Last week, while I was in the US on a 12-day tour to call for the closure of Guantánamo on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison, I did three TV interviews as part of my busy schedule (which also involved nine speaking events, and seven radio interviews). The first of these was The Alyona Show on Russia Today on January 11, the actual anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, and that interesting interview is available below, via YouTube. Although we had just six and a half minutes, Alyona Minkovski demonstrated a sound knowledge of all matters Guantánamo, which, in turn, helps to explain why RT is becoming required viewing for Americans interested in anything more than a whitewash when it comes to reports and analysis of their own government’s crimes and failures.
The previous day, I was interviewed by VOA News’ Urdu Channel, after the panel discussion I took part in at the New America Foundation with Congressman Jim Moran, Col. Morris Davis and Tom Wilner, for a report on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, and I include that below, for the benefit of any Urdu speakers. The third interview, a detailed half-hour exploration of Guantánamo past, present and future, was with Brian Becker of Atlantic Television News, and I’ll make it available here as soon as it’s online.
Note: Please visit the website of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and sign up to join a growing body of people demanding that President Obama fulfill his unfulfilled promise to close the prison. Please also sign a new White House petition on the “We the People” website calling for the closure of Guantánamo. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 6.
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, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see 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 enjoyed watching the videos and I thought you got the message across very well. I think you are doing a very important job, which in the long view will help save us all from some criminality.
Thank you, Peace Activist. Your support is very much appreciated.
On Facebook, Rabiî Kalboussi wrote:
Hey Andy, check this out, I worked on it
Rabiî Kalboussi wrote:
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
I’m sharing this, Andy. Fine interview, covering one thing that bothers me quite a lot: the relative lack of knowledge, interest, and action, by Americans (concerning, say, Rendition), until the NDAA was proposed. I hope your trip helped boost awareness about the issues.
Thanks, Rabii, for those fascinating links to the videos about the released prisoner Rafiq al-Hami and some of the five Tunisians still held. And thanks also, George. Great to hear from you. I hope I helped to spread the word to some extent outside of the already converted. I missed an opportunity to be on Al-Jazeera English, but sadly the people who should have taken an interest — the main US broadcasters — failed to take much of an interest, if at all. The mainstream message was that Obama and Congress hadn’t been brilliant, and that Guantanamo was probably going to stay open forever, but there was no insistence that this was something to worry about. It was more stated as though it was some sort of almost inevitable event. It was disarming in the most enervating way.
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
That’s disturbing but not surprising to hear. I admit I find this only understandable, if worry and individual and nationalistic self-interest are far more ingrained in many Americans than they were in 1972, when I left. Perhaps ‘instilled’ is a better word, since the influence of the media is so great.
Yes, I think the media has had, and continues to have a baleful influence in the US, George — although they and politicians are not entirely to blame for a pervasive image of self-reliance which is damaging to society as a whole. And that, perversely, relies heavily on having Ayn Rand as a societal figurehead. However, there’s also an ignorance that comes from not having at least to some extent a shared heritage as in Europe. That said, of course, there are two Americas, and I didn’t directly encounter much of the one described above, as I was largely meeting people, as with my friends here in Europe, who have been transcending self-delusion, whether collective or individual, especially over the last ten years, and who have been joined in the last year by an awakening of young people. This is very reassuring, even though, as in Europe but to a large degree, apathy or indifference to the perils of reality are the dominant mode of existence.
Ann Alexander wrote:
No matter how tiring your trip must have been, Andy, you always come over very fresh and animated despite the amount of interviews you do. I can understand what you say – American citizens should get better informed. Personally this is the biggest disappointment for me – that it seems that so few Americans care.
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
I just Dugg this, Andy.
Thanks, Ann — and George again. Great encouragement, Ann. I do my best!
Thanks for all your good work. All of us at The Quaker Initiative to End Torture QUIT! is working to better inform people about American torture. Your contributions is invaluable. I’ve heard anecdotally that torture treatment centers around the world are increasing seeing the nations which torture are using American modern methods. Has there been any formal reporting on this that you know of?
Thanks, John. Good to hear from you. I wasn’t aware on any formal reporting. When I worked on a report on secret detention for the UN a few years ago, we were looking for copycat crimes, but what was most apparent at that point was how, around the world, authoritarian regimes were using “terrorism” as an excuse for the incommunicado detention of political opponents. However, if there’s evidence, even on an anecdotal basis, along the lines that you mention, it would be worthwhile for someone to investigate it.
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