Radio: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo and Brexit on Portland’s KBOO FM with Linda Olson-Osterlund


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).Last Friday I was delighted to take part in an hour-long show on KBOO FM, a community radio station in Portland, Oregon, to discuss the ongoing situation regarding the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and also to discuss Britain’s proposed departure from the European Union after the referendum on June 23.

The MP3 for the show is here, and I hope you have time to listen to it, and to share it if you find it useful.

The show — Positively Revolting — was hosted by Linda Olson-Osterlund, who has long taken an interest in Guantánamo, and has been interviewing me on a regular basis since 2008 (see here for shows from the last three years).

Linda began by mentioning the two police murders last week (of Alton Sterling and Philander Castile), and the killing of police officers in Dallas, and we then moved on to discuss the situation at Guantánamo with less than 200 days left of the Obama presidency, and she directed listeners to the website of the Close Guantánamo campaign, which I established in January 2010 with the lawyer Tom Wilner, who represented the Guantánamo prisoners in their Supreme Court cases in 2004 and 2008.

In January, I set up the Countdown to Close Guantánamo, launching it on Democracy Now! with music legend Roger Waters, and encouraging people to print off posters counting down every 50 days to the end of Obama’s presidency, to take a photo, and to send it in for the website, and for use on social media (see our Facebook and Twitter pages).

Linda also promoted the Gitmo Clock, which I launched via the campaign a few months ago, and which counts down every day, hour, minute and second that President Obama has left to fulfill the promise to close Guantánamo that he made on his second day in office in January 2009.

Linda and I also discusssed President Obama’s history regarding Guantánamo, and the general situation regarding the prison now — the 76 men still held (79 at the time of the interview), and how 29 of them have been approved for release, and the 47 others, of whom just ten are facing trials, with the others facing Periodic Review Boards to establish whether they too can be approved for release. Many of these men were wrongly described, years ago, as too dangerous to release, but since the PRBs began in 2013, over two dozen of these allegedly “dangerous” men have been approved for release.

Linda also played a clip from my band The Four Fathers’ new Fighting Injustice EP — the first verse of the title track. US listeners can find the EP here, and “Fighting Injustice” (the song) is here. You can listen for free, but if you like what you hear, do think about buying the EP, or individual songs, to support the band.

The EP also features “Neo-Liberal Bullshit Blues” and a re-worked version of “Song for Shaker Aamer,” which I wrote as a campaign song calling for the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, who was finally freed last October. I wrote new lyrics reflecting Shaker’s release, and recorded the new lyrics a couple of months ago for the new EP. Linda and I also discussed Shaker’s story on the show.

We also spoke about Britain’s depressing EU referendum on June 23, which resulted in a narrow majority voting for the UK to leave the EU, and which I have been writing about since, highlighting how potentially disastrous it is for the UK’s economy and its standing in the world, how it has unleashed racism and xenophobia, and how the result has left those who voted to remain feeling genuinely bereaved.

You can catch up on my analysis via the following articles: UK Votes to Leave the EU: A Triumph of Racism and Massively Counter-Productive Political Vandalism, Life in the UK After the EU Referendum: Waking Up Repeatedly at a Funeral That Never Ends, Not Giving Up: Photos from the March for Europe in London, Saturday July 2, 2016, As the Leaderless UK Begins Sinking, MPs, Media and British Citizens Don’t Seem to Care, On Brexit, the Labour Party, With Its Blundering and Pointless Coup, Lost Its Best Opportunity Ever to Attack the Tories and 1,000+ Lawyers Tell Parliament that UK Cannot Leave EU Without MPs’ Consent.

More articles on Britain’s ongoing crisis will be forthcoming soon.

As I noted above, I do hope you have time to listen to this show, which also featured some interesting calls from listeners. KBOO FM is a great channel, and Linda is a very well-informed host.

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’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). 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.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, discussing and linking to my recent one-hour interview – about ‪Guantanamo‬ and the EU referendum – with Linda Olson-Osterlund on KBOO FM, a community radio station in Portland, Oregon. Linda also played an excerpt from ‘Fighting Injustice’ by my band The Four Fathers. It was a good interview, and I hope you have time to listen to it, and that you will share it if you find it useful.

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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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