Radio: Andy Worthington’s Hour-Long Guantánamo Interview on Wake-Up Call Podcast

11.6.16

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Have an hour to spare? Want to hear me talk in detail about Guantánamo? Then please listen to me on Wake-Up Call Podcast with Adam Camac and Daniel Laguros, who “interview experts on foreign relations, economics, current events, politics, political theory, and more every weekday.”

They decided to call the show “The Horrible Guantánamo Bay Facility,” which I think is accurate, as I was able to explain in detail what a thoroughly disgraceful facility Guantánamo is at every level.

I began by explaining why the naval base at Guantánamo Bay was chosen as the location for an offshore facility that was supposed to be beyond the reach of the US courts, and how, of course, creating somewhere outside the law made it shamefully easy to begin torturing the men — and boys — who were swept up in the “war on terror” and held there.

See below for the interview on YouTube (and you can also listen to it here):

Following the introductory comments I mentioned above, I spoke about how the fundamental problem with the Bush administration’s detention policies in the “war on terror” was that, in seeking to establish a way of holding people without any rights whatsoever as human beings, senior officials decided, unwisely, that there was a third way to hold people beyond the established routes — that they are charged with a criminal offence and put on trial, or are taken off the battlefield, and held unmolested, with the protections of the Geneva Conventions, until the end of hostilities.

I proceeded to speak about the prisoners’ long struggle to secure habeas corpus rights, and how, briefly, that led to the release of dozens of prisoners, until politically motivated appeals court judges changed the rules governing the prisoners’ habeas petitions, effectively gutting habeas corpus of all meaning for those held at Guantánamo.

I then spoke about the forms of torture implemented at Guantánamo, and moved on from that to the shameful history of the military commissions, which have failed, throughout Guantánamo’s history, to deliver anything resembling justice to the handful of men who have faced trials. I also discussed the long and so far unsuccessful quest for accountability for the senior officials, up to and including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their lawyers, who implemented the torture, rendition and indefinite detention without charge or trial that were at the heart of the detention policies in the “war on terror.”

I proceeded to discuss how competent tribunals (also known as battlefield tribunals), to separate combatants from civilians, were not implemented in the “war on terror,” and how this was just one of the many mistakes that led to people being held at Guantánamo who were not even soldiers, let alone terrorists, and how, of course, the Bush administration’s disastrous policies dangerously and irresponsibly blurred the differences between civilians, soldiers and terrorists.

I also spoke about the story of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, freed last year as the result of a multi-faceted campaign, including my own contribution via the We Stand With Shaker campaign that I co-founded with activist Joanne McInnes in 2014, and, in connection with Shaker’s story, I also explained why the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011 are full of profoundly unreliable statements made by prisoners who were subjected to torture or other forms of abuse, or were bribed to make statements with the promise of enter living conditions.

I also ran through the history of Guantánamo under President Obama, explaining how unprincipled opposition from Republicans, combined with Obama’s reluctance to spend political capital overcoming those obstacles, has left him with less than six months to fulfil the promise he made on his second day in office, nearly seven and a half years ago, to close Guantánamo within a year.

There was much more in the show than I have described above, and I hope you have time to listen to it, and to share it if you find it useful.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to an hour-long interview I did last week with Adam Camac and Daniel Laguros, who make five podcasts available every week with experts in various fields. It was great to have an hour to discuss ‪Guantanamo‬ past, present and future in detail, and if you want to know more than you probably knew you wanted to know about the prison, then I hope you’ll give it a listen!

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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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