The Guantánamo Files and Jose Padilla: We The People interviews Andy Worthington

29.1.08

The Guantanamo FilesYesterday evening, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Karen Kwiatkowski for the first hour of her “American Forum” show on We The People Radio Network (WTPRN), which is available here (it’s the show listed “Mon., January 28, 2008,” available here as an MP3).

In a wide-ranging discussion, Karen and I talked in detail about my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, and in particular about the failures of intelligence that led to so many innocent men being detained. We also talked about the responsibility of senior government figures, including Vice President Dick Cheney, his advisor David Addington, and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for the systematic torture that was implemented at Guantánamo between 2002 and 2004.

While pointing out the valiant attempts by senior officials, including Alberto J. Mora, the head of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), to resist the introduction of torture as official, if semi-covert government policy, I had the opportunity to explain that, in effect, it resembled nothing less than the witch hunts of centuries past. The administration’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” –- torture by any definition other than the deliberately narrow one chosen by the administration –- were introduced in a horrendously misguided attempt to produce “actionable intelligence” from detainees who, for the most part, had nothing to offer, as they had mostly been sold to US forces by their Afghan and Pakistani allies for substantial bounty payments. The witch-hunt analogy is particularly appropriate because, when detainees had nothing to offer and proclaimed their innocence, it was presumed that they had been trained by al-Qaeda to resist interrogation.

We also spoke about the recent sentencing of Jose Padilla, and its potentially horrendous implications for the rights of all US citizens, and Karen read out an excerpt from my article, Why Jose Padilla’s 17-year prison sentence should shock and disgust all Americans, which had inspired her to get in touch with me in the first place.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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