Video: I Discuss the Collapse of Guantánamo’s Military Commissions on “Unauthorized Disclosure” with Kevin Gosztola and Rania Khalek


A screenshot from “Nearly 8,000 Days of Injustice at Guantánamo Bay,” the latest “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, in which Kevin Gosztola and Rania Khalek interviewed Andy Worthington.

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Many thanks to Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof and The Dissenter for having me on his most recent “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast with Rania Khalek to discuss the latest news regarding the prison at Guantánamo Bay.

The 40-minute podcast is entitled, “Nearly 8,000 Days of Injustice at Guantánamo Bay,” which is a helpful reminder of quite how long this wretched place has been open, and a reference to the photo campaign I’ve been running for many years now via the Close Guantánamo website (and its Gitmo Clock subsidiary, which counts in real time how long Guantánamo has been open), encouraging supporters to take photos with posters marking every 100 days of the prison’s existence.

The latest poster was for 7,900 days, on August 28, and you can see all the photos here, while the terrible milestone of 8,000 days takes place on December 6, and I hope you can take a photo with the 8,000 days poster and send it to Close Guantánamo.

The video of the podcast is posted below, via YouTube, and you can also find it on Facebook here.

Kevin began by asking me to discuss an absolutely devastating ruling against the US authorities in the military commission pre-trial hearings for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, delivered by the trial judge, Col. Lanny Acosta, Jr., which I wrote about in my most recent article, Trial Judge Destroys Guantánamo’s Military Commissions, Rules That “Clean Team” Interrogations Cannot Undo the Effects of Torture.

The ruling is so significant because Col. Acosta has destroyed prosecutors’ reliance on self-incriminating statements made by al-Nashiri to a so-called “clean team” of interrogators, four months after his arrival at Guantánamo in September 2006 from CIA ”black sites,” where he had spent nearly four years, and where, as the US authorities recognized, self-incriminating statements he made under torture would be inadmissible.

With this ruling, as I explained, it is to be hoped that prosecutors recognize that the military commissions cannot be salvaged, and that the government’s focus in al-Nashiri’s case — and in the cases of the five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, who were also subjected to “clean team” interrogations — shifts to plea deals instead, which are, genuinely, the only way that these cases can ever be resolved.

I was also pleased to have had the opportunity to discuss a number of devastating UN reports and opinions about Guantánamo, which have been issued this year, and which I discussed here, here, here and here. And yet, shamefully, as we also discussed, Guantánamo barely flickers to life in the US mainstream media, and is largely ignored by the majority of the US public.

We also spoke about other ongoing injustices; for example, the case of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, who has been serving a life sentence in solitary confinement at Guantánamo for the last 15 years, and who, as Kevin pointed out, has just had his latest appeal against his punitive sentence denied by the D.C. Circuit Court.

There was much more in the show — discussing the case of Abu Zubaydah, the first victim of the CIA’s torture program, and one of three remaining ”forever prisoners,” for example — and I hope you have time to watch it, and 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 (see the ongoing 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, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

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.

6 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to, and discussing my recent 40-minute interview about Guantanamo with Kevin Gosztola and Rania Khalek for their “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, including a discussion about the recent damning ruling against the government by Col. Lanny Acosta, the military judge in the case of “black site” torture victim Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

    We also had time to discuss the devastating reports and opinions about Guantanamo that have been issued by various UN Special Rapporteurs over the course of this year, and I’m very pleased with the interview, which, I think, provides a coherent overview of why Guantanamo urgently remains a topic that ought to be of huge concern to anyone who cares about human rights and justice.

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

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Kevin Hester wrote:

    More stark proof that the independent media has completely supplanted the corporate, legacy media.
    The only place I learn anything about the gulag in Guantanamo is from journalists like Andy. If we don’t prevent the extradition of Julian Assange, the Guantanamo Gulag will be a death sentence for him.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for recognizing the failures of the corporate, legacy media when it comes to Guantanamo, Kevin, and for supporting and championing my work. I really appreciate it.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Micha Ramsay wrote:

    Andy, thank you for your invaluable reports on this horrific iniquity.
    I am wondering how plea deals can still be considered the only or last resort for potential release of remaining prisoners after the Naval Judge’s ruling, when surely any confession or plea made by a prisoner in order to escape imprisonment in conditions that constitute torture, can no longer be relied upon in law, let alone as the basis for a release ‘deal’?
    Could this ruling in fact mean that last route to freedom is lost too? 😭

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    I have to say, Micha, that the injustice is so deep that it’s never even been feasible to consider that the US government would ever release any of the men accused of serious crimes and facing capital trials (al-Nashiri and the five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks). The plea deal proposal is a way forward, however, in that it takes the death penalty off the table, and would provide some kind of resolution to the longstanding failures of justice in these cases, not only for the US and its relationship to the law, but also for the victims.

    One big problem, however, as I see it, is that there’s no incentive for the CIA or the more right-wing parts of the US establishment to want plea deals to proceed, as they’re no doubt content for the men to rot in Guantanamo forever, whether there are trials or not, and would rather not have the men be able to make public statements about what happened to them in the “black sites”, as happened last year with Majid Khan:

    It all seems very much up in the air at the moment, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on any further developments.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    For a Spanish version, on the World Can’t Wait’s Spanish website, see ‘Vídeo: Discuto el colapso de las comisiones militares de Guantánamo en “Unauthorized Disclosure” con Kevin Gosztola y Rania Khalek’:

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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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