My apologies, to those who receive updates on new articles via my RSS feed, or anyone else who tried to get through to my site between around 10pm GMT on Wednesday evening, and 11.30 am GMT on Thursday morning. The site was down, due to a technical problem that has now been resolved.
For those of us working as independent journalists, largely on the Internet, it’s horribly stressful when your site goes down, although I’m aware, of course, given my subject matter, that this kind of stress is not actually very significant.
So welcome back. You may have missed my most recent article, “Even In Cheney’s Bleak World, The Al-Qaeda-Iraq Torture Story Is A New Low” (the fifth in an ongoing series of articles following the release of the Office of Legal Counsel’s torture memos, and the publication of a Senate report into detainee abuse), but everything is still in place, and I look forward to continuing to chronicle the torture and abuse perpetrated by the Bush administration, as part of a movement of people determined to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes, and also, as President Obama marks his 100th day in office, to doing all I can to point out when and where he is either making a clean break with his predecessors, or, indeed, failing to do so.
The problem with an administration like that of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney — devoted, unconstitutionally, to securing and wielding unaccountable executive power — is, as the British historian Lord Acton stated in a letter in 1887 (in a phrase that is often slightly misquoted), “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Note: I should also add that I’m continuing to monitor abuses of power in the UK, as outlined in a recent article for the Guardian’s Comment is free, “Taking liberties with our justice system,” because it’s clear that Bush and Cheney did not have a monopoly on confusing the need for security with the inclination to believe that they were above the law.
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). See here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.
One of the many reasons I admire you, Andy, is that barring some extraordinary external technological interference, you always do what you say you’re going to do. If you promise a post on a certain subject, you publish it. I can’t tell you how rare a quality that is on the Internet. Other bloggers I follow, accomplished though they be, are wont to make elaborate promises–stories, critical essays by this or that date certain–and one is disappointed time and time again. It can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially for those of us with an emotional and intellectual investment in the democratic possibilities of the Internet. Try as we may to build up and reinforce the perception of Internet journalism as equally valid (and professional) as compared with print mechanisms, this kind of unexplained procrastination, or all out failure to stand and deliver, undermines the credibility of the media.
Do the double-crossers hold themselves to an unrealistically perfectionistic standard and then fear they cannot achieve it? Probably. But far better not to make extravagant claims, commitments actually, in the first place. You, on the other hand, are impeccable in this regard, and as a result have a very high credit rating (with me anyway). Believe me, one notices–and appreciates!–the difference.
Thanks, Frances, although I must admit that last month I promised to do four articles in my series “Britain’s Guantanamo,” with the last of the four examining the most recent verdict by the UK’s secret court, but instead found myself in a fish restaurant clinging to the side of a cliff in Mallorca before having the opportunity to write it.
It doesn’t keep me awake at night, but, in line with your appraisal, has made me aware of not trying to make promises that I can’t keep!
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