The Guantánamo Files: An Archive of Articles — Part Nine, April to June 2011

7.7.11

The Guantanamo Files

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For over five years, I have been researching and writing about Guantánamo and the 779 men (and boys) held there over the last nine and a half years, first through my book The Guantánamo Files, and, since May 2007, as a full-time independent investigative journalist. For nearly three years, I focused on the crimes of the Bush administration and, since January 2009, I have turned my attention to the failures of the Obama administration to thoroughly repudiate those crimes and to hold anyone accountable for them, and, increasingly, on President Obama’s failure to charge or release prisoners, and to show any sign that Guantánamo will eventually be closed.

My intention, all along, has been to bring the men to life through their stories, dispelling the Bush administration’s rhetoric about the prison holding “the worst of the worst,” and demonstrating how, instead, the majority of the prisoners were either innocent men, seized by the US military’s allies at a time when bounty payments were widespread, or recruits for the Taliban, who had been encouraged by supporters in their homelands to help the Taliban in a long-running inter-Muslim civil war (with the Northern Alliance), which began long before the 9/11 attacks and, for the most part, had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or international terrorism. As I explained in the introduction to my four-part Definitive Prisoner List (updated on June 1 this year), I remain convinced, through detailed research, through comments from insiders with knowledge of Guantánamo, and, most recently, through an analysis of classified military documents released by WikiLeaks, that “at least 93 percent of the 779 men and boys imprisoned in total” had no involvement with terrorism.

However, as this is a blog, rather than a website, I recognize that it is increasingly difficult to navigate, as there are so many “Categories,” and, most crucially, there is no access to articles in anything other than reverse chronological order. In an attempt to remedy this shortcoming, and to provide easy access to the most important articles on the site, I have, in the last 18 months, put together eight chronological lists of all my articles, covering the periods May to December 2007, January to June 2008, July to December 2008, January to June 2009, July to December 2009, January to June 2010July to December 2010 and January to March 2011, in the hope that they will provide a useful tool for navigation, and will provide researchers — and anyone else interested in this particularly bleak period of modern history — with a practical archive.

This particular list was initially intended to bring the story up to date by covering my articles over the last six months, but as I examined my output, and realized that I now publish far more than I did even a year ago, I thought that, to make it more manageable, I’d publish it in two halves. Part Eight (published on July 3) therefore covers the period from January to March 2011, and this part covers April to June.

In terms of Guantánamo, this was a fascinating time for a revival of interest in the prison, as a counterpart to the sorry story of how, lacking courage, President Obama failed to stand up to critics in his own party, and particularly in the Republican Party, which has, over the last two years, become thoroughly cynical and negative, seizing opportunistically on Guantánamo as a win-win situation, involving the relentless use of a policy of fearmongering on a population largely starved of genuinely informative mainstream media.

In the last week of April, WikiLeaks arrived to shatter the veil of silence and apathy that had grown up around Guantánamo. Having been approached by Julian Assange to act as an independent media partner, I was the point of liaison between WikiLeaks and its mainstream media partners (the Washington Post, McClatchy Newspapers, the Daily Telegraph, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Pais, La Repubblica, L’Espresso and Aftonbladet) in the release of 765 classified military files (the Detainee Assessment Briefs) containing assessments of almost all of the 779 men held in the prison since it opened on January 11, 2002.

I helped these media outlets to understand what to look for in the files, as I explained in my articles, WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Guantánamo Files, Exposes Detention Policy as a Construct of Lies and How to Read WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files, which were both written originally for WikiLeaks, and I have since begun a detailed file-by-file analysis of all the documents, which will continue until Christmas, as well as updating my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list with reference to some of these developments (and also including photos from the files). However, back in early May, after a frantic week of TV and radio interviews on my part, alongside various articles by the media partners, the US government seized back the initiative by arranging for Osama bin Laden to be assassinated in Pakistan.

This distressing Wild West scenario — designed, it seemed, to appeal to the extrajudicial murderer apparently lurking deep in the American psyche — was also supposed to kick-start Obama’s re-election bid, although it also became a convenient peg on which unprincipled advocates of endless war, of torture and of the continued existence of Guantánamo could drape their feeble, self-seeking arguments which, nevertheless, gained traction in the US media.

