Radio: Andy Worthington Discusses the Potential Closure of Guantánamo with Chris Cook in Canada and on South African Radio


Andy Worthington (center) and Aliya Hussain of the Center for Constitutional Rights outside the White House on January 11, 2016, the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison. Behind Andy is the giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer that was at the heart of the We Stand With Shaker campaign (Photo: Justin Norman for Witness Against Torture).It’s been a busy month — firstly, with my visit to the US to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo, focused on the 14th anniversary of the opening of the prison on January 11, and then with the launch of my new campaign, the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, on January 20. That campaign was officially launched on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, when I appeared with Roger Waters, a supporter of my work and of the campaign to get Guantánamo closed, who also played a major role in publicizing the We Stand With Shaker campaign that I launched in November 2014, with the activist Joanne MacInnes, to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo.

On Wednesday, I spoke to Chris Cook for his Gorilla Radio show in British Columbia. Chris and I last spoke a year ago, and our latest interview is available here as an MP3, beginning at 38:20.

Chris and I spoke about my tour, Roger Waters, the successful campaign to get Shaker released the Countdown to Close Guantánamo and how the prison might finally be closed, and I hope you have time to listen to the show.

This was how Chris described our interview:

As Barack Obama winds down his second and last term the inmates at the prison he promised to close down on day one of his presidency languish at Guantánamo Bay yet. And, as he has since 2011, Andy Worthington again crossed the Atlantic this year to mark still another anniversary of America’s Gitmo gulag. He was joined in New York by legendary musician and long-time justice advocate, Roger Waters in calling for the release of those remaining in the prison and to kick off the US leg of the Close Guantánamo Campaign.

I’d also like to mentioned that the interviewee before me was Joyce Nelson, an author and journalist campaigning against pollution in the Great Lakes, a topical subject given the well-publicized water pollution in Flint, Michigan. Joyce has just written an article for CounterPunch, entitled, “Great Lakes Nuclear Waste Dump: The Battle Continues,” and this was how Chris described the interview: “Despite decades of abuse, and now the daily revelations of the criminal mismanagement of Flint, Michigan’s water supply, the Great Lakes and its tributaries are still viewed by industry, government, and sadly the citizenry at large, as a vast toilet, ready and able to handle all our societal effluence. The latest to offer up its downstream product for the Lakes’ biosphere is Ontario Power Generation, who hope to make for eternal inclusion there a nuclear waste dump next to Lake Huron.”

Also on Wednesday I spoke to Inayet Wadee for his show on Cii Broadcasting in South Africa. Over the years we have spoken many times, but the interviews have only recently become available online. My last interview, in September, is here, and our new 20-minute interview is available here as an MP3.

In it, I had the opportunity to talk in detail about who is still held at Guantánamo and the various categories in which they find themselves — the 34 men approved for release, the ten facing, or having faced trials, and the 49 others, awaiting Periodic Review Boards, or the results of their PRBs. This process, which began in 2013, was designed to assess whether they too can be approved for release, having initially been designated as “too dangerous to release” by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama established shortly after taking office in 2009, which, shamefully, also acknowledged that there was insufficient evidence to put them on trial; in other words, that it was not evidence at all. For more on this, please see my definitive article about the Periodic Review Boards on the Close Guantánamo website.

I hope you have time to listen to my South African radio interview as well as my interview with Chris Cook, and that, if you like the interviews, you will share them.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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’s my latest article, providing links to my two most recent radio interviews about ‪Guantanamo‬, my recent US tour, my work with Roger Waters, the We Stand With Shaker campaign and the newly-launched Countdown to Close Guantanamo – with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio in Canada, and with Inayet Wadee on Cii Broadcasting in South Africa. I hope you have time to listen to them, and to share them if you find them useful.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    My friend Jan Strain shared this and wrote:

    From my good friend, Andy Worthington

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. I just managed to get this together. I’m pretty shattered today. I was up almost all night doing my tax return. Groan.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    I know how that is and I haven’t even started my week long session to get my tax return done (US tax system is a real pain)

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    My condolences, Jan. I have no idea if ours is less complicated, but it is always stressful and only sometimes less financially difficult than expected – this was not one of those years, sadly! George Osborne now has my hard earned cash to inflict more damage on those who need it the most.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Andy I know the feeling…. I feel like my tax dollars are going directly to a bomb over Syria or a drone to kill someone in Yemen

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    It makes it so obvious how we have been completely taken over by the warmongers, doesn’t it, Jan? Permanent war since 9/11, and wars fought primarily for the profits of the arms companies, it seems to me. And yet in the UK, when we get a leader of a major party – Jeremy Corbyn – who is a lifelong CND member and was chair of the Stop the War Coalition until his elections as Labour leader, he gets portrayed as weak and unpatriotic, when he’s really rather sensible. In September, when asked if he was a pacifist by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, he said, “I’m not totally a pacifist. I see war as an absolute disaster, and I see the use of force and threats of force as an absolute last resort.” I couldn’t agree more!

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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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