Following last month’s analysis of the most popular articles on my website from April to August, I’ve put together the Top 20 Articles based on traffic in September, primarily as a guide for new visitors to the site. As before, this analysis does not take into account the large numbers of readers who have found the articles on other sites on which they’ve been published: primarily, Antiwar.com, AlterNet, CounterPunch and the Huffington Post, but also ZNet, Cageprisoners, ukwatch.net, American Torture, and others who regularly cross-post my articles (including Free Detainees and World Can’t Wait). It also does not include visitor stats for my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, or the first four of 12 additional online chapters of The Guantánamo Files, available here, here, here and here. Note: Figures in brackets indicate the positions last month.
1 (1): Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now, and What About the Torture? (February 2008)
This article, which followed the announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five others had been put forward for trial by Military Commission at Guantánamo, was a clear winner again — in part because of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but especially, I can confirm, because it is so readily found by Googling “9/11” under “Images,” although I have no idea how many of the 21,000 visitors to this page last month were 9/11 Truthers. For those interested in the truth about the “War on Terror,” the article provides background information about the six men (later reduced to five – see 18, below) and still-relevant doubts about how the US administration proposes to hide the uncomfortable truth that they were all tortured. For links to other articles chronicling my detailed coverage of the Commissions, see the bottom of this article, and for the latest on the 9/11 trials, see here.
2 (3): Sami al-Haj: the banned torture pictures of a journalist in Guantánamo (April 2008)
This article provided a detailed overview of the experiences of al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj, and was published just before he was released from Guantánamo. It features five powerful drawings (based on censored drawings by Sami), which were commissioned by Sami’s lawyers at the British legal action charity Reprieve. An archive of articles about Sami is here.
3 (-): Seized at 15, Omar Khadr Turns 22 in Guantánamo (September 2008)
A lament for Omar Khadr (see 8, below), highlighting the US and Canadian governments’ refusal to abide by an UN resolution on the rights of children in wartime, to which both countries are signatories, and pointing out that Omar has now spent nearly a third of his life in US custody. An archive of articles about Omar is here.
4 (8): A Chinese Muslim’s Desperate Plea from Guantánamo (March 2008)
This article tells their story of the Uyghurs (or Uighurs) at Guantánamo — Chinese Muslims, who had no connection whatsoever with al-Qaeda or the Taliban — and focuses on a poignant letter by Abdulghappar, one of 17 Uyghurs still held because the US does not want to return them to China, but cannot find them a new home. An archive of articles about the Uyghurs is here.
5 (-): In a Legal Otherworld, 9/11 Defendants Cry Torture at Guantánamo (June 2008)
As part of the 9/11 bounce, and the resurgence of interest in the case following September’s pre-trial hearings, this article looked at the arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants in June, and, in particular, at Mohammed’s sly mentions of his torture by US forces. An archive of articles about the Military Commissions is here.
6 (5): Torture allegations dog Guantánamo trials (March 2008)
Part of an ongoing series of detailed articles describing the faltering progress of the trials by Military Commission at Guantánamo, this article examined the problems facing the US administration in its attempts to conceal evidence of torture, and focused in particular on misguided attempts to prosecute two juveniles: Omar Khadr and the Afghan prisoner Mohamed Jawad (see 20, below).
7 (12): The US military’s shameless propaganda over Guantánamo’s 9/11 trials (April 2008)
Another article looking at the Military Commissions, this followed the article at 6, above, updating developments in the pre-trial hearings, and exposing Pentagon propaganda regarding the forthcoming 9/11 trials.
8 (6): The trials of Omar Khadr, Guantánamo’s “child soldier” (November 2007)
A detailed account of Omar’s story, from his capture to pre-trial hearings in his Military Commission, including psychological analysis, legal challenges to the Commissions, the shame of putting forward a child for a “war crimes” trial, and the disgraceful suppression of evidence.
