Lush’s Charity pot helps Save Shaker Aamer Campaign

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics company has a campaign supporting charities concerned with human rights, animal welfare and environmental protection. And now, one of those charities is Save Shaker Aamer.

shaker-aamer-charity-pot

In 2013, Charity Pot donated over £2.5 million to organizations around the world. The funding generated by Charity Pot sales is essential for the survival of independent groups. All of the proceeds, minus VAT, are donated to independent grassroots charities like East Kent Against Fracking to lobby against planning application; provided Stop The Cull with binoculars to locate shooters in ‘cull zones;’ and helped rental advisory group Digs, host a series of training events to build a campaign against exploitation by private landlords.

Lush has made a video talking about some of the charities that they support and why and how they do that.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Video of Save Shaker Aamer Campaign protest

The Shaker Aamer Campaign held a protest vigil for Shaker Aamer on Wednesday April 9th in Parliament Square and they walked to the Foreign Office calling for the urgent release and return to the UK of British Resident Shaker Aamer, who is still held unlawfully in Guantanamo. The Shaker Aamer Campaign is still fighting to bring him back home with demonstrations around London explaining to people what is happening.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Time is running out. Save Shaker Aamer Campaign protest on April 9th in Parliament Square

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SAVE SHAKER AAMER CAMPAIGN PROTEST VIGIL FOR SHAKER AAMER, “TIME IS RUNNING OUT”

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign will hold a protest vigil for Shaker Aamer on Wednesday April 9th in Parliament Square, opposite Parliament, from 1pm to 3pm. Wearing orange boiler-suits and black hoods, campaigners will walk to the Foreign Office, King Charles Street, to hand in letters to the Foreign Secretary William Hague calling for the urgent release and return to the UK of British Resident Shaker Aamer, who is still held unlawfully in Guantanamo.

shaker postcard z 2011

The vigil will continue opposite the Foreign Office where they will read passages from Shaker Aamer’s own words. He has found ways to send a series of letters and messages to his family and the world even from his steel cell in Guantanamo. His poignant words tell of his daily brutal treatment by the guards, his sadness of not being able to be with his children to show his love for them and his hope that, in the end, truth and justice will be restored and the black stain of Guantanamo will end.

No one can forget the dignity and wisdom of his words even as he suffers the torture of solitary confinement and casual brutality of daily injustice. No one should forget Shaker’s cry from his steel cell, as recorded by CBS in November last year.

Please, we are tired. Either you leave us to die in peace – or tell the world the truth. Open up the place – let the world come to visit. Let the world hear what is happening. Tell the world the truth.”

Shaker Aamer has been held in Guantanamo for over twelve years without charge or trial in Guantanamo. He has suffered harsh treatment and torture. He was cleared to leave Guantanamo in 2007 and 2010. The UK Government has called for his release and return to the UK as a matter of urgency, President Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo but still there is no news of Shaker Aamer’s return.

Time is running out for Shaker. He has been in Guantanamo for over twelve years. His lawyer Clive Stafford Smith has written to William Hague and stated that Shaker Aamer “is gradually dying in Guantanamo.” His health is of great concern. He has many serious conditions and suffers daily brutal treatment by the guards. At times he despairs of an end to his ordeal. Time is running out for justice and freedom for Shaker. The UK Government must act now to bring him home.

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign 01903 206588 / 07756493877

 

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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SAVE SHAKER AAMER CAMPAIGN DEMO FEB. 14th MI6 BUILDING, VAUXHALL, LONDON SE1 7TP

PRESS RELEASE FOR THE SAVE SHAKER AAMER CAMPAIGN DEMONSTRATION ON FEBRUARY 14TH 2014, OUTSIDE THE MI6 BUILDING, VAUXHALL, LONDON SE1 7TP

February 14th marks the day, twelve years ago, that Shaker Aamer was cruelly transported from Afghanistan to Guantanamo. The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign will hold a protest vigil opposite M16 from 1pm to 3pm to demand Shaker Aamer’s release and return from Guantanamo to the UK.

shakerkidsborder

It is widely reported that M15 and M16 may be secretly briefing against Mr. Aamer to block his return, in an attempt to suppress any further allegations that UK agents have been complicit in torture abroad. Shaker Aamer has stated that UK agents were present when he was tortured in Afghanistan. He had been in Afghanistan for only a few months working for a charity to establish schools and projects to help poor communities.

