Friday, November 30, 2012

LGC Newsletter - November 2012

British Residents:
November 24 marked the eleventh anniversary of Shaker Aamer’s capture in Pakistan and illegal detention without trial or charge. In 2001, he was captured and shortly thereafter sold to the US military for a bounty by his captors. He has been held ever since in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, since February 2002, without charge or trial and has been beaten and abused frequently. Supporters from the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign marked the anniversary with a vigil in Trafalgar Square. 

Guantánamo Bay:
Barack Obama was re-elected president of the United States for a second term on 6 November. Immediately thereafter, human rights advocates from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others, such as Amnesty International, called on the president to make good on his broken first term promise to close Guantánamo Bay, and to end indefinite detention and drone strikes:
Shortly before the election, Barack Obama reaffirmed on US TV his wish to close Guantánamo Bay in non-specific terms.
Since then, a report published on 27 November by the official Government Accountability Office (GOA), led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, stated that the 166 remaining prisoners could be safely reabsorbed into the US penitentiary system and identified almost 100 facilities in the US mainland where they could be held: Such a move would require legislation and the Department of Justice would not be able to authorise such movement itself.
Since then, however, the Senate has voted to prevent the transfer of any Guantánamo prisoners to the US mainland in the coming year in an amendment proposed to the National Defense Authorization Bill 2013; this bill must be passed every year and the act which resulted in early 2012 saw the introduction of indefinite detention for American citizens.  Human rights groups had written to President Obama before the vote asking him to use his presidential powers to veto the vote if measures were passed to prevent him closing Guantánamo, but senators have voted against it in any case: The final decision, as with the introduction of indefinite detention for US citizens last year, lies with the president himself.
While disputes and wrangling continue over who is to blame for the almost 11-year history of Guantánamo and who is preventing its closure – Congress or the Senate – the actual issue of the on-going detention and abuse of prisoners outside of the known confines of the law is brushed aside. In spite of the “hope” raised by the GOA report, the fact remains that the vast majority of prisoners are not “bad men” and do not need further incarceration but to be repatriated to their countries of origin and their families. Such is the case of both British residents, Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha, who were cleared for released almost 6 years ago, and over 30 Yemeni prisoners, who are prevented from leaving due to a ban on their return to Yemen. The responsibility for that, however, lies with the countries they have come from as well, such as the UK, who should be making greater efforts to repatriate their nationals and residents.

To this end, this month, Yemen’s new president officially demanded the return of 80 prisoners to the country and the repatriation of the body of the late Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, who died at Guantánamo in September. The government said it was dropping the demands the former president, deposed in the Arab Spring, had made for their return. It also rejected attempts to send them to third countries, demanding they be returned to their families.

An autopsy has been carried out on the body of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni prisoner who died at Guantánamo in September this year. The manner of death has been given as suicide but the cause of his death has not been disclosed, although there are alleged inconsistencies with the stories that emerged at the time of his death, for example concerning whether there were signs of self-harm. His body is currently in the process of being returned to his family in Yemen; however, they will not be able to hold an independent autopsy to determine the cause of his death as his organs are reported to have decomposed since his death. The official story on his death, as with those of 8 other prisoners over the past 6 years, remains a mystery:  

Extraordinary rendition:
Two NGOs, the Canadian Centre for International Justice and the American Centre for Constitutional Rights have brought a complaint to the United Nations Committee Against Torture against Canada on behalf of former Guantánamo prisoners Hassan bin Attash, Sami el-Hajj, Muhammed Khan Tumani and Murat Kurnaz for the country’s failure to arrest former US president George W Bush during his visit there last October. The complaint claims that Canada breached its obligations under the Convention Against Torture by failing to arrest and investigate George Bush for his involvement in war crimes against the men in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo, where they were held illegally and tortured.

The British Ministry of Defence has conceded that it cannot hand over prisoners it has captured to the authorities in Afghanistan due to the high risk of torture and abuse in Afghan prisons: There is now a moratorium on the handover of prisoners by British troops. Earlier in the month, on 19 November, Afghan forces took control of Bagram on the order of President Karzai, claiming that the US had failed to honour its side of the agreement on the handover of the prison. While the Afghan authorities have released a number of former prisoners placed under their control over the past 9 months, concerns remain for the 57 foreign nationals the US wishes to retain control over. The move has been welcomed by some human rights NGOs; however conditions of detention by the Afghan authorities are not necessarily better than those of the US:

LGC Activities:
The November monthly LGC demonstration was a special demonstration to mark the US elections on 6 November and was held in solidarity with a number of other grassroots campaigns for human rights with a focus on joint UK-US issues, such as the case of Shaker Aamer and Bradley Manning. The LGC was also joined by a number of outstanding young spoken word artists who made an artistic contribution. Around 50 people attended and showed solidarity. Videos of almost all the speakers are available on the LGC’s YouTube channel:

Next month’s demonstration will exceptionally move to Monday 10th December at 6-8pm to coincide with International Human Rights Day. We invite you to join us in a reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( you may read whichever article you believe to be most relevant. These rights are supposed to apply to all people and all times. Reading not compulsory:  

 The LGC invites you get involved in our action to mark the 11th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay on Friday 11 January 2013. We will be holding a planning meeting in the Café in the Crypt, St Martin’s in the Field Church, off Trafalgar Square (opposite National Gallery) at 2-4pm on Sunday 2 December. For more details on what we are planning and how you can get involved:!/2012/11/your-invitation-to-join-us-to-mark-11.html  Please join us if you can. You can also follow our progress and get involved via Facebook: and Twitter: @allroadsleadG11

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Your invitation to join us to mark 11 years of Guantánamo Bay: All Roads Lead to Guantánamo

You are cordially invited….

