Video: On Democracy Now! Roger Waters and Andy Worthington Discuss the Countdown to Close Guantánamo and the Campaign to Free Shaker Aamer
January 23, 2016   By:    Close Guantanamo, Shaker Aamer   Comments are off   //   623 Views

Andy Worthington

Last Friday, during my brief US tour to campaign for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on and around the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison (on Jan. 11), I was invited onto Democracy Now! with my friend and supporter, the music legend Roger Waters, the chief songwriter with Pink Floyd, to discuss the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, the new campaign I’ve just launched to get Guantánamo close for good before President Obama leaves office next January, and the successful campaign to free Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo.

The video of our discussion — plus Roger playing his version of “We Shall Overcome” with 16-year old cellist Alexander Rohatyn — was the lead item on today’s show, and is now online and posted below (the song is here). Please share it widely!

The Countdown to Close Guantánamo is a new initiative, launched via the Close Guantánamo campaign that I set up in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, with the US attorney Tom Wilner (who represented the Guantánamo prisoners in their Supreme Court cases in 2004 and 2008). We set up the website and campaign to call for the prison’s closure and to educate people about why it must be closed — because it is a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and because indefinite detention without charge or trial is unacceptable — and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo is our effort to keep pressure on President Obama, in his last year in office, to get Guantánamo closed, once and for all, before his presidency ends next January.

With one year to go, we are encouraging people to print off a poster calling for President Obama to close Guantánamo, to take a photo with the poster, and to , or post it on our Facebook page or via Twitter. All the photos will go up on our website — see Celebrity Photos and Public Photos — and on social media. if you want to send a message, and if you want to identify where in the world you are, then please do so as well.

We are following up on the success of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, launched by myself and the activist Joanne MacInnes in November 2014, which featured celebrities and MPs standing with a giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer, and which also featured members of the public, from around the world, holding signs in solidarity with Shaker, an initiative we repeated just before Shaker’s release with the Fast For Shaker.

On Democracy Now! Roger spoke eloquently about how he became involved in the campaign to free Shaker, via a letter sent to him by Shaker’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, in which Shaker quoted from Roger’s Pink Floyd song, “Hey You,” and he explained how he then became involved in the We Stand With Shaker campaign. I also spoke about how We Stand With Shaker added to the pressure exerted by the long-running Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, and how MPs — from across the political spectrum — became involved, as did the media, and, in particular, the Daily Mail, helping to secure Shaker’s release last October. Roger brilliantly describes Shaker’s spirit, and many photos from the campaign are also shown, plus some rare footage of the inflatable in action.

I hope you will watch the video, and will share it, and I also hope that you will get involved in the Countdown to Close Guantánamo. We need to make sure that this is the year that Guantánamo is finally shut for good.

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 debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for 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).

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, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see 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.


So here’s what you have to do now! Send us a photo for the Countdown to Close Guantanamo. Print off the poster, photograph yourself with it and send it to us – or post it to the Close Guantanamo page:
Our email:
Info about the Countdown to Close Guantanamo is here: 

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