The Guantánamo Files: An Archive of Articles – Part Five, July to December 2009


The Guantanamo Files

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For four years, I have been providing detailed information about the prisoners in Guantánamo, first through my book The Guantánamo Files, which tells the story of the prison and around 450 of the prisoners held, and then through 12 online chapters, which provide information about the majority of the other 329 prisoners. Alongside this project, I have been working assiduously as a full-time independent journalist, covering stories as they develop, and focusing in particular on the stories of released prisoners, the Military Commission trial system, and the prisoners’ progress in the courts, through their habeas corpus petitions.

My intention, all along, has been to bring the men to life through their stories, dispelling the Bush administration’s rhetoric about the prison holding “the worst of the worst,” and demonstrating how, instead, the majority of the prisoners were either innocent men, seized by the US military’s allies at a time when bounty payments were widespread, or recruits for the Taliban, who had been encouraged by supporters in their homelands to help the Taliban in a long-running inter-Muslim civil war (with the Northern Alliance), which began long before the 9/11 attacks and, for the most part, had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or international terrorism. As I explained in the introduction to my four-part Definitive Prisoner List (updated on January 1), I remain convinced, through detailed research and through comments from insiders with knowledge of Guantánamo, that “at least 93 percent of the 779 men and boys imprisoned in total” had no involvement with terrorism.

However, as this is a blog, rather than a website, I recognize that it’s increasingly difficult to navigate, as there are so many “Categories,” and, most crucially, there is no access to articles in anything other than reverse chronological order. In an attempt to remedy this shortcoming, and to provide easy access to the most important articles on the site, I’ve put together five chronological lists, covering the periods May to December 2007, January to June 2008, July to December 2008, January to June 2009 and July to December 2009, in the hope that they will provide a useful tool for navigation.

In this final part (for now, pending an update this summer), I continued writing for the Guardian, the Future of Freedom Foundation and Cageprisoners, and was also thrilled to be asked to start writing regularly for Truthout. I also maintained my involvement with the Huffington Post, CounterPunch,, AlterNet and ZNet, and also kept up contact with the Daily Star, Lebanon. A number of other sites also started regularly cross-posting my articles, including Jason Leopold’s The Public Record, and I also made a number of appearances on al-Jazeera and Democracy Now!

In terms of content, this was the period when, distressingly, the high hopes human rights activists had for President Obama began to unravel. I covered some spectacular testimony in Congress, when Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld and Maj. David Frakt did their utmost to prevent the revival of the Military Commissions, but then watched in horror as the Commissions were revived in November, in a three-tier system of “justice” that involved federal court trials for some prisoners, Military Commissions for others, and, most alarmingly, indefinite detention without charge or trial for others. In September, the administration dropped its plans to apply for new legislation to endorse this disturbing plan, but ended up claiming that it needed only to rely on the sweeping and open-ended powers that Congress granted George W. Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which, to be frank, are in drastic need of an overhaul.

I also covered the prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions in great detail, rounding up the stories to date in a three-parter in the summer, cheering as Judge Ellen Huvelle granted the habeas petition of the former juvenile prisoner (and torture victim) Mohamed Jawad, and then reeling in shock as Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted the habeas petition of a Kuwaiti, Fouad al-Rabiah, and revealed, in her ruling, how he had been tortured into making false confessions that he had then repeated in publicly-available documents. This was one of my most successful articles of the period, along with a two-part interview with Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, formerly Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff.

I also covered the stories of the 31 prisoners released between July and December, continued to monitor Binyam Mohamed’s ongoing UK court case regarding his “extraordinary rendition” and torture, maintained a regular commentary on the UK’s domestic anti-terror laws, exposed what is known to date about murders in US custody in Afghanistan, and, in September, focused on the Obama administration’s shameless attempts to maintain Bush-era secrecy at Bagram, and to introduce a review process, unrelated to the Geneva Conventions, which was essentially copied from the discredited system used at Guantánamo.

In addition, I branched out into film, with the launch of a new documentary film, “Outside the law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by filmmaker Polly Nash and myself) in October, which I then followed up with a short US tour, taking in New York, Fairfax, Virginia, Washington D.C., and the Bay Area. The film was later featured on Democracy Now!, ABC News and Truthout, and although I had a great time in the States, and met some wonderful people, I couldn’t help thinking that the hopes of January 2009 were being dashed, with right-wingers out of control, members of Obama’s own party demonstrating their own stupidity, and a voter base that was either blind to reality, believing that Obama had waved a magic wand and made everything fine, or thoroughly disillusioned and comparing him to George W. Bush. In several articles, I expressed my disgust with lawmakers of both parties, and also my disappointment that, when it came to being challenged, the Obama administration chose cowardice, and acted with pragmatism rather than with the principles that are so desperately needed if the crimes of the Bush administration are ever to be thoroughly repudiated.