Looking for the ultimate cure to the January blues? Looking for a New Year’s resolution you can keep? …The London Guantánamo Campaign may have an answer for you…

We invite you to join us on our “All Roads Lead to Guantánamo Bay” tour on Friday 11th January. We invite you, at no additional cost to yourself*, to join us on one of several journeys across the capital, visiting different embassies to recount the tortured journeys of several of the almost 800 men who have been sent to Guantánamo Bay over the past 11 years, ending at the ultimate destination of the US Embassy in Mayfair for a vigil at 6pm. Some of the prisoners have been released, some have died there and some still remain…

We offer you a variety of tours of varying lengths (average: 1.5 – 3.5 hours) for different prisoners, which you may choose from. You may join all or part of a tour. The tours will take place during the daytime. It may be necessary to arrange to take time off work or study to join in. We anticipate that some of the shorter tours will be suitable for those with mobility issues and/or with small children.

We appreciate that it may not be possible for everyone to take time off work and join us in the daytime. In that case, you can follow the action as it unfolds across the capital via Twitter and Facebook. We’d also like you to make your own way to the US Embassy at 6pm and join us for a candlelight vigil calling on the closure of Guantánamo Bay on its 11th anniversary. In the following weeks, President Obama will be inaugurated for a second term, so come on London (and the UK), let’s send him a strong message: second time around, Obama, YES YOU CAN!

How to join a tour:

We are looking for both “tourists”to join the tours and “tour guides” to lead them; all information provided in the latter case. Simply send an e-mail to the London Guantánamo Campaign: and we will send you details of the routes and prisoners whose journeys we are retracing for you to decide which one you would like to join. You will then be put in touch with the “tour guide” who will provide you with more details of the specific route. If you would like to get involved in planning, please let us know.

On the day, it is up to you if you wish to wear an orange jumpsuit or your usual attire.

Still not convinced?!

Please check out our video with good reasons why you should join this unique and important action:

The London Guantánamo Campaign has now organised five "tours" for the 11th January action - of varying lengths (mainly 1-3 hours) starting at different times that afternoon. There is one longer tour (for the fit and active) covering a particularly cruel journey to Guantánamo and one "slow" tour for a deceased prisoner. The tours are educational, so if you don't know much about Guantánamo Bay and what's been happening over the past 11 years, we hope we can enlighten you.
You can also keep up to date and interact with this action via Facebook “All Roads Lead to Guantanamo” or Twitter @allroadsleadG11

* Approximate cost of travel in the zone 1 & 2 areas of London by public transport will be notified to tourists; however, the London Guantánamo Campaign cannot offer to help cover individual costs of transport, food, etc.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

All Roads Lead to Guantánamo Bay...on 11th January 2013




on Friday 11th January 2013

all roads lead to Guantánamo Bay

The world has too long turned a blind eye and connived in the illegal practices associated with it. Around 160 prisoners remain there.

The London Guantánamo Campaigns invite you to join us as we mark this 11th anniversary with a mystery tour across the capital, recounting the journey of 11 PRISONERS, visiting the embassies of the countries involved in torture flights and extraordinary rendition and leading up to a candlelight vigil outside the US Embassy at 6pm

Please feel welcome to visit our Facebook page:

or follow us on Twitter @allroadsleadG11                                                                                                                                                                        For more details and to sign up for the tour, please e-mail: or call: 07809 757 176

Monday, November 05, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: “Truth, Justice and the American way?” British activists to mark US elections with demonstration outside US Embassy, 6pm on 6 November 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: “Truth, Justice and the American way?” British activists to mark US elections with demonstration outside US Embassy, 6pm on 6 November 2012

5th November 2012 – for immediate release

The London Guantánamo Campaign [1] will hold a demonstration, “Truth, Justice and the American Way?”, outside the US Embassy in London at 6-8pm on Tuesday 6thNovember to coincide with the US presidential elections. Speakers from various organisations and performers will raise human rights concerns of common interest to the US and the UK [2].

Aisha Maniar, an organiser for the London Guantánamo Campaign, says, “Four years ago, a new American president, Barack Obama, promised the world a change it could believe in. One change he put his name to in writing was the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the end of military tribunals there. That has not materialised; the American administration has added drone attacks to its repertoire of extralegal activity, expanded the scope of arbitrary detention without charge or trial, [3] and over 160 prisoners remain at Guantánamo Bay after almost 11 years, including British resident Shaker Aamer [4].

“The continually deteriorating human rights situation would not be possible without the collusion of its allies, such as Britain, which has recently seen fit to extradite its own citizens to potential cruel and unusual treatment in US Supermax prisons, has turned a blind eye to the plight of US-UK national Bradley Manning, and is seeking to protect allies such as the US and potentially illegal intelligence-gathering activity by both countries through the Justice and Security Bill [5]. The world deserves much better than this.”

Contact: e-mail:

1. The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition.
2. The full list of speakers:

Chris Nineham (Stop The War Coalition), Dr Shahrar Ali (Green Party), Joy Hurcombe (Save Shaker Aamer Campaign), Hamja Ahsan (Free Talha Campaign), Aviva Stahl (Cageprisoners), Anthony Timmons (WISE Up for Bradley Manning), Ilyas Townsend (Justice for Aafia Coalition); performances by Miz The Poet, Ibrahim Sincere and Ed Greens.

4. Shaker Aamer was cleared for release by the US military in 2007. He claims to have been tortured repeatedly during his time in US custody, on one occasion in the presence of a British intelligence agent. He has a British wife and four children living in Battersea, south London. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought his release in August 2007, along with four other residents held at Guantánamo Bay, the last of whom was released in February 2009.

5. Former Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke recently speaking about the bill: