Video: My Interview About Guantánamo with John Kiriakou on His New “Whistleblowers” Show


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Recently, I was delighted to be invited to be interviewed about Guantánamo for a new online TV show — “Whistleblowers,” presented by John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who led the raid that captured Abu Zubaydah in 2002, and who, in January 2013, received a 30-month sentence for passing classified information to the media; namely, by providing the name of another CIA officer whose identity was already well-known in the human rights community.

As the Government Accountability Project explains, however, what Kiriakou was really being punished for was a 2007 interview on ABC News, in which he “became the first CIA officer to publicly confirm that the CIA had waterboarded prisoners, and that such an action was torture,” and “also confirmed that torture was an official US government policy, rather than wrongdoing by a few rogue agents.”

I was delighted to get the chance to talk with John, whose recently-launched show also includes interviews with Joseph Hickman, Ray McGovern (speaking about Daniel Hale), Coleen Rowley, Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, Matt Taibbi and many other fascinating interviewees.

The interview is embedded below, via Sovren Media:

Documenting the Prisoners of Guantanamo Bay – powered by

Over the course of 24 minutes, I was pleased to have been given the opportunity by John to discuss Guantánamo past and present — including how I started working on Guantánamo as an independent journalist and researcher, demonstrating how few of the prisoners had any meaningful connections to either Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and discussing how the law has only ever really applied at Guantánamo for two years, between 2008 and 2010, when a few dozen men had their habeas corpus petitions granted before politically motivated appeals court judges changed the rules, effectively gutting habeas corpus of all meaning for the prisoners, and leaving them dependent, instead, on internal administrative review processes that, rather shamefully, don’t have any legal weight.

We also discussed some of the problems facing prisoners released and resettled in third countries — for the most part Yemenis, who cannot be repatriated because of a ban on their repatriation that has been included by Republicans every year in the annual National Defense Authorization Act since the early years of Obama’s presidency — and our interview concluded with my assessment of how Guantánamo might finally be closed.

It was a fascinating interview, and I hope that you have time to watch it, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful. I can only apologize for the poor quality of the visuals at my end, which I’ve finally amended by eventually getting hold of a “selfie ring”!

* * * * *

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.

9 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 former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, about Guantanamo past, present and future, for his new show ‘Whistleblowers,’ looking at how I got involved in researching and telling the stories of all the prisoners held at Guantanamo, how, shamefully, the law has persistently failed them, how many of the men have continued to be failed by the US government, even when freed, through resettlements in countries that fail to respect their rights, and how the prison might eventually be closed.

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

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Much admiration to John! He’s so brave. Whistleblowers are so important. We should protect and support them.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Very much so, Natalia!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Hester wrote:

    I’m stoked to see Andy and John teaming up.
    Folks can subscribe to John’s substack below.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the link, Kevin. I didn’t realise that John had a Substack account. I keep wondering if I should set one up myself …

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Imran Siddiqui wrote:

    Very cool stuff Andy, and you been holding them accountable for so long. Turn this into a full length feature film.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Imran. Did you know that I co-directed and featured in a documentary film about Guantanamo that was released in 2009?

    Of course I’d love to do something new, but sadly I don’t think there’s enough interest. I’m also permanently interested in writing a follow-up to my book ‘The Guantanamo Files’, but again there are no publishers interested.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Hilary Homes wrote:

    Really looking forward to watching this on the weekend!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Hilary! 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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Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo


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