Today, just before I began feverishly packing for my family holiday, I was delighted to take part in a one-hour interview on the “Talking Progressive Politics” Show on Blog Talk Radio with Jim Cullen in Texas and Vicki Nikolaidis in Greece. It’s been a few weeks since I spoke publicly about Guantánamo, so I was glad to have the opportunity to do so, and especially glad that we had an hour, as it meant that there was time to thoroughly explain the many injustices of Guantánamo, past, present and future.
In the show, I ran through the story of the remaining 171 prisoners, explaining the role of the Guantánamo Review Task Force in proposing that 36 of these men should be tried, 46 should be held indefinitely without charge or trial, and 89 should be released — with particular emphasis on how the 46 are regarded as too dangerous to release, even though there is not sufficient evidence to put them on trial (in other words, there is no evidence), and who the 89 are, and why they have been abandoned by the administration, lawmakers and the courts — the 58 Yemenis who cannot be released because of an unprincipled moratorium on releasing any Yemenis, in place since January 2010, and the 31 men from other countries who cannot be repatriated because they face the risk of torture, and are waiting for another country to take them, in the absence of America accepting any responsibility for its own mistakes.
Vicki then asked me to discuss the story of Adel Al-Gazzar. An Egyptian humanitarian aid worker, seized in Pakistan, who lost a leg in US custody (through medical negligence), he was finally freed in Slovakia in January 2010, but returned to Egypt last month where he was promptly arrested in connection with a sentence he was given in his absence on trumped-up terrorism charges, and I had the opportunity to explain how his case was emblematic of the kind of destruction of innocent people’s lives that was typical of Guantánamo, where, crucially, the Bush administration prevented screening from taking place to separate combatants from civilians seized by mistake.
There’s much, more more in the show — Obama’s failures to close Guantánamo and to hold Bush administration officials accountable for their crimes, including torture, for example, as well as the unparalleled cynicism and negativity of Republican lawmakers, and the failure of the Supreme Court to restrain dangerous right-wing judges in the D.C. Circuit Court, who are now dictating detainee policy — but I’ll let you discover this for yourself, if you have an hour to spare.
It was a great show, and I’d like to thank Jim and Vicki for providing an hour to discuss Guantánamo, which remains an aberration and an abomination, just as it was under George W. Bush, but which, of course, has largely fallen off the mainstream media’s radar, both in America and around the world. If you like it, please do let people know.
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.
On Facebook, Louise Gordon wrote:
William James Hudson wrote:
great expose Andy ~ shame about the dim responses .. ~ I’ll maybe not tune into the Progressive Politics Show on Blog Talk Radio until they get you back on the show though mate;)
Thanks, Louise and William. Not sure what you mean about the responses though, William, as it all seemed to go very well. Thanks also to everyone who has been sharing it.
William James Hudson wrote:
It was a great episode Andy ~ I just felt that the ‘interviewer’s’ (I hate that word) held back on any opioniated discussion just a little too much .. and was left with a taste of bland :- ‘let’s just accept this’
I guess I wanted to hear that torture was wrong – yes, even from media rep’s ..
Oh, I see what you mean, William. Actually, I suppose it’s more a matter of style and presentation, as I know that Vicki is motivated to oppose injustice, and I realized during the show that Jim is very knowledgeable about the crimes of the D.C. Circuit Court and the wider problem of Republicans’ opposition to Obama’s nominations for any of the many judicial vacancies. Hopefully there’ll be more opportunities to get the word out about Guantanamo and torture after the summer break, when the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks rolls around …
William James Hudson wrote:
Looking forward to that m8 ..
Me too, once I’ve had a little break to focus the mind …!
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