Andy Worthington: Talking Torture at the Medical Foundation

22.10.08

The Guantanamo FilesOn October 2, I was honoured to deliver a seminar at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. A registered charity established in 1985, the Medical Foundation, which has four centres — in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow — has dealt with more than 45,000 referrals from torture survivors in its 23-year history. Clients have come from almost 100 countries, with significant numbers from Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Iran.

The topic of the seminar was “Stories from Guantánamo,” and it gave me the opportunity to run through a condensed history of Guantánamo, as related in my book The Guantánamo Files, specifically looking at how it came about that a regime of torture was introduced at Guantánamo. Primarily, this was because those who ended up there — mainly a mix of innocent men and Taliban foot soldiers — had no “intelligence” to provide, but were regarded as having been trained to resist interrogation by al-Qaeda.

The full talk, which was filmed, was about 45 minutes in length, and a short excerpt, dealing with an allied topic, the CIA’s programme of “extraordinary rendition” and torture in secret prisons, which led to the transfer into Guantánamo of between 60 and 80 of the 779 prisoners who have been held at the prison throughout its history, is available on the front page of the Medical Foundation’s website.

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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