An archive of Guantánamo articles: Part Five, July to December 2009

July 2009

1. Murders in US custody: When Torture Kills: Ten Murders In US Prisons In Afghanistan
2. Torture: Release Of The “Holy Grail” Of Torture Reports Delayed Again
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani3. Federal court trials: African Embassy Bombing Suspect To Face Trial In September 2010 (Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani)
4. UK anti-terror laws: Seven years of madness: the harrowing tale of Mahmoud Abu Rideh and Britain’s anti-terror laws
5. UK anti-terror laws: “Would you be able to cope?”: Letters by the children of control order detainee Mahmoud Abu Rideh
6. UK anti-terror laws: Control order detainee Mahmoud Abu Rideh to be allowed to leave the UK
7. Bagram: Judge Rules That Afghan “Rendered” To Bagram In 2002 Has No Rights
8. Military Commissions: Military Commissions: Government Flounders, As Admiral Hutson Nails Problems
9. UK torture: Britain’s Secret Torture Policy Exposed
10. UK torture: How David Davis Exposed Britain’s Secret Torture Scandal
11. Military Commissions: Former Insider Shatters Credibility of Military Commissions (Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld)
12. UK anti-terror laws: Testing control orders (in the Guardian)
13. Torture: Will Eric Holder Be The Anti-Torture Hero?
14. Afghanistan: The Convoy of Death: Will Obama Investigate The Afghan Massacre Of November 2001?
15. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Guantánamo And The Courts (Part One): Exposing The Bush Administration’s Lies
16. China: Is The World Ignoring A Massacre of Uighurs In China?
17. Uighur prisoners: Chair Of The American Conservative Union Supports The Guantánamo Uighurs
18. UK anti-terror laws: Dismantle the secret state (in the Guardian)
19. Tunisian prisoners: Italy’s Guantánamo: Obama Plans “Rendition” Of Tunisians In Guantánamo To Italian Jail
20. Military Commissions: Predictable Chaos As Guantánamo Trials Resume
21. UK anti-terror laws: UK government issues travel document to control order detainee Mahmoud Abu Rideh after horrific suicide attempt
22. Uighur prisoners: Three Uighurs Talk About Chinese Interrogation At Guantánamo
23. Uighur prisoners: House Threatens Obama Over Chinese Interrogation Of Uighurs In Guantánamo
Umar Abdulayev24. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Obama’s Failure To Deliver Justice To The Last Tajik In Guantánamo (Umar Abdulayev)
25. Interviews: An interview with Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files (July 2009)
26. Video: Andy Worthington discusses the closure of Guantánamo on Al-Jazeera
27. Closing Guantánamo: Obama And The Deadline For Closing Guantánamo: It’s Worse Than You Think
28. Torture: US Torture Under Scrutiny In British Courts
29. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: How Judge Huvelle Humiliated The Government In Guantánamo Case (Mohamed Jawad)
30. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: As Judge Orders Release Of Tortured Guantánamo Prisoner, Government Refuses To Concede Defeat (Mohamed Jawad)

August 2009

31. Video: Former prisoners launch the Guantánamo Justice Centre in London
32. Closing Guantánamo: Guantánamo As Hotel California: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave
Khalid al-Mutairi33. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Judge Orders Release From Guantánamo Of Kuwaiti Charity Worker (Khalid al-Mutairi)
34. UK anti-terror laws: Secret evidence in the case of the North West 10 “terror suspects”
35. Binyam Mohamed: What The British Government Knew About The Torture Of Binyam Mohamed
36: Uighur prisoners: A Profile of Rushan Abbas, The Guantánamo Uighurs’ Interpreter
37. Uighur prisoners: A Plea To Barack Obama From The Guantánamo Uighurs
38. Military Commissions: David Frakt: Military Commissions “A Catastrophic Failure”
39. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Guantánamo And The Courts (Part Two): Obama’s Shame
40. Closing Guantánamo: Guantánamo In Belgium: The Questionable Fate Of Two Tunisians
41. Bagram: Bagram Isn’t The New Guantánamo, It’s The Old Guantánamo
42. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Guantánamo And The Courts (Part Three): Obama’s Continuing Shame
43. Guantánamo history: Arrogance And Torture: A History of Guantánamo
44. Interviews: An Interview With Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Part One)

