For our 15th interview — and our first since Antiwar Radio upgraded to a station with commercial breaks, making for a lean 20-minute show — Scott Horton and I began by discussing my recent article, Guantánamo and Habeas Corpus: 2 Years, 50 Cases, 36 Victories for the Prisoners, which allowed me to run through the story of how the prisoners at Guantánamo secured habeas corpus rights, and how, since October 2008, there have been 50 rulings in the District Court in Washington D.C., and 36 of these have been won by the prisoners, generally through rulings in which the judges have exposed the flimsiness of the government’s evidence, revealing how much if it relies on dubious statements made by the prisoners themselves, or by their fellow prisoners, in circumstances involving torture, coercion or bribery. As I never tire of pointing out, that’s a 72 percent success rate, and it should be trumpeted far more prominently in the mainstream US media than it has been.
I also discussed my increasing obsession with the fundamental failure of the detention policies inherited by Obama from the Bush administration, which have led to the majority of the prisoners who have lost their habeas petitions being consigned to apparently endless detention, on a purportedly legal basis, not because they had any involvement with terrorism, but because they had been fighting with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan (or otherwise serving soldiers in Afghanistan, as a cook or a medic, for example) and should, therefore, have been held — if at all — as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Conventions.
Scott and I also discussed the case of Mohammed Hassan Odaini, which I have covered in three articles recently — Why is a Yemeni Student in Guantánamo, Cleared on Three Occasions, Still Imprisoned?, Obama Thinks About Releasing Innocent Yemenis from Guantánamo, and Obama’s Moral Bankruptcy Regarding Torture. I recommend these articles for those who want to know more about a prime example of President Obama’s cowardice when it comes to releasing cleared prisoners from Guantánamo, because Odaini was cleared by a Bush-era military review board, by Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, and by a US judge, but is still held, even though, on Saturday, the administration conceded, with some reluctance, that he will soon be released.
It was a pleasure to talk to Scott, as ever — and I was honored to be referred to as “the heroic Andy Worthington” — and I also look forward to talking again soon.
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) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. 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, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.”
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