The Nation Conversations: Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files with Kevin Gosztola

3.5.11

Since last Monday, when WikiLeaks began releasing classified military documents relating to almost all of the 779 prisoners held in Guantánamo, I have undertaken a number of interviews — with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, with the BBC and Press TV, with Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio, with Alexa O’Brien for WikiLeaks Central, and with Steve Rendall for the weekly CounterSpin show produced by the media watchdog FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting).

If you’ve checked out any of the above, then my 25-minute interview with Kevin Gosztola, an intern for the Nation, available here, may not contain too many surprises, but Kevin asked some great questions, and the rather more expansive format allowed me to cover some of the important themes in more detail than elsewhere — the stories of the juveniles, for example, as I discussed in my article, The Pentagon Can’t Count: 22 Juveniles Held at Guantánamo, in November 2008 — and also to discuss the amnesia of modern life, aided by 24-hour news cycles, which means that much of what has been exposed before regarding the Guantánamo prisoners has apparently been wiped clean from people’s minds.

I also had the opportunity to address Kevin’s question about the Justice Department’s ludicrous insistence that attorneys for the Guantánamo prisoners cannot use — or even read — any of the documents relased by WikiLeaks by running through the attempts to secure justice for the prisoners at Guantánamo by legal means, which looked promising in 2004, and again from 2008 to 2009, but which have ground to a halt because of the hostility of right-wing judges in the D.C. Circuit Court, including the notorious figure of Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who is now, single-handedly, driving most of what passes for President Obama’s detainee policy at Guantánamo.

Closing the show, I spoke about how the administration and Congress had, prior to the release of these documents, succeeded in shutting down any avenue for the release of prisoners, or the closure of the prison, and explained how, as a result, the release of the WikiLeaks documents is of great significance, even if, as I mentioned a few days ago, it may, sadly, not create “significant enough ripples in the US to effect any kind of change to the existing policies.”

This is how the Nation described the show:

WikiLeaks released the long awaited “Gitmo Files” this past week. The files are previously classified detainee reports from 2002 to when Obama took office that include analyses and recommendations from Joint Task Force Guantánamo (JTF-GTMO) on what to do with the detainees at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba military prison. London-based journalist Andy Worthington, who is a WikiLeaks media partner for the release, describes in this Nation Conversation with Nation intern Kevin Gosztola how the documents reveal new information on “unreliable informants” and what the government used to justify the detention of juveniles and senior citizens at Guantánamo.

When considering the fact that the Obama Administration has failed to close Guantánamo, Worthington states, “The United States’ system of law has failed at Guantánamo.” He contends, “In the desire to have more transparency and push back against overclassification,” the release has been very useful. He doesn’t think the material would have been released if WikiLeaks had not published the reports.

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.

9 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Evan Siegel wrote:

    Shared.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    John Scott Ridgway wrote:

    Habeas Corpus — Cheney put out a hit on Habeas Corpus years ago…. shot down in the same bloody battle as Justice and freedom, from what I hear, after being caught hiding out in a Motel Six in Starved Rock, state park here in Illinois.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I’m sharing and digging this now, Andy

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Tamzin Jans wrote:

    Thank you, Andy, for your tireless work for justice!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, my friends.
    And John, I love the analogy of Cheney killing habeas corpus, justice and freedom in a motel in Illinois. Very cinematic.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Colin Maclean wrote:

    Andy, keep up the great work Mate! Lets catch up soon, if you get a chance, you seem to have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you, Colin. It’s been a while …
    I’ve certainly been busy, my friend. As usual, I have to say. Even hospital didn’t stop me! But you probably haven’t heard about THAT one!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Gabriele Müller wrote:

    shared

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Kaolin Kay wrote:

    Shared.

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Andy Worthington

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