British art on the ‘war on terror’

This video from Britain says about itself:

3 March 2013

Step behind the scenes and get a glimpse of the thinking motivating the digital world’s greatest artists, filmmakers, thinkers and doers with the Lighthouse Monthly Talks. Award winning artist, Edmund Clark, was our November 2012 speaker.

As part of our Brighton Photo Biennial 2012, we were extremely pleased to have BPB12 artist and 2012 Prix Pictet nominee, Edmund Clark speaking at Lighthouse. Clark discussed his practice, which explored modes of control, living under conditions of surveillance, censorship and representation. His latest work experiments with how multidisciplinary collaboration and new technology can further address these themes. Clark’s exhibition, Control Order House is on at the University of Brighton Gallery.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

An atrocity exhibition

Saturday 20th August 2016

A new show at the Imperial War Museum is a grim reminder of the consequences for those perceived to be a terrorist threat by increasingly authoritarian states

LONDON’S Imperial War Museum has an outstanding track record in staging hard-hitting exhibitions, with Peter Kennard’s photo-montages and Edward Barber’s documentary photographs being two very recent examples.

Added to the roster is this disturbing new show of work by award-winning artist Edmund Clark. War of Terror, which runs until August next year, focuses on the measures states take to counter perceived terrorist threats and the malign impact they have on all our lives and explores the experience of people in Britain suspected — but never convicted — of terrorist-related offences in the interminable “war on terror.”

Clark says: “A vital challenge for today’s visual artists and photographers is how to explore new and unseen processes of contemporary conflict.

“My work engages with state censorship and control to find new visual strategies to try and achieve this and to reconfigure subjects we normally see as distant or threatening stereotypes on our screens.”

His personal contribution to the debate around those issues is a series of photographs, film and documents, some never previously exhibited.

They explore hidden experiences of state control and address the issues of security, secrecy, legality and ethics which they raise.

Clark’s most recent work Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition, created in collaboration with counter-terrorism investigator Crofton Black, explores the experiences of those secretly detained and transferred without legal process to US custody for further detention and interrogation.

Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out offers an uneasy contrast between living spaces at Guantanamo and the homes of former British detainees who were released without charge, while Letters to Omar features reproductions of censored correspondence sent to Omar Deghayes, a British detainee at Guantanamo, and later made available to Clark.

Cards and letters sent to him by people from around the world, most of them strangers, were scanned and redacted by military censors.

When and in what form Deghayes received the correspondence was part of the control exercised over him. Created by the bureaucratic processes of Guantanamo, these fragmentary reproductions added to his sense of paranoia.

Equally disturbing is the installation Control Order House. In December 2011 and January 2012, Clark was given exclusive access to a suburban house in England in which a British man suspected of involvement in terrorist-related activity was living under the terms of a Home Office enforced control order — a form of detention without trial based on secret evidence.

The installation contains nearly 500 photographs of the house in the order in which he took them. Two video sequences, on display for the first time, convey the tension, claustrophobia and monotony of a controlled person’s life, while documents, architectural plans and photographs reveal further details of life under a control order.

As an exhibition exploring the complexities of modern asymmetric warfare and its implications for human rights, this is a must-see.

The exhibition is free and runs until August 28 2017, opening times:

‘Guantanamo Diary’ author to be freed at last

This video says about itself:

22 July 2016

The author of the best-selling memoir “Guantanamo Diary,” Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been cleared for release after being held at the military prison for 14 years without charge.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi freed without charge at last: here.

The New Yorker investigates Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo.

Last Tuesday, United States military officials escorted a dozen journalists and human-rights representatives into a sealed Pentagon conference room to watch the live video feed of a “hearing” before the Guantanamo Bay detention center “Periodic Review Board,” which will advise the Obama administration on the fate of Abu Zubaydah, one of 41 inmates still not cleared for release or transfer eight years after Obama pledged to close the military prison: here.

Close Guantanamo torture prison, petition

This video says about itself:

Torture -The Guantanamo Guidebook

28 August 2012

UK’s channel 4 “Guantanamo Handbook” documentary

From Congresswoman Barbara Lee in the USA today:

It’s long past time to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Fellow Progressive.

