So that’s it, I’ll be out of touch until I tire of the pre-21st century isolation, and head into town for un caffé (o due), some dolci and somewhere with internet access. I’m away in Italy –- a remote location in Puglia the first week, a rooftop apartment in Napoli the second — so contact with the worldwide web will be sporadic, in week one, at least. My information superhighway will be a dirt track and a donkey, hopefully carrying some delicious local produce.
So please, my friends, hold the fort while I’m away — that will be the fort of fighting for freedom in the face of foolishness and fascism, or perhaps the castle of conquering complacency. I’ll try to keep in touch with what’s going on, but I can’t make any promises. Certainly, the timing could hardly be worse, with Omar Khadr’s trial by Military Commission due to start next week, and Ibrahim al-Qosi due to be sentenced.
And who knows what other surprises are lurking? Last year I went away and the US government released the CIA Inspector General’s Report on the torture of “high-value detainees” that had been promised for so long that the PDF had cobwebs on it.
So think of me in a few days, as all this melts away, and I’m licking a gelato by the side of a pool. I’m looking forward to having a proper opportunity to rest and recharge for the struggles ahead, and I’ll try not to sneak into too many internet cafés — although I do promise that Omar Khadr will not be far from my thoughts.
Even on holiday, it’s not possible to forget quite what a sordid and despicable thing it is for the United States to be pressing ahead with a war crimes trial for a young man who was just 15 years old when he was seized — a young man who may or may not have thrown a grenade that killed a US soldier; a young man who, through the haze of his lost youth, appears to recognize that he is the scapegoat for a worldview, cultivated by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld — and, disgracefully, maintained largely intact by Barack Obama — which consists of defending the skewed belief that, in wartime, post-9/11, the US military are soldiers, but everyone who opposes them is a terrorist or a war criminal.
Buona notte a tutti! Ci vediamo in due settimane!
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.
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andy Worthington, Michael Gebert. Michael Gebert said: Apparently, they don't have wireless broadband in this corner of … http://bit.ly/9AANm7 [...]
Trulli! Andy, if you’re near Massafra, be sure and arrange for a tour of the basement frescoes. The tour guide will open a big wooden door, like any other door on the street and lead you down…here’s a description: http://www.pugliaturismo.com/comuni/Massafra/Inglese/default.htm And if you’re near Martina Franca, be sure and eat here: http://www.booking.com/hotel/it/villaggio-in-case-sparse-nel-centro-storico.html?aid=312471;label=martinavillaggio. How I envy you!
Re: Apparently, they don’t have wireless broadband in this corner of Puglia
“Even on holiday, it’s not possible to forget quite what a sordid and despicable thing it is for the United States to be pressing ahead with a war crimes trial for a young man who was just 15 years old when he was seized — a young man who may or may not have thrown a grenade that killed a US soldier; a young man who, through the haze of his lost youth, appears to recognize that he is the scapegoat for a worldview, cultivated by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld — and, disgracefully, maintained largely intact by Barack Obama — which consists of defending the skewed belief that, in wartime, post-9/11, the US military are soldiers, but everyone who opposes them is a terrorist or a war criminal.”
There is nothing wrong with your mission in life to speak up for people who might or might not wish ill to another. Many times these very people could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I call hem unfortunate but not entirely innocent of any culpability.
The day that you open up your eyes and see that young children and women are recruited to carry out missions that kill innocent people will be the day that you finally understand what evil really is.
Have a nice vacation and hope your biggest problem is only to find a working internet connection in some cafe for your propaganda.
Question. Should I consider you a terrorist or a war criminal? See how silly this sounds.
August 19, 2010
Possibly due to lack of internet connections wherever you are on “donations” my August 8th comment was not seen and/or approved by you.
Your prolific material regarding Guantanamo detainees has all the footprints of a naive OCPD.
I wish people listened to your interview on http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/04/24/andy-worthington-14/ . You and the interviewer’s joking and glib manner towards the subject matter cancelled out any serious objectivity.
