Yesterday evening in London (and at 4pm Eastern time), I was delighted to be interviewed by Kristine Frazao, via Skype, for the news on RT (Russia Today) from Washington D.C., and specifically for an eight-minute feature entitled, “In Limbo at Gitmo,” which is available below. (Click to enlarge the photo on the left, showing me addressing campaigners for the closure of Guantánamo outside the Supreme Court, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison, on January 11 this year, and see here for a video of my talk).
I was invited to appear on the show because of my report last week, Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago, which was published exclusively on my website and on the website of “Close Guantánamo,” the campaign that I established in January with the attorney Tom Wilner. This report, establishing that at least 40 of the 87 prisoners cleared for release, but still held at Guantánamo, were cleared between 2004 and 2007, was discussed on RT last week, and my scheduled appearance also coincided with the depressing news that the Supreme Court had refused to accept any of the seven appeals submitted by various Guantánamo prisoners, on the eve of the fourth anniversary of Boumediene v. Bush, when a more principled Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners had habeas corpus rights.
As I was able to explain, this led to the release of a few dozen prisoners between December 2008 and July 2010, after their habeas corpus petitions were granted by District Court judges in Washington D.C., who correctly perceived that the government’s evidence was, in many cases, risibly weak, consisting of dubious intelligence reports and the testimony of other prisoners — either in Guantánamo or in secret CIA torture prisons — whose statements were fundamentally unreliable, and whose unreliability had, in many case, been noted by US officials, even though that was ignored by prosecutors in the Justice Department and by advisors in the Pentagon.
However, since summer 2010, right-wing judges in the D.C. Circuit Court have been rewriting the rules governing the habeas petitions, gutting habeas corpus of all meaning for the Guantánamo prisoners, so that none of the prisoners have had their habeas petitions granted in the last two years. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to redress this shameful distortion of its 2008 ruling in Boumediene v. Bush, and their failure, as I also explained to Kristine, means that the Guantánamo prisoners have now been abandoned by every branch of the US government, as President Obama has backed away from his promise to close the prison, and has shown a persistent lack of political courage on issues relating to Guantánamo, and lawmakers in Congress have also indulged in disgraceful fearmongering, passing legislation that, like the D.C. Circuit’s decisions, is also designed to prevent any prisoners from being released.
On the fourth anniversary of Boumediene v. Bush, this is a truly depressing state of affairs, and one made all the more depressing because of the general indifference of the US media and the American people, and I hope my contribution, and RT’s interest in the story, will help people to understand how depressing it is that the men in Guantánamo have been so shamefully failed by all three branches of the US government.
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 April 2012, “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.
After I posted my announcement about my appearance on Facebook last night, Ralph Lopez wrote:
If they are cleared then this is now kidnap.
Bill Gibbons wrote:
Knock ‘em dead Andy.
Toia Tutta Jung wrote:
I´ll be watching
And my report about the cleared prisoners who are still held is here, if you missed it: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2012/06/06/exclusive-guantanamo-scandal-the-40-prisoners-still-held-but-cleared-for-release-at-least-five-years-ago/
Toia Tutta Jung wrote:
Thank you for your very accurate work, Andy, and for giving these men a voice.
Thanks, Ralph, Bill and Toia. It was a good interview I thought, and I was also pleased to have been asked about the Supreme Court’s disgraceful decision – today – not to revive habeas corpus for the Guantanamo prisoners by throwing out rulings by the outrageous right-wing judges of the D.C. Circuit Court, who have gutted the Supreme Court’s ruling of all meaning over the last two years.
Remmic Lewis wrote:
So freaking scary! My god …. Keep up the good work Andy, bless you.
Toia Tutta Jung wrote:
There´s something seriously wrong with the US government, when the president acts like a terrorist and the Supreme Court´s decision shows how little they care for justice.
Joyce McCloy wrote:
Its cruel. Shame on the US.
Thanks, Toia and Joyce – and everyone who has liked and shared this. We have reached the lowest point on Guantanamo, that’s for sure, and the fact that this has happened three and half years into Obama’s Presidency is shameful. Hopefully we can use the disgraceful combination of factors – the failures of the administration, Congress and the courts to do what is right and what is necessary – to revive the campaign to close Guantanamo.
Joyce McCloy wrote:
the problem is the average person sees these folks as not human.
We must make them real. Humanize them. Our country is so racist. I believe racism is necessary for us to wage these wars and falsely imprison innocents.
Yes, humanizing the prisoners is what I’m constantly trying to do, Joyce. I think we’re getting there slowly. Please do encourage anyone who might be interested in knowing more to join the “Close Guantanamo” campaign: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/Join-Us
Paula Helliwell wrote:
so does that mean they will ignore the petitions? what else can we do?
We constantly need to show the administration officials, lawmakers and judges that we care about their disgraceful abdication of responsibility, Paula, and petitions are undoubtedly a part of this. But we also need more media awareness, and more people generally talking about the injustice of Guantanamo with their friends and family to raise awareness that the prison must be closed.
Yes, this is truly the lowest point thus far. The liberals who back Obama no matter what are complicit now in this. ScotusBlog made it clear that it was quite likely that Elena Kagan was involved in this decision not to hear these cases.
Whenever I think it can’t get any worse, it still gets worse.
Thanks to RT for putting you on the old tube/nets.
… and Democracy Now! today, Jeff. I’ll be posting that tomorrow. The only conceivable way that this can be turned to the advantage of those with the good sense to realize that the pressure to close Guantanamo must be maintained is that it’s now easier than ever to explain how shamefully the remaining prisoners – and especially the 87 cleared for release – have been abandoned by all three branches of the government. Now I need to step up my analysis of why the government’s supposed evidence is so untrustworthy …
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