Indefinite detentions do not promote our democratic ideals and the ongoing use of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay is an affront to American values. President Obama has asked Congress to work with him to shut it down – join his call for action now.

This is about more than values. Our use of Guantanamo Bay is serving as a recruiting tool for terrorists. Congress’s failure to close Guantanamo is jeopardizing our national security. Americans don’t have to accept this. We need to speak up.

You can join President Obama in asking Congress to advance our values and our security. Add your name to demand action.

Tell Congress: Close Guantanamo Bay!

Obama Administration No Longer Pursuing Executive Order To Shut Down Guantanamo: Report: here.

Guantanamo Bay torture, stop cover up

This video from human rights organisation Reprieve says about itself:

The footage the U.S. Government doesn’t want you to see

19 January 2016

The real footage of abusive force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay could finally be released to the public, but only if we fight for it.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

US ‘must’ publish torture videos

Thursday 21st January 2016

Reprieve urges supporters to lobby for the release of horrific force-feeding footage

A BRITISH charity urged its US supporters yesterday to lobby their government to release disturbing top-secret footage of a hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay prisoner being force-fed.

Reprieve, which campaigned for the release of British detainee Shaker Aamer, wants people to “act quickly” in order to expose harrowing prison camp torture.

US Solicitor General Don Verrilli will decide tomorrow, seven years after President Barack Obama vowed to close the prison in Cuba, whether to lodge an appeal to block anyone from viewing the evidence of abuse.

Reprieve’s website offers a template email to send to Mr Verrilli to encourage him to “drop the appeal and release as much of the footage as is feasible to the general public.”

Hours of redacted footage shows former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab — held for 12 years without charge or trial — dragged from his cell by guards in riot gear and force-fed.

Only the US government and Reprieve lawyers have ever been able to view the tapes.

Mr Dhiab, who has been wheelchair-bound since being released to Uruguay in 2014, was routinely abused and had unsanitary tubes pushed into his throat by medics, while one of the six riot gear-clad guards filmed everything.

Save Shaker Aamer Campaign chairwoman Joy Hurcombe said it’s “essential” that the public witnesses how prisoners on hunger strike are tortured on a daily basis.

She told the Star: “They are dragged from their cells and brutally strapped in and fed in the most inhumane fashion. It is a crime against humanity, illegal and a form of torture.”

Ms Hurcombe added that she watched “unspeakably violent” simulated footage demonstrating methods designed to “dehumanise prisoners, destroy their bodies and crush their will.”

This is because hunger strikes are the only form of peaceful protest that detainees have, she said.

She continued: “The tubes are harshly entered through the nose and mouth, although they are often much too big and have not been cleaned after being used on other prisoners.

“Prisoners are in pain and choking. The tubes are yanked out and, if they vomit, they are subjected to more force-feeding and are not allowed any water.”

The US government is “deeply ashamed” of the events — despite insisting that no torture occurs — and “will try every way to stop people seeing the footage,” according to Ms Hurcombe.

Sixteen media organisations — including the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times Company and Bloomberg — intervened in the legal case to lobby for the release of the footage.

Last January, they criticised the US government’s “absolutist position” in blocking access to court evidence that “violates constitutional access rights and the separation of powers.”

Reprieve lawyers had won a legal battle to obtain the footage and a judge has already ordered the US government to release the tapes — but Mr Verrilli could still block it.

Lawyer Cori Crider said: “[The footage] is disturbing and will make anyone who watches it lose sleep. But that’s exactly why the public needs to see it.

“If Obama is going to make meaningful progress in keeping his promise to shut Guantanamo, all of us need to know what the daily reality of the prison is like.”

ACTIVISTS in Britain launched a Close Guantanamo campaign yesterday, calling on Barack Obama to shut down the prison within the year he has left in office: here.

‘Tony Blair complicit in torturing innocent Guantanamo prisoner’

This video from Britain says about itself:

Marr Show: Alex Salmond on British illegal kidnap+torture, Gitmo (13 December 2015)

SNP’s Alex Salmond talks about the British government’s illegal kidnap and torture of people like ex-Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainee Shaker Aamer.

