I never dreamed, when I began blogging full-time two years and four months ago, as an offshoot of my book The Guantánamo Files, that the Internet offered such extraordinary opportunities for independent journalists to focus on particular issues and to get their voices heard, or that I would end up with a million-word archive chronicling every aspect of Guantánamo’s recent history, including the stories of all the released prisoners, the ongoing farce of the Military Commissions, the prisoners’ largely successful habeas corpus petitions — and other, allied issues, including “extraordinary rendition” and torture, and Britain’s own draconian anti-terror laws.
Although the Internet has no quality control, those who genuinely have something to say — and who know how to get their message across — will discover that it rewards perseverance and specialization, and that it favors cooperation over self-absorption. Linking, networking, communication: the Internet positively embraces all these, and remains resistant to corporate attempts to raise tollbooths on its highways.
Since May 2007 I have seen the Internet gain more and more readers, as those who seek detailed stories behind the headlines — and, often, stories that are not reported elsewhere — have learned to search the ‘net, and search engines reflect what they find.
We are still some way from attracting a significant number of entrepreneurs who are prepared to invest in original work online, as traditional media — for the most part — hold onto their established models, but positive developments have begun to take place in this field, and I expect that, in the coming years, investors and advertisers will come to understand the attraction of a medium that has a global reach, but few overheads.
To mark my 600th post, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me over the years, and also to thank you for helping to create a site that now regularly receives over 150,000 page visits a month. Particular thanks are also due to the Future of Freedom Foundation, the Guardian, Cageprisoners, The Public Record, The Raw Story, the Daily Star, Lebanon, the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, Index on Censorship, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Amnesty International, the BBC, al-Jazeera and Press TV.
Much has changed since May 2007. Three prisoners have died at Guantánamo, 159 have been released, George W. Bush has left the White House, Barack Obama has arrived, and Dick Cheney has still not disappeared. The hopes of January 2009 have been severely compromised, and those responsible for the shame and degradation of the long, dark years of the Bush administration have not yet been held accountable for their crimes.
But it is not all doom and gloom. For those who believe in the balance of powers in the United States, the courts have provided a crucial check on Executive power and the feebleness of politicians, exposing the truth about Guantánamo’s system of abuse, torture and false confessions with an admirable objectivity — which is both rare and enormously valuable in the highly-charged world of issues relating to terrorism.
Much remains to be done, of course. Beyond the closure of Guantánamo, there are severe doubts about the legality of the US prison at Bagram (where “rendition” appears to be back in favor, and the Geneva Conventions are still sidelined), there is the largely unwritten story of “America’s Disappeared” (requiring a full accounting of those subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and detention and torture in secret prisons), and there is also, of course, the question of accountability for those who turned America into a Torture Nation.
I’ll be sticking with these stories until a just resolution has been reached, and I hope you’ll be here with me.
London, September 27, 2009
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. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009, and if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
It is I–we–who should be thanking you for the incredible work you have done over the past several years exposing the injustice, the cover-ups, the lies, the truth. It is a privilege for me to publish your work over at The Public Record.
Thanks, Jason. That’s a nice boost at the start of another busy week.
I’d also like to say that I’m very pleased to be involved with The Public Record, which I think provides a model for the kind of online political journalism I was discussing above.
Pay a visit here: http://pubrecord.org/
Thanks Andy for your courageous research/writing into the subject of Guantánamo & other associated manifestations of the “War on Terror”.
It is interesting to note how many UK “detention without charge/control order” cases feature alleged links to the alleged Algeria ‘terror group’: GIA. A number of commentators have drawn links between this group & the Algerian secret service.
Please visit the J7 research forum:
Best Wishes with your continued research.
Good to hear from you, and thanks for the supportive words. I shall indeed check out the links you sent — the murky story of the GIA and the Algerian secret service is one that has troubled me for some time.
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