Andy Worthington and The Guantánamo Files: Podcast with Peter B. Collins

6.7.09

The Guantanamo FilesLast week veteran progressive radio host Peter B. Collins — who recently interviewed me as a guest presenter on another show — asked me to be interviewed for a more in-depth podcast on his website, where he is pioneering a listener-funded new media project to make hard-hitting political interviews available online without editorial interference from networks and without the often extensive advertising breaks that do so much to disrupt the flow of so many shows.

The show is available here (as Podcast #10), or via the front page, by clicking on “Get Podcast,” and over the space of an hour, we had what Peter described as a “wide ranging conversation,” in which he inquired about the origins of US detention and torture policies, asked how it is that the vast majority of prisoners were innocent of any terrorism crimes, and talked about his “crazy Mofo” theory that drove Cheney to the “Dark Side.” As Peter described it, I debunked the claims that Gitmo prisoners were released and, according to the Pentagon, “returned to the battlefield,” and also detailed the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who, as Peter put it, “was tortured into false claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.” During the discussion, we also discussed al-Libi’s recent death by “suicide” in a Libyan prison.

I’d like to thank Peter for providing the time to discuss Guantánamo and the “War on Terror” in the kind of detail that is not often available, which, in addition to the topics mentioned above, also provided an opportunity for me to talk about the taint of Guantánamo, and how distressing it is that prisoners held outside the law, in a peculiarly aberrant project initiated by the Bush administration, are likely to be regarded as “terrorists” for the rest of their lives, despite never having been charged or tried. I also spoke about how prisoners, for the most part, survived their ordeal through their faith, and were therefore extremely unlikely to embrace terrorism on their release, and was very pleased to be given the time to elaborate on the critically important story of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi’s torture and death.

I was also pleased that Peter started a discussion about the mainstream media’s general lack of interest in the story of the secret prisons, and the prisons in Afghanistan — particularly Bagram — which provided me with an opportunity to express my dismay about the Obama administration’s obstruction of habeas corpus rights for foreign prisoners rendered to Bagram, and my doubts about whether the US military is now holding prisoners according to the Geneva Conventions (as discussed in the following article, “Judge Rules That Afghan ‘Rendered’ To Bagram In 2002 Has No Rights”).

And if you make it to the end, you’ll discover that Peter kept recording after the conclusion of the interview, when we had a frank discussion about the new media and the traditional media, the possibilities of cyberspace, and the steady migration of readers to the Internet.

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.

3 Responses

  1. John Zwiebel says...

    Just wanted you to know, I listened to you on the Peter B. podcast.

    thanks.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, John. Always good to have feedback.

  3. Jason Leopold and Andy Worthington on closing Guantanamo Bay Prison « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] months ago, veteran progressive radio host Peter B. Collins interviewed me for an in-depth podcast on his website, where, as I described it at the time, he is “pioneering a […]

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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, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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