Video: I Talk to Kevin Gosztola About Guantánamo on the 19th Anniversary of Its Opening — and Julian Assange

12.1.21

A screenshot of Andy Worthington’s interview with Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof on Jan. 11, 2021, the 19th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo.

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Yesterday, on the 19th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, I was delighted when Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof got in touch to request an interview to be livestreamed on his YouTube channel.

We spoke for just over half an hour, covering Guantánamo for the first 24 minutes, in which I had the opportunity to explain in detail where we are, 19 long and shameful years since the prison opened, and four depressing years since Donald Trump promised there would be no releases from Guantánamo, and, with one exception, was true to his word.

For the 40 men still held at Guantánamo, it is impossible for their situation to be worse under Joe Biden than it was under Trump, and Kevin and I discussed what progress there might be under Biden after he takes office in a week’s time — releasing the six men already approved for release, and, with his control of both the Senate and the House, being able to reverse Republican prohibitions on bringing anyone to the US mainland for any reason — whether for urgent medical treatment that is unavailable at Guantánamo, or to face trials, in the federal court system, as opposed to the broken military commissions at Guantánamo.

The video is below:

Whatever will happen is as yet unknown, but it is clear, as I explained, that the coming months are the time for pressure to be exerted on the Biden administration, with the first requirement being for him to either revive the Office of the Envoy for Guantánamo Closure, created under Obama, or to create a new role for an official tasked with dealing exclusively with Guantánamo.

At 24:45, Kevin and I began discussing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and his extradition case in the UK, which both of us have been very involved in, with Kevin reporting in great detail on the proceedings, while I was called as a witness, and submitted two statements on Julian’s behalf, based on my work with WikiLeaks as a media partner on the release of classified military files from Guantánamo in 2011.

I talked about how completely unexpected it was when the judge, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, refused to allow Julian’s extradition to proceed, on the basis of mental health issues, but Kevin and I also discussed how, at the same time, it was depressing that Judge Baraitser turned down Julian’s bail application, and troubling that she supported all of the prosecution’s claims about Julian, completely disregarding the importance of press freedom, and the necessity — to avoid being a dictatorship — of publishers, like WikiLeaks, being able to expose uncomfortable truths about our governments that they would rather keep hidden.

The above is just a summary, so I hope you have time to listen to the whole show, as it contained much more than I’ve noted above.

* * * * *

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.

5 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to, and discussing the video of my hour-long interview, yesterday — Jan. 11, the 19th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo — with Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof for his YouTube channel.

    As well as discussing how there might be positive change under Joe Biden, Kevin and I also discussed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case, which both of us have been involved in, and the Trump-inspired invasion of the Capitol last week.

    I hope you have time to watch/listen, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    I’m also a huge fan of Kevin’s. Great to have you together.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I have a lot of time for Kevin, Natalia. I spent a bit of time with him in DC many years ago, and an afternoon with him in Woolwich (SE London) in 2019 when he was over for the Assange case.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Andy, I saw the interview, it was amazing.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Natalia!

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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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