UK Guantánamo Newswire Archive
21-09-2011 10:12Friday 7 October: 6-7pm: Shut Down Guantánamo and Bagram! demonstration – Afghan War 10th Anniversary Special
US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE (nearest tube: Bond Street / Marble Arch)
Friday 7th October 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan. Ten years on, thousands of civilians have died and many more face the threat of death through strikes by US unmanned drone attacks. The end of the war seems no closer.
As the British government's toothless torture inquiry is abandoned by ten NGOs and lawyers for the former Guantánamo prisoners, who have long recognised that it was nothing more than a whitewash, but have now given up on even trying to engage with it, politicians n the Tory-led coalition government are not the only ones feeling the heat. Yesterday, in a world exclusive, the Guardian's Ian Cobain exposed a top secret document, entitled, "Agency policy on liaison with overseas security and intelligence services in relation to detainees who may be subject to mistreatment," which "reveal[ed] how MI6 and MI5 officers were allowed to extract information from prisoners being illegally tortured overseas."
25-07-2011 18:13YOUTUBE (13mins)-Former U.S. Military Guantanamo Guard Demands End to Torture, Closure of Gitmo & Justice or David Hicks
23-06-2011 12:53In spite of laws to protect human rights, torture remains prevalent throughout the world. Men, women, children and entire communities are subject to unspeakable atrocities and the effects that live with them long after the violence ends. We invite you to come and stand up against these atrocities, and join us in solidarity with the victims.
"NATO confirmed they had carried out another bombing, but has not responded to the allegations of civilian casualties.
"An RT crew in Tripoli has shot some shocking footage of bodies mutilated in NATO bombings."
M O R E: ... http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2011/06/what-nato-is-doing-in-libya.html ...
15-06-2011 14:4626 June is UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. In spite of laws to protect them, men, women, children and entire communities all around the world have to live with the consequences of torture meted out by state authorities. Torture is illegal. Join us on this day to show solidarity with victims. Also the final day of Refugee Week 2011, it should not be forgotten that many refugees have fled torture.
They say a week is a long time in politics. How about almost eight years, and counting, in the criminal “justice” system, with no end in sight. For Babar Ahmad, last Friday (3 June) saw the end of the trial of four police officers accused of assaulting him.
A recent flurry of activity by the London Guantanamo Campaign (LGC) and its supporters sought to capitalise on President Obama's UK state visit (24-26 May) and the Royal Wedding (29 April) to press home two of their key demands:
1. The return of two men with ties to the UK still being held in Guantanamo indefinitely without charge, namely former British residents Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha;
2. The closure of Guantanamo, Bagram and other illegal US detention facilities.
The group's activities included two living statues actions on box plinths in Parliament Square, a petition hand-delivered to 10 Downing Street, a protest outside Buckingham Palace and a statement signed by prominent individuals and organisations.
Pre-Royal Wedding Statues in Parliament Square - 27-28 April
Individuals associated with LGC and Peace Strike, dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, posed for several hours atop Peace Strikes’s boxes-cum-plinths in Parliament Square in the days leading up to the Royal Wedding, catching the attention of hordes of visitors and photographers.
Obama State Visit - 24-26 May
Downing Street Petition - Monday 23 May
On the day before Obama's arrival in the UK from his trip to Ireland, Maria Gallastegui from Peace Strike delivered a petition by hand to 10 Downing Street calling on the Prime Minister to raise the cases of Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha and demand the closure of Guantánamo during his talks with the US President.
Buckingham Palace - Tuesday 24 May Several LGC supporters joined a protest outside Buckingham Palace organised by the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign as Obama banqueted with the Queen. The demonstration took place alongside those of the Stop the War coalition and others. Among the orange-suited protesters were a pair wearing Obama and Cameron masks, which caught the attention of the multitude of photographers and reporters who were present, including those of the *Associated Press, who reported the following:
"Just beyond the palace's black-and-gold gates, about a dozen orange-jumpsuit clad demonstrators were rallying for the freedom of Guantamano [sic] Bay detainee Shaker Aamer, a former British resident who had been held without charge for some nine years. One man wore plastic shackles and an Obama mask."
Parliament Square Statues Mk II - Wednesday 25 May
On the second day of Obama’s state visit, the London Guantánamo Campaign and Peace Strike held a day-long vigil in Parliament Square. Three LGC supporters, dressed once again in orange jumpsuits, one wearing an Obama mask (and sometimes a Cameron mask) and shackles and the other two wearing black hoods, posed for six hours straight atop Peace Strikes's boxes-cum-plinths as Obama addressed the two houses inside the Palace of Westminster. The protesters would have been visible to the President and his entourage as the motorcade drove out of the gates.
Finally, the LGC put out a short statement addressed to the Prime Minister, signed by nearly 50 prominent campaigners, politicians, human rights lawyers, former Guantánamo prisoners and others. Amongst the signatories were journalists John Pilger and Andy Worthington; actress Kika Markham; John McDonnell MP; Jean Lambert MEP, Sarah Ludford MEP; and CND's Kate Hudson. The letter called upon David Cameron to use the occasion of President Obama's visit to press for the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the return to the UK of Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha. It was sent to the Guardian and Independent newspapers, but not published by either.
You can view the text of the letter and the full list of signatories here: http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com/2011/05/unpublished-letters-from-obamas-visit.html
LGC also issued a press release ahead of Obama's arrival in the UK: http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com/2011/05/press-release-campaigners-urge-prime.html
In addition, Aisha Maniar from the LGC had a comment piece published on the Open Democracy website: http://www.opendemocracy.org.uk/ourkingdom/aisha-maniar/guantanamo-bay-shadow-cast-over-special-relationship
Upcoming LGC events:
Shut Down Guantánamo monthly demonstration
The LGC’s monthly demonstrations continue, with the next one taking place on Friday, 3 June:
12 - 1pm - US Embassy, Grosvenor Square (opposite main entrance)
1.15 - 2.15pm - Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park (on pavement outside)
Rally to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - Sunday 26 June, Trafalgar Square
This rally is being organised with Kingston Peace Council. Confirmed speakers include: Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files and co-director of Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo; Maya Evans from Justice Not Vengeance; Ilyas Townsend from the Justice for Aafia Coalition; Naomi Colvin from UK Friends of Bradley Manning; and Maria Gallastegui from Peace Strike.
Other actions you can take:
Add your name to the LGC’s open letter to President Obama regarding Shaker Aamer: http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com/2011/03/sign-our-open-letter-to-president-obama.html
Ask your MP to sign EDM 1093 on Guantánamo Bay: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-11/1093
London Guantánamo Campaign
Andy Worthington’s blog