Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks and Guantánamo with Linda Olson-Osterlund on KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon

29.5.11

On Thursday, I was delighted to discuss Guantánamo, President Obama’s failure to close the prison as promised, and my role in helping WikiLeaks release classified military documents relating to the Guantánamo prisoners, with Linda Olson-Osterlund of KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon, on her show, “A Deeper Look.” The 30-minute show is available here.

Linda is a longtime supporter of my work — we first spoke three years ago, and have spoken on several occasions since — and I always appreciate her considered approach, her research, and her evident humanity and revulsion at the actions undertaken by the US government in the last ten years.

After expressing appreciation that I was being acknowledged as an independent expert on Guantánamo, Linda asked me to explain what was particularly significant in the WikiLeaks documents, allowing me to run through the stories of tortured and bribed prisoners — including the “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah, for example, and the notoriously unreliable Yemeni informant Yasim Basardah — whose false statements permeate the documents, establishing how unreliable a set of documents are that are based, primarily, on statements made by prisoners held in such distressing conditions.

Linda also asked me to talk about the stories of the previously unknown prisoners, which I am in the process of covering in a five-part series (see Part One and Part Two). These, of course, have served to emphasise how random the dragnet was that led to the filling of Guantánamo with what Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey, a commander of Guantánamo in 2002, described as “Mickey Mouse” prisoners.

Linda also addressed the problem of dubious reporting in the US — specifically, an NPR report, ‘High-Risk’ Detainees Released From Guantánamo,” published when the documents were first released, which, sadly, presented an unjustifiably distorted explanation of how dangerous many prisoners in Guantánamo were, feeding into the false, grossly distorted “recidivism” stories that I have railed against on several occasions, in my articles, New York Times finally apologizes for false Guantánamo recidivism story, Guantánamo Recidivism: Mainstream Media Parrot Pentagon Propaganda (Again), White House Repeats Pentagon Lies About Guantánamo “Recidivists”, Guantánamo: A Dismal Week for America and Countering Pentagon Propaganda About Prisoners Released from Guantánamo.

This (paraphrased slightly) is how Linda described the show:

On April 24th WikiLeaks released thousands of pages of classified military documents from Guantánamo. What can we learn from them and what difference do they make in the fight to close the prison? Listen to hear Andy Worthington, WikiLeaks media partner and author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories Of The 779 Detainees In America’s Illegal Prison, talk about these documents he helped release.

Linda also sent me the following message, which I hope she won’t mind me reproducing:

Thank you again for the interview. You were great, as always. I thought the main points got out there. It’s very hard to not get discouraged by the direction of the US government  under Obama. The only “rule of law” honored is the law of brute force on behalf of those that rule. All the more reason your work is important.

If you have half-an-hour to spare, I do hope that you can listen to the interview, as Linda’s shows are always worth a listen. There is more in the show that I haven’t mentioned above — including a discussion about the man who recently died in Guantánamo, whose story I covered in my articles, The Only Way Out of Guantánamo Is In a Coffin and Guantánamo Suicide Was Severely Mentally Ill, And Was A Case of Mistaken Identity, and the failures of the Supreme Court in relation to the Guantánamo prisoners —  and I look forward to the next time!

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.

5 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Anomaly OneHundred wrote:

    Dugg.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Malcolm Bush wrote:

    Another good radio show, regarding one of the most important subjects in the world today. Some may perhaps believe it’s not so important? Maybe there are those who believe it’s all’ not their problem’. Well what if all this torture, illegal imprisonment spread beyond the the “war on terror”, what then? It already has.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Anomaly and Malcolm. Good to hear from you. And Malcolm, yes, I appreciate the time you take to listen and to remind people that these issues are important, and that the failure to address the crimes of the “War on Terror” is contaminating our societies.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Malcolm Bush wrote:

    Yes, the failure to address these crimes has brought us relentless insidious deterioration that many don’t even notice. I always think of a bank robber running into a bank with a gun; like we see in the movies. Who would you fear the most, the robber or a State Authority that is above the law? Who is the most ethical? Who holds the higher moral ground? Who is the most dangerous?

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Malcolm. Along those lines, I recall wondering whether it was strictly accurate, after bin Laden’s death, for the Sun to run a story calling him, as if it was official truth, “the most evil man in the world.”
    Given the required line of thinking, I may now get someone slandering me as a lover of bin Laden, when that isn’t true either, of course …

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