Last week I was delighted to talk to Linda Olson-Osterlund on KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon, for her show, “A Deeper Look,” which was broadcast on Wednesday. The show is available online here, and Linda and I discussed the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself), following my recent visit to the United States to promote it in New York, Washington D.C. and the Bay Area.
In the course of our half-hour interview, Linda asked me about how the film came to be made, and we had the opportunity to speak about the role played by Omar Deghayes, who I regard as the heart of the film. Linda also played a clip in which Omar spoke about how he was told in Guantánamo that he would not be released until he was a broken man, and also spoke about how missing his son growing up was worse than all the torture and humiliation to which he was subjected during five and a half years in US custody.
We also spoke about the latest news from Guantánamo: the federal court trials for those accused of the 9/11 attacks, the second-tier judicial system planned for those put forward for trial by Military Commissions, and the implications of the Obama administration’s admission that it will fail to close Guantánamo by its deadline of January 22, 2010.
I was particularly happy to be able to talk about how, as a result of cowardice on President Obama’s part, plans to bring the Uighurs to the US mainland (a group of cleared prisoners who cannot be repatriated to China because of fears that they will be tortured) were dropped, allowing lawmakers to pass legislation preventing any cleared prisoner from being resettled in the United States, even if no other country will take them, which appears, therefore, to mean that they may remain imprisoned for the rest of their lives.
This discussion also allowed me to talk about the recent resolution passed by the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, to ask Congress to reverse its ban on bringing cleared prisoners to the US mainland, which has also involved specifically adopting two prisoners in Guantánamo, Ahmed Belbacha and Ravil Mingazov, and more information about how other communities can follow Amherst’s example can be found at Nancy Talanian’s site No More Guantánamos.
It was a pleasure to talk to Linda, as always, and I hope to have the opportunity to meet her one day, preferably after a screening of “Outside the Law,” somewhere in the Portland area!
“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.
I’m finding this site difficult to read lately because the pictures which should be on the left appear over the text and obscure a lot of it. This happens no matter which computer I use, so it looks like it’s a fault with the site. Any chance of fixing it?
Strange. I don’t know why that is, especially as you say that it happens when you use different computers. I’ll have to look into it. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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