Radio: I Discuss The Future of Guantánamo Under Joe Biden with Andy Bungay and Colin Crilly in South London

24.11.20

A screenshot from Mixcloud of Andy Bungay’s show ‘The Chiminea’ on Riverside Radio in Battersea on November 22, 2020, also featuring Colin Crilly.

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On Saturday, I was delighted to take part in a remotely recorded radio show for Riverside Radio, a community station in Battersea, with Andy Bungay, who hosts ‘The Chiminea’, the 11pm to 2am slot on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and his colleague Colin Crilly.

Our interview starts about 27 minutes into the two-hour show, which is available on Mixcloud here, and Andy began by playing ‘This Time We Win’, a recently released eco-anthem by my band The Four Fathers, recorded with and featuring the great Charlie Hart on keyboards.

I then introduced myself, particularly mentioning my Guantánamo work, which I’ve been undertaking for the last 15 years, and my photo-journalism project ‘The State of London.’ We talked about the successful campaign to secure the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, who was held for 14 years without charge or trial, but was eventually released five years ago, on October 30, 2015, as I noted on Facebook, following up with a photo from a Parliamentary reception for Shaker, hosted by Jeremy Corbyn, which took place on November 17, 2015.

I had been involved for many years with the Save Shaker Aamer campaign, who held regular vigils outside Parliament, and worked with the Labour MP John McDonnell MP to set up the Shaker Aamer All-Party Parliamentary Group, and, in the last year of Shaker’s imprisonment, with the We Stand With Shaker campaign that I set up with the activist Joanne MacInnes, which involved persuading a considerable number of celebrities and MPs to have their photo taken with a giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer, demanding his return.

Andy and Colin then played some audio footage of Shaker Aamer campaigners being interviewed outside Parliament before his release, and then Andy played another song by The Four Fathers, ‘How Much Is A Life Worth?’, the title track of our second album, as recorded live during lockdown.

Returning to the interview, we continued to discuss Guantánamo, and specifically what we might expect from Joe Biden, after four dreadful years of very deliberate inaction by Donald Trump, and I expressed my hope that we’ll pick up where President Obama left off; in other words, that there will be people in the administration who recognize that the fundamental existence of Guantánamo is wrong, but it will remain to be seen how much political capital Biden will be wiling to spend closing it, or, at least, making progress towards its closure, starting with the release of five men still held who were unanimously approved for release by high-level review processes under Obama, but didn’t get out before Trump took over.

Andy also asked me about the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who, of course, is, shamefully, facing extradition to the US for his role as the publisher of leaked documents that it was — and is — in the public interest for people to know about. I recently gave evidence in the extradition case, but was unable to answer Andy’s question about what will happen next. Logically, Joe Biden should drop Donald Trump’s extradition request, because, as Obama concluded, prosecuting Assange would have a chilling effect on the US’s cherished First Amendment rights, but whether he will or not is as yet unknown.

There was even more in the show, after Andy played Leonard Cohen’s ‘Democracy Is Coming To The USA’, involving the story of Babar Ahmed and Talha Ehsan, south Londoners extradited to the US under Theresa May, all of which, somehow, segued into a discussion of the ongoing suicidal folly of Brexit, Our discussion came to and at 1:23:30, and I hope you have time to listen to the show, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful.

* * * * *

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 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, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.55), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from eight 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 the 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.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to my recent interview — about the future of Guantanamo under Joe Biden, the proposed extradition of Julian Assange, and more — with Andy Bungay and Colin Crilly for Andy’s show on Riverside Radio, a community radio station in Battersea.

    The interview starts around 27 minutes, in, and ends about an hour later, and along the way Andy also played two songs by my band The Four Fathers – our eco-anthem ‘This Time We Win’, recorded with Charlie Hart, and ‘How Much Is A Life Worth?’

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Aleksey Penskiy wrote:

    Hi Andy! Perhaps it will be interesting for you. Thanks for your work and have a nice day!
    ‘Kill lists: Barack Obama’s blind spot’ by Clive Stafford Smith
    https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2020/11/22/kill-lists-barack-obamas-blind-spot/

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for sharing that, Aleksey. Clive manages to be both funny, and to make some devastating points about Obama’s whitewashing of his own history. I remember when the “kill list’ was made public, very prominently, in a front page New York Times story that the Obama administration had fully cooperated with. It was genuinely quite shocking to read about how he slept easily at night because he had been told that everyone killed in drone strikes was “of military age”, as though the military didn’t make mistakes when it came to intel, despite the vast evidence to the contrary that could be found at Guantanamo.

    This was the article I wrote at the time: https://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2012/06/10/pragmatism-over-ideology-obamas-failure-to-close-guantanamo-and-his-love-of-drones/

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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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