Andy Worthington Discusses the Yemenis Trapped in Guantánamo on the Peter B. Collins Show


On Wednesday I was delighted to talk once more to veteran progressive radio host Peter B. Collins, for another of his mercifully ad-free podcasts, which allow interviewer and interviewee the breathing space to discuss important stories in detail.

In his introduction to the one-hour interview, available here (and here as a MP3), Peter wrote:

Yemenis trapped at Gitmo, Accountability for BushCo? British journalist Andy Worthington is our expert on America’s Gulag and wrote The Guantánamo Files. [He] talks about the new hysteria produced by the failed terrorist action on Christmas Day and the fear projected by American politicians of both parties. He corrects the record about the former Gitmo prisoners released under Bush who are now leading al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, about Liz and Dick Cheney’s rants and about the six Yemenis released in December and more than 80 who remain.

After a preamble about the recent suicide bombing by an alleged al-Qaeda triple agent in Afghanistan, which killed eight US operatives, Peter and I discussed the shameful publicity given by the mainstream media to the latest Pentagon claim (unsubstantiated by any documentation whatsoever) that 1 in 5 prisoners released from Guantánamo have engaged on terrorist activities, which I then followed up with in an article, “Guantánamo Recidivism: Mainstream Media Parrot Pentagon Propaganda (Again),” and also talked about in an interview on Democracy Now! on Friday.

Peter and I then discussed the debacle of the scaremongering about the Yemenis in Guantánamo, as mentioned above, and as I discussed in my articles, “Guantánamo and Yemen: Obama Capitulates to Critics and Suspends Prisoner Transfers” and “Yemenis in Guantánamo are Victims of Hysteria,” and also on Democracy Now! I talked about the stories of the Saudis who are allegedly involved with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, pointing out that President Bush released them, in spite of advice from the intelligence services that they were a threat to the United States.

We also spoke about the terrible coarsening in US society, fostered so remorselessly in the Bush years, and how it led, in the case of the would-be Christmas bomber, to a poll in which over half the people questioned advocated waterboarding Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, rather than allowing FBI interrogators to question him non-coercively, which they apparently did with some considerable success.

Peter also asked me to run through the stories of some of the six Yemenis released before Christmas, which I reported at length in my article, “Why Obama Must Continue Releasing Yemenis From Guantánamo,” and I talked about Ayman Batarfi, a doctor, and Jamal Mar’i, who both worked for a Saudi charity, and Farouq Ali Ahmed, a missionary whose innocence was first established by a military officer during his tribunal at Guantánamo in 2004, but ignored by the panel, who decided that he was an “enemy combatant” anyway.

It was a pleasure to talk to Peter, as ever, and on the podcast, my interview is followed by an interview with Charlotte Dennett, a journalist and lawyer, whose book The People v. Bush has just been published. Charlotte was a candidate for Vermont Attorney General in 2008, and based her campaign in part on Vincent Bugliosi’s legal strategy to prosecute George W. Bush for murder. She talked about her campaign and the ongoing struggle for accountability, which is largely being resisted by the Obama administration. Both Charlotte and I are members of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee, which has just filed a FOIA request for the long-awaited internal Justice Report on the lawyers who compiled the notorious “torture memos” that purported to redefine torture.

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 I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and launched in October 2009), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

2 Responses

  1. On Democracy Now! Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo, Yemen, Lies, Hysteria and the False Recidivism Report « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] Andy Worthington Featured Writer Dandelion Salad 9 January […]

  2. Andy Worthington Interviewed by Sibel Edmonds and Peter B. Collins « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] Collins, available as an hour-long podcast here. Peter B. and I have done many interviews over the last few months, and for Boiling Frogs, we ran through the whole sordid story of the Bush administration’s […]

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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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