Radio: Two Recent Interviews with Andy Worthington About Guantánamo as the Prison Begins Its 14th Year of Operations


A photo taken at the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo's event in Chicago on January 15, 2015 with Andy Worthington, Candace Gorman, and Debra Sweet (first, second, and fifth from left). The group also includes (L to R) CCSDG regulars Barbara Lyons, Jerry Parker, Mario Vanegas, Jay Becker, Marie Shebeck, Joe Scarry, and Eldon Grossman. Barbara holds a poster from the "We Stand with Shaker Aamer" campaign. (Photo: Lina Thorne.)A week and a half ago, I posted links to three radio interviews I had undertaken while in Massachusetts on my recent US tour, highlighting the prison at Guantánamo Bay as it began its 14th year of operations, and calling for its closure. Two of those interviews were broadcast locally, and another was broadcast from Chicago, which I visited on January 15, taking part in a lively panel discussion with Debra Sweet, the national director of the World Can’t Wait, who organized my tour, and Candace Gorman, a lawyer who has represented two Guantánamo prisoners, one released in 2010, and one still held (also see here).

I hope that a video of that panel discussion will be available soon, but in the meantime you can, if you wish, hear a radio interview I undertook by phone the day after the Chicago event, on my return to New York, with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC). I spoke with CIOGC’s Communications Director, who had been directed to me by an activist who had been present at the Chicago event the evening before.

The 30-minute interview is here, via SoundCloud — although, in the interests of fairness, I should point out that, for the first 16 minutes, it is a monologue, as I had been asked to run through Guantánamo’s history in detail, more or less as I had been doing during my speaking events.

17 minutes into the interview, I responded to a follow-up question about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report into the CIA’s torture program — which I wrote about at the time in two articles, Punishment, not apology after CIA torture report (for Al-Jazeera) and “Why Guantánamo Mustn’t Be Forgotten in the Fallout from the CIA Torture Report.” During this discussion, I made a point of highlighting how the indefinite detention policy at Guantánamo is a form of torture

On January 21, shortly after my return to the UK, I spoke to Chris Cook for his Gorilla Radio show in Canada. Chris and I have spoken before — most recently in January 2014 — and it’s always a pleasure to talk to him.

Chris and I spoke for the last 18 minutes of his show, which is available here as an MP3 (beginning at 40:35). I followed the investigative journalist Dave Lindorff, and Ingmar Lee, an environmental activist in British Columbia, and Chris and I ran through the current situation at Guantánamo. I spoke about the entire US establishment’s fears about repatriating Yemenis approved for release, because of the security situation in Yemen, even though the men were only approved for release in the first place because they were no longer regarded as posing a sufficient security threat to continue holding.

We also spoke about the recently released prisoners, the hopes for the release of the remaining men approved for release (54 men in total), and what will happen to the other prisoners, 10 of who are facing, or have faced trials, and 58 others whose cases are slowly being reviewed by the Periodic Review Board process established in 2013, which I most recently wrote about here.

I also spoke about the unreliability of almost all the information masquerading as evidence agains the prisoners, and we also spoke about the shocking case of Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen seized at the age of 15 in Afghanistan and only released from Guantánamo in 2012, to ongoing imprisonment in Canada, whose treatment ought to be an undying source of shame for both the US and Canada.

At the end of the show, we spoke about We Stand With Shaker, the campaign to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, which I launched with activist Joanne MacInnes in November, and which had partly attracted Chris’s attention because Roger Waters, a friend and supporter of my work, had attended the launch of the campaign in London on November 24, and had later written an op-ed about Shaker for the Daily Mail.

It was great to speak to both CIOGC and Chris. I hope you have time to listen to both shows, and that you will share them if you find them useful.

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.

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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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