By Luke James in Britain:

Aamer suffered ‘to save Blair

Monday 14th December 2015

SNP’s Salmond backs claim that Blair knew of torture

SHAKER AAMER’S Guantanamo Bay hell may have been prolonged to protect Tony Blair from claims he “collaborated” in torture, former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said yesterday.

Speaking about his almost 14-year ordeal at the notorious US prison for the first time since being released in October, Mr Aamer alleged at the weekend that Mr Blair and former home secretary Jack Straw were aware that he was being tortured.

Now SNP MP Mr Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland, has backed his claim that the pair must have known about the “illegal abduction” and “torture.”

“As in so many things Messrs Blair and Straw have a great deal to answer for,” he told the Andrew Marr Show.

“They have to be asked a straight question: How could they possibly not have known about the fate that had befallen a British citizen?

“The prime responsibility of all governments is to keep their own citizens safe from harm.

“Governments are not meant to collaborate on the illegal abduction and then the torture of one of their own citizens.”

He went further, suggesting that concerns Mr Aamer would implicate the pair in his torture was behind the delay in his release.

The British resident was twice cleared for release from the gulag by a panel of US intelligence officers, most recently in 2009.

Yet he spent another six years in the camp, being placed in solitary confinement, suffering sleep deprivation and interrogations.

Mr Aamer has claimed that British intelligence officers witnessed this torture first-hand at Bagram air base in Afghanistan in 2002, where he was held before being tranferred to Guantanamo.

Mr Salmond pointed out that the spooks flew into the base on the same flight as Mr Blair, who was visiting British troops.

“One of the suspicions that people who have been campaigning for his release have had is that there had to be a reason for him not being released despite being cleared for release twice over that period.

“It’s obviously centred on the revelations he would have on what’s been going on at Guantanamo Bay.

“It now appears a reason might have been on what had gone on in January 2002 at Bagram air base.”

Mr Aamer demonstrated how he was “hog-tied” for almost an hour by US troops at the air base as part of the Mail on Sunday interview.

“It kills you, man. You cry, the pain is so bad,” he said.

“They were kicking me at the same time. I thought I was going to lose my legs.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Blair insisted he had “never condoned” the use of torture.

Mr Straw also refuted Mr Salmond’s allegations, ludicrously claiming: “I spent a large part of my time as foreign secretary making strong representations to the US government to get British detainees out of Guantanamo Bay and the US government’s ill-treatment and torture of detainees remains a terrible stain on its record.”

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign called for their claims to be tested by a public inquiry.

Chair Joy Hurcombe told the Star: “I think they were party to it and therefor they should be made accountable for their involvement.”

Ms Hurcombe, who is one of the few people to have met Mr Aamer since his return, also called for him to be granted British citizenship immediately.

Forty-eight-year-old Mr Aamer also opened up this weekend about his new challenge of resuming normal family life.

He said: “I’m finally living. I’m here with my kids, trying to learn to be a father.”

Release Guantanamo torture videos, United States judge says

Guantanamo torture, cartoon

By Tom Carter in the USA:

US judge orders release of Guantanamo torture videos

31 October 2015

On Tuesday, federal district judge Gladys Kessler rejected the Obama administration’s latest attempts to block the disclosure of videos that depict beatings and force-feeding at the Guantanamo Bay torture camp.

Judge Kessler had previously ordered the release of the videos on October 3 of last year, and the Obama administration has been attempting to overturn her order ever since. The videos in question are 32 separate recordings and two compilations that depict the torture of former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abu Wa’el Dhiab.

Dhiab was abducted by the US government in Pakistan in 2002 and smuggled to Guantanamo Bay. After being held and tortured for 12 years without charges or trial, he was released in December 2014 to Uruguay.

Dhiab was born in Lebanon but grew up in Syria. After his marriage he moved to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he ran a small business. Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Dhiab fled to Pakistan with his wife and children, where he was seized by the authorities and turned over to the American intelligence agencies, likely in return for the payment of a cash bounty.

As a result of his brutal treatment at Guantanamo Bay, Dhiab is now permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair.

