In January, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, while I was in Washington D.C., I took part in a detailed half-hour interview with Brian Becker for Atlantic Television News, which produces programs that are regularly screened in the Middle East.
In the interview, which is posted below, I began by explaining what I had been doing for the anniversary — including the New America Foundation panel discussion with Congressman Jim Moran, Col. Morris Davis and Tom Wilner that I had been involved with on January 10, and the protests outside the White House and the Supreme Court on January 11 — and then moved on to provide a history of Guantánamo, and to place it in context in the “war on terror.” I spoke about the widespread use of bounty payments, and about the lack of screening of the prisoners prior to their transfer to Guantánamo, which helped to ensure that the Bush administration’s rhetoric — that the prison held “the worst of the worst” — was shockingly groundless.
I also spoke about how, without a concerted effort by those who are concerned about the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, it is reasonable to believe that the prison will remain open forever — and it was in the hope of addressing this terrible state of affairs, three years after President Obama promised to close the prison within a year, and obviously failed to do so, that I was involved in establishing a new campaign, “Close Guantánamo,” at the time of my visit, which I hope you will join if you have not already done so.
There was, of course, much more in the interview with Brian Becker — including an analysis of the use of torture — and this led on to a discussion of the shameful case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the former emir of a training camp in Afghanistan, which was closed down by the Taliban after he refused to let it be taken over by Osama bin Laden. After his capture, al-Libi was flown by the CIA to Egypt, where, under torture, he made the false claim about a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq, and after being returned to Libya, he died in mysterious circumstances, in May 2009, in the notorious Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.
In conclusion, I hope that, if you’re interested in the many injustices of Guantánamo, and how it continues to cast a dark shadow over America’s image around the world, and claims by its leaders that they respect the rule of law, you will have the time to watch the show, which featured much more than I have mentioned above.
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 please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
On Facebook, Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:
Andy, congratulations. Your work is so important and I really admire your dedication all these years. I liked the interview a lot.
Thanks, Natalia, for the kind words. And I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. It’s very nice to have that sort of feedback!
Great interview! In my opinion the first fundamental issue that we need to address w/r/t Guantanamo is the complete lack of transparency on all counts. The fact is that the government continues to be shady about the details of the prisoners even though they should be required to document exactly what’s going on. This is an interesting piece about Guantanamo autopsies:
Thanks, Louisa. Very good to hear from you, and thanks for the link. I also wrote about this topic recently, in a cross-post of my friend Jeffrey Kaye’s article: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2012/03/08/were-two-prisoners-killed-at-guantanamo-in-2007-and-2009/
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