September 2009

Mohamed Jawad, on his release from Guantanamo45. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Reflections On Mohamed Jawad’s Release From Guantánamo
46. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Who Are The Two Syrians Released From Guantánamo To Portugal?
47. UK anti-terror laws: Letting go of control orders (in the Guardian)
48. Torture: Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers
49. Interviews: An Interview With Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Part Two)
50. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: No Escape From Guantánamo: The Latest Habeas Rulings
51. 9/11 anniversary: Remember 9/11, remember Guantánamo (in the Guardian)
52. Bagram: Obama Brings Guantánamo And Rendition To Bagram (And Not The Geneva Conventions)
53. Bagram: Is Bagram Obama’s New Secret Prison?
54. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: First Guantánamo Prisoner To Lose Habeas Hearing Appeals Ruling
55. Closing Guantánamo: Guantánamo Envoy: US Should Have Taken Cleared Prisoners; Some Should Never Have Been Held
56. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Judge Orders Release From Guantánamo Of Kuwaiti Who Met Bin Laden (but please see 71, below)
57. Mohamed Jawad: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Secure Mohammed Jawad’s Release From Guantánamo
58. Video: Freed From Guantánamo, Mohammed Jawad Celebrates Eid With His Family
59. Return to torture: Court Allows Return Of Guantánamo Prisoners To Torture
60. Military Commissions: 9/11 Trial At Guantánamo Delayed Again: Can We Have Federal Court Trials Now, Please?
61. Video (in German): Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo On Swiss TV
62. UK anti-terror laws: Another Blow To Britain’s Crumbling Control Order Regime
63. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Three Prisoners Released From Guantánamo: Two To Ireland, One To Yemen
64: Video: Former Guantánamo Prisoner Binyam Mohamed Speaks (Video)
65. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: The Story of Oybek Jabbarov, An Innocent Man Freed From Guantánamo
66: Closing Guantánamo: Obama Drops Plan For New “Indefinite Detention” Policy At Guantánamo
67. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: A Teenage Refugee Freed From Guantánamo And Released In Ireland
68. Torture: Torture in Bagram and Guantánamo: The Declaration of Ahmed al-Darbi
69. Military Commissions: Torture And Futility: Is This The End Of The Military Commissions At Guantánamo?
70. Video: Andy Worthington Discusses Bagram on al-Jazeera
Fouad al-Rabiah71. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: A Truly Shocking Guantánamo Story: Judge Confirms That An Innocent Man Was Tortured To Make False Confessions (Fouad al-Rabiah)

October 2009

72. Closing Guantánamo: 75 Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release; 31 Could Leave Today
73. Guantánamo and US Congress: On Guantánamo, Lawmakers Reveal They Are Still Dick Cheney’s Pawns
74. Guantánamo and US Congress: Lawyer Blasts “Congressional Depravity” On Guantánamo
75. Barack Obama: Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize: OK, He’s A Nice Guy, But …
76. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Two More Guantánamo Prisoners Released: To Kuwait And Belgium
77. Afghanistan (guest post): A Letter From Afghanistan: Bagram, Afghan suffering and the futility of war
78. Closing Guantánamo: Finding New Homes For 44 Cleared Guantánamo Prisoners
79. Kuwaiti prisoners: Resisting Injustice In Guantánamo: The Story Of Fayiz Al-Kandari
80. Binyam Mohamed: UK Judges Order Release Of Details About The Torture Of Binyam Mohamed By US Agents
81. Uighur prisoners: Justice At Last? Guantánamo Uighurs Ask Supreme Court For Release Into US
82. Guantánamo media: Photos from the launch of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”
83. Torture: Musicians (Finally) Say No To Music Torture
84. Guantánamo media: New Book: The Guantánamo Lawyers – and a talk by Jonathan Hafetz
85. Guantánamo and US Senate: Senate Finally Allows Guantánamo Trials In US, But Not Homes For Innocent Men
86. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Six Uighurs Go To Palau; Seven Remain In Guantánamo