While at Guantanamo Bay torture camp, Dhiab went on a peaceful hunger strike to protest his detention and the conditions of his confinement. Hunger strikes have been widespread at Guantanamo Bay ever since the camp was opened. A 2013 hunger strike involved more than half the population of the camp.

Guantanamo’s guards sought to break the hunger strikes, which they called “voluntary fasting,” with the most sadistic retaliation. In addition to savage beatings called “forcible cell extractions,” strikers were subjected to force-feeding against their will. Strikers were strapped down while feeding tubes, with no anesthetic, were roughly forced up their noses and down their throats. Often, the tube had blood and bile still on it from the previous victim.

Describing the treatment of inmate Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, who later died at Guantanamo Bay under suspicious circumstances, a 2004 Amnesty International report stated: “Twice a day, the guards immobilize Latif’s head, strap his arms and legs to a special restraint chair, and force-feed him a liquid nutrient by inserting a tube up his nose and into his stomach—a clear violation of international standards. The feeding, Latif says, ‘is like having a dagger shoved down your throat.’”

Another Guantanamo prisoner, Ahmed Rabbani, described how during the procedure he “vomited blood on himself three or four times” before passing out. During one sitting, the tube was inserted upside down, so that it felt like it was being “pushed up into [his] brain.” According to his attorney, this left Rabbani “screaming in pain.”

While Dhiab was being held at Guantanamo Bay, attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in the United States in an attempt to stop the torture.

At the time, Dhiab told his attorneys, “This is my life. I should have the freedom to decide what I want to do with it. If I want to go on hunger strike, that is my business. They should never force feed us. I am on a peaceful protest. The U.S. government pretends that they give freedom to people, but in this way they are taking away my freedom. The whole world knows that we are protesting peacefully and they pretend they want to take care of our health. It is our health, to do with as we see fit.”

“I want to see my wife and children after this captivity and take them to my chest,” he continued. “I want them to feel that their father is with them—that they are not orphans, that their father is alive. I want and demand my stolen freedom and the peace that I am looking for. I want to leave to get medical treatment, and meet my dear wife and sons.”

In May 2014, Judge Kessler issued a ruling that allowed the force-feeding to continue. While she criticized the force-feeding procedures, which caused Dhiab to “suffer unnecessary pain,” she wrote that “the Court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die.”

In the course of the litigation, 32 “classified” videotapes depicting the torture of Dhiab were apparently disclosed to Judge Kessler but were not made available to the public. In June 2014, a number of journalists intervened in the case to try to secure the release of the torture videos to the public, after which Judge Kessler agreed to permit a partial release of the footage.

The Obama administration claims that the torture videos constitute “state secrets,” and has sought to block their release in court on the grounds of “national security.” The Obama administration claims that the videos would “incite” extremist groups to engage in violence against America and also embolden other Guantanamo detainees.

Government lawyers appealed unsuccessfully to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the disclosure of the videos, and on May 29 the case was returned to Judge Kessler. On Tuesday, Kessler issued a decision rejecting the Obama administration’s latest arguments as “repetitive, speculative, and extremely vague.”

“Transparency about the actions of our government—including the judiciary—is one of the cornerstones of our democracy,” Kessler wrote. “This Court has found that the Government’s justifications for barring the American public from seeing the videotapes are not sufficiently rational and plausible to justify barring release of the videotapes, which are part of the Court’s official records, from the eyes and ears of the American public.”

Incredibly, the Obama administration’s lawyers had tried to argue that releasing the videos would violate Dhiab’s right to privacy. In her decision on Tuesday, Judge Kessler called this argument “flat out unbelievable.”

In fact, Dhiab supports the release of the videos. “I want Americans to see what is going on at the prison today, so they will understand why we are hunger-striking, and why the prison should be closed,” Dhiab wrote in documents filed with the court. “If the American people stand for freedom, they should watch these tapes. If they truly believe in human rights, they need to see these tapes.”

The force-feeding of hunger strikers is acknowledged as a potential form of torture under international law. Since 1975, the World Medical Association has prohibited doctors from participating in the force-feeding of hunger strikers, so long as the prisoner is “capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment.”

