Andy Worthington, Asim Qureshi and Jason Leopold Discuss Guantánamo, Human Experimentation and the Global Reach of the “War on Terror” with Peter B. Collins


My friend Peter B. Collins, a very experienced progressive radio host, who, in his own words, “is burdened with too many opinions,” and “follows news and politics to a degree that one friend calls ‘borderline obsessive,'” is putting together some excellent podcasts from the Bay Area, and it has been my great pleasure to have been interviewed by Peter on eight occasions since July 2009. Seven of these shows, generally an hour long, and mercifully free of ad breaks, can be heard here, here, here, here (with Sibel Edmonds as co-host, on Boiling Frogs), here, here and here.

For our ninth outing last week (Podcast 198, available here), Peter invited along my colleague, Asim Qureshi, the executive director of Cageprisoners, in particular to discuss his book Rules of the Game: Detention, Deportation, Disappearance, which is having an official launch event in London, at SOAS, on December 13, but also to discuss with both of us the latest news, via Wikileaks, about the international horse-trading regarding Guantánamo, and my analysis of why this was required in the first place (because of the Obama administration, Congress and the courts all agreeing that wrongly-imprisoned men must never be freed in the country responsible for their illegal detention).

We also discussed the latest news from the UK, regarding the financial settlement reached with former Guantánamo prisoners, why this was needed to staunch the flow of dangerous revelations of complicity in torture by Tony Blair and Jack Straw, and why the remaining British resident in Guantánamo, Shaker Aamer, must be released immediately. Following our segment, Peter spoke to another colleague of mine, Jason Leopold, about the explosive story he wrote for Truthout with the psychiatrist and blogger Jeffrey Kaye (another friend and colleague, I confess) about human experimentation at Guantánamo.

This is how Peter described the show:

The Guantánamo malignancy spreads: Journalist Andy Worthington returns, joined by Asim Qureshi of Cageprisoners; Jason Leopold of Truthout reports Gitmo prisoners were all given huge doses of unneeded drug with major side effects; Worthington is author of The Guantánamo Files and provides daily updates on his website, where you can find his detailed reports on the WikiLeaks cables related to Gitmo and placement of released prisoners. Asim Qureshi is Executive Director of Cageprisoners, the British nonprofit founded by former Guantanamo prisoners; he is the author of Rules of the Game: Detention, Deportation, Disappearance.

We talk about the WikiLeaks cables that show how Obama’s desire to close Gitmo and release the innocent men to anywhere-but-America has led to ugly dealmaking with a range of countries, big and small. Qureshi talks about his book, how other countries have copied US tactics on detention without trial and torture, including the use of police state tactics in England, Canada and other countries. Both guests comment on the British government’s agreement to compensate their ex-Gitmo prisoners, which (in a decent world) ought to pressure the US to honor its obligations to all prisoners who were or are released without being charged or convicted. And we talk about the December 11 event planned by Cageprisoners to draw attention to the case of Shaker Aamer, the last British detainee at Gitmo.

In segment 2 starting at 1:11:30 Jason Leopold reports on his investigation, with Dr. Jeff Kaye, into the practice of forcing all Gitmo prisoners, on arrival, to get a mega dose of mefloquine, which is intended for malaria and has major side effects, including psychoses. In this exclusive report, experts are quoted: the program is “medically indefensible” and “pharmacologic waterboarding”. And Leopold reports that our military has sharply limited use of this drug on our troops since 2007 — and PBC asks if this policy change is based on research conducted on humans at Gitmo.

If you have one hour and 50 minutes to spare, please listen to the show. Peter is one the best-informed radio hosts around, and his shows are always well-paced and extremely informative. Until the next time …!

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) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. 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 July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

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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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