After 9/11, the US and UK bombed Afghanistan and offered bounties to Afghan villagers for foreigners who remained in their midst. Over 600 men were abducted, tortured and rendered to Guantanamo. Now, twelve years later, British Resident Shaker Aamer is still there, in chains, in solitary confinement, despite facing no charge or trial. He was cleared to leave Guantanamo over six years ago by the unanimous decision of six US security agencies including the CIA, State and Defense Departments. In September 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to President Obama to

“make it clear that we want Shaker Aamer released and returned to the UK as a matter of urgency.”

If MI5 and MI6 are lying about Mr. Aamer to prevent his return, they are acting against the will of Parliament. Their statements must be retracted. Mr. Aamer has been threatened to be forcibly transferred to Saudi Arabia, a country he fled from over 30 years ago. There he would be silenced forever. The UK Government has recognized Mr. Aamer’s right to return to the UK as a long-term British Resident. All the other Guantanamo British Nationals and Residents have been released to their homes and families in the UK.

All of them have made allegations of complicity of torture against the UK security services which have yet to be investigated. It is time for the Government to have a public inquiry into all these allegations as was promised three years ago. Shaker’s allegations must also be heard, NOT SILENCED.

SSAC will be protesting on this sad day to demand an end to Shaker’s ordeal. As it is also Valentine’s Day, SSAC will be presenting a card to Sir John Sawer, Chief of MI6, stating that “MI6, we would love you to … help us bring Shaker Aamer home. Shaker Aamer, unlawfully imprisoned and tortured in Guantanamo for twelve years – he faces no charge or trial- he has been cleared since 2007 to leave Guantanamo. So why is Shaker Aamer still there? Shaker Aamer would love to be at home with his wife and family in the UK. M16, you could help. Tell the truth about torture! MI6 have a heart, don’t block Shaker Aamer’s release to the UK from Guantanamo.”

Further details from The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign 07756493877

 

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Click Guantánamo for more blogs
Or visit our Guantánamo project  and Shaker Aamer project pages for more information and videos.

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The truth about torture, terrorism and secrecy – as told by Britain’s former spy chief

 

 

 

 

 

 

A year ago, the former head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, raised eyebrows in the darker recesses of Whitehall by telling some home truths in her BBC Reith lectures about the security and intelligence agencies.

She returns to her three key themes – torture, terrorism and secrecy – on Thursday with the publication of a short book, Securing Freedom, based on those lectures. It is a refreshing antidote to the rhetoric deployed by ministers and their acolytes who appear too frightened to come clean on any issue relating to that elusive but overarching concept of “national security”. Here are some points that MI5, MI6, the CIA and the new justice secretary Chris Grayling should note:

1. “Torture is illegal in our national law and in international law. It is wrong and never justified … Torture should be utterly rejected even when it may offer the prospect of saving lives … I am confident that I know the answer to the question of whether torture has made the world a safer place. It hasn’t.”

MI5 and MI6 remain embroiled in the unresolved dispute about their role in the abuse and torture of terror suspects. The government tried to push allegations under the carpet by compensating UK residents and citizens taken by the CIA to Guantánamo Bay – and no sooner had it done so than evidence emerged in Libya showing how MI6 helped arrange the abduction of Libyan dissidents to Tripoli, where they say they were tortured by Muammar Gaddafi’s secret police. “There are clearly questions to be answered about … whether the UK supped with a sufficiently long spoon,” says Manningham-Buller, who was head of MI5 at the time. MI6, which was ultimately accountable to then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, says the rendering of the dissidents to Libya in 2004 was authorised by ministers.

