On Friday, following the publication of my article “America’s Disappeared” on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation, I was interviewed by Scott Horton, with whom I have been talking since August 2007, when he first picked up on my Guantánamo work, and then followed up via an article about Jose Padilla, the US citizen imprisoned as an “enemy combatant” on the US mainland, and tortured until he lost his mind.
Scott and I have mostly discussed Guantánamo in the last five and a half years, although we have also dealt with related issues — the US prison at Bagram in Afghanistan, for example — and on Friday the initial topic of our discussion was torture, the CIA’s “black sites” and the lack of accountability for the Bush administration’s torture program — all of which was dealt with in my article. This followed the publication, by the Open Society Justice Initiative, of “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition,” the first major report identifying the prisoners subjected to torture and disappearance since a UN report on disappearances in 2010, on which I was the lead author of the sections on disappearances in the “war on terror.” Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, just after the arraignment at Guantánamo of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, which I discussed in my article, Trial at Guantánamo: What Shall We Do With The Torture Victim?, I was delighted to speak about al-Nashiri’s case — and about the dispiriting history of the Military Commissions at Guantánamo — with Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio. The show is available here, and at the start of the interview, Scott asked me to explain how it is that the prison is still open, despite President Obama promising to close it within a year of taking office.
For the 171 men held, as I explained, the situation is bleak as we approach the 10th anniversary of the prison’s opening (in January 2012), as there now appears to be no way that any of them will ever leave the prison, given the indifference of the administration to their fate, and the hostility of lawmakers and certain crucial right-wing judges (who have been deciding detention policy in the D.C. Circuit Court). I also spoke about the current horror of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is being discussed in Congress, and which contains a vile proposal from lawmakers, insisting that, in future, all terror suspects be held in mandatory military custody, and not held as criminal suspects or given federal court trials.
As mentioned above, Scott and I also discussed the history of the Military Commissions and the six men who have been convicted or have accepted plea deals (David Hicks, Salim Hamdan, Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, Ibrahim al-Qosi, Omar Khadr and Noor Uthman Muhammed), and this provided me with an opportunity to mention that Omar Khadr is still being held, even though he was supposed to return to Canada two weeks ago, according to the the terms of his plea deal. Read the rest of this entry »
A few days ago, I was delighted to speak to Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio, in what was our 29th interview (available here) since he first sought me out over four years ago, but our first interview since June this year. Scott particularly wanted to discuss “You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantánamo,” the harrowing documentary about Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen and former child prisoner, which is based on footage of his interrogations by Canadian intelligence agents in the summer of 2003, when he was just 16 years old.
I attended a Q&A session after a London screening of this film back in June, and also took part in a discussion about it on Press TV (available in two parts here and here), so I was pleased to be able to revisit it, especially as the story of Omar Khadr is so central to the injustices of Guantanamo, and also because, barring any last-minute horrors on the part of the Obama administration, he is due to be released from Guantanamo to Canada on October 31.
Khadr was only 15 when he was seized in July 2002, after a firefight in which he allegedly threw a grenade that killed a US soldier — although serious doubts have been expressed about whether he actually threw the grenade, as he was apparently unconscious, face down, and half-buried under rubble at the time, and his lawyers claimed that the initial reports of the firefight were amended afterwards to incriminate him. Read the rest of this entry »
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