Throughout this three-month period, I also conducted a major review of the situation at Bagram, in Afghanistan, where the Geneva Conventions have not made a return since the Bush years and prisoners have none of the legal rights of the Guantánamo prisoners. Nevertheless, although the laws of wartime detention have been rewritten, there is a review process in place (albeit one that the Supreme Court found “inadequate” when used at Guantánamo), and prisoners do sometimes secure their release, unlike at Guantánamo, where the only man to leave in this period, who was severely mentally ill, departed in a coffin.

Beyond Bagram, I continued to follow the story of Bradley Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower, and his distressing treatment by the US government. I also continued to monitor the revolutionary developments in the Middle East (primarily in Syria), and also, on various fronts, in the UK, where I focused on university fees, the threat to the NHS, and how welfare reforms are leading to an increase in suicides amongst the disabled. I also looked at strike action in the UK, and the huge protests taking place in Greece and Spain against savage austerity cuts and mass unemployment.

Thank you again, my readers and supporters, for your continuing support of my work, which, as I regularly explain, is nothing without you. The most important thing to me is that my work is read, and circulated to others who will find it of interest, but I am also, of course, a self-employed new media journalist, reliant upon a handful of organisations — and also on the generosity of my supporters — to financially support the relentless output that is captured here. As a result,, if you would like to support my work (much of which was produced without any financial support whatsoever), then please feel free to donate via the PayPal button above.

Much work, sadly, remains to be done in order to try to secure the closure of Guantánamo, as the 10th anniversary of the prison’s opening approaches (on January 11, 2012), and also to maintain calls for those who authorised the use of torture to be held accountable for their actions. All three branches of government — the administration, the courts and Congress — have failed on both fronts, and this is particularly depressing, two and a half years after the Bush administration left office. However, those of us who care simply cannot give up. On these points, I believe, we are fighting for the very soul of America against dangerous people who are determined to continue the erosion of the principles — or, at least, the values and aspirations — on which America was founded.

An Archive of Guantánamo Articles — Part Nine, April to June 2011

April 2011

1. Revolution in the Middle East: Torture and Terrorism: In the Middle East It’s 2011, In America It’s Still 2001
2. Bagram: Updating the Definitive Bagram Prisoner List — 200 Review Board Decisions to Release, Transfer or Detain Added
3. Bagram: Broken Justice at Bagram — for Afghans, and for Foreign Prisoners Held by the US
4. Bagram: Voices from Bagram: Prisoners Speak in Their Detainee Review Boards (Part One of Three)
5. Military Commissions, 9/11 trial: Holder, Obama and the Cowardly Shame of Guantánamo and the 9/11 Trial
6. Radio interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses the Guantánamo Prisoners’ “Habeas Hell” and Obama’s Cowardly Retreat on the 9/11 Trial on Antiwar Radio
7. US protests: After Wisconsin and the “We Are One” Rallies, Where Now for Mass Protest in America?
8. Bagram: The “Dark Side” of Bagram: An Ex-Prisoner’s Account of Two Years of Abuse
9. Guantánamo media: On Guantánamo and Torture, Campaigners Send A Letter to the Justice Department: “US Democracy is in Far Sorrier Shape Than We Feared”
10. Bagram: Bagram and Beyond: New Revelations About Secret US Torture Prisons in Afghanistan
11. UK politics: Battle for Britain: The Government’s Idiocy on Increased University Tuition Fees Revealed
12. 9/11 trial: The 9/11 Indictment: The Case We Would Have Seen In New York Had A Federal Court Trial Proceeded
13. Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks: On the Torture of Bradley Manning, Obama Ignores Criticism by UN Rapporteur and 300 Legal Experts
14. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: How the Supreme Court Gave Up on Guantánamo
15. Radio interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo and the Failure of US Justice Under Obama with Peter B. Collins
16. Guantánamo media: The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg Criticizes Obama for Failure to Close Guantánamo, or to Call for Accountability for Torture
17. Bagram: Voices from Bagram: Prisoners Speak in Their Detainee Review Boards (Part Two of Three)
18. Revolution in the Middle East: Syria: On Independence Day, Calls for Freedom and Protests About the Torture of Activists and Journalists
19. Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks: US Intelligence Veteran Defends Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks
20. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: More Judicial Interference on Guantánamo
21. Interviews: Former Guantánamo Prisoner Khaled Ben Mustapha Interviewed by Cageprisoners
22. Revolution in the Middle East: The Roots of Revolution in Syria: The Sad Tale of Tal Al-Mallouhi, A Girl Imprisoned for Blogging
23. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Guantánamo Files, Exposes Detention Policy as a Construct of Lies
24. TV interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses the Significance of WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files on Democracy Now!
25. WikiLeaks: The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson Captures the Despair in WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files
26. Radio interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files on the BBC World Service and Press TV
27. WikiLeaks: The Hidden Horrors of WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files
28. Torture: Study Says Doctors at Guantánamo Neglected Or Concealed Evidence of Torture, Plus My Interview with Press TV
29. Radio interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files with Scott Horton on Antiwar Radio
30. Interviews: Andy Worthington Tells the Truth About WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files in an Interview with Alexa O’Brien

