Top 20 Guantánamo Articles


The Guantanamo FilesA recent analysis of traffic on my site has revealed the most popular articles over the last five months (April to August 2008), since my redesign, which allowed me to look at which posts visitors to my site were reading. I thought I’d run the results here, even though they do not, of course, take into account the large numbers of readers who have found the articles on other sites on which they’ve been published: primarily, the Huffington Post, CounterPunch, and AlterNet, but also ZNet, Cageprisoners, Indymedia,, American Torture, Free Detainees and others.

1: Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now, and What About the Torture? (February 2008). A clear winner. This is the article that followed the announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five others had been put forward for trial by Military Commission at Guantánamo, in which I provided biographies, and wondered how the US administration proposed to hide the uncomfortable truth that they had all been tortured. As regards this article’s success, I have no idea if this is the case, but it is most easily found by Googling “Guantánamo 9/11” or “Guantánamo 9/11 torture” under “images.” Perhaps I should have added “conspiracy” to the title as well.

2: The Guantánamo Files: Andy Worthington’s US tour report (March 2008). A description of my week-long trip to the US to promote my book The Guantánamo Files. In praise of America, but not of the administration’s morally and legally corrosive policies.

One of Sami al-Haj's torture pictures3: Sami al-Haj: the banned torture pictures of a journalist in Guantánamo (April 2008). Published just two weeks before al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj was released from Guantánamo, this article provided a detailed overview of Sami’s experiences in US custody, and featured five powerful drawings (based on censored drawings by Sami of the prisoners’ treatment, and of his 16-month hunger strike) by British cartoonist Lewis Peake, which were commissioned by Sami’s lawyers at the legal action charity Reprieve. An archive of articles about Sami is here.

4: The Guantánamo Files: available now in the US (September 2007). A simple post, announcing the publication of The Guantánamo Files.

5: Torture allegations dog Guantánamo trials (March 2008). Warning: Prefaced with a disturbing photo of 15-year old Omar Khadr, severely wounded at the time of his capture in July 2002, this is part of an ongoing series of detailed articles describing the faltering progress of the trials by Military Commission at Guantánamo, looking at the problems facing the US administration in its attempts to conceal evidence of torture, and focusing in particular on misguided attempts to prosecute two juveniles: Omar Khadr and the Afghan prisoner Mohamed Jawad. An extensive archive of articles about the Military Commissions is here.

Omar Khadr6: The trials of Omar Khadr, Guantanamo’s “child soldier” (November 2007). A detailed account of Omar Khadr’s story, from his capture to pre-trial hearings in his Military Commission, including psychological analysis, legal challenges to the Commissions, the shame of putting forward a child for a “war crimes” trial, and the disgraceful suppression of evidence. An archive of articles about Omar is here.

7: Book review: Road From Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía (January 2008). The first deserter from the Iraq war, Camilo Mejía pitches his story perfectly, capturing the camaraderie of the soldiers, the deranged incompetence of many of their leaders, and the encounters with brutality, including his own, that led him to become the first deserter from the Iraq war. This is the only article on the list that is not related to Guantánamo, and its inclusion suggests that I should write more about Iraq — if only I had the time. A few other articles about Iraq are here.

8: A Chinese Muslim’s Desperate Plea from Guantánamo (March 2008). One of several articles about the Uyghurs (or Uighurs) at Guantánamo — Muslims from the oppressed Xinjiang province, who had no connection whatsoever with al-Qaeda or the Taliban — this article tells their story and focuses on a poignant letter by Abdulghappar, one of 17 Uyghurs still held because the US does not want to return them to China, but cannot find them a new home. An archive of articles about the Uyghurs is here.

9: Waterboarding: two questions for Michael Hayden about three “high-value” detainees now in Guantánamo (February 2008). A rebuke to Michael Hayden, the CIA’s director, after he admitted that three “high-value detainees” in Guantánamo had been waterboarded in secret prisons by the CIA, and two searching questions about other information that he did not admit. Even so, this was the moment — astonishingly — that torture by the United States was openly admitted, and still no one has been called to account.

