A harrowing account from Guantánamo - but lawmakers don't care
Dear friends and supporters,
For our latest article, "A Tale of Two Guantánamos: Mohamedou Ould Slahi's World of Torture vs. the Senate's Terrorist Fantasies," Andy Worthington has contrasted Guantánamo Diary, a frank, engaging and harrowing account by the Mauritanian prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi of his rendition, imprisonment and torture with the latest legislation proposed by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and supported by Sen. John McCain, amongst others, which is designed to keep Guantánamo open, and to stop any prisoners from being released.
Slahi's account, written in Guantánamo in 2005, but not approved for publication until 2012, has, we're glad to note, been extremely well-received, and is on the New York Times bestseller list, as it deserves to be. It would be hard to imagine a book that more powerfully explains how brutal and ill-conceived the "war on terror" has been -- and how Guantánamo continues to embody those wretched failures, and will until it is eventually closed for good.
On the other hand, the lawmakers who are seeking to prevent the release of any prisoners don't care about the realities of Guantánamo and the "war on terror." Their new legislation is designed to prevent any prisoner being released for the next two years; in other words, until after the end of the Obama presidency.
This is an outrageous imposition, given that 54 of the remaining 122 prisoners have been approved for release by careful government review processes, and that other prisoners, not yet cleared for release, also need the opportunity to establish that they are not a threat -- men like Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who, despite his palpable innocence, has not been approved for release, and, like dozens of others, is waiting for a Periodic Review Board to review his case.
We hope you have the time to read the article, and to share it if you find it useful.
The latest news on Shaker Aamer
In other news, We Stand With Shaker, the campaign to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, continues unabated. Our co-founder Andy Worthington established this campaign in November with Joanne MacInnes, a campaigner in London, and it has secured high-level support in the U.K.
Last week, Sky News took up Shaker's cause, securing an exclusive interview with two of his sons as part of a day of coverage, during which Andy also spoke on Sky News Tonight. The campaign also made a Valentine's Day card for Shaker, and intended to deliver it to the US Ambassador -- until they were told that he wouldn't receive it. They then held a protest, attended by a high-profile supporter, Roger Waters (ex-Pink Floyd), whose interview with Sky News is here.
The campaign to free Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo continues, as does our campaign here to free everyone from Guantánamo, unless they are going to be put on trial -- a situation that applies to just ten of the men still held.
If you have time, you can also listen to two interviews Andy undertook recently -- with Linda Olson-Osterlund on KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon, and with Radio Islam in Chicago, on a show that also included Mohamedou Ould Slahi's editor and lawyer.
With thanks, as ever, for your support.
The "Close Guantánamo" team
P.S. Please, if you will, also ask your friends and family to 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. Please also note that we can be found on Twitter here and on Facebook here.