2. “Rushing to legislate in the wake of a terrorist atrocity is often a mistake,” says Manningham-Buller in a clear reference to the Blair government’s practice of drawing up more and more “counter-terrorism” laws, a practice sharply criticised by Ken Clarke, now sacked as justice secretary. “We compound the problem of terrorism if we use it to erode the freedom of us all,” she adds. To the surprise of her former colleagues in MI5, she used her maiden speech in the Lords to attack the Labour government’s proposal to detain suspected terrorists without charge for up to 42 days.

Will the reshuffled government succumb to pressure from the security and intelligence agencies and introduce more laws they hope will frighten terrorists, ignoring the root causes? Governments, including the British, talk to terrorists, and, Manningham-Buller reminds us, they have “too often preferred the stability of the devil we know to the uncertainties of democracy” – a reference to the Arab spring and Britain’s close relations with Middle Eastern autocracies.

3. “The scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies will evolve, and it is right that it should. But, given that intelligence to counter these threats will still be needed, that scrutiny will never be able to be transparent. For to secure freedom, within a democracy and within the law, some secrets have to remain.” And there’s the rub. “Overt information may be more important than secret intelligence. There are those, the sceptical observers I wish the readers of intelligence to be, who believe that governments hype threats for their own purposes to ensure legislation proceeds through parliament.”

The coalition government is determined to push through into law its “justice and security” bill designed to prevent any information from the security and intelligence agencies, domestic or foreign, from ever being disclosed in court. The very existence of such secret hearings would be secret, if the government has its way. Ironically, its fate may well end up in the hands of Manningham-Buller and others in the (unreformed) House of Lords.

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Shaker Aamer: 10 Years on

 

The Independent has drawn attention today to the “decade in detention without trial” of Shaker Aamer, cleared for release in 2007. The article emphasised Shaker’s current declining health and concerns about the amount of time he has endured in solitary confinement.

As a British resident, Shaker looks to be spending his tenth year in Guantanamo Prison where his recent hunger strike draws ever more concern about just exactly what it means to have been “cleared for release” in the United States of America. While this is a case that has drawn minimum media attention in the past ten years, what seems to be lacking is not just a public awareness of the issue but an informed public response to it.

One reader’s comment on the Independent article, with more than 10 ‘likes’, has expressed hostility about the idea of British taxpayers money being used on “lawyers looking after his interests” with a reluctance to accept Shaker as a British resident. This kind of prejudice dominating the response to the Independent article is disconcerting, especially given that we know of the torture received by Shaker in Guantanamo Prison and the trauma that has befallen his family for ten years now, particularly his son, who has never seen him. Shaker was abducted while residing in Afghanistan to build wells and a school for children as a charitable act. The real issue here is one of humanity and a huge injustice in the legal system of America – not one to do with terrorism or a bigoted gripe about who is paying for Shaker’s lawyers, who he has only had very little contact with anyway. He is a British citizen, it must be remembered.

The article brings little more to light than a reminder and a vague description of a decline in Shaker’s situation. Perhaps more prominent are the superfical and racist comments brought about by the article from an audience that seem unaware of the plight of Shaker, Omar Khadr and others suffering the injustices of Guantanamo.

It is interesting that fifty years after Stanley Milgram‘s experiment into obedience to authority; there has been no shift in human development. We still believe in upholding the justice system even when it is killing innocent people and destroying lives. We need to stop putting our trust in Government actions simply because it is easier to ignore them. Progress comes with education, so if you want more information about the save Shaker Aamer campaign, spend just five minutes getting to know his case and just why we need to call for his release today.

Please join the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign

Watch video- Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew”, and others (MI5 and MI6) while held illegally in Pakistan.

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UK’s secret policy on torture: a threat to national security




Today the Guardian exclusively revealed  the UK’s secret policy on torture.
The document shows intelligence officers were instructed to “weigh the importance of information sought against the pain inflicted”.

