Top 30 Guantánamo Articles of 2008


The following is a list of the top 30 articles on my website in 2008, based on an analysis of site traffic. For new visitors, I hope it provides a useful starting point for navigating the 300+ articles on the site, which comprehensively cover events at Guantánamo over the last 18 months. I have also included pages providing information about my books, including The Guantánamo Files, and additional online chapters of The Guantánamo Files, which feature stories not included in the book.

To my existing readers, thank you for all your support, and please keep the comments coming. And to both new and old, if you want to keep up-to-date on my work, please subscribe to the RSS feed (here, or in the left-hand column).

Thanks to you all, I had over 630,000 page visits last year, as well as all the other readers who found the articles on other sites on which they were published: primarily, the Huffington Post, the Raw Story,, CounterPunch, AlterNet, ZNet, Cageprisoners, and the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation, where I have a weekly column. Thanks to all, and to the Guardian, the New York Times, the Daily Star, Lebanon, and many others who have provided support, including Al-Jazeera, Amnesty International, the Encarta Encyclopedia, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), the London Guantánamo Campaign, Media Workers Against War, Press TV, Scott Horton, and to all who arranged my trip to the United States in March, including Pluto Press, the University of Michigan Press, CCR, Human Rights Watch, the Brennan Center for Justice, the New America Foundation, and Citizens for Global Solutions. Thanks also to some special friends: Cageprisoners, the Talking Dog, Kent, Stephen, Candace at the Guantánamo Blog, David, Michelle, Polly and Mark at Spectacle, Scott at Antiwar Radio, Linda at KBOO, Jackie, Omar, Clive and Em, Connie, Linda, and those nearest and dearest to me at home.

1. Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now, and What About the Torture? (February 2008)
Introducing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators in the 9/11 attacks. Includes biographies, and also provides an introduction to the vile and counter-productive use of torture. Also see 14 and 25, below.

2. The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison
The first book to tell the story of every man trapped in Guantánamo. Reviews, synopsis and how to buy the book.

3. Sami al-Haj: the banned torture torture pictures of a journalist in Guantánamo (April 2008)
The story of al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj, featuring five powerful drawings by British artist Lewis Peake based on censored drawings by Sami. An archive of articles about Sami is here, and he is on a Cageprisoners tour in the UK with Moazzam Begg and war resister Chris Arendt in January and February.

4. The Guantánamo Files: Andy Worthington’s US tour report (March 2008)
A tribute to America, following my first ever visit.

5. The Battle of the Beanfield
My second book. The State crushes dissent in a largely overlooked quasi-military operation in 1985. Maggie at her worst. Reviews, synopsis and how to buy.

6. Torture allegations dog Guantánamo trials (March 2008)
Part of an ongoing, and uniquely detailed series of articles monitoring the rigged and unjust Military Commission trial system at Guantánamo established by Dick Cheney and David Addington. An archive of articles about the Military Commissions is available here, and comprehensive links to other articles are provided at the end of each article.

7. The Guantánamo Files Website Extras 3: Osama’s bodyguards
The third of 12 additional chapters, looking at the so-called “Dirty 30,” alleged bodyguards for Osama bin Laden.

8. The Last US Enemy Combatant: The Shocking Story of Ali al-Marri (December 2008)
A US resident, tortured and imprisoned in the United States, in complete isolation, for seven years without charge or trial. For a similar story, see 27, below. Also see Court Confirms President’s Dictatorial Powers in Case of US “Enemy Combatant” Ali al-Marri (July 2008).

9. Book review: Road From Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía (January 2008)
The powerful story of the first deserter from the Iraq war. Mejía captures 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. Also see On Veterans Day, my correspondence with Brandon Neely, Iraq war resister and former Guantánamo guard. A few other articles about Iraq are here.

10. The trials of Omar Khadr, Guantánamo’s “child soldier” (November 2007)
He was 15 when seized. Without even mentioning torture, that alone breaches US obligations under the UN convention on the rights of the child. Also see 28, below, “Screwed up” and “abused”: Omar Khadr’s Canadian interrogations at Guantánamo, and Omar Khadr: The Guantánamo Files. For more on juveniles at Guantánamo, see 30, below, and The Pentagon Can’t Count: 22 Juveniles Held at Guantánamo (November 2008)

11. Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion
My first book: Stonehenge as a counter-cultural icon, and a site of conflict between citizens and the State. Reviews, synopsis and how to buy.

12. Dick Cheney Shreds Secret Documents (September 2008)
From Philip Toledano’s online installation America: The Gift Shop. For more detailed analyses of the Imperial Vice President, see 22, below, and The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney (Part One and Part Two) (December 2008).

13. Waterboarding: two questions for Michael Hayden about three “high-value” detainees now in Guantánamo (February 2008)
The first open admission of torture. Still no prosecutions.

14. In a Legal Otherworld, 9/11 Defendants Cry Torture at Guantánamo (June 2008)
Follows 1, above, and is followed by 25, below.

15. The Guantánamo Files Website Extras 1: The Qala-i-Janghi Massacre
The first of 12 additional chapters. The stories of survivors of a massacre in northern Afghanistan in November 2001.

