Last week I was interviewed by Chris of CheneyWatch for his new project, Veracity Radio. The show, which aired on Saturday, is available here, and my interview is in “Segment 1,” and starts about 37 minutes in, after a discussion about the BP disaster with a representative of the Seize BP campaign.
In the course of a great interview, which lasted about an hour, Chris and I began by discussing what we might expect from the new coalition government in the UK, especially in relation to immigration and terrorism, but also touching on Europe and the economy. We then moved on to Guantánamo, via the whitewash of the internal Justice Department report into John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, the lawyers responsible for the notorious “torture memos,” which purported to redefine torture so that it could be used by the CIA, and later by the US military.
We also discussed the differences between the UK and US government’s post-9/11 approach to habeas corpus, which allowed me to run through the largely submerged story of Britain’s draconian anti-terror laws and the reliance on secret evidence, and also to summarize the confusion underpinning the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” in which soldiers were confused with terror suspects, and everyone was thrown into a legal black hole.
We also spoke about the “Dirty Thirty,” a group of men seized crossing from Afghanistan to Pakistan in December 2001, who have been subjected to allegations that they were all bodyguards for Osama bin Laden, even though it has been demonstrated, on at least two occasions, that these allegations were extracted through torture. This led to a discussion of how the “Dirty Thirty” were, in all probability, a group consisting of al-Qaeda operatives, foot soldiers for the Taliban and civilians — missionaries and humanitarian aid workers — who ended up being mixed up together, either as they left Afghanistan, or when they were held in Pakistani jails before being handed over to US forces, or when they were in US custody and the authorities decided to lump them all together.
Chris and I also talked about the pre-trial hearings in the trial by Military Commission of Omar Khadr, which I covered in depth in two recent articles, “Prosecuting a Tortured Child: Obama’s Guantánamo Legacy” and “The Torture of Omar Khadr, a Child in Bagram and Guantánamo,” and also discussed the case of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, a supposed 9/11 insider who recently won his habeas petition, to the dismay of those who prefer faith-based evidence to anything that can be tested in a court of law. I discussed Salahi’s case in two other recent articles, “Guantánamo and Habeas Corpus: The Torture Victim and the Taliban Recruit” and “Mohamedou Ould Salahi: How a Judge Demolished the US Government’s Al-Qaeda Claims.”
Chris and I also discussed the case of Omar Mohammed Khalifh (aka Omar Abu Bakr), a Libyan who recently lost his habeas petition, as discussed in another recent article, “Judge Denies Habeas Petition of an Ill and Abused Libyan in Guantánamo,” and concluded by discussing a forthcoming project — an overview of all the men still held — as an attempt to revive the stories of the prisoners, which have largely slipped off the radar since President Obama failed to meet his self-imposed deadline of closing the prison by January 2010.
Please also note that, in “Segment 2” of the show, Chris spoke to former interrogator Matthew Alexander, author of How to Break a Terrorist: The US Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq, and my colleague Jason Leopold, with audio clips from his recent interview with former CIA agent John Kiriakou.
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, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and currently on tour in the UK), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
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