Radio: On the Scott Horton Show, Andy Worthington Discusses Trump Letting Guantánamo Hunger Strikers Die, the Failures of the Supreme Court and More


Starving for justice: protestors outside the US Embassy in London in 2013, during the prison-wide hunger strike that year.Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.


Last week I was delighted to be interviewed by Scott Horton, the Texas-based libertarian who has conducted more than 4,000 interviews since 2003, and is also the author of the recently published book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. Our 34-minute interview is here (and here as an MP3), and I hope you have time to listen to it, and will share it if you find it useful.

Scott and I have spoken dozens of times since he first contacted me a little over ten years ago to discuss the distressing case of Jose Padilla, a US citizen held on the US mainland and tortured as an “enemy combatant,” who was then transferred to the federal court system and given an 17-year sentence, shamefully increased to 21 years in 2014.

On this occasion, Scott contacted me to talk about the first genuinely shocking news to emerge from Guantánamo since Donald Trump took office in January, when it was revealed that he wanted to send new prisoners there — a terrible idea, and something that hasn’t happened since 2008, hasn’t yet happened under Trump, and hopefully never will, despite Trump’s evident enthusiasm for it.

The recent news, however, concerns a disturbing new policy, implemented on September 20, whereby long-term hunger strikers are no longer being force-fed, and, as a result, are being left to die by the authorities — or, at the very least, to suffer serious organ damage before they are force-fed just before they die — because, verne with an unfeeling sociopath in the White House, deaths at Guantánamo are, in general, to be avoided because they can be inconvenient in terms of PR.

I’ve been covering this story since it was first revealed two weeks ago (also see here and here). Scott also wanted to talk about other Guantánamo-related news, and I was happy to oblige; in particular, the failure of the Supreme Court to accept an appeal by Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, al al-Qaeda propagandist convicted in 2008, but who has since had most elements of his sentence overturned. I wrote about that here, and was pleased to have the opportunity to talk to Scott about how the Supreme Court has been a profound disappointment on issues relating to Guantánamo since its powerful and important habeas corpus ruling in Boumediene v. Bush in 2008, which, subsequently, the justices allowed to be overturned by politically-motivated judges in the D.C. Circuit Court (the Washington, D.C. court of appeals).

There was more in the show, and, as I say, I hope you have time to listen to it. This is how it was described on Scott’s website:

Author and director Andy Worthington returns to the show to discuss his latest article, “New York Times Finally Reports on Trump’s Policy of Letting Guantanamo Hunger Strikers Die; Rest of Media Still Silent.” Worthington details the legacy of hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay and explains that the US is facing the awful decision whether they should they let prisoners starve themselves to death or use grotesque measures to force feed them to keep them alive.

According to Worthington the Supreme Court has abdicated any responsibility lately to address prisoners at Guantánamo Bay while the drone program has made the capture program close to obsolete. Ultimately Worthington believes that the United States has been totally incapable of identifying threats and responding appropriately, let alone justly.

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 music is available 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, linking to my recent half-hour interview with Scott Horton, about the crisis at Guantanamo regarding long-term hunger strikers, who, under a new policy, are no longer being force-fed and are, it seems, being left to die. Scott and I also discussed the failures of the Supreme Court to deal with Guantanamo over the last nine years, since the Boumediene habeas ruling in June 2008, leading last week to the court’s refusal to accept an appeal in the conflicted and confusing case of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul. I hope you have time to listen to the show, and 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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