Radio: I Discuss the Prospects for Guantánamo’s Closure Under Joe Biden with Scott Horton


The Scott Horton Show, and Andy Worthington calling for the closure of Guantánamo outside the White House on Jan. 11, 2020.

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On Friday, I was delighted to discuss the prospects for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay under Joe Biden with the indefatigable Scott Horton, who always, flatteringly, refers to me as “the heroic Andy Worthington.” Scott and I have spoken on many dozens of occasions since 2007, and you can find our latest interview here as an MP3 or below via YouTube.

“Indefatigable” has to be the most apt description of Horton, who has conducted over 5,500 interviews since 2003, and has also found the time to write two books, 2017’s “Fools Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan,” and the recently published “Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism.”

Nearly 20 years into Guantánamo’s existence, we ran briefly through the failures of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump to close the prison — with several minutes spent discussing the Obama years — before bringing the story up to date with Joe Biden, the fourth president to be in charge of the prison.

The show is available below via YouTube:

As I explained, I do think that now, under Biden, we’re in new territory, as revealed by a recent letter to Biden from 24 Democratic Senators, who called on him to release all the prisoners who have not been charged — currently 28 of the 40 men still held. This is an important step in repudiating the policy of indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial that has been the heart of detention policy at Guantánamo since Obama’s presidency, when the two high-level government review processes that he established both fell into trap of regarding the prisoners through an institutionally over-cautious lens, leading to men being held, apparently forever, not because of what they did before their capture, but because of their attitude since they were brought to Guantánamo.

Scott and I also spoke about the recent tenth anniversary of WikiLeaks’ release of classified military files from Guantánamo, leaked by Chelsea Manning, on which I worked as a media partner, and which I recently wrote about here, and I also provided a breakdown of the 40 men still held, and their status, and briefly told some of their stories, emphasizing how everyone concerned with the closure of Guantánamo needs to focus on the 28 men who have never been charged, and to call for their release.

This is how Scott described the show: “Scott interviews Andy Worthington about Guantánamo Bay, America’s secret black site prison, where 40 men are still being held, some of them without ever having been charged with a crime. President Obama famously campaigned on closing Guantánamo, but ultimately was unable (or unwilling) to do so. President Trump, too, allowed the atrocious human rights abuses to continue throughout his administration. Worthington is optimistic about the possibility of change, but if the American people continue to turn a blind eye to this issue, things may simply carry on indefinitely.”

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), 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).

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.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to my most recent interview about Guantanamo, and the prospects for its closure under Joe Biden, with the indefatigable Scott Horton, who has conducted over 5,500 interviews since 2003, and who I have been talking to on a regular basis since 2007.

    In our half-four interview, we discussed, in particular, why I hope that there will be progress under Biden – because so many people in positions of power and authority, including 24 Senators who recently wrote to the president, are now recognizing that the 40 men still held must either be charged or released, moving away from the various justifications that have been used over the years for indefinitely imprisoning men at Guantanamo without charge or trial.

    If you want it in a soundbite, 40 men are still held at Guantanamo, and only 12 of them have been charged, so the other 28 should be released.

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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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