Radio: I Discuss 20 Years of Guantánamo and the Proposed Extradition of Julian Assange with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio

7.1.22

Andy Worthington calling for the closure of prison at Guantánamo Bay outside the White House on Jan. 11, 2020, and the logo for Chris Cook’s ‘Gorilla Radio’ show in Victoria, British Columbia.

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Last week, I was delighted to be interviewed by Chris Cook for his weekly show ‘Gorilla Radio’ in Victoria, in British Columbia. Chris and I have spoken many times before, and it’s always a great pleasure to be on his show. Our interview is available here as an MP3, and the whole show, broadcast later, and also featuring eco-poet Kim Goldberg, is here. The interviews can also be accessed via the Gorilla Radio website here and here.

We began by talking about Abu Zubaydah, and the US torture program, prompted by my recent article, “The Forever Prisoner”: Alex Gibney’s New Documentary About CIA Torture Victim Abu Zubaydah, and I briefly summarized the whole horrible story of his four and a half years in CIA “black sites”, his 15 years (to date) in Guantánamo, and his status as one of Guantánamo’s “forever prisoners” — 14 of the 39 men still held, none of whom have ever been charged with a crime.

Chris also asked me about who has been held at Guantánamo throughout its history, enabling me to explain how, far from being “the worst of the worst”, as alleged, most of the men — and boys — held at Guantánamo over the last 20 years were nothing more than foot soldiers or, in many cases, civilians seized by mistake. I didn’t mention it, but I could have repeated my assertion, which I first made many years ago, that no more than three percent of the 779 men held by the US military at Guantánamo since the prison first opened have had any connection with the leadership structures of al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated groups.

We also discussed my article, Video: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Powerfully Endorses Closure of Guantánamo, But Republicans Still Mired in “War on Terror” Hysteria, looking at how, despite support for the closure of Guantánamo this year by 99 Democratic lawmakers, who have sent letters to President Biden urging him to close the prison, and spelling out to him how unacceptable it is that the US continues to hold men forever without charge or trial, 27 of the 39 men still held are in that shameful predicament — the 14 “forever prisoners”, and 13 others who have been approved for release, but who the Biden administration has shown no interest in actually setting free.

We also discussed the recent dispiriting ruling by the Court of Appeals in London — to allow the extradition to the US of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, overturning a ruling a year ago preventing his extradition, and, amongst other topics, Chris and I discussed how ridiculous it is that the judges accepted US assurances regarding his welfare in US Supermax prisons, and how, fundamentally, it remains shameful that the Biden administration has failed to drop the extradition request, initiated under Donald Trump, even though it sends a chilling message regarding press freedom.

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

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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 you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

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 struggle for housing justice — and against environmental destruction — 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.

4 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to, and discussing my recent interview with Chris Cook on his ‘Gorilla Radio’ show in Victoria, British Columbia, in which we spoke about the case of torture victim Abu Zubaydah, the 20th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo, and the latest dispiriting ruling in the extradition case of Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange.

    I hope you have time to listen to it!

  2. Anna says...

    Hi Andy, for what it’s worth this input from Glenn Greenwald about Julian Assange : https://systemupdate.substack.com/p/video-transcript-the-semi-inside?
    For what it’s worth, because I’m having some problems with Glenn’s recent crusade on various subjects, which I’m not sure serves much of a purpose but may damage his great reputation. I hope I’m wrong, as I hugely admire him and his courage – for which he and his family are paying a heavy price in slander and even death threats.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    I was also on the Peace and Justice Report on WSLR in Sarasota, Florida last week, talking with Bob Connors and Tom Walker about the 20th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo. It’s the second half of the show listed ‘Wednesday, January 5, 2022’: https://wslr.org/shows/peace-justice-report/

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for that, Anna, although I confess that my attention span is quite exhausted when it comes to Donald Trump. I’ve been enjoying not hearing about him and not thinking about him after those long years in which it was impossible to get away from him!

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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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