I’m delighted to announce that my three-year project to record the stories of all the prisoners held at Guantánamo is nearly complete. I’ve just posted the last of 12 additional online chapters supplementing my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, and available from Amazon here and here). This additional chapter complements Chapter 17 of The Guantánamo Files, looking at the stories of 37 prisoners not mentioned in the book, either because their stories were not available at the time of writing, or to keep the book at a manageable length.
Although the majority of these men have been released from Guantánamo, eight are still held. As with the majority of the stories of the 220 or so Afghans who were held at Guantánamo, their stories, taken as a whole, exemplify the failures of both “Operation Enduring Freedom” (the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001) and the Guantánamo project to identify prisoners who were actually involved in terrorism — both because of chronic intelligence failures on the ground, and a lack of screening in the US prisons at Kandahar and Bagram, as dictated at the highest levels of the Bush administration.
Within the next week, I’ll be publishing a definitive prisoner list, identifying not only the 242 prisoners who are still held, and those who have been released (and the dates they were released), but also those who have been cleared for release, whose plight is one of the major stumbling blocks to Barack Obama’s promise to close Guantánamo within a year, as the majority of these prisoners cannot be repatriated because of fears that they will be tortured in their home countries.
The list will provide links to the stories of around half of the 779 prisoners who have been held at Guantánamo, and references will be provided for the other half, identifying where their stories can be found in The Guantánamo Files. The list will, I hope, be a useful research tool, not just in identifying the stories of those who have been released, but also as an aid to analyzing the stories of those who are still held, to compare the Bush administration’s long-standing assertions that the remaining prisoners are the “hardcore” with a more objective view, which, in the majority of cases, questions the quality of the so-called evidence against them, as is the case with the eight prisoners mentioned in this online chapter who are still held.
Note: See the column on the left for the first eleven online chapters.
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In addition to everything else your work has been, it is an act of unconditional love to the whole wide world. You have loved your neighbor as yourself, and you are, as a result, golden. Innocence can never be restored; our rose colored glasses have been crushed into a fine powder. But they have been replaced by depth perception and ocular clarity, which will serve us far better going forward, as we must.
So well put, Frances — & you express such a wide & passionate heart…keep us informed about your progress to give of yourself for the tortured ones & what you learn along the way about loving them. 1 Corinthians 13 in the so-called christian bible which is most like a scripture according to people & perhaps at times according to the holy spirit as well – the deepest, most truthful spirit of us all – within & without – which I still fully embrace .
Although I’m a long, long way from my biblical upbringings in interpretation – I still find a universal quality to this portion of scripture which our US citizenry and leaders would do well to heed:
…although I do good works & have not love, I am a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol…
So whenever I want to give up myself – my psyche & my body even up – in the stead of – in the hoped for benefit of the most powerless & the most voiceless among us — (and I have many times in my life) – I try to remember how I can do so & still love…
not only the victim yet also the victimizer…a feat which only a few manage to accomplish in one lifetime…
Perhaps this understanding of what’s required for healing, human rights and peace on earth is universal enough to connect with readers here of all persuasions, even the pantheists, the non-religious and those of many cultures and faiths?
February 16, 2009 at 3:24 EST
I was so inspired by Frances’ comment & Andy’s accomplishment, that I reflected a little longer & realized that Frances touched upon a very recent experience of mine as well as a major theme of a blog I do with a friend in Germany…so I edited and extended the above answer. You may want to take a little look?
I also post many of Andy’s entries here:
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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