Andy Worthington Discusses the Guantánamo Prisoners’ “Habeas Hell” and Obama’s Cowardly Retreat on the 9/11 Trial on Antiwar Radio


In a show described as “Life in Prison without Trial,” I joined Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio on Monday for our 25th interview — the first since my recent health problems and a stay in hospital, the first since I gave up smoking, and the first I’ve ever done under the influence of morphine (for medical purposes, please note!) The full 17-minute interview is here.

Scott had called me primarily to discuss a recent article of mine — Mocking the Law, Judges Rule that Evidence Is Not Necessary to Hold Insignificant Guantánamo Prisoners for the Rest of Their Lives — which I was delighted to revisit (along with another article from six weeks ago, Habeas Hell: How the Great Writ Was Gutted at Guantánamo), as the whole premise of both articles — that fanatical rightwing dinosaurs in the D.C. Circuit Court have gutted habeas corpus of all meaning, with relation to the prisoners at Guantánamo — is enormously significant, even though it barely registers with the mainstream media.

We also spoke about the ongoing problems for the Yemenis in Guantánamo, cleared for release but consigned to ongoing detention as political prisoners because of shameful political capitulation on the part of the administration, and I spoke about how disappointing it is that the revolutionary movements in the Middle East are unlikely to lead to the release of, for example, Tunisian prisoners from Guantánamo because right-wingers will almost certainly whine about how the loss of the Middle East’s dictators has only made the world a more dangerous place, and has created a vacuum into which terrorists will spread — ignoring the true message of these revolutionary times, which is that the “War on Terror” is over, that its excesses and its brutality and its paranoia are no longer required (and were never, in fact, required), and that it is the ordinary people — young people, workers, professionals — who have been driving the change in the Middle East, and not Islamists, who have been content to stay in the background, and who want to play a part in a democratic process.

We also touched briefly on what was, at that point, brand-new breaking news: the administration’s decision to capitulate once again to critics, this time abandoning the promised federal court trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohamed and four other men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and trying them by Military Commission instead, which I have just covered in my article, Holder, Obama and the Cowardly Shame of Guantánamo and the 9/11 Trial.

This is how Scott described the show, and I hope you enjoy it if you have 17 minutes to spare. It was a pleasure, as always:

Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, discusses the right-wing judges on the DC Circuit Court who think prisoners can be detained indefinitely with no evidence and who habitually reverse lower court decisions on Guantánamo habeas petitions; why today’s Supreme Court would either deadlock or rule differently on Boumediene v. Bush; the 15-month ban on releasing Yemeni Guantánamo prisoners, due entirely to their nationality; getting fed up and depressed after 5 years of Gitmo coverage, including 2 years of the “hope and change” Obama administration; and Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will not get a federal trial, after all.

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, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). 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, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), 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.

21 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Mezentian Gate wrote:

    This only points out the similarity between “leftwing” & “rightwing”: nothing.
    The State is supreme in all matters, and a suspected threat to its “security” justifies any atrocity.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Very well put, Mezentian. Thanks.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Saghir Hussain wrote:

    There are no left or right wing Judges, at least when it comes to WoT [the “War on Terror”]. Simply put, there are those who care about their careers and those who don’t.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Lance Ciepiela wrote:

    Obama = prosecute George W. Bush for war crimes torture – restore “the rule of law” in America that “no one is above the law” and repair the Constitution, grievously violated by this credibly accused war criminal torturer of human beings in his custody

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Lance, it may have once been possible to advance a call like this, but after all this time that Obama has had to prove that he is any different, it is abundantly clear that he is just as culpable as Bush. In fact he has actively hindered justice for both the detainees and the Bush team.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Monique D’hooghe wrote:

    dugg it… kinda disapointed that of the twenty people who liked it here, only another 2 took the time to Digg it…. on another note… thank you andy… i am really glad that my fb friends brought you to my attention…. i love your nuanced, in depth treatment of difficult topics… if you ever make it to brussels, can i buy you a beer or a coffee? it would certainly make my day :o)

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    ‎”If you’re not torturing people you’re not doing your job properly…” LOL! It’s really barbaric that torture even takes place in our world today – what is worth that kind of price?

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Fee MercuryMoon wrote:

    I have no understanding of digging. Sorry.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Monique D’hooghe wrote:

    you go to the link…. there will be a button to dig it… you might have to connect it to your fb account (easiest) after you have done that you can click the digg button to register your vote :o) hope that helped :o)

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Fee MercuryMoon wrote:

    Thanks. I think I have to set up a digg it account.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Cheryl Lynn Garrett wrote:

    Two words that always should be said together…Obama and Coward

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, everyone. Great to hear from you.
    Fee, I hope you join Digg, as it’s another good community for sharing information.
    Monique, I’ll be delighted to join you for coffee if I ever make it out to Brussels.
    And Tashi — ‎”If you’re not torturing people you’re not doing your job properly” — was that something I said in the interview? It rings a bell …

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Monique D’hooghe wrote:

    yay… i just know you’ll make it someday…

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    Yes, that was in reference to how people in other countries were being coerced into torturing on behalf of the US. What a nice demand – do this or else… I wonder what they got in return for doing the biding, a nice ‘aid cheque’?

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, aid cheques, Tashi — or perhaps a nice discount on some more weapons …

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Fee MercuryMoon wrote:

    Andy I’ll check as its polite, but I am sure you won’t mind me using that interview on my radio show this Sunday which is about Palestine, but also about all things freedom, Human Rights etc. So if you can simply say “Yes its OK!” 🙂 XXX

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Fee, as far as I’m concerned, you can use whatever you’d like. Always happy to spread the word. Thanks.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Fee MercuryMoon wrote:

    Talking of which I must invite Omar to come on the show next month 🙂

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I am sharing this, Andy.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote (in response to 15, above):

    lol – sad but funny

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Monique and Andy–Thanks for telling me about Digg. I did not know what it was. I am ill and lack energy, but shall do my best to *both* share and Digg.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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