TV and Radio: I Discuss Guantánamo’s 20th Anniversary on Turkish TV, and with Scott Horton and Rebecca Myles

21.1.22

A screenshot from my appearance on TRT World’s program, “20 Years On: What Will It Take to Close Guantánamo Bay?” on January 11, 2022.

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In the third of a series of articles linking to and promoting videos and recordings of events held to mark the 20th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on January 11, 2022 (see the first two here and here), I’m posting links to two radio shows in which I was interviewed, and also to a Turkish TV show in which I was joined by other critics of the prison’s ongoing existence.

On January 11 itself — the 20th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo — I was delighted to be part of a discussion, “20 Years On: What Will It Take to Close Guantánamo Bay?” on “The Newsmakers,” a regular feature on TRT World, the English language channel of the Turkish national broadcaster TRT.

I appeared with Mark Fallon, the author of Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon, and US Government Conspired to Torture, and Tracy Doig of the UK-based Freedom from Torture (formerly the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture). From 2002 to 2004, Fallon was the director of the Criminal Investigative Task Force (CITF) at Guantánamo, whose organization tried to build criminal cases against prisoners using non-coercive interrogations, while other agencies were engaged in the use of torture and other forms of abuse, which he strongly opposed. He was also one of the authors of a report, “13 Recommendations to Close the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility,” which was published on the anniversary by the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) at theUniversity of Pennsylvania.

The video of the show is posted below, via YouTube, and I hope you have time to watch it.

I provided a brief summary of the fundamental injustice of Guantánamo from around ten minutes in until 11:40, and I spoke again around 15:40 until 17:20 about transparency — or the lack of it — regarding the use of torture, moving on to discuss the plight of the men still held at Guantánamo who have been approved for release but are still held. And finally, art 21:30, I debunked the notion that the existence of Guantánamo has somehow made the US safer, and pointed out how important it is that, when countries that claim to respect the rule of law are tested, as the US was after 9/11, their response demonstrates how strong their supposed values actually are. At Guantánamo, sadly — and throughout the “black sites” — the US dismally failed to uphold its values, and is still doing so by continuing to hold men at Guantánamo indefinitely without charge or trial.

The day after, I appeared on Rebecca Myles’ show “What’s Going On,” on WBAI 99.5 FM, a Pacifica Radio station providing “Free Speech Radio” in New York City, and our discussion took place from 47:30 to 31:20 (counting backwards). We discussed the five “forever prisoners” approved for release by Periodic Review Boards, whose decisions were announced on the anniversary, presumably to divert attention from President Biden’s general inaction on Guantánamo in his first year in office. I discussed how shameful it is that, although 18 men have now been approved for release, the Biden administration has, to date, failed to release any of them.

I also discussed how, despite the good news about the five men, we also heard on the anniversary that another “forever prisoner,” Khaled Qassim, had his ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial approved by a Periodic Review Board, not because of anything he is alleged to have done prior to his capture, but because he isn’t regarded as compliant or well-behaved enough. I’ll be writing about Khaled’s case very soon, but in the meantime feel free to check out the video of the song I wrote about Khaled, “Forever Prisoner,” which I recorded with my band The Four Fathers for the anniversary.

We also spoke about the Close Guantánamo campaign, which I co-founded with the US attorney Tom Wilner, and which marked the 10th anniversary of its creation on January 11, and we also discussed the case of Julian Assange, who has now been held in Belmarsh maximum security prison in the UK for over 1,000 days, as his lawyers try to prevent his extradition to the US, and the importance of WikiLeaks’ release, in 2011, of classified military files from Guantánamo, on which I worked as a media partner.

Rebecca, incidentally, also produces Chris Hedges’ “On Contact” show on RT America, and arranged my interview with Chris about Guantánamo that was broadcast in 2019.

And finally — for now — on January 13 I was interviewed by Scott Horton, with whom I’ve been talking on a regular basis about Guantánamo and related matters since 2007. Our 40-minute interview is available here, or here as an MP3, and it’s also available below via Scott’s YouTube channel.

After a brief introduction about why people should care about Guantánamo as it begins it 21st year of operations, Scott and I discussed how only two prisoners have been freed from the prison in the last five years, and delved into the stories of the 39 men still held — the 18 men who have now been approved for release, the nine “forever prisoners,” and the 12 men who have been charged or convicted in the broken military commission trial system — and I stressed how cruel it is to approve men for release, but not release them, which is very clearly what’s happening now.

We also discussed the largely thwarted history of habeas corpus at Guantánamo, the administrative review processes that replaced habeas corpus when cynical right-wing judges shut down habeas for the prisoners in 2010-11, and developments in the last year, when 24 Senators and 75 members of the House of Representatives wrote letters to President Biden not only calling for the prison’s closure, but also pointing out how disgraceful it is for the US to be holding anyone on an endless basis without charge or trial.

There was much more in the show, and, as with my other media appearances above, I hope you have time to listen to the show, and also that you’ll share it if you find it useful.

* * * * *

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 media appearances marking the 20th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay — on Turkish TV, with former Guantanamo interrogator Mark Fallon and Tracy Doig of Freedom from Torture, and, in the US, with Scott Horton, in the 5,656th interview he’s conducted since 2003 (!), and with Rebecca Myles on WBAI in New York.

    I hope you have time to watch or listen to the various shows. They were all worthwhile, and I’m doing all I can to keep the injustice of Guantanamo in the public eye, now that the mainstream media have all moved on, having paid attention to the prison for 24 hours last Tuesday.

  2. Release from Captivity ALL the Remaining Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by Daniel N. White – Dandelion Salad says...

    […] TV and Radio: I Discuss Guantánamo’s 20th Anniversary on Turkish TV, and with Scott Horton and Re… […]

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Hanann Abu Brase wrote:

    Thanks, Andy, for all your incredible work fighting for justice for so many years!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the supportive words, Hanann!

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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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