9 (-): High Court rules against UK and US in case of Guantánamo torture victim Binyam Mohamed (September 2008)
A detailed analysis of the extraordinary UK High Court victory in the case of British resident Binyam Mohamed, represented by Reprieve’s lawyers, who remains imprisoned at Guantánamo, facing a trial by Military Commission. A victim of “extraordinary rendition” and torture, Binyam is now involved in a Transatlantic tussle over the disclosure of potentially exculpatory evidence in his case. An archive of articles about Binyam is here.
10 (-): A critical overview of Salim Hamdan’s Guantánamo trial and the dubious verdict (August 2008)
A comprehensive account of the first full Military Commission trial at Guantánamo –- of Salim Hamdan, one of Osama bin Laden’s drivers. The article highlights many of the problems that have plagued the Commissions since their conception in November 2001. My views on the subsequent sentence –- and its significance –- are available here.
11 (9): Waterboarding: two questions for Michael Hayden about three “high-value” detainees now in Guantánamo (February 2008)
A rebuke to Michael Hayden, the CIA’s director, after he admitted that three “high-value detainees” in Guantánamo had been waterboarded in secret prisons by the CIA. As the torture debate rolls on, this was the moment — astonishingly — that torture by the United States was openly admitted, and still no one has been called to account.
12 (-): Controversy still plagues Guantánamo’s Military Commissions (September 2008)
This article summarized developments in the Military Commissions in August and early September, focused primarily on rulings by two government-appointed military judges, barring the Commissions’ controversial legal adviser, Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, from involvement in the trials of Mohamed Jawad and Omar Khadr.
13 (-): Guantánamo Bouncy Castle – in America: The Gift Shop (September 2008)
A brief introduction to Philip Toledano’s new online installation, America: The Gift Shop, featuring clever takes on the “War on Terror” imagined as merchandise, this was largely picked up through a link on Cursor.
14 (7): Book review: Road From Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía (January 2008)
The story of the first deserter from the Iraq war, Camilo Mejía, capturing the camaraderie of the soldiers, the deranged incompetence of many of their leaders, and the encounters with brutality, including his own, that led him to desert. A few other articles about Iraq are here.
15 (-): Guantánamo trials: another insignificant Afghan charged (September 2008)
Another onslaught on the Military Commissions, this article provided a synopsis of the Commissions’ history to date, and looked at the woefully poor evidence against Afghan prisoner Obaidullah, the latest prisoner to be charged.
16 (-): The reviled Military Commissions collapse, and the pressure to close Guantánamo increases, but a new prisoner arrives from Africa (June 2007)
Picked up on as part of the Military Commissions story, this article looked at how two government-appointed military judges temporarily derailed the Commissions last June. It also included information about recent arrivals at Guantánamo (which generally took place while no one was looking). More here.
17 (-): The politics of David Hicks’ release from Guantánamo confirmed: plea bargain arranged between Cheney and Howard (October 2007)
As I have made clear in a recent article examining the poisoned chain of command in the Military Commissions that leads from the Pentagon officials supervising the process (who are, by law, supposed to be impartial) up to the Office of the Vice President, the first clear sign of the politicization of the process was the plea bargain negotiated by Dick Cheney for the release of the Australian David Hicks.
18 (-): Betrayals, backsliding and boycotts: the continuing collapse of Guantánamo’s Military Commissions (May 2008)
Following 6 and 7, above, this article focused on the explosive testimony of the Commissions’ former chief prosecutor, Col. Morris Davis, which led to the first exclusion from a trial of Brig. Gen. Hartmann –- that of Salim Hamdan. The article also covered the dropping of charges, in connection with the 9/11 attacks, against Guantánamo torture victim Mohammed al-Qahtani.
19 (-): Rendered to Egypt for torture, Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni is released from Guantánamo (September 2008)
The disturbing story of Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, seized in Indonesia, tortured in Egypt and then sent to Guantánamo, who was released with little fanfare. The “case” against Madni neatly demonstrates the misplaced zeal of US intelligence in the “War on Terror.”
20 (-): The Afghan teenager put forward for trial by Military Commission at Guantánamo (October 2007)
The article that introduced Mohamed Jawad, the Afghan who was a teenager when seized, after he was put forward for trial by Military Commission last October, looking in detail at his testimony in Guantánamo.
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.
Writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. 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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