Video: Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Elizabeth Miller and I Discuss 9/11 and Guantánamo in a WVIA/Bloomsburg University Show, “Conversations for the Common Good”

29.1.22

A screenshot of “Reaction to 9/11: Dialing Back Civil Rights, Violation of Human Rights,” a discussion about 9/11, Guantánamo and the US’s post-9/11 torture program with former Guantánamo prisoner, torture victim and best-selling author Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and Elizabeth Miller, a Rule of Law Fellow for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, broadcast by WVIA, a PBS-affiliated channel in Pennsylvania, as part of an ongoing series of shows, “Conversations for the Common Good,” produced in conjunction with Bloomsburg University. The moderator was Larry Vojtko.

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On Wednesday (January 26), I was delighted to take part in “Reaction to 9/11: Dialing Back Civil Rights, Violation of Human Rights,” a discussion about 9/11, Guantánamo and the US’s post-9/11 torture program with former Guantánamo prisoner, torture victim and best-selling author Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and Elizabeth Miller, a Rule of Law Fellow for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which describes itself as “an organization founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace.” Miller lost her father, a firefighter, on 9/11, but like all the other Peaceful Tomorrows members, believes fervently that the U.S. lost its way in its response to the attacks.

The show was broadcast by WVIA, a PBS-affiliated channel in Pennsylvania, and is part of an ongoing series of shows, “Conversations for the Common Good,” produced in conjunction with Bloomsburg University. The moderator was Larry Vojtko, and the show — 72 minutes in total — is available here on WVIA’s website. I’d like to thank William Hudon, a history professor at the university, and a long-time supporter of the Close Guantánamo campaign, for first approaching me last year about this event, and for helping to make it happen.

It’s always good to hear Mohamedou talk, especially when he discusses the power of forgiveness, and I was pleased to finally meet Elizabeth, who articulated well the feeling of betrayal when her government embarked on a program of kidnap and torture after 9/11, betraying the values her father held dear. It was also interesting to hear about the friendship that developed between Mohamedou and Elizabeth, who found common ground in how the US government failed them after 9/11, and, for my part, I was pleased to have been given the opportunity to explain in detail quite why the prison is, and always has been such a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and why it must be closed.

I could write more about the show, but I hope you have time to watch it, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful. As Larry Vojtko said at the end of the show, “I had hoped for some answers after this program, but we’re left with questions: Can the United States ever say that we don’t hold political prisoners? Will actions made from anger and fear ever result in justice? Is the United States more secure and more respected today than it was on September 10, 2001?”

* * * * *

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.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to and discussing “Reaction to 9/11: Dialing Back Civil Rights, Violation of Human Rights,” a discussion about 9/11, Guantanamo and the US’s post-9/11 torture program, featuring myself, Mohamedou Ould Salahi and Liz Miller, broadcast by WVIA, a PBS-affiliated channel in Pennsylvania, as part of an ongoing series of shows, “Conversations for the Common Good,” produced in conjunction with Bloomsburg University.

    The 72-minute show, moderated by Larry Vojtko, and followed by a Q&A session, is available on the WVIA website, and I hope you have time to watch it.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbara Bendzunas wrote:

    Great article. Like a frog and boiling water. A little at a time.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Barbara. Good to hear from you.

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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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