In addition to brutal beatings and force-feeding, other forms of torture practiced at Guantanamo Bay and other US “black site” facilities have included waterboarding, forced nudity, shackling in “stress positions,” sexual humiliation, sexual assault, sleep deprivation, mock executions, solitary confinement, and the infamous practice of “rectal feeding” revealed by the December 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program.

To date, none of the war criminals involved in this sadistic conspiracy have been prosecuted, from the participants and their supervisors to those at the top who orchestrated and continue to cover up the program. Instead, the Obama administration has bent over backwards to coddle and protect the war criminals, attempting to conceal the torture program behind a veil of “state secrets” and “national security.”

The Obama administration has vigorously opposed the disclosure of the Dhiab torture videos, and plans to appeal Judge Kessler’s latest decision, further delaying their release.

As of December 4, 2013, the Obama administration announced that it would not be disclosing any more information about the Guantanamo hunger strikes to the public, on the grounds that disclosure does not serve any “operational purpose.”

The author also recommends:

The death of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif
[3 December 2012]

Guantánamo Diary: A book that needs to be read
[6 February 2015]

PLAN TO CLOSE GUANTANAMO EXPECTED THIS WEEK The Pentagon will release the administration’s final attempt to close the prison. However, it would need Congressional approval. [AP]

The White House indicated Tuesday that President Barack Obama will sign into law a Pentagon spending bill that significantly raises the base budget of the US war machine while prohibiting the shutdown of the prison camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba or the transfer of its detainees to US facilities: here.

WHITE HOUSE REJECTS GUANTANAMO CLOSURE PLAN FROM PENTAGON Costs could run as high as $600 million to build a replacement prison within the United States. [Reuters]

Man held at Guantánamo for 13 years a case of mistaken identity, say officials. Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri was low-level Islamist foot soldier, not al-Qaida courier and trainer as had been believed: here.

GUANTANAMO PRISONER HELD 13 YEARS IN CASE OF ‘MISTAKEN IDENTITY’ Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, a low-level fighter, was mistaken for a key figure in al Qaeda. [Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPost]

WASHINGTON — Weeks before she stepped down as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton wrote a memo urging President Barack Obama to step up his administration’s efforts to close the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in his second term. In the confidential January 2013 memo obtained by The Huffington Post, Clinton told Obama she worried that support for closing Guantanamo would further erode unless the administration took action: here.

Shaker Aamer, from Guantanámo torture to hospital

This music video says about itself:

PJ Harvey – Shaker Aamer

3 August 2013

PJ Harvey has released a song to highlight the ongoing detention of the last British resident held inside the US prison at Guantánamo Bay.

The track, called Shaker Aamer was recorded by the Mercury prizewinning songwriter to help maintain pressure to have the 46-year-old, whose family live in south London, released back to Britain.

Aamer has been detained in Guantánamo for more than 11 years, despite being cleared for release in 2007, and remains imprisoned without charge or trial. He has a British wife and his four children — the youngest of whom he has never met — were all born in Britain. They live in Tooting, south London.

The British government has stated repeatedly that it wants him back in the UK and last week, under escalating international pressure, the US announced it is to restart transfers from the prison. Concerns remain, however, that Aamer might be forcibly sent to Saudi Arabia and imprisoned there instead of being reunited with his family in the UK.

Shaker Aamer

No water for three days.
I cannot sleep, or stay awake.

Four months hunger strike.
Am I dead, or am I alive?

With metal tubes we are force fed.
I honestly wish I was dead.

Strapped in the restraining chair.
Shaker Aamer, your friend.

In camp 5, eleven years.
Never Charged. Six years cleared.

They took away my one note pad,
and they refused to give it back.

I can’t think straight, I write, then stop.
Your friend, Shaker Aamer. Lost.

The guards just do what they’re told,
the doctors just do what they’re told.

Like an old car I’m rusting away.
Your friend, Shaker, Guantanamo Bay.

Don’t forget.

© 2013 Hothead Music Ltd.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Welcome home!