May 2011

31. WikiLeaks: How to Read WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files
32. Radio interviews: On CounterSpin, Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files, Lucinda Marshall Discusses Exposé of Author Greg Mortensen
33. Radio interviews: The Nation Conversations: Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files with Kevin Gosztola
34. Osama bin Laden: With Osama bin Laden’s Death, the Time for US Vengeance Is Over
35. WikiLeaks: Scaremongers Fail to Undermine WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Revelations
36. Osama bin Laden, Torture: Osama bin Laden’s Death, and the Unjustifiable Defense of Torture and Guantánamo
37. Radio interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Revelations on the Michael Slate Show
38. TV interviews: Andy Worthington Tears Down the Osama Bin Laden “Torture Debate” on Press TV
39. Osama bin Laden, Torture: New York Times Attempts to Stifle Torture Debate It Helped Spark in the Wake of Osama bin Laden’s Death
40. Guantánamo and the Supreme Court: The Abandonment of Guantánamo’s Uighurs and Attorney Sabin Willett’s Powerful Requiem for Habeas Corpus in the US
41. “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”: Two New UK Screenings of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” with WikiLeaks Partner Andy Worthington – in Leicester and Hull
42. Life after Guantánamo, Revolution in the Middle East: Tunisian Freed from Guantánamo and Sent Home from Italy Reflects on His Imprisonment
43. WikiLeaks: Abandoned in Guantánamo: WikiLeaks Reveals the Yemenis Cleared for Release for Up to Seven Years
44. WikiLeaks: Col. Morris Davis Discusses Guantánamo, Torture and Intelligence in the Wake of the Latest WikiLeaks Revelations
45. Osama bin Laden, Guantánamo and Congress: No End to the “War on Terror,” No End to Guantánamo
46. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo (Part One of Five)
47. Radio interviews: On Antiwar Radio, Andy Worthington Discusses Pro-Torture Propaganda in the Wake of Osama bin Laden’s Death
48. “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”: Five New UK Screenings of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” with WikiLeaks Partner Andy Worthington — in London, Cardiff, Shropshire and York
49. Abu Zubaydah, Torture: “High-Value Detainee” Abu Zubaydah Blinded By the Bush Administration
50. UK politics: Act Now to Save the NHS, as Government Advisor Claims Reforms Will Show “No Mercy” and Allow “Big Opportunity” for Profiteering
51. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo (Part Two of Five)
52. Deaths in Guantánamo: The Only Way Out of Guantánamo Is In a Coffin
53. Deaths in Guantánamo: Guantánamo Suicide Was Severely Mentally Ill, And Was A Case of Mistaken Identity
54. Shaker Aamer: During State Visit by Barack Obama, Amnesty International Asks David Cameron to Call for Return from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer
55. John Walker Lindh: Free John Walker Lindh, Scapegoat of the “War on Terror”
56. Guantánamo and Congress: Rights Groups Tell Congress: Vote No to Dangerous New “War on Terror” Provisions
57. Guantánamo and Congress: White House Threatens to Veto War Provisions and Restrictions on Closing Guantánamo in Defense Bill
58. Shaker Aamer: During Obama’s UK Visit, Shaker Aamer’s Children – and Campaigners – Call for His Return from Guantánamo
59. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks and the 14 Missing Guantánamo Files
60. Guantánamo and Supreme Court, Torture: Supreme Court Fails to Tackle Torture – in the Past or in the Future
61. Amnesty International: Happy Birthday, Amnesty International: Peter Benenson’s “The Forgotten Prisoners” Published 50 Years Ago Today
62. Radio interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses WikiLeaks and Guantánamo with Linda Olson-Osterlund on KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon
63. Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks: Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks: New Film by the Guardian Tells His Troubling Story
64. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo (Part Three of Five)

