On Antiwar Radio, Andy Worthington Discusses Pro-Torture Propaganda in the Wake of Osama bin Laden’s Death

16.5.11

A few days ago, I spoke, for the 27th time, to the irrepressible Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio, in response to the ongoing — and false — narrative propagated in the US by torture apologists including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, which has arisen, like a malignant phoenix, in response to the death of Osama bin Laden. The 22-minute show is available here.

In this false narrative, in which an assassination that should mark an end to the “War on Terror” is being manipulated by dark forces to suggest the start of a new phase in the “war,” Guantánamo and secret prisons — and, by inference at least, torture — are undergoing what is intended to be a rehabilitation process, proving Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their lawyers correct, when, in fact, they are all responsible for breaking the US torture statute.

The spur for this has been a deliberately mangled narrative, involving information that led to bin Laden’s capture, as I explained in my article, Osama bin Laden’s Death, and the Unjustifiable Defense of Torture and Guantánamo (and also see, New York Times Attempts to Stifle Torture Debate It Helped Spark in the Wake of Osama bin Laden’s Death). In addition, some supporters of Guantánamo and torture — in Congress, sadly — hope to keep Guantánamo open to hold terror suspects captured in future, and also want to expand the “War on Terror,” as I explained in my article, No End to the “War on Terror,” No End to Guantánamo.

There’s much more in the show, which I recommend, if you have 22 minutes to spare. Scott was a great host, as always, and, in conclusion, this is how he described the show:

Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, discusses the resurgent torture propaganda in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death; why torture is still only useful for gathering false confessions and bad information; the unedifying nationalistic chest thumping over bin Laden; how civilian criminal trials sufficed for the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, but somehow are no longer tough enough for terrorism since 9/11 and Guantánamo “changed everything;” and how government lawlessness, torture and Gitmo have been enshrined in US law and culture thanks to Obama not changing policies or holding the Bush administration accountable.

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.

17 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Karen Todd wrote:

    thanks Andy….

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Michael Tuck wrote:

    Andy, do you know anyone who might be interested in covering your work for the History Commons?

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbara Cummings wrote:

    Just up, an article in NYT editorial page saying we should call torture torture and not some lame euphemism.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Alexa D. O’Brien wrote:

    ‘republicans’ are the devil we know, ‘democrats’ are the devil we don’t. And behind Washington’s political facade are disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful defense and intel contractors and a system which runs counter to the aims of life and the principles of our democratic republic. That to me is a Defcon 4 terror alert.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Donna Ellison wrote:

    That was a great interview, Andy. All ears here in the states are not deaf, so please don’t ever quit trying. :) IMO, trying Osama Bin Laden would have been a HUGE boost for our credibility and global reputation. For one, it would show that our system of rule by law is the best in the world, and no one is above or below the law. Now, we might as well deep six the scales of justice on all of our courthouses. To show just how low we’ve sunk, it is absolutely CERTAIN that, had Hitler been captured alive, he would have been tried at Nuremberg. Another perfect example of the downward spiral and dummy-ing down of America. I wonder how long before the Patriot Act extends jurisdiction over US citizens themselves to be thrown in corporate prisons to rot without habeas corpus or trial. Too bad, so sad.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, my friends. Apologies for the delay in replying, but I was out of town with very spotty Internet access in Hull, where I grew up, showing “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” to a very appreciate crowd at an event organized at the university by the Amnesty International Society. They did a great job!
    So to turn to your questions:
    Michael, I don’t know of anyone, but it would be great if my work was referenced by History Commons.
    Barbara, thanks for that mention of the New York Times, and an apologetic article by the new Readers Editor about the Times’ inability to call a US torturer a torturer:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/opinion/15pubed.html
    And thanks also, Alexa and Donna, for your insightful comments, and for your encouragement, Donna, which I have taken to heart. The struggle for justice continues …

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    Good interview :) I would have liked to have seen Osama on trial as well! It seems very suspicious that they killed him instead – burying all truth along with him. But *maybe* it was unavoidable – all that torture and war and death -for what? Just to track down one guy!!! AS IF!!!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I’ll share and digg now, Andy-

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Ghaliyaa Haq wrote:

    I thought when this was on the news.. “Oh wow…. poor Andy…. OMG… and so it is true, huh? Well Andy.. please please stay healthy for us… we NEED you – we NEED your amazing truthtellling – I am not so good at writing, and don’t seem to be able to do the massive research as quickly as you either – but I am happy we are on the same wavelength all the time – I just wish mine was as GOOD as yours! BLESS YOU for your work ALWAYS and if you EVER need any kind of help – I will drop what I’m doing to help – if I can.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Malcolm Bush wrote:

    More good stuff from Andy, I think this laid out the facts very clearly.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Ghaliyaa Haq wrote:

    Also endless war Andy, and more extrajudicial killings. They forgot, even though they call themselves Christians, that Jesus (pbuh) taught not to murder. :-(
    ‎(those who care, the ones in power of course do not)

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Ghaliyaa. Your support is always much appreciated — and probably most people out there don’t know that you’ve been supporting my work almost since I began blogging full-time nearly four years ago. If I’m ever in a scrape I’ll call on you!
    And thanks also, Malcolm — another valued supporter over the years!

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I just listened to the interview, Andy. It’s impressive. You filled the time with the most important data and questions. If I have time I’ll send it to some friends, mostly Americans. They never listen to me when I advise them to read your writings, or to look at some reliable blogs. I’m not sure why, but they are wedded to the NYT as if it were Scripture and won’t go near the Guardian. I shall tell them that they can learn a lot in 27 minutes.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Malcolm Bush wrote:

    I thought I’d write a little comment on George Kenneth Berger’s comment above. I noticed a reference to the Guardian; I received an email from the Guardian, which asked me to complete a Guardian survey. During filling in this survey I found lots of information about the ethical ideology of the Guardian. Whilst it is primarily a newspaper, it’s highlighting lots of things such as ethics, green issues, sustainable business and the full range of ‘make the world a better place’ stuff. It is also committed to education for all, there’s a Guardian books section that is very good along these lines.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Malcolm, well, ‘George’ is fine. The Guardian is pretty good on books. Many people on my FB page are writers, editors, publishers, and devoted readers (me) of British science fiction, but not only that. When I can, I post the best of the relevant book reviews, comments, and articles, on my page. I also post Andy’s stuff and interesting things I find in some academic and politically interesting blogs: Boing Boing, Crooked Timber, and the Leiter Reports, among others. By doing this I learn about new items of many sorts, and so do my readers. Anything interesting in the Guardian of the sorts you mention get posted as well. I enjoy this.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Andy, one person above mentioned History Commons. I never heard of it. Do you know History News Network? It’s mostly for academics who write brief, accessable articles about whatever interests them. That’s one place where I read McCoy’s stuff: a slightly updated summary of his book. Perhaps you can place some of your stuff there. I might, but only just might, be able to help arrange that. Here’s the real Mccoy: http://www.hnn.us/articles/32497.html

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George and Malcolm.
    And George, History Commons is a site that aggregates information about all kinds of topics in timelines, which I know about through research into the “War on Terror”: http://www.historycommons.org/
    Thanks also for your information about History News Network, which looks very interesting. Please do feel free to go ahead and arrange, if anything along those lines is possible!

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