Saturday 31st October 2015

Shaker Aamer is rushed to hospital after finally touching down in Britain following 13 years without charge or trial

by Luke James and Paddy McGuffin

FREED Shaker Aamer was finally back in Britain yesterday after his 13-year Guantanamo Bay nightmare — but was immediately rushed to hospital.

The last British resident held at the hellish US detention centre — without charge or trial — arrived at Biggin Hill airport in London on a private plane.

Mr Aamer’s long awaited return was announced at just a few hours’ notice by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond over a month after his release was secured.

Mr Aamer’s father-in-law Saeed Siddique called the surprise “a delightful day.”

But there was no emotional airport reunion with family for the father-of-four who required urgent medical treatment.

After landing, the jet taxied into a hangar and the doors were closed before Mr Aamer could be seen.

An ambulance believed to be carrying Mr Aamer then left the main entrance of the airport around half an hour after the plane landed.

It had not been confirmed last night whether Mr Aamer had yet been reunited with his wife and children — including a son he has never met.

After being captured by bounty hunters while doing charity work in Afghanistan and sold to the US, he entered Guantanamo Bay on February 14 2002, the very day his youngest child was born.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said measures have been put in place to “ensure public safety,” but confirmed there were no plans to detain Mr Aamer on his return.

Reprieve charity director and Mr Aamer’s lawyer Clive Stafford Smith explained his client’s ordeal had left him “in terrible shape.”

Mr Aamer, known by the Guantanamo authorities as detainee 239, suffered beatings, torture and lengthy spells in solitary confinement.

In protest at the treatment meted out to him and other detainees Mr Aamer engaged in a number of hunger strikes, on one occasion losing more than half his body weight.

And Mr Stafford-Smith said: “His first priority is health.”

“He told me he is like an old car who hasn’t been to see a mechanic for a long time. He needs to get to a hospital.

“His second priority is to get with his family and rebuild that relationship that has been torn from him. He has never even met his youngest child.”

In a statement Mr Aamer said: “The reason I have been strong is because of the support of people so strongly devoted to the truth.

“If I was the fire to be lit to tell the truth, it was the people who protected the fire from the wind.”

The former detainee gave his thanks for the support he has recieved throughout his incarceration: “My thanks go to Allah first, second to my wife, my family, to my kids and then to my lawyers who did everything they could to carry the word to the world.

I feel obliged to every individual who fought for justice not just for me but to bring an end to Guantanamo.

“Without knowing of their fight I might have given up more than once.

“The reality may be that we cannot establish peace but we can establish justice. If there is anything that will bring this world to peace it is to remove injustice.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among the leading figures in the campaign that has secured Mr Aamer’s freedom.

Mr Corbyn was among MPs who visited Washington in May to piled pressure on US authorities to secure the release.

He said: “I am delighted to hear that Shaker Aamer has finally been released after 13 years in Guantanamo Bay.

“Now that Shaker has been released, the scandal of the Guantanamo detention camp itself must be brought to an end. I hope that Shaker and his family will now be given the time and space to rebuild their lives.”

Joy Hurcombe, of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, praised the “immense courage and fortitude” show by Mr Aamer.

But she added the campaign would now demand answers from the government over Mr Aamer’s claims that MI5 agents were present during his torture by CIA agents.

A government spokesman said: “We welcome his release and continue to support President [Barack] Obama’s commitment to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo.”

His biggest tests are yet to come – Begg
Fellow ex-inmate warns that Shaker’s ordeal is far from over

by Paddy McGuffin

FOR the vast majority of people, the horrific ordeal suffered by Shaker Aamer, who was finally freed from Guantanamo Bay yesterday, are unimaginable.

What it feels like to suffer daily beatings, torture and mental abuse, in addition to being incarcerated without charge or trial despite being wholly innocent of any crime, is beyond the comprehension of most.

No doubt the mental and physical scars inflicted on the 46-year-old father of four will take time to heal.

One man who knows all too well what Mr Aamer has gone through, and what now awaits him, is Moazzam Begg, himself a former Guantanamo detainee and founder of human rights group Cage.

In a statement on the organisation’s website, Mr Begg said: “The day has finally arrived. Britain’s longest-serving Guantanamo prisoner is coming home.”

But he also warned: “Shaker’s greatest tests are yet to come.

