On Monday evening in Canada (early on Tuesday morning in London), I was delighted to speak to Chris Cook for his well-respected and long running Gorilla Radio show in British Columbia, in Canada. The MP3 of the hour-long show is here, and Chris and I spoke for the first half-hour.
In reviewing my activities, I see that Chris and I spoke for the first time three years ago, in January 2011, when we spoke about Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and, of course, Guantánamo, and this week we were revisiting Guantánamo, on the eve of the 12th anniversary of its opening (On Saturday January 11), as I prepared to fly out to the US for a two-week tour to call for the prison’s closure, and, hopefully, to help people understand why it is so important that the prison is finally closed, five years after President Obama first took office, promising to close it within a year. My itinerary, for my visit from January 8-21, is here.
Even putting aside the torture that was official policy at Guantánamo from 2002 to 2004, the Indefinite detention without charge or trial that is at the very heart of Guantánamo’s operations is an affront to the values that America claims to believe in, and this is true every second that the prison remains open.
Chris and I talked about the progress made recently — the action promised by President Obama last year after a prison-wide hunger strike awakened the world to the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo, and the release, in the last few months, of eleven prisoners.
We also spoke, in particular, about the release, in Slovakia, of the last of 22 Uighurs (Muslims from China’s oppressed Xinjiang province) who were seized by mistake and had been held at Guantánamo since shortly after the prison opened — and this gave me the opportunity to explain how their story touches on so many of the problems of the Guantánamo regime: how they were bought; how they were used as bargaining chips with the Chinese government even though it was obvious that they were seized by mistake; how efforts to find new homes for men who could not be safely repatriated began with them; how a US judge spectacularly ordered their release in to the US; and, sadly, how Bush and Obama successfully fought against this proposal.
There was much more in our discussion, and I hope that you have time to listen to it. This is how Chris described the show:
This week marks the twelfth anniversary for Camp X-Ray at the illegal American military base located at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. On January 11th, 2002, four months after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, Gitmo was opened for business. That business, according to my first guest, was to act as an experimental extraordinary rendition facility where methods of torture new and old would be practiced and perfected, and deployed around the world as part of the George W. Bush regime’s Global War on Terror. Though “Dubya” Bush is long gone, the camp, and many of its unhappy inhabitants, remain.
Andy Worthington is a long-time peace and justice advocate for the inmates of Guantánamo. He’s a journalist and author whose book titles include Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield, and his latest is The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison. Worthington is also co-director of the film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” As he has since 2011, Andy Worthington will again be in the US to mark Gitmo’s infamous anniversary with a cross-country speaking tour. Starting January 8th and running through the 21st, Andy will visit New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles with Debra Sweet, National Director of the World Can’t Wait campaign to close Guantánamo.
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here – or here for the US).
To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the four-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.
So I’m now in the US, after a really rather long flight and a 2-hour wait at customs, which was rather arduous! I just wanted to make sure I got this up before relaxing with my hosts in Brooklyn. Hello, America!
I’m in New York City tomorrow if anyone is around – 7 pm at All Souls Church, 1157 Lexington Avenue. It’s a screening of ”Doctors of the Dark Side,” followed by Q&A with me, former Guantanamo military attorney Todd Pierce, and Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait. Here’s my itinerary for the tour: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2013/12/29/close-guantanamo-now-andy-worthingtons-us-tour-on-the-12th-anniversary-of-the-prisons-opening-january-2014/
On Facebook, Sandy Oscar Grant Fessler wrote:
Thanks for the welcome, Sandy. Good to hear from you.
Carol Anne Grayson wrote:
Well done Andy…
Thanks, Carol. The two hours that many hundreds of us had to wait to get through customs, while US citizens waltzed past us, was rather unpleasant after an eight-hour flight, although it was a perhaps suitable reminder of how the US establishment thinks. There are, of course, no US citizens at Guantanamo, just foreigners.
I just wanted to mention that, before I left London, I pre-recorded an interview with Linda Olson-Osterlund for her show “A Deeper Look” on KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon, which will be aired today, Thursday Jan. 9, at 9.30am Pacific Time. You can listen here: http://kboo.fm/content/12yearsofguantanamowillitclose
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