Andy Worthington on Guantánamo: Four Powerful Radio Shows

15.7.10

Those of us committed to hammering away at Dick Cheney’s “Dark Side” in an effort to restore some sanity to the world, to call to accountability those who turned America into a “Torture Nation,” and to call for justice or freedom for those imprisoned as part of the “War on Terror,” count on a network of admirable radio hosts to get the word out, and I’m pleased to report that, in the last week or so, I’ve done interviews with four people with whom I’ve built up a great relationship over the years: Peter B. Collins, Scott Horton, Linda Olson-Osterlund and Chris at CheneyWatch.

If you have an hour or so to spare, and want to know the background to the Guantánamo story and my four years of work covering the prison’s malign history and the stories of the men held there, including how so many innocent men (or soldiers unconnected with terrorism) were held, and how and why the Bush administration embraced torture — as well as what’s happening (or not happening) now under President Obama — then I recommend my interview with Peter B. Collins, available here. I’ve spoken to Peter many times before, and recommend his show because his podcasts, uninterrupted by ad breaks, provide a great opportunity to discuss serious issues in detail without interruption.

Peter and I covered numerous other topics in our interview, including my shock at the Obama administration’s almost total inability to stand up to critics, recent habeas corpus victories, including that of Hussein Almerfedi, a Yemeni seized in Iran and held in secret CIA prisons in Afghanistan, and the reasons why three men released in Slovakia in January this year recently embarked in a hunger strike to protest about the conditions in which they are held. We also spoke about the sad and mistaken revival of the Military Commissions, including the recent plea deal struck by Ibrahim al-Qosi, who seems to have been little more than a cook for Osama bin Laden, and the reasons why the imminent trial of Omar Khadr should never have been contemplated, and, towards the end of the show, we also spoke about the recent announcement by British Prime Minister David Cameron of an inquiry into British complicity in torture (for an update on recent shocking revelations, see here).

This is how Peter described the show on his website:

Gitmo, still open; Obama’s “disgusting” policies. Andy Worthington, British journalist and author of The Guantánamo Files updates us on Guantánamo: 93% of the prisoners Bush and Cheney called “the worst of the worst” were innocent; 60 of the 181 remaining detainees are innocent Yemenis whose release is blocked by Obama’s moratorium, which is being snubbed by federal judges; 48 others are designated to be held indefinitely without trial, only 35 will face trials, including the KSM posse. Read Andy’s frequent updates on his website, and please support him if you can.

On the same day that I spoke to Peter B., I also conducted a whirlwind 18-minute interview with Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio, available here. The spur for our 16th interview was the publication of the latest update to my definitive four-part Guantánamo prisoner list (see Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four), although we also managed to speak about other topics, including the case of Mohammed Hassan Odaini, the innocent Yemeni student (finally released two days ago), whose innocence was only troubling to the Obama administration because it compelled senior officials to override the moratorium on releasing Yemenis that was shamefully introduced by President Obama in January.

This is how Scott described the show:

Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, discusses his updated “definitive prisoner list” for Guantánamo, how the US whisked away the real suspected terrorists to CIA black sites and used Gitmo as a catch-all and PR stunt, more reasons why torture is unjustifiable and how the Justice Department is forced to pursue terrorism charges against Yemenis who have been cleared for release.

My third interview, with Linda Olson-Osterlund of KBOO FM in Portland Oregon, for her show, “A Deeper Look,” is available here, and aired originally on July 8. Linda was one of the first radio hosts to take an interest in my work, and it’s always a pleasure to talk to her. In the 28-minute interview, we discussed the latest news from Guantánamo, and also focused on the stories of released prisoners, speaking, in particular, about my recent tour of the UK with former prisoner Omar Deghayes, showing the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself), which provides, for me, the perfect example of how disappointing it is that President Obama refused, last year, to allow White House Counsel Greg Craig to bring a number of cleared prisoners (who could not be repatriated because of the risk of torture) to live in the US. Had this happened, of course, it would soon have become apparent — as it has in the UK, and as became abundantly clear to me while traveling around the country with Omar — that enormous mistakes were made at Guantánamo, and that innocent men were held and abused for years, which would have done more than anything else to puncture the hysteria and scaremongering that still surrounds Guantánamo.

This is how Linda described the show:

Still open for business, still holding prisoners, holding military tribunals in new 12-million dollar courtrooms. In May they banned four experienced journalists from covering hearings in the Omar Khadr trial. Congress continues to try to stop the island base’s closure. Join host, Linda Olson-Osterlund and her guest, journalist, film producer and author of The Guantánamo Files, Andy Worthington. Get the news regarding Guantánamo, the prisoners there and the movement to close the infamous interrogation and detention center. Hear about Andy’s work with Cageprisoners, an organization of released detainees living in England, and his tour with them for his documentary, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.”

The last of the four shows, with Chris of CheneyWatch on his Veracity Radio channel, is available here, and was recorded a few weeks back, although it has only recently been made available online. In a special show devoted to the complaint filed in Texas against former military psychologist James Mitchell, one of the architects of the Bush administration’s torture program, Chris spoke to me (in Segment 4), running through some of the many disturbing facets of the torture program, the failures of the intelligence regarding Abu Zubaydah, and the extraordinary cruelty, stupidity and cynicism of those who authorized the torture program, and, like Mitchell, enthusiastically introduced it, and also spoke to Jim Cox, the forensic psychologist who filed the complaint with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, and Joe Margulies, an attorney involved with the Guantánamo litigation from the moment that Guantánamo opened, who is one of Abu Zubaydah’s attorneys, and who contributed to the complaint.

My thanks to Peter B., Scott, Linda and Chris — and I hope to talk to you 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 July 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.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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