On Gorilla Radio, Chris Cook Plays ‘Warriors’, and We Discuss Julian Assange, Guantánamo, Genocide in Gaza and George Galloway

8.3.24

The cover of ‘Warriors’ by The Four Fathers, and the poster showing the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo who are still held.

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Thanks to Chris Cook for having me on his Gorilla Radio show in Victoria, in western Canada on Wednesday to talk about a number of topics. The one-hour show is available here, on Chris’s Substack account, and my interview took part in the first half.

Chris began by asking me about the recent by-election victory, here in the UK, of George Galloway, the former Labour MP, who destroyed both Labour and the Tories on a platform opposing their unconditional support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza, which, of course, is also opposed by a majority of the population. As he stated in a tweet after his victory, “Gaza is the moral centre of the world right now.”

Chris asked me about the government’s hysterical response, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivering a special address to the nation to complain about the threat posed by a democratically-elected MP, but with, of course, a darker undercurrent of groundless suggestions that British democracy is under threat from “Islamist extremists” — all part of the desperate, flailing efforts of the British establishment to criminalize all criticism of Israel’s actions as anti-semitic.

We also discussed developments relating to Guantánamo, and, in particular, the monthly coordinated global vigils for its closure that I initiated last February, which have been taking place ever since in locations across the US, and in London and Mexico City. These have focused in particular on the plight of the 16 men (out of the 30 still held in total), who have long been approved for release, but who are still held because the Biden administration can’t be bothered to prioritize actually freeing them, and, because the decisions to approve them for release were purely administrative, no legal mechanism exists that can compel them to do so.

We also spoke about my ongoing series of ten articles about these 16 men, which I began last month, and which will be running throughout the rest of March, and you can find the first five articles here, here, here, here and here, published alternately on my website on on the Close Guantánamo website.

We also discussed the latest developments in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s efforts to block his extradition to the US to face espionage charges relating to the publication — with major newspapers in the US and across Europe — of classified US files that were leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Resisting the extradition is a cause dear to my heart, because in 2011 I worked with Julian and WikiLeaks on the release of classified military files from Guantánamo, which, for those paying attention, revealed in damning detail how inadequate most of the information purporting to be “evidence” was — and still is — when it comes to the US’s feeble justifications for holding men at Guantánamo.

I spoke about the grotesque absurdity of singling out Julian for persecution, despite his partnership with, for example, the New York Times, and the extraordinary, and extraordinarily troubling implications of prosecuting a publisher for revealing evidence of wrong-doing on the part of the government, not only because of the chilling effect this would have on free speech, but also because, fundamentally, the right to publish leaked information that may be damaging to the government provides one of the most fundamental distinctions between dictatorships and what we like to think of as our “free” democratic societies.

I’m delighted that Chris finished our half-hour slot by playing ‘Warriors’, the song I wrote about Julian and Chelsea Manning, and recorded with The Four Fathers, which, I’m glad to note, has been getting some love from supporters of Julian over the last two weeks, since we released it to coincide with the last UK appeal against his extradition, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The song is on Bandcamp, and is embedded below, as well as being featured in the show. Please do feel free to share it, and even to buy it as a download if you like it.

The song came to me two years ago, and we’ve played it live on several occasions, although it’s only recently that we finally worked out the arrangements on the finished recording, which we recorded at a wonderful session in the new year with the great Charlie Hart, a multi-instrumentalist and producer, who is perhaps best-known for having played with Ronnie Lane in the 1970s.

At the same session, we also recorded two other songs, not yet released, to complete our third album, ’Songs of Loss and Resistance’, which we’ll be releasing soon on Bandcamp, and also, hopefully, on CD. Do let me know if you’re interested in buying a copy.

I also recommend listening to the whole of Chris’s show, because, in the second half, he spoke to Dr. Yipeng Ge, a family practice doctor and resident physician in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ottawa’s faculty of medicine, who, in November, was suspended “for social media posts criticizing Israel and calling for a ceasefire” in what Chris aptly calls “this purposefully made humanitarian catastrophe, and undeniable genocide.”

As Chris also notes, “those in Canada calling for an end to the killing are being assailed by the government, attacked in the media, and in true McCarthyite fashion, blackballed from their professions” — as happened with Dr. Ge — but although the University of Ottawa “subsequently backed down, giving indications of rescinding that suspension”, Dr. Ge refused to return. saying, “I feel incredibly harmed by this process, and I don’t know how to continue within this institution because of what’s happened.” He also “resigned his membership on the Canadian Medical Association board in protest of that institution’s silence on the targeting of hospitals, doctors, and the entire medical system there”, subsequently traveling to Gaza to see for himself the impact of Israel’s relentless genocidal actions, and intending to work at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, although he was unable to do so because of “targeted attacks on healthcare workers.”

* * * * *

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.

3 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 of Gorilla Radio in western Canada, in which we discussed Israel’s genocide in Gaza, the significance of the recent by-election victory in the UK of George Galloway, the continuing plight of the 16 men still held at Guantanamo who have long been approved for release, and the monthly coordinated global vigils for the prison’s closure, which I initiated last year.

    We also discussed the continuing plight of Julian Assange, who is still fighting in the British courts to prevent his extradition to the US to face outrageous and unjustifiable espionage charges relating to WikiLeaks’ publication, in 2010-11, of classified US files leaked by Chelsea Manning, and at the end of our interview Chris also played ‘Warriors’, my recently released song about Julian and Chelsea, recorded with The Four Fathers, and available here: https://thefourfathers.bandcamp.com/track/warriors

    If you have time, please listen to the whole one-hour show, as, in the second half, Chris spoke to Dr. Yipeng Ge, a Canadian doctor and academic suspended for social media posts criticizing Israel and calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, who recently visited Gaza to witness the ongoing genocide first-hand.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Nick Jewitt wrote:

    So much of desperate concern there – thank you Andy.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Nick. Yes, the world is in a pretty desperate state right now, isn’t it, and that’s without even discussing climate collapse, which – understandably, I think, from a humanitarian point of view involving almost total visceral outrage – is being overshadowed by Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

    And sadly, of course, Israel’s horribly public live-streamed genocide of the Palestinian people – and the west’s equally horrific support of it – is also overshadowing the horrors in Sudan and Congo, which aren’t even discussed much in the west at all.

    I’m increasingly finding myself reflecting on W.B. Yeats’ poem ‘The Second Coming’, written after the First World War, which seems startlingly apt for now:

    “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43290/the-second-coming

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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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