Radio, TV and Live Events: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo and the Need to Close the Prison During His US Tour


Andy Worthington speaking to Bill Newman, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney and the director of the western Massachusetts office of the ACLU, on his weekday radio talk show on WHMP in Northampton, Massachusetts on January 14, 2015, during Andy's recent US tour.I’m back from my US tour, recovering from jet lag and fatigue as a result of a punishing (if rewarding) Stateside schedule, in which, over an 11-day period, I visited New York, Washington D.C., Boston and other locations in Massachusetts, and Chicago as part of series of events to mark the 13th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo, organized by Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait, who accompanied me for the majority of the visit. I’ve already posted videos of me speaking outside the White House on the anniversary, and a video of an event at New America on January 12 at which I spoke along with the attorney Tom Wilner and Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor of the military commissions at Guantánamo, who is now an implacable critic of the “war on terror.”

Below, I’m posting links to three radio shows I did on January 14, when I was in Massachusetts (one of which was with a show in Chicago, and was broadcast the day after), and a TV interview I did that same day for a local news show, WWLP-22News. On that particularly busy day, I also spoke at two events, for which videos will shortly be available.

For my first interview, at 9am, I spoke to Bill Newman, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney and the director of the western Massachusetts office of the ACLU, who hosts a weekday radio talk show on WHMP in Northampton, Massachusetts. Bill also worked as co-counsel on behalf of a Guantánamo prisoner several years ago.

Bill and I had met at a dinner the evening before, arranged by Nancy Talanian of No More Guantánamos (who organized my events in Massachusetts), where other attendees included Buz Eisenberg, an attorney who has represented seven Guantánamo prisoners, all now released, and several members of Witness Against Torture, who had just returned from Washington D.C. It was great to meet Buz and Bill for the first time. We got on really well, and Buz was particularly lavish in his praise for my work, which was immensely gratifying.

Bill’s 50-minute show from January 14 is here, and our interview begins at the start of the show and ends at 34 minutes. It was a great pleasure to talk to him, and to have so much time to look in depth at the sad and enduring story of Guantánamo.

For my second interview, I spoke briefly to Paul Tuthill, the Bureau Chief of NPR affiliate WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, just prior to a talk I was giving at Western New England University School of Law. That seven-minute interview is here, and it was a pleasure to speak to Paul. A video of my subsequent talk should be available soon.

For my third interview, I spoke to Jerome McDonnell for his show, “Worldview,” on WBEZ 91.5 in Chicago, an NPR affiliate, for a widely-heard show in Chicago, which was broadcast on January 15, the day I arrived in Chicago with Debra Sweet for an event that also featured Candace Gorman, an independent lawyer who represents one prisoner still held, Abdul Razak Ali, and who represented another, Abdul Hamid al-Ghizzawi, released in 2010.

The 19-minute interview is here, where it is available via Soundcloud (or it can also be downloaded to iTunes). Scroll down to the section that begins, “Prisoners transferred from Guantánamo as lawmakers call for a moratorium.”

Jerome was a well-informed host, and it was a great pleasure to speak to him for the first time (and I hope we’ll speak again sometime). We discussed Guantánamo past, present and future and, about eleven and a half minutes in, Jerome asked me about We Stand With Shaker and Shaker Aamer’s case, and played out the show with the “Song for Shaker Aamer” that I wrote and played with my band The Four Fathers as the campaign song (see the video here).

This is how Jerome described the show:

This week the Obama administration moved five prisoners out of the Guantánamo Bay detention center, sending inmates to Oman and Estonia. In the aftermath of the terror attacks in France, a group of Republican lawmakers has proposed legislation that would slow the release of prisoners from Guantánamo. The new legislation would, among other things, prohibit the transfer of any detainees to Yemen for the next two years. We’ll talk about the proposed legislation with Andy Worthington, an investigative journalist and author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison. He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign.

On the evening of January 14, I spoke to a reporter/cameraman for WWLP-22News, for a broadcast under the heading, “British journalist speaks out against Guantánamo Bay.” That news feature is available here (it’s just one minute long), and the accompanying article quoted from my talk:

Worthington has been reporting on the people at Guantánamo for nine years, and wants the prison closed. He said the detainees were described as the “worst of the worst,” but he said that’s not really the case, “Only a very small number of them, you know, a few dozen, have ever been accused of serious involvement in terrorism. So the rest of the men are not this huge threat. And holding people without charge or trial is fundamentally un-American, and an indecent thing to do.”

I’m also posting below a video of the first big event I did in the US, at a church in New York on the evening of January 8, with two Guantánamo lawyers, Ramzi Kassem of City University New York (CUNY), who is one of Shaker Aamer’s lawyers, and Omar Farah of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents the Yemeni prisoner Fahd Ghazy (see CCR’s video here), and Debra Sweet. The audio is rather echoey, but I hope it captures something of the essential humanity of the evening, as I ran through the story of Guantánamo, and also spoke about We Stand With Shaker (and the campaign video was shown), and Ramzi and Omar spoke eloquently about their clients’ ongoing ordeal. Thanks to Cat Watters for the recording. (POSTSCRIPT: See here for videos of the event with better sound quality).

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

7 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here are links to three radio interviews I did during my recent US tour (two in Massachusetts, one in Chicago), a short TV news feature (also in Mass.), and video of the talk I did in New York with two ‪Guantanamo‬ lawyers and Debra Sweet of the World Can’t Wait, who organized my tour. I hope you find them useful and informative, and share them if you do. There is still far too much ignorance about Guantanamo.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Tenzin Angmo wrote:

    Have you tried Human Rights Watch?

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    I know of them, of course, Tenzin, and used to know a few people who worked for them many years ago, in the early days of my Guantanamo work. I don’t think they have any openings for me though! I was thinking of them recently, however, because when I did my book on Guantanamo I was told that they’d put two researchers onto the 8,000 pages of files released in 2006, which formed the basis of my research, but that they hadn’t been able to work out how to deal with it. The mainstream US media, on the other hand, didn’t even try …

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Great job, Andy but then I know that doing less is not an option

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    You will keep me working hard, Jan. I just know it …

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Siemering wrote:

    Andy- i so wanted to see you when you came to cambridge- then i got slammed with this really bad flu. now i gotta fly all the way to London!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I had been looking forward to meeting you, Paul! Sorry to hear you had the flu. Perhaps we’ll meet later in the year if I realize my plan to publish a book of my collected writings followed by a short US tour.

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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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