Radio: Andy Worthington Discusses “The State of Guantánamo Today” with Rose Aguilar, Ramzi Kassem and Sharon Adams in San Francisco

18.1.14

Andy Worthington at KALW Public Radio's studios in Los Angeles on January 13, 2013, photographed by Rose Aguilar after appearing on her show, "Your Call."I’m currently in southern California — on the campus of Cal Poly (aka California Polytechnic State University) in San Luis Obispo, about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. As I wait for the last public event of my 12-day “Close Guantánamo Now” tour, with the support of the World Can’t Wait, I have some time, while hiding from the sun — which alarmingly, is currently hotter than the hottest day in summer in the UK — to catch up on some of the events in which I’ve taken part.

I recently posted videos from my first event — a panel discussion in New York — and a video of the creative protests in Washington D.C. last Saturday, January 11, on the 12th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo.

The morning after, I flew out to San Francisco, where I stayed for three days, and after a gathering of like-minded individuals at the house of friends in Oakland on the Sunday evening, Monday began with a visit to KALW Public Radio, high up on San Francisco’s hills, for an interview with Rose Aguilar, as part of her “Your Call” show from 10-11am.

The 53-minute show, entitled, “What’s the state of Guantánamo today?” is available here, and I do hope you have time to listen to it, and to share it if you find it useful. I’ve spoken to Rose on my visits before, and it’s always good to spend some time with her, and with her indefatigable producer, Malihe Razazan.

I was joined on the show by two guests on the phone: Ramzi Kassem, associate professor of Law at the City University of New York (CUNY), who represents several prisoners held at Guantánamo (including Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, Moath al-Alwi, a Yemeni, and Abdelhadi Faraj, a Syrian), and Sharon Adams, vice-president of the National Lawyers Guild, SF Bay Area Chapter, who is also the chair of the NLG’s Committee Against Torture. Both Shaker and Abdelhadi are amongst the 77 prisoners in Guantánamo who have been cleared for release (in January 2010, by President Obama’s inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force) but are still held, and Moath, absurdly, was recommended for ongoing detention without charge or trial.

The following excerpts from the show were posted by Rose on Facebook, along with a link to the show, but I do urge you to listen to the whole show if you can. I thought that Ramzi provided some important information about Guantánamo and the shameful culture of indefinite detention without charge or trial that has existed in the US since 9/11.

Rose Aguilar: Why have you dedicated the past 12 years of your life to closing Guantánamo and giving a voice to those who’ve been detained?

Andy Worthington: No one should be indefinitely detained and no one should be tortured. Guantánamo is an example of the US, at a very high level, endorsing both of these practices. These continue and that’s why it’s so important for all decent Americans to call for the closure of Guantánamo.

Rose Aguilar: What are the main differences between the Bush and Obama administrations on Guantánamo?

Andy Worthington: Obama has dealt inadequately with the legacy he inherited from President Bush. When confronted by the opposition in Congress, he has persistently refused to spend political capital doing what he promised to do.

More reports, videos, photos and links to radio shows will follow soon.

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.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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