Last week, I was pleased to take part in a studio discussion at Press TV’s London studios of the documentary film, “You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantánamo,” directed by Luc Cote and Patricio Hernandez, and focusing on the story of Guantánamo prisoner Omar Khadr, which will be officially released in the UK on September 30, 2011.
Readers in London who are interested in this film can see it on June 19 in UCL (University College London), as part of a weekend of Guantánamo films put together by Dochouse, an organization based at Riverside Studios, in Hammersmith, which has been supporting and promoting documentaries in the UK since 2002. The “Exposing Guantánamo” weekend is part of the Open City London Documentary Festival, which also features “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (which I directed with Polly Nash).
For further information about “Exposing Guantánamo,” see my article here, in which I described “You Don’t Like the Truth” as follows:
This powerful new film features excerpts from seven hours of video footage of Canadian agents interrogating child prisoner and Canadian citizen Omar Khadr at Guantánamo over a four-day period in 2003. It reveals how his joy at meeting representatives of his own government turned to despair when he realized that they had not come to Guantánamo to help him, and important commentary on the footage is provided by Khadr’s US and Canadian lawyers, by journalist Michelle Shephard, by former US guard Damien Corsetti, and by former prisoners, including Omar Deghayes and Moazzam Begg. The footage was released by the Canadian courts after a ruling that Khadr’s rights had been violated, which was subsequently ignored by the Canadian government.
On Press TV, I discussed “You Don’t Like the Truth” on the Cinepolitics show, with host Russell Michaels and film critic Neil Smith. The first half of the 24-minute show is below and is an excellent introduction to the distressing treatment of Omar Khadr by the US, and by Canada, since he was captured, at the age of 15, in July 2002 — and I’ll put up the second part of the show when it becomes available.
The bleak treatment of Omar Khadr culminated, last October, with his disgraceful show trial, in which he accepted a plea deal and confessed to being an “alien unprivileged enemy belligerent,” even though he was just a child, even though it is not actually illegal to fight US soldiers in wartime, and even though the US ignored its obligations to rehabilitate rather than punish juvenile prisoners, according to the UN Optional Protocol on the rights of children in armed conflict:
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 June 2011, 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.
I am surprised that this site has ‘tweetmeme’. I was unable to send this excellent piece to twitter, b/c I don’t want any site to post anything on my behalf.
The vast majority of the sites have a simple tweet button. A few have something ‘extra’ added.
Good grief, the technology has caught me out again. These buttons have been up on my site for ages now — perhaps getting on for a year and a half — and I hadn’t noticed that it was “tweetmeme.” I publish the articles on the site and then manually Digg, tweet and add to Facebook.
On Facebook, Sandra Nichols wrote:
Bless you andy……. unlike obama you are deserving of a nobel peace prize for your tireless work…thank you ♥
Meenakshi Sharma wrote:
It just makes my blood boil..Andy. These ruthless barbarians so called doing the right thing. Colin Powell….he is another liar like the rest..
Willy Bach wrote:
Andy, the treatment that Omar Khadr and the supine way the Canadian government went along with his show trial, making no attempt to get better treatment or even legal assistance, rivals the Australian government under John Howard. Thanks again, these are such troubled times. I cannot imagine that democracy will survive such insults. It is destroyed from within.
Beverly Hendricks wrote:
Willy Bach wrote:
I should add, Andy, that I had experience of meeting children in Northern Uganda who had been members of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and had escaped, as well as some who had then been coerced into the Ugandan Army (UPDF). I never met one UNICEF Child Protection Officer or other NGO worker who would have thought that Omar Khadr’s treatment by the US forces was in any way in accordance with UN conventions on the Rights of the Child or a fair and valid way to treat a child. I am not just talking about Western aid workers from Scandinavia with whom I worked, I include Ugandans too.
Willy Bach wrote:
Canada has been placed on the bottom rung of the ladder to civilisation along with its powerful neighbour with its treatment of this boy.
Thanks, Sandra, Meenakshi, Willy and Beverly, and everyone who has shared this so far. I do hope that my small contribution will encourage people to see this important film.
Sandra, that’s so lovely of you. I am greatly honored, and Willy, I was moved by your comments about the failures of our so-called democratic systems in the English-speaking world (that dreaded club of the American, Canadian, Australian and British secret services and military reps), and by your recollections of how children in wartime were perceived in Uganda. Omar’s story has always moved me deeply, and it is in many ways the greatest shame in the “War on terror,” because the disregard for the rights of a child, the deliberate torture and abuse of him, has been so prominent.
I have written a vast amount about Omar over the years, but one of the articles that means the most to me was written last October, and describes his relationship by post with a Canadian professor of English. It’s called, “A Child’s Soul is Sacred”: Omar Khadr’s Touching Exchange of Letters with Canadian Professor:
Sounds like another film that must be translated.
I’ll be happy to take care of that, if you can find me a copy.
I might even come and collect it personally, one of these days.
Well, I have a copy if you have an address for me, Anna, although I do think it would be better if you came to collect it personally!
Personally might be a bit problematic before summer holidays Andy, but I’ll see if I can find some Special Envoy to replace me :-).
OK, but email me an address and I’ll send a DVD. I was sent two copies, and you asked first …!
And you are, of course, welcome here anytime!
great work as usual Andy. even the tiny clip on youtube is infuriating.
anyway one website is giving his address- it’s at camp delta. Is that really where he is? i need to write him a letter somehow.
Yes, he’s at Camp Delta until he returns to Canada — which is supposed to be at the end of October/start of November.
You have to include his name and ISN number (766) and here’s the address:
P.O. Box 160
Washington D.C. 20053
In my recent article, Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantánamo (Summer 2011), I did note, however, that a correspondent who had written to Omar, had had her letter returned, marked “not deliverable as addressed.”
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