Radio: Andy Worthington Discusses the Senate Torture Report, Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker with Scott Horton and Pippa Jones

14.12.14

Andy Worthington and Joanne MacInnes of We Stand With Shaker with music legend Roger Waters (ex-Pink Floyd) at the launch of the campaign outside the Houses of Parliament on November 24, 2014 (Photo: Stefano Massimo).As I mentioned yesterday when I posted two videos of TV coverage of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, which aims to secure the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, it’s been a busy three-week period — firstly with the launch of the campaign outside Parliament on November 24, and then, last week, with the release of our short film for Shaker for Human Rights Day, featuring Juliet Stevenson and David Morrissey, reading from Shaker’s Declaration of No Human Rights, which he wrote in Guantánamo in response to the US betrayal of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and also, last Tuesday, with the release of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report into the CIA torture program, which I wrote about here for Al-Jazeera.

Last week I undertook a couple of radio interviews to discuss all of these issues, speaking for on the Scott Horton Show, with the Texas-based interviewer with whom I have been talking about the horrors of Guantánamo, executive overreach, arbitrary dentition and torture for more than seven years — a duration of time that has probably come as a surprise to both of us.

Our latest encounter — 23 minutes in total — is here, and I hope you have time to listen to it.

On Friday, I spoke to British ex-pat Pippa Jones, for her show on Talk Radio Europe. Pippa and I have spoken before — although we don’t have quite the history that Scott and I have. It was a pleasure to talk to Pippa as well — about the torture report and We Stand With Shaker — and our 20-minute interview is here. The interview begins at about 7:45 and runs through to 28:15.

I’d also like to take the time to mention another interview I did — with another old friend, Peter B. Collins, who is based in the Bay Area, for Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs Post website. This was on November 27, after the We Stand With Shaker campaign began, but before the torture report was issued, and I recommend  it, but it’s only available to subscribers. See here for details.

I hope you have time to listen to these shows, as the topics discussed continue to attract attention in the media — the unacceptable ongoing imprisonment of Shaker Aamer, despite the fact that he has twice been approved for release, and the hugely important calls for those responsible for implementing the torture program under the Bush administration to be held accountable for their actions.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, 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 six-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, the full military commissions 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.

4 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    The publication of this article was rather overshadowed by some big news, with the Daily Mail publishing an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, which I wrote for the We Stand With Shaker campaign, and which is signed by numerous actors, comedians, writers, politicians and other prominent individuals, including Roger Waters, Frankie Boyle, Juliet Stevenson, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and many, many more, urging the Prime Minister to ‘pick up the phone to President Obama, and bring Shaker Aamer home’: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2873853/Now-free-Guantanamo-Briton-say-stars-Celebrities-join-Tory-Labour-MPs-demand-father-held-13-years-without-trial-released.html

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    The open letter is also on the website: http://standwithshakeraamer.tumblr.com/

  3. Anna says...

    Hi Andy,

    It’s great that the Daily Mail spoke up and they of course are entitled not to claim that Shaker is innocent, but I do object to a gross insinuation casting doubts about his and Moazzam’s motivations to go to Afghanistan in 2001, with their families which included small children. Quote:
    “Understandably, many will simply not believe his story, finding it impossible to accept that Aamer went to live in an alien country in the grip of fundamentalists on some kind of mercy mission.” Comments to this article are closed, so let me post mine here.

    It so happens, that they were not only ones in that position. To cite just one example: during the last taliban years, an Australian couple with a baby worked in Afghanistan.
    I know that for a fact, as I worked in Central Asia myself in a sister-office and as matter of fact, it was the lady who held the job and her husband was there to officially satisfy taliban decency requirements. They came to visit me in 2000, by car, with the 9 months old baby! I was to go and visit them in Afghanistan the following year and that only did not happen because I left that job. I will eternally regret not having had that opportunity to see Afghanistan under the taliban with my own eyes, so that I could have first hand experience. Our offices were representing a number of western european christian organisations, whose humanitarian aid activities were so non-religious, that their staff included persons with all kinds of religious backgrounds as well as non believers. As a matter of fact, when I was interviewed for the job by two teams from three countries, noone ever asked me about my religious beliefs or lack thereof. Obviously, there never was any form whatsoever of proselitising. However, the names of the organsations do clearly indicate that their background is christian, but once the taliban had verified that there was no proselitising of any kind and that the organisations were truly neutral and exclusively busying themselves with humanitarian aid, they allowed them to work.

    So Shaker and Moazzam were no exception by any means and being devout muslims (as opposed to islamists), their presence in Afghanistan at that time was even more justified and useful.

    Another – minor – comment. Quote: “When the two men arrived in Afghanistan in 2001, they soon discovered that the society they claimed they hoped to live in was rapidly disintegrating.” I have no idea what the journalist may have wanted to convey here. What happened is simply that a few months after their arrival, on October 7th to be precise, the US started bombing Afghanistan, so evidently both men decided that this was not a safe place anymore for their families and evacuated them.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Anna. Your comments contain genuine insights, as opposed to most of the generalisations we hear. I wish your comments could have been posted on the Daily Mail’s website, which generally contains the disgraceful rantings of racists and Islamophobes.

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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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