On the last day of my recent US tour to raise awareness of the plight of the remaining 173 prisoners in Guantánamo on the 9th anniversary of the opening of the prison, I was invited to be the subject of a Press TV show entitled “The Autograph,” described as “a 25-minute weekly interview with academics, authors, politicians and dignitaries encompassing a whole range of different topics from cultural to highly political issues.” The host, Susan Modaress, was engaged and very well informed, and it was excellent to have the opportunity to explain the story of Guantánamo past, present and future in more detail than is usually available to me on broadcast TV.
I could run through the various topics we discussed, but it would make more sense to direct you instead to the videos of the program, available in three parts below, via YouTube. I hope you enjoy the program, and please feel free to make it available to others if you find it enlightening. It remains crucial that people understand the lies that have been told about Guantánamo over the years — that it held “the worst of the worst,” for example, when only a few percent of the 779 men held are alleged to have had any involvement in terrorism, and the rest were either completely innocent men, seized for bounties by America’s Afghan and Pakistani allies, or foot soldiers in the war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, which preceded the 9/11 attacks and, for the most part, had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or international terrorism.
As I have explained in recent articles, Guantánamo Forever?, The Political Prisoners of Guantánamo and Obama’s Collapse: The Return of the Military Commissions, it also remains crucially important that those who understand the extent of these lies and distortions push to keep Guantánamo in the news. Through a combination of politically expedient cowardice on President Obama’s part, and ferocious and cyncial scaremongering on the part of lawmakers who support Guantánamo’s continued existence, the future is bleak for the remaining prisoners. Although 89 of these men have been cleared for release by the President’s own Guantánamo Review Task Force, the majority — 58 Yemenis, whose home country is unfairly regarded as a nation full of terrorists and terrorist sympathizers — are unlikely to be released in the foreseable future, unless action is taken to raise awareness of their plight as political prisoners, and justice also remains elusive for the 33 men proposed for trials, and 48 others designated — shockingly — for indefinite detention without charge or trial.
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, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andy Worthington, Matt Diaz. Matt Diaz said: RT @GuantanamoAndy: Video: “The #Guantanamo Files” Andy Worthington on Press TV’s “The Autograph”-Excellent interview: http://bit.ly/eU4NGY […]
On Facebook, Ruth Gilburt wrote:
sharing, as ever, Andy…though will have to watch it in full later x
Tamara Beinlich wrote:
Newsom Cheryl wrote:
ashamed I haven’t given it more attention. Thanks Andy!
Thanks, everyone. It feels like slightly off timing, promoting a program about Guantanamo when all eyes (mine included, for the most part) are focused on what’s happening in Egypt, and where the spontaneous outpouring of so much anger against Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year tyranny is so compelling.
L’hadi Bendebka wrote:
Andy! but great men look always beyond and elsewhere. that’s what you do!
Thanks, L’Hadi. I presume you’re enjoying the demonstrations of people power. For too long, people in the West have given little thought to the oppressed people whose dictators are supported by their own governments. Many of them are seeing the discontent for the first time.
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