16. Guantánamo: Torture victim Binyam Mohamed sues British government for evidence (May 2008)
Detailed biography of British resident in Guantánamo, rendered for torture in Morocco and Afghanistan. Also see: High Court rules against UK and US in case of Guantánamo torture victim Binyam Mohamed (August 2008), and Guilt by torture: Binyam Mohamed’s Transatlantic Quest for Justice (November 2008). A detailed archive of articles about Binyam is here.

17. A Chinese Muslim’s Desperate Plea from Guantánamo (March 2008)
A poignant letter from Abdulghappar, one of 17 innocent Uighurs (Muslims from China’s Xinjiang province) still held in Guantánamo. Also see: From Guantánamo to the United States: The Story of the Wrongly Imprisoned Uighurs and Guantánamo Uyghurs Resettlement Prospects Skewered by Justice Department Lies (both October 2008)

18. A critical overview of Salim Hamdan’s Guantánamo trial and the dubious verdict (August 2008)
A detailed account of a crucial case. The first full US war crimes trial since Nuremberg gave Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden, just five months to serve for providing material support for terrorism. Also see: Bin Laden’s Driver To Be Released From Guantánamo; Government Defeated and The End of Guantánamo (both November 2008)

19. The US military’s shameless propaganda over Guantánamo’s 9/11 trials (April 2008)
Another in the ongoing series of articles monitoring the rigged and unjust Military Commission trial system at Guantánamo.

20. The Guantánamo Files Website Extras 2: Tora Bora
The second of 12 additional chapters, featuring other stories of prisoners captured in Afghanistan in December 2001.

21. The Dark Heart of the Guantánamo Trials (October 2008)
My favorite article of 2008, exposing the toxic chain of command in the system of trials by Military Commission, leading directly from the Pentagon to Dick Cheney and David Addington in the Office of the Vice President. An extraordinary cast includes Convening Authority Susan Crawford, William J Haynes II at the Pentagon, the Commissions’ overreaching legal adviser Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, who meet with resolute resistance from former chief prosecutor Col. Morris Davis and former prosecutor Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld.

22. Dick Cheney: More Horrors from the “Vice President for Torture” (June 2007)
See 12, above. For more background, see: Dick Cheney, Invisible Tyrant.

23. Guantánamo’s ghosts and the shame of Diego Garcia (October 2007)
A sordid tale of British and American neo-colonialism in the Indian Ocean. Also see Secret Prison on Diego Garcia Confirmed: Six “High-Value” Guantánamo Prisoners Held, Plus “Ghost Prisoner” Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (August 2008).

24. Guantánamo whistleblowers: Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham is not the first insider to condemn the kangaroo courts (July 2007)
A former insider exposes the rigged system of tribunals at Guantánamo and reveals the inadequacy of the evidence. Also see: An interview with Guantánamo whistleblower Stephen Abraham (Part One and Part Two) (December 2008).

25. Is The 9/11 Trial Confession An Al-Qaeda Propaganda Coup? (December 2008)
Follows 1 and 14, above.

26. Guantánamo’s ridiculous underwear saga: the full correspondence (September 2007)
Lawyer Clive Stafford Smith punctures ludicrous and pompous bureaucracy at Guantánamo.

27. Why Jose Padilla’s 17-year sentence should shock and disgust all Americans (January 2008)
Related to 8, above, the story of US enemy combatant Padilla, tortured and held illegally on the US mainland for three and a half years, then convicted in a dubious trial. Also see: Jose Padilla: More Sinned Against Than Sinning.

28. Seized at 15, Omar Khadr Turns 22 in Guantánamo (September 2008)
A birthday lament for Omar Khadr.

29. Six years of Guantánamo: enough is enough (January 2008)
Barack Obama has pledged to close Guantánamo. As the prison’s 7th anniversary approaches, these were my comments a year ago. Despite a few court victories, and a reduction in numbers, much still remains the same.

30: The Afghan teenager put forward for trial by Military Commission at Guantánamo (October 2007)
Introducing Mohamed Jawad, the other juvenile put forward for a trial by Military Commission. Watch out for drugged recruitment and coerced confessions.

Bubbling under:
The Shocking Stories of the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Workers Just Released From Guantánamo (December 2007)
Return to torture: act now for Ahmed Belbacha, a British resident in Guantánamo (August 2007)
Guantánamo’s tangled web: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Majid Khan, dubious US convictions, and a dying man (July 2007)
The Supreme Court’s Guantánamo ruling: what does it mean? (June 2008)
The Guantánamo Files Website Extras 4: Escape to Pakistan (The Saudis)

Also see some recent favorites and others that slipped through the net:
The Insignificance and Insanity of Abu Zubaydah (April 2008)
Guantánamo as Alice in Wonderland (July 2008)
Life sentence for al-Qaeda propagandist fails to justify Guantánamo trials (November 2008)
Why Guantánamo Must Be Closed: Advice for Barack Obama (November 2008)
How Guantánamo Can Be Closed: More Advice for Barack Obama (November 2008)
20 Reasons To Shut Down the Guantánamo Trials (November 2008)
Lost in Guantánamo: The Faisalabad 16 (December 2008)
A History of Music Torture in the “War on Terror” (December 2008)

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, 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.

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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