“That is the heartbreaking part, and anyone who has been imprisoned away from their family can attest to this.

“A stranger becoming a father — not of children, but of young adults — is an unimaginable task that nobody has any expertise in, except perhaps a few Guantanamo prisoners scattered around the globe.”

However, Mr Begg added: “Shaker is a courageous, resilient, kind and thoughtful person who has faced the worst the world has to offer and survived.”

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, one of four MPs who went to Washington earlier this year to press for Mr Aamer’s release, called on the government to allow the former detainee a family life.

He said: “I hope he will be reunited with his family as swiftly as possible and that he will receive full support as he adapts to life back in Britain after 14 years in custody without charge or trial.”

Joanne MacInnes, of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, raised concerns that Mr Aamer could be tagged or monitored.

She said the more pressing issue was health problems which “have never really been addressed.”

Ms MacInnes added: “He also has a huge suspicion of doctors because all doctors have done so far is watch and be complicit in his torture in Guantanamo. He will have to overcome that lack of trust and hopefully finally be treated with some TLC.”

Aamer must be ‘closely monitored’ say rightwingers

by Lamiat Sabin

SHAKER AAMER should be “monitored very carefully” by security officials, a “neoconservative” organisation said yesterday on the innocent man’s first day of freedom.

Robin Simcox of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a self-declared “pro-democracy think tank,” accused Mr Aamer of having been “a weapons-trained recruiter for al-Qaida,” for which he should be kept under surveillance.

This is despite the fact that the last British detainee held in Guantanamo was never charged or put on trial for any crime.

The HJS, an anti-communist group that has had former CIA director James Woolsey as a patron, claimed to have “several areas of concern” over Mr Aamer’s return to his family.

Stop the War Coalition spokesman Chris Nineham said the … HJS had “complete contempt for any legal process and lacks humanity” in smearing Mr Aamer before and after his release.

He added that the former detainee had been “tortured and imprisoned without trial and there isn’t a shred of evidence to support the claims the HJS is making.

“The danger is that we are moving into territory where anyone that is Muslim and accused by the authorities automatically becomes a terrorist.”

Compensation of around £1 million is rumoured to have beeen offered to Mr Aamer. Mr Simcox claimed that it could end up in the pockets of “violent extremists,” endangering national security.

Tory PM David Cameron’s spokeswoman said: “There was a settlement in relation to detainees in 2010.

“That was subject to a legally binding confidentiality agreement. I cannot go into details of who was party to it.”

Reaction: Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty director

Shaker Aamer’s release will bring huge relief to his family, but serious questions remain. Why did it take us so many years to persuade our closest ally to behave decently?

Reaction: John McDonnell, shadow chancellor

Shaker was simply a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, a charity worker building wells in Afghanistan who was kidnapped, ransomed and falsely imprisoned.

“I hope that he now gets the full support he needs so that he’ll be able to settle back into society, and get on with the rest of his life.

Reaction: Kate Hudson, CND general secretary

His wife and children, including a son he has never met, have suffered greatly since their husband and father was imprisoned and I hope today will be the first step to recovery for all of them. We must not forget that Shaker and his family are victims of the ‘war on terror’ launched by Bush and Blair.

Reaction: Chris Nineham, Stop the War deputy chair

He has never been tried and has had to suffer imprisonment for over a decade. We wish him and all those close to him well in adjusting to life back in London.

We call for the Guantanamo Bay detention centre to be closed.

SHAKER AAMER is finally at home with his family, but the 13 years he suffered in the Guantanamo Bay torture camp stand as an eternal badge of shame for Britain. Successive British governments colluded with Washington’s denial of justice and humanity to prisoners in US-occupied Cuba, putting a mythical “special relationship” before the rule of law: here.

Blair and Straw face questions over complicity in Shaker Aamer’s treatment. Alex Salmond says Guantánamo detainee’s claim that former PM and minister must have known of his torture is reasonable: here.

Shaker Aamer tells extremists to ‘get the hell out’ of UK in first interview after Guantanamo release. The father of four says 14 years of pain were ‘washed away’ when he was reunited with his wife: here.