Video: I Discuss Guantánamo with Chris Hedges on His Show ‘On Contact’ on RT America


A screenshot of Chris Hedges and Andy Worthington discussing Guantanamo on Chris’s show ‘On Contact’ on RT America.

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An injustice does not become any less unjust the longer it endures, and yet, when it comes to the prison at Guantánamo Bay, you could be forgiven for not thinking that this is the case. Over 17 years since the prison opened, it is still holding men indefinitely without charge or trial, and yet these days the prison is rarely in the news, either in the US or internationally.

The is shameful, because, although only 40 men are still held (out of the 779 men held in total by the US military since the prison opened in January 2002), the blunt truth is that no one should be held indefinitely without charge or trial, because that is what dictatorships do, not countries that, like the US, profess to care about the rule of law.

I’m pleased to report that, in an effort to continue to shine a light on the ongoing horrors of Guantánamo, Chris Hedges, one of the most significant critics of America’s current lawlessness, interviewed me for his show ‘On Contact,’ on RT America, which was broadcast on Saturday, and is embedded below via YouTube:

The show is also available on RT America’s website here, where the prison is aptly described as follows:  

The most notorious US detention site in the world, Guantánamo Bay, still holds 40 prisoners. Most of the [nearly] 800 men shipped to Guantánamo Bay since it was opened under George W. Bush in 2002 were sold to US forces for bounty by Pakistani and Afghan officials, militia and warlords. They were stripped of their legal rights, held for years without being charged or given a fair and open trial. Not only is the detention center a recruiting dream for radical jihadists, it costs taxpayers half a billion dollars a year, roughly $11 million for each detainee.

It was a great pleasure to talk to Chris, and also to have the time to be able to discuss Guantánamo in depth. We talked about the Guantánamo files, released by WikiLeaks in 2011, after being leaked by Chelsea Manning, on which I worked as media partner.

We also spent some time discussing how, under George W. Bush, Guantánamo became a place of torture, and we also looked at how the law has failed the Guantánamo prisoners, via the dysfunctional military commission trial system, but also via the long struggle to secure habeas corpus rights for the prisoners, which, although it led to the release of several dozen prisoners between 2008 and 2010, was subsequently shut down by ideologically motivated appeals court judges, meaning that the men still held are as fundamentally deprived of justice now as they were when the prison first opened.

Over 17 years since Guantánamo opened, the shocking truth is that no one can be released through any legal process; instead, to be released, they must, like medieval prisoners, await the whim of the king; or, in today’s iteration, the president of the United States, in this case, Donald Trump, who has already made it clear that he has no interest in releasing any prisoner under any circumstances.

Given this disgraceful situation, you can probably forgive me for thinking that Guantánamo should be featured more prominently in the news, but as it stands I’d like to thank Chris Hedges for recognizing how the prison’s ongoing existence makes a mockery of any claim that the US is a country that respects the rule of law. 

Note: For anyone wondering when I visited the US to record this interview, it was recorded in January, during my annual visit to call for the closure of the prison on the anniversary of its opening, but wasn’t broadcast until now because Chris’s show only airs once a week, and there were many other newsworthy topics to cover, one of which was Dahr Jamail discussing his book ‘The End of Ice,’ about the environmental catastrophe that is already underway, which was recorded on the same day as my visit, and which I also urge you to watch. Check out all the shows here.

* * * * *

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 see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in 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), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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.

25 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to and discussing my half-hour interview about Guantanamo with Chris Hedges on his show ‘On Contact’ on RT America, recorded in January and broadcast on Saturday. This was a rare opportunity to discuss Guantanamo in depth, and I’m grateful to Chris for taking the opportunity to highlight America’s offshore shame for 30 minutes.

    We talked about many aspects of the prison’s existence, including the torture that took place under George W. Bush, and its general imperviousness to anything resembling justice, as can be seen in the dysfunctional state of the military commission trial system, and, disgracefully, in the fact that, 17 years since Guantanamo opened, the only way out of the prison for any of the men who are still, disgracefully, held indefinitely without charge or trial is through the whim of the president — and in the case of Donald Trump, of course, he has no intention of releasing any prisoners under any circumstances.

    I hope you have time to watch the interview, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Angela Gipple wrote:

    Great interview, Andy!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Angie. Great to hear from you!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Mansoor Adayfi wrote:

    Great interview. Thank you.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mansoor. That’s great to hear!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Anna Elliott wrote:

    Thanks Andy. I haven’t been able to open the video. I’ll try again. But I was able to make my small donation. The modest amount in no way reflects the immense respect I feel for the work you continue to do.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    I wasn’t entirely sure if the video would be visible everywhere, Anna, but there’s also the link to RT’s website if you’re having any problems:
    And thanks also for your donation – and for your kind words!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Anna Elliott wrote:

    Andy, yes that link worked. Your words bring out all the nIghtmare and sadistic corruption of the black system of so called intelligence, which we know full well our own Government are actively complicit in. Anyway, it was a great interview. Difficult to listen to without shrinking. Thank god you have other outlets, like music, to save your sanity. ❤️✌️

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Anna!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Shelby Sullivan-Bennis wrote:

    Brilliant, Andy. I don’t often feel entire interviews are brilliant, but this takes the cake 👏

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Oh, thanks so much, Shelby!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    Two brilliant men together

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Tashi!

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Good job, Andy!

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan!

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    Thank you for posting this most articulate explanation of what has been going on at Guantanamo’s military base. I plan to share anon.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Excellent. Thanks, David!

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Monique D’hoohge wrote:

    Awesome interview

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Monique. Great to hear from you!

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Cortney Busch wrote:

    Incredible! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Cortney. Thanks for the resounding support!

  22. Tom says...

    Fact for the day. Hedges’ show has been cancelled in several major US markets for being “too left wing”.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    I imagine that’s part of a general ban on RT, isn’t it, Tom?

  24. Tom says...

    You might think so. But actually no. All of RT’s US content (including Hedge’s program) is produced by an outside production company. At the beginning of each program, there’s a message in the top left corner of the screen that says “produced by _______. This is on file with the Dept. of Justice in Washington D.C.” Why is an outsider doing this?

    They don’t have enough ad revenue.
    If an outside company produces it, then under US law it’s not “propaganda”? No. They file w/the DOJ.

    Other programs (Max Kaiser being one) apparently are ok. But Hedge’s show has been cancelled in some major markets like NYC.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Oh, that’s interesting, Tom. Wikipedia describes it as being “registered as a ‘foreign agent’ with the United States Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” and that Act is described as follows: “a United States law passed in 1938 requiring that agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a ‘political or quasi-political capacity’ disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate ‘evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons.’ The law is administered by the FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) of the United States Department of Justice.”

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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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