Too bad people believe everything they read on the internet. What bothers me most is your infintile attitude towards anyone that speaks/works against pure evil. If there was a perfect and just way to deal with these people it would be a perfect world.
Re: August 8 comment
I guess I did not have the right web site
Great to hear from you, and thanks for the advice, which I missed until my return. I didn’t quite manage to stumble across either suggestion, but did see some extraordinary art and architecture, and also, of course, enjoyed the most wonderful food!
I now envy myself, sitting back at my computer in London — in the rain!
Any crime suspect according to our laws and constitutions, is presumed innocent until a lawful court provides conclusive proof otherwise. In the case of terror suspects however, this age-old principle has been reversed and they are not only presumed guilty, but in addition are not given any meaningful opportunity to prove the contrary. You may remember from history lessons the example of presumed witches having to ‘prove’ their innocence by surviving being burned alive? That happened in our middle ages but we seem not to have changed all that much since those days.
You also might remember how Hitler’s fascist extermination of ‘strangers’ who stood in the way of his perceived need of more ‘Lebensraum’ for his own nation, did not emerge as a killing machine overnight. It developed surreptitiously and was allowed to grow into its final horror version, precisely because there were too few ‘Mr Worthingtons’ who would draw attention to the inherent ethical, moral and legal flaws of the nazi doctrine.
Who would question the greedy behaviour of ‘neutral’ countries such as Switzerland or Sweden, who turned a blind eye to the consequences of their economical and financial dealings with Hitler and thus allowed the latter to continue his devastating war for several years longer than otherwise would have been possible.
You may reflect for a moment on analogies with current (government) elites which are making fortunes on the ‘war on terror’ and could not care less about the price paid for that by anonimous ‘strangers’.
Mr. Worthington chooses to adhere to the civilised ‘presumed innocent’ version and devotes his time and energy to defending that principle and the victims of the fact that this fundamental right is refused to them on the basis of entirely subjective considerations.
This has nothing to do with naivity and does not need smug comments about him having two weeks off paid by ‘donations’, which simply are a modern way of remunerating a journalist for his work through the internet. When we pay for a hardcopy newspaper we also pay for someone taking the trouble to inform us about what is happening in the world and indirectly we finance his/her holidays. Why should that not be the case for someone who works through internet?
His voice is important, as sadly the majority of our mainstream press chooses to ignore our -democratically elected- governments’ flagrant human rights abuses and the fact that all of us are made co-responsible for them.
Incidentally, I was surprised by you adding ‘women’ as an unlikely cathegory to be a terrorist. If there are women who choose to become army commando troopers or prison torturers, we should not be surprised that some women might also be tempted -or forced- to join the realm of typically male criminal activities. They too though, are presumed innocent until proven guilty, not the other way round.
Children however are a totally different matter. They are legally and morally the responsibility of either their parent or other adults and cannot be expected to be fully responsible for -alledged- criminal behaviour that has been incited or imposed by those adults. Omar Khadr’s case is particularly distressing, as he seems to be made a scapegoat for the behaviour of older members of his family.
If we seriously accept that any child who throws a grenade at soldiers who are out to kill him (self defence) is a war criminal, or that simple persons who -in order to feed their family- accepted a job as cook or driver for the taliban when these constituted the official government in Afghanistan and well before the ‘war on terror’ was unleashed, are retroactively branded ‘terrorists’ and treated as such, we must also accept that sooner or later we ourselves might end up in that cathegory. Simply because we had contact years ago with the neighbour of the brother of a friend of a ‘terror suspect’ (like Canadian Maher Arar who ended up tortured in Syria because a friend of his brother’s several years earlier had co-signed an appartment lease contract for him), maybe even an employer we worked for. For what is legal and innocent today, may at any time be made illegal and criminal retroactively, if we allow this lawless trend to fester unchecked.
You might one day be grateful to persons like Mr Worthington for having contributed to avert this, for sticking out their neck to alert us to this danger and for devoting time and energy to try and redress were it only a fraction of the wrong inflicted on the first victims of this new world order.
Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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