Video: Andy Worthington Discusses the Bradley Manning Verdict on RT

On Wednesday evening, I spoke to RT about the verdict in the trial by court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, following his conviction on 20 charges, including espionage and theft, which was announced by the judge in his case, Army Col. Denise Lind, on Monday. My five-minute interview is available below, via YouTube.

Significantly, Judge Lind refused to convict Manning on the most serious charge — that of “aiding the enemy,” which the prosecution had tried to claim proved that Manning had “general evil intent” when he leaked hundreds of thousands of classified US government documents, including the “Collateral Murder” video, featuring US personnel indiscriminately killing civilians and two Reuters reporters in Iraq, 500,000 army reports (the Afghan War logs and the Iraq War logs), 250,000 US diplomatic cables, and the Guantánamo files, released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, on which I worked as a media partner.

However, that was the only good news on Monday, as Manning still faces 136 years in prison based on the other charges, which is a horrendous situation. Asked about it, I explained that it is an unacceptable ruling for whistleblowers, motivated, as Manning was, to make available information that is in the public interest  — about war crimes, for example — that the US government wanted to keep hidden, and I also pointed out how the mainstream media evidently agreed, having used what he leaked to sell newspapers and attract viewers for news programs for many months in 2010 and 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: On Day 150 of the Guantánamo Hunger Strike, Andy Worthington Tells RT Why the Prison is a Moral, Legal and Ethical Abomination

Last Friday, on Day 150 of the ongoing hunger strike at Guantánamo, I provided a round-up of the terrible situation at the prison for RT. Interviewed in a studio on a boat on the