June 2011

65. Guantánamo media, WikiLeaks: Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List — Updated for 2011, With New Information and Photos from WikiLeaks
66. “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”: Open City: New London Film Festival Screening of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” UCL, June 19, 2011
67. Military Commissions. 9/11 trial: The 9/11 Trial Timewarp: It’s February 2008 Again
68. Revolution in the Middle East: Syria: After the Brutal Torture and Murder of 13-Year Old Hamza Al-Khateeb, The Revolution Will Not Be Silenced
69. UK politics: Brutal Benefit Cuts for the Disabled Are Leading to Suicides in the UK
70. “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”: Bring Shaker Aamer Home: Parliamentary Screening of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” London, Tuesday June 21, 2011
71. TV interviews: Video: Andy Worthington Discusses the Omar Khadr Film “You Don’t Like the Truth” on Press TV
72. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo (Part Four of Five)
73. Deaths in Guantánamo: On the 5th Anniversary of the Disputed Guantánamo “Suicides,” Jeff Kaye Defends Scott Horton
74. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks and the 22 Children of Guantánamo
75. Deaths in Guantánamo: Teleconference: Five Years After Disputed “Suicides” at Guantánamo, Father of Dead Man Appeals Court’s Refusal to Consider His Case
76. Deaths in Guantánamo: Relatives of Disputed Guantánamo Suicides Speak Out As Families Appeal in US Court
77. Life after Guantánamo: Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Adel Al-Gazzar Returns Home to Egypt and Is Arrested
78. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo (Part Five of Five)
79. Radio interviews: Andy Worthington Discusses Obama’s Permanent Guantánamo with Scott Horton on Antiwar Radio
80. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks and the Lawyers: Justice Department Finally Allows Attorneys to See Leaked Guantánamo Files, But Not to Download, Save or Print Them
81. TV interviews: Video: Andy Worthington Discusses the Omar Khadr Film “You Don’t Like the Truth” on Press TV (Part Two)
82. Obituaries: A Tribute to Anti-War Campaigner Brian Haw, Driven by Revulsion at the Murder of Innocents
83. Torture, Accountability: Rights Groups Tell Obama: Reward Those Who Opposed America’s Use of Torture in the “War on Terror”
84. Stonehenge: Happy Summer Solstice to the Revellers at Stonehenge — Is it Really 27 Years Since the Last Free Festival?
85. Guantánamo media: Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantánamo (Summer 2011)
86. UK politics: June 30: A National Day of Action Against the Incompetent Tory-Led Coalition and Its Savage Ideological Cuts
87. European protests: The Revolution Reaches Europe: Tens of Thousands Protest in Greece and Spain
88. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Judges Keep Guantánamo Open Forever
89. Shaker Aamer: Video: Sarah Gillespie Plays Her Song About Shaker Aamer, “How the West Was Won,” Live in London (with Gilad Atzmon)
90. WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released from 2002 to 2004 (Part One of Ten)
91. Abu Ghraib, Torture: US Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Abu Ghraib Torture Victims to Sue Military Contractors
92. Abu Ghraib, Torture: In the US, on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, A Glimmer of Hope Amidst the Hypocrisy

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.