One section states: “If […] that information will be or has been obtained through the mistreatment of detainees, the negative consequences may include […] adverse effects on national security if the fact […] were to be publicly revealed”

Not only does this document expose the UK’s complicity with torture, which it acknowledges is illegal under UK and international law, but it also attempts to justify the need for keeping the policy secret because it may increase the threat from terrorism. In other words it is not the illegal torture policy that is a problem- just people finding out about it.

In other words, as any criminal will surely agree, the real crime is being found out.  The document attempts to blame the messenger or whistle-blower for any potential negative “blow back” rather than the torture policy itself.

Behind this lies a remarkable confidence that both the victims and the perpetrators of torture will keep silent or will not be believed if they speak out.
This policy of secrecy would explain why credible witness and UK resident Shaker Aamer is still in Guantanamo. It would appear he will be held until tormented into insanity.

Please join the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign

Watch video- Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew”, and others (MI5 and MI6) while held illegally in Pakistan.

Order Spectacle’s DVD Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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MI5 implicated in new torture allegations

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The British intelligence services have been implicated in fresh allegations of torture, the Guardian has revealed.

In spite of promises from the government to investigate the complicity of the Intelligence services in the use of torture against terror suspects, it is alleged that MI5 was involved in a case of  ‘rendition’ as late as July last year. Omar Awadh, a Kenyan businessman, was secretly captured and deported to Uganda (a practice referred to as ‘rendition’) in the wake of the July 2010 bombings in Kampala. He was subsequently held in prison where he claims that he was tortured by local security officials and interrogated by officers from MI5 and the FBI.

Previously, detainees from Guantanamo such as Omar Deghayes, have claimed that they were questioned by British intelligence officials during their time in detention. In July 2010, shortly before the bombings that lead to Awadh’s arrest, David Cameron announced plans for an inquiry into the complicity of MI5 in the outsourcing of torture to other countries and promised compensation if it was confirmed that British Intelligence had permitted the torture of UK citizens.

Although Mr Cameron was keen to investigate human rights breaches committed under the last government, he has yet to respond to the latest torture allegations in the Guardian.

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Bradford screenings – Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

As part of the Bradford International Film Festival, Cineworld at the Bradford Leisure Exchange will be hosting two screenings of the new Spectacle documentary, Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo on the 26th and 27th of March.

The March 26th viewing will also host a panel discussion of the project with filmmakers Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, along with former detainees Moazzam Begg and Omar Deghayes following the screening.

Outside the Law offers a powerful and personal insight into the claims that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and how those detained as “illegal enemy combatants” were given no chance to defend themselves and, even worse, given no rights whatsoever.

Information and tickets are available online as are DVD purchases

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Reprieve ask Sir Peter Gibson to stand down from inquiry

Clive Stafford-Smith has published a letter sent to Sir Peter Gibson – the man elected by David Cameron to lead the inquiry into whether the UK has been complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects – that calls for him to renounce his position. The letter was written on behalf of Reprieve, an organisation which represents prisoners held ‘beyond the rule of law’ or those facing the death penalty, and which represented Binyam Mohamed in the trial which cleared his name of any connections with any terrorist acts.

Clive Stafford-Smith of Reprieve

The content of the letter focuses on the bias that compromises Sir Gibson’s position; specifically that he has already conducted an internal review on the same subject and his role as Intelligence Services Commissioner. Stafford-Smith finishes by challenging Sir Gibson about the expansion of his duties in 2009 to Gordon Brown to ‘…protect the reputation of our security and intelligence services…’ and to ‘…ensure that our practices are in line with the United Kingdom and international law,’ arguing that he should be acting as a witness to the inquiry, not leading it.

Given that previous reports maintained that the integrity of British Intelligence remained intact and that those involved in the hearings were ‘trustworthy and dependable’, Stafford-Smith feels that he is unlikely to offer any public criticisms of, or claims for accountability from either MI5 or MI6.

The full letter has been printed in full for public consumption and Stafford-Smith also appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme to debate the matter with the former chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Kim Howells.

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