In an article entitled “Objectivity” or Spinelessness? for his “No Comment” column for Harper’s, Scott Horton responds to yesterday’s New York Times’ Editor’s Note, in which the Times’ editorial board distanced itself from my descriptions of Guantánamo as “a cruel and misguided response by the Bush Administration to the Sept. 11 attacks,” and my “outspoken position on Guantánamo.” The Editor’s Note followed the publication of Time Runs Out for an Afghan Held by the U.S., a front-page article about Abdul Razzaq Hekmati, the Afghan detainee who died in Guantánamo on December 30, which was co-authored by Carlotta Gall and myself.
I shall only reproduce one paragraph of the article here, which I believe defends my right to adopt an “outspoken position on Guantánamo.” Scott describes as “preposterous … the suggestion that there is something ‘outspoken’ in calling to close Guantánamo and labeling the facility what it is. The posture adopted in Worthington’s book is indeed very radical. Among the radicals who have embraced it are the American Bar Association, Pope Benedict XVI, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dalai Lama, Chancellor Angela Merkel, the English Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, and hundreds of other political and spiritual leaders around the world.”
You’ll have to visit Harper’s to discover the rest.
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.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) posted the following news articles based on the Editor’s Note and Scott Horton’s article:
War In Context had this to say:
And this from After Downing Street:
This is Daily Kos’ take on the story:
And this from at-Largely:
Best of Both Worlds:
For a different point of view, see:
The New York Post ran the following piece:
As a point of interest, the Post ran a very short quote from me. One of their reporters had contacted me by email, and I had replied that I was not prepared to comment directly on the Note, but that I was “happy to explain that I would be extremely disappointed if anyone were to presume from comments made by the editorial board at the Times that my book ‘The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison’ is anything other than a well-researched and meticulously sourced work of analytic non-fiction, in which, after drawing largely on documentation released by the Pentagon, I concluded that those in charge of America’s ‘War on Terror’ were responsible for ‘a catastrophic failure of justice.’” The Post did not, however, run the whole of this comment. I also wrote, “I stand by the findings in my book – that up to half of all the detainees were completely innocent men, seized by mistake, that most of the rest were Taliban recruits, who had traveled to Afghanistan before 9/11 with the intention of taking part in an inter-Muslim civil war, that no more than 40 of the detainees are connected in any meaningful way with al-Qaeda (as cited by various CIA officials over the years), and that indulging in torture and denying prisoners rights either as Prisoners of War or as criminals shames the reputation of the United States as a nation founded on adherence to the law.” I added, “I also stand by my comment, cited by the Times and taken from my website, that Guantanamo is part of ‘a cruel and misguided response by the Bush administration to the Sept. 11 attacks.’”
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