16 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Dugg and shared.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. Always good to hear from you.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Neal wrote:

    Will you be able to post news about Guantanamo Bay online if S.968 passes? S.968 to Remove Dissidents from Internet
    http://freespeakblog.blogs​pot.com/2011/07/senate-bil​l-968-to-remove-dissidents​.html
    – Prisoners can be tortured w/o worrying abt online videos and reports if Senate Bill 968 passes. Vote against it at OpenCongress.org
    http://www.opencongress.or​g/bill/112-s968/show

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Karen Todd wrote:

    are you kidding me? remove dissidents from the internet! oh my gosh!!! thanks for putting up this link Mary Neal…..I was not aware of this mess!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mary, for the reminder. I was aware of this, but hadn’t had time to examine it closely. I do recommend readers to check out the bill, which, as OpenCongress describes it:

    Establishes a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be “dedicated to infringing activities.” The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against the alleged infringer and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. In some cases, action could be taken to block sites without first allowing the alleged infringer to defend themselves in court.

    The OpenCongress page is:
    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s968/show
    And this is the text of the bill:
    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s968/text

  6. Tashi says...

    Very good point, Andy — “President Obama failed to stand up to critics in his own party, and particularly in the Republican Party, which has, over the last two years, become thoroughly cynical and negative, seizing opportunistically on Guantánamo as a win-win situation, involving the relentless use of a policy of fearmongering on a population largely starved of genuinely informative mainstream media.”

    I also read something similar to this point — “President Obama had pledged to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but backed off from that plan in the face of congressional opposition. The move has left open the question of how to treat terror suspects and whether to grant them the type of broader rights they would have under the U.S. Constitution rather than the more limited rights a defendant has in the military system.
    Republicans have generally pushed for the military system, arguing it allows for tougher questioning. Schock and other made the same point, pushing for the increased use of Guantanamo Bay…” By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times

    I’ve always thought that people in a position of power – will do anything to remain in that position – even do things that they otherwise would not do – all in fear of the perception of ‘loss’. They operate from a mode of fear and doubt, thereby bringing those exact fears and doubts to fruition. – Tashi

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Tashi, yes. On that basis, Obama started off lying to get elected, when it appeared that it was useful to talk about human rights etc., but has now ended up assassinating bin Laden to appear tough so that he can get re-elected. That may not be true — but it may be — although what’s absolutely certain is that what’s said on the campaign trail is essentially meaningless, as vested interests dictate what actually happens when people are in power. It’s why we truly do need a revolution in political and economic thinking, so that we the people can be represented, instead of our enemies — the corporate interests who place shareholders’ interests and profits above everything else.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Allison Lee-Clay wrote:

    I heard rumors that gulag ships are being used more frequently now to circumvent even rudimentary GITMO oversights & documentation.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    It may be so, Allison, after the emergence of the story about the Somali, Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, who was held on a ship for two months before being brought to New York to face a federal court trial. I haven’t had time to write about this yet. For a compromised, supposedly “objective” account of the issues at stake see this New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/201​1/07/07/world/africa/07det​ain.html

  10. Connie L. Nash says...

    Am posting top of oneheartforpeace blog –

    Hope you highlight the items shared in the comments soon.

    Thanx again for all you are doing to make the terribly crooked places become more visible…

  11. Tashi says...

    Yes, a revolution would be useful :)
    The only problem is, when the next people come into power, they will be faced with the same desires and temptations as those before them had. And then the question is – will those new people be able to resist the desires and temptations of wealth and power that corrupted the ones before them?

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Connie and Tashi for your comments. Great to hear from you both.
    The answer to the problem you pose, Tashi, would appear to be that we need leaders who are more than power-driven, ego-driven individuals, who don’t necessarily need to have any kind of talent, ability or experience in any of the fields necessary for government. However, I don’t know where to find these people, other than to suggest that we need new political parties in which the notion of service is more important than the self-serving nature of modern politics, and its complete subservience to the demands of global capital.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Heidi Emers wrote:

    Andy Thank you for your posts on FB. Shared.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Heidi. I am grateful for your interest and support.

  15. The Guantánamo Files: An Archive of Articles — Part Eleven, October to December 2011 | Friction Facts says...

    [...] 2009, July to December 2009, January to June 2010, July to December 2010, January to March 2011, April to June 2011 and July to October 2011, in the hope that they will provide a useful tool for navigation, and will [...]

  16. Guantanamo Files | Friction Facts says...

    [...] 2009, July to December 2009, January to June 2010, July to December 2010, January to March 2011, April to June 2011 and July to October 2011, in the hope that they will provide a useful tool for navigation, and will [...]

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Andy Worthington

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