Binyam Mohamed10: Guantánamo: Torture victim Binyam Mohamed sues British government for evidence (May 2008). Seized in Pakistan in April 2002, British resident Binyam Mohamed spent nearly two years being tortured by or on behalf of the US administration — in Morocco and in the CIA’s “Dark Prison” near Kabul. This article provides a detailed review of his case, and coincided with a lawsuit, filed by his lawyers at Reprieve and Leigh Day & Co., seeking access to information about his rendition and torture in the possession of the British government. An archive of articles about Binyam is here, which includes explosive developments in his case over the last few months.

11: Guantánamo’s ghosts and the shame of Diego Garcia (October 2007). Looking at the neo-colonial ethnic cleansing of Diego Garcia by the British government, so that the US could lease it as a military base, this article also probed allegations that the island had been used to house a secret “War on Terror” prison run by the CIA. An archive of articles looking at further revelations about the use of Diego Garcia in the “War on Terror” is here (and see 17, below, for the latest discoveries).

12: The US military’s shameless propaganda over Guantánamo’s 9/11 trials (April 2008). Another article looking at the Military Commissions, this followed the article at 5, above, updating developments in the pre-trial hearings, and exposing Pentagon propaganda regarding the forthcoming 9/11 trials.

Stephen Abraham13: Guantánamo whistleblowers: Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham is not the first insider to condemn the kangaroo courts (July 2007). The first of several articles focusing on the testimony of Stephen Abraham, a veteran of US intelligence who worked on the Combatant Status Review Tribunals at Guantánamo, exposing the system — ostensibly designed to evaluate the prisoners’ status as “enemy combatants” — as a sham. An archive of further articles is available here.

14: Guantánamo’s ridiculous underwear saga: the full correspondence (September 2007). The full text of Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith’s hilarious response to allegations, by the US military at Guantánamo, that he had smuggled underwear into the prison for two of Reprieve’s clients, Shaker Aamer and Mohammed El-Gharani.

15: Six Years Of Guantánamo: Enough Is Enough (January 2008). A detailed examination of the prison, its history and its future, published on the sixth anniversary of the prison’s opening.

16: Identification of ex-Guantánamo suicide bomber unleashes Pentagon propaganda (May 2008). The sorry tale of a released prisoner turned suicide bomber, and the lies peddled by the Pentagon after the story broke.

Diego Garcia17: Secret Prison on Diego Garcia Confirmed: Six “High-Value” Guantánamo Prisoners Held, Plus “Ghost Prisoner” Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (August 2008).
The latest episode in the ongoing saga of Diego Garcia, this article drew on recent research by TIME and El Pais to establish the identities of seven “high-value detainees” held by the CIA.

18: Gordon Brown urged to act for British residents in Guantánamo (January 2008). A report on a petition delivered to 10 Downing Street on the sixth anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, urging him to act on behalf of the remaining British residents: Shaker Aamer, Ahmed Belbacha and Binyam Mohamed.

19: Pants to Guantánamo: Agent Provocateur and Reprieve make a cheeky statement about detention without charge or trial (February 2008). Following the ridiculous Guantánamo underwear saga (at 14, above), a meeting between Clive Stafford Smith of Reprieve and Joseph Corre of Agent Provocateur led to the creation of these extraordinary “Fair Trial My Arse” knickers.

Adel Hamad and Salim Adem20: The Shocking Stories of the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Workers Just Released From Guantánamo (December 2007). Innocence acclaimed. It took years — and an innovative YouTube campaign by his lawyers — but eventually hospital administrator Adel Hamad and his compatriot Salim Adem were released from Guantánamo. This is their story.

Bubbling under were articles dealing with the collapse of the Military Commissions last June, the release of Sami al-Haj, the release of 16 Saudi prisoners, the plight of Ahmed Belbacha, the arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators for the 9/11 attacks, the torture and trial of US “enemy combatant” Jose Padilla, the US Supreme Court’s ruling that the Guantánamo prisoners have constitutional habeas corpus rights, and the false confessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

I’m also reassured that the pages about my books, The Guantánamo Files, The Battle of the Beanfield and Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion, were well-visited, and that readers also found their way to the first 4 of 12 additional online chapters of The Guantánamo Files, here, here, here and here.

Andy Worthington is 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). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

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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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