This was a busy week for interviews. On Tuesday, after trekking down to Westminster to record an interview for Democracy Now! I returned to the leafy retreat of my home in south London to talk to Peter B. Collins for a show that doesn’t appear to be online, and then stayed up horribly late — the interview began at 2.15 in the morning, London time! — with Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog, who was the guest presenter for the week on the Mike Malloy Show on LA’s KTLK AM 1150 radio station.
The show is available here (it starts about 13 minutes into “Hour 1”), and, in between copious ad breaks, Brad and I (who have emailed many times, but have never spoken before) ran through Guantánamo’s history, discussed the Obama administration’s unfortunate wavering over Guantánamo’s future (despite Obama’s bold promise to close the prison within a year) and the possible prosecution of “high-value detainees,” and talked about the most significant recent stories, including my exclusive article about the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, and recent events relating to Guantánamo: the release of nine prisoners, and the habeas corpus review of the Syrian prisoner Abdul Rahim al-Ginco, which — to those paying attention — has done enormous damage to the Obama administration’s credibility, for the simple reason that al-Ginco was tortured by al-Qaeda as a spy and imprisoned by the Taliban for nearly two years before he was “liberated” by US forces and sent to Guantánamo. At the end of the show, while keeping Ed Asner waiting, I answered some questions from callers about the many ways in which prisoners came to be at Guantánamo who had no connection with terrorism — or often any form of militancy whatsoever — and about whom the government knew nothing.
On Thursday I had two more interviews. The first was with Linda Olson-Osterlund for her new show, “A Deeper Look,” on KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon. Linda has interviewed me many times before, and it was a pleasure to talk again. The show is available here, and, as Linda described it in her notes for the show, she asked, “What progress is being made since Obama has become President?” and we duly discussed the failures of US politicians (of both parties) to put notions of justice before political maneuvering, the recent releases of prisoners including the transfer of four Chinese Uighurs to Bermuda (and the failures of Obama to overturn the Bush administration’s lawlessness by tackling, head-on, the egregious failures of the “War on Terror” detention policies, and bringing the Uighurs to the US mainland to demonstrate, first-hand, that they are not terrorists at all), the release of three Saudis and Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner, Mohammed El-Gharani, and the torture and suspicious death of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. This included, of course, a discussion of al-Libi’s notorious claim, produced under torture in Egypt, that there was a working relationship between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, which was, in turn, used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and led to further discussion of the role that information obtained through torture — or through other forms of coercion, or bribery — constitutes the majority of the government’s so-called evidence against prisoners in Guantánamo. We also, I’m glad to say, discussed Britain’s “War on Terror,” and my home country’s version of indefinite detention without charge or trial, which have echoed the Bush administration’s policies, and which I discussed most recently here, and also the UK’s involvement in the use of torture abroad.
Thursday’s second interview was with Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio. On our ninth outing (available here), under the snappy heading on Antiwar.com, “Al-Libi Tells No More Tales, Because He’s Dead, says Andy Worthington,” Scott and I did indeed discuss Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, and, as Scott also put it, “Guantánamo habeas corpus cases that reveal most ‘evidence’ is from confessions by other prisoners made under duress, Bagram’s function as a SCOTUS-free zone and Dick Cheney’s supposed 9/11 transformation into, well, Dick Cheney.” The first (as also discussed with Linda) is a key topic of mine — and crucial to undermining former Vice President Dick Cheney’s persistent claims that the remaining prisoners are the “hardcore,” the second concerns the Obama administration’s refusal to accept a recent court ruling that foreign prisoners held at Bagram for up to seven years have habeas corpus rights, and the last concerns my belief that the entire “War on Terror” was fueled, in particular, by the psychotic paranoia of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
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.
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