November 2009

87. US enemy combatants: Ali al-Marri’s Statement In Court, October 30, 2009
88. US enemy combatants: Ali al-Marri, The Last US “Enemy Combatant,” Receives Eight-Year Sentence
Three of the six Uighurs released in Palau89. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Who Are The Six Uighurs Released From Guantánamo To Palau?
90. Uighur prisoners: Guantánamo Uighurs In Palau: First Interview And Photo
91. Military Commissions: Military Commissions Revived: Don’t Do It, Mr. President!
92. Rendition: Italian Judge Rules “Extraordinary Rendition” Illegal, Sentences CIA Agents (Abu Omar)
93. US tour: Bringing Guantánamo To New York
94. Video: On Democracy Now! Andy Worthington Discusses the Forthcoming 9/11 Trials and “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”
95. Video: An Evening with Andy Worthington, Discussing Guantánamo (Video)
96. US tour: Guantánamo Comes To The United States: Andy Worthington’s Tour Report
97. Federal court trials, Military Commissions: The Logic of the 9/11 Trials, The Madness of the Military Commissions
98. UK torture: UK Judge Approves Use of Secret Evidence in Guantánamo Case
99. Video: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo on VOA News (Video – In Urdu)
100. Federal court trials, Military Commissions: Rep. Jerrold Nadler and David Frakt on Obama’s Three-Tier Justice System For Guantánamo
101. Closing Guantánamo: Obama’s Failure To Close Guantánamo By January Deadline Is Disastrous
102. Guantánamo lawyers: Justice Department Pointlessly Gags Guantánamo Lawyer (Candace Gorman, lawyer for Abdul Hamid al-Ghizzawi)
103. Video: On ABC News, Andy Worthington Discusses New Film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”
104. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Judge Orders Release Of Algerian From Guantánamo (But He’s Not Going Anywhere)
105. UK torture: Cruel Britannia: Human Rights Watch Exposes British Complicity In Torture In Pakistan
106. Iraq: Iraq Inquiry: Sir Christopher Meyer Confirms That Iraq War Was Illegal
Binyam Mohamed in July 2009107. Binyam Mohamed: UK Judges Compare Binyam Mohamed’s Torture To That Of Abu Zubaydah

December 2009

108. Closing Guantánamo: Guantánamo: Idealists Leave Obama’s Sinking Ship
109. UK anti-terror laws: The end of secret evidence? (in the Guardian)
110. Video: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo, Plus Clips From “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (Truthout video)
111. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Four Men Leave Guantánamo; Two Face Ill-Defined Trials In Italy
112. UK anti-terror laws: Living With A Terror Suspect: Detainee U’s Landlord Tells His Story
113. Guantánamo lawyers: Guantánamo Lawyer Calls Off Talk In Illinois After Receiving Threats Of Violence
114. Closing Guantánamo: 116 Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release; 171 Still In Limbo
115. Military Commissions: Former Guantánamo Prosecutor Loses Job For Criticizing Military Commissions
116. UK anti-terror laws: Calling Time On The Use Of Secret Evidence In The UK
117. Military Commissions: Chaos and Confusion: The Return of the Military Commissions
118. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Innocent Guantánamo Torture Victim Fouad al-Rabiah Is Released In Kuwait
119. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: What Does It Take To Get Out Of Obama’s Guantánamo?
120. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: “Model Prisoner” at Guantánamo, Tortured in the “Dark Prison,” Loses Habeas Corpus Petition
121. UK torture: UK Court Orders Release Of Torture Evidence In The Case Of Shaker Aamer, The Last British Resident In Guantánamo
122. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Judge Orders Release From Guantánamo Of Unwilling Yemeni Recruit
123. Mohammed El-Gharani: Stranded In Chad: Mohammed El-Gharani, Once Guantánamo’s Youngest Prisoner
124. UK torture: Shaker Aamer: UK Government Drops Opposition To Release Of Torture Evidence
125. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: The Stories Of The Two Somalis Freed From Guantánamo
126. Closing Guantánamo: Serious Problems With Obama’s Plan To Move Guantánamo To Illinois
Mohamed Saleban Bare127. Somali prisoners: “Hell on Earth”: Released Somali Speaks about Guantánamo
128. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Who Are The Four Afghans Released From Guantánamo?
129. Uzbek prisoners: At Christmas, Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Is Reunited With His Family
130. Interviews: An Interview With Andy Worthington About Guantánamo, “Outside the Law” and New Media
131. Video: Q&A with Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash at the Launch of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”
132. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Why Obama Must Continue Releasing Yemenis From Guantánamo

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.

4 Responses

  1. Darrel Vandeveld says...

    Andy, you’ve performed an incalculable service to those whose views about Guantanamo and the Military Commissions are based on ignorance, fear, or simply erroneous/incomplete information. At the same time, you’ve provided a measure of objective vindication to the enlightened community — dwarfed as it may be by the vast unwashed — who understand that we desecrated our own worthy ideals by abandoning fundamental respect for humanity qua humanity. Thank you.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    And thank you, Darrel. Your comments are much appreciated.

  3. The Guantánamo Files: An Archive of Articles — Part Eleven, October to December 2011 | Friction Facts says...

    […] periods May to December 2007, January to June 2008, July to December 2008, January to June 2009, July to December 2009, January to June 2010, July to December 2010, January to March 2011, April to June 2011 and July to […]

  4. Guantanamo Files | Friction Facts says...

    […] periods May to December 2007, January to June 2008, July to December 2008, January to June 2009, July to December 2009, January to June 2010, July to December 2010, January to March 2011, April to June 2011 and July to […]

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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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