’s opening.

While I have undertaken paid work with various publications and organizations over the years, including the United Nations, WikiLeaks, the New York Times, the Guardian and Al Jazeera, most of my writing — as well as my campaigning work to get the prison closed — has been published here, establishing this website not only as the most significant repository of information about Guantánamo, but also as a kind of living diary of my existence since May 2007, when I first began publishing articles here.

I was recently reminded of the durability of my writing by Ed Charles, the editor of the World Can’t Wait’s Spanish website, where, for many years, most of my articles have been translated to reach an audience in the Spanish-speaking world. I was taken aback when, a few months ago, Ed translated dozens of my articles dating back to when I first began writing about Guantánamo, and, when I asked him why, he said that not only was my writing important, but also that many other historical mainstream media reports covering Guantánamo have disappeared from the internet, making the archive here on this site even more significant in terms of providing a rolling history of Guantánamo, as written 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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