Radio: I Discuss Hopes for Guantánamo’s Closure Under Joe Biden, and Julian Assange’s Extradition, with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio

19.12.20

A composite image of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on the day it opened, January 11, 2002, and WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.

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Chris Cook, in Victoria, British Columbia, hosts a great weekly progressive radio show, Gorilla Radio, and I’m delighted to have been talking to him on a regular basis — mostly about Guantánamo — for many years now.

I spoke to Chris recently for an hour, and you can find the show on his website here, and also here as an MP3. A shorter version of the interview was included in the show that was broadcast on December 17, featuring journalist and author John Helmer in the first half (and the MP3 of that show is here).

I began by providing a brief history of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, which will mark the shameful 19th anniversary of its opening in just three weeks’ time, and I stressed how, under Donald Trump, the prison has essentially been sealed shut for the last four years. Bearing that in mind, there is now hope that, at the very least, some of the remaining 40 prisoners will be freed, and there will progress towards the prison’s closure.

Halfway through the hour, we spoke about the proposed extradition of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, following up on the statements I submitted in his defence during his recent hearing in London, which were based on my work with WikiLeaks in 2011 as a media partner on the release of classified military files from Guantánamo, and my efforts, frustrated by the prosecutors, to actually deliver this evidence in person in the courtroom. I explained how I believe that the entire process may well have been a sham, designed to create the illusion of fairness and impartiality, when the judge had already reached her decision, which will be announced on January 4.

I also spoke about the need for Joe Biden to drop the extradition request, which was launched under Donald Trump, because Joe Biden was Vice President when Barack Obama decided not to seek Assange’s extradition, having been warned, in no uncertain terms, of the chilling effect it would have on press freedoms, and the US’s cherished First Amendment.

With 15 minutes to go, Chris asked me about my ongoing photo-journalism project ‘The State of London’, which I began eight and a half years ago, and which has involved me cycling and taking photos on a daily basis throughout London’s 120 postcodes, and capturing the changes in London over that time, in particular the omnivorous march of predatory global capital, and I was pleased to be able to announced that I’ve just entered into a book deal for an illustrated narrative book based on the project, to be published in 2022.

We also spoke about the impact of Covid on London, as discussed in my article, Covid, Ghost Cities and the Collapse of Property Prices in the West End and the City of London, regarding the challenging situation for the real estate business in London — involving both commercial and residential rents — as offices have emptied, and rents in central London have been falling; primarily, it seems, because of the complete disappearance of foreign students with wealthy parents.

In conclusion, Chris asked me about my band The Four Fathers, and we discussed the disastrous effect of Covid on live culture, before Chris played out the show with our song, ‘Riot.’

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

In closing, here’s how Chris described our interview:

If the measure of a society is how its weakest are treated, then do we deserve more than the precipitous societal decline witnessed these last decades? As millions careen into extreme poverty and the Bastille is full to bursting — while the very few accumulate vast wealth undreamed of by either the Captains of the Gilded Age or courtiers of Versailles — the real impoverishment of our civilization is a terminal dearth of popular conscience and abandonment of the moral compass. Nowhere is that better evinced than in Guantánamo Bay, the 21st Century’s Devil’s Island.

* * * * *

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 music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison 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, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.55), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from eight years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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.

5 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to, and discussing my recent one-hour interview with Chris Cook on his Gorilla Radio show in Victoria, British Columbia, about hopes for the release of prisoners from Guantanamo, and the eventual closure of the prison, under Joe Biden, and the proposed extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. We also spoke about my photo-journalism project ‘The State of London’, and my band The Four Fathers, and Chris played out the show with our song ‘Riot’: https://thefourfathers.bandcamp.com/track/riot-2

    Chris and I have been speaking — primarily about Guantanamo — for more years than either of us probably want to remember, but it is always a pleasure to speak to him, and I wholeheartedly recommend his show.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Hester wrote:

    Andy paints a great correlation between the gulag at Guantanamo bay and the treatment of Julian Assange.
    It’s only the alt-media that are providing us with the reality that these untried detainees are subjected to.
    Don’t touch Mr Julian “WikiLeaks” Assange

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Kevin. Good to hear from you.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Hester wrote:

    Thanks for your tireless commitment to the detainees in Gitmo and injustice generally. I’m disappointed you couldn’t advocate for Julian in court but the main thing is you tried. #Respect

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Kevin!

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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