Following up on my US tour promoting the new documentary, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself) and my appearance on ABC News, plus the slew of developments in recent weeks regarding Guantánamo — federal court trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, Military Commissions for five other prisoners, and President Obama conceding that Guantánamo will not close by his deadline of January 22, 2010 — I was pleased to be invited to talk to Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio, for what, by my reckoning, is our eleventh interview, available here.
Scott was in a particularly indignant mood, fed up with the spinelessness of the Democrats when confronted by relentless Republican stupidity, and furious about the torture legacy of the Bush administration, and I was happy to run through the pressing issues just now: how the 9/11 trial is the right thing to do, but how the rest of the administration’s plans are a profound disappointment — Military Commissions for prisoners like Omar Khadr, the Canadian who was just 15 when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan, against whom the administration is less secure in its evidence, and no trials at all for those against whom the evidence is even weaker or tainted by torture; in other words, those against whom there is, in fact, nothing that resembles evidence, as District Court judges have been discovering in the prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions for the last 13 months.
I was also glad to have the opportunity to mention the case of Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed, an Algerian whose habeas corpus petition was granted last Friday by Judge Gladys Kessler (and was ignored by the mainstream media, with the exception of the Miami Herald). His victory brings to 31 the number of court victories secured by the prisoners (against just eight victories for the government), even though, of course, it means little or nothing, as over a dozen prisoners cleared by the courts are still at Guantánamo, and around 70 more, cleared by the administration’s own interagency Task Force, are also still held, as the administration fishes around for other countries prepared to take them, after failing to accept that it should have pushed to resettle them to the United States if no other country can be found.
There was much more in the half-hour show, as is clear from Scott’s description of it, which I leave as a final piece of bait to encourage you to listen in:
Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, discusses Obama’s broken promise to close Gitmo within a year, the enthusiastic US embrace of rendition and torture after 9/11, the extralegal indefinite detention of innocent prisoners, endemic racism that makes torture less objectionable, and the dangerous legal precedents established by failing to prosecute Bush administration crimes.
“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a Spectacle Production (74 minutes, 2009), and copies of the DVD are now available. For excerpts and extras, follow the links on the Spectacle website, and a short trailer is available here.
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 I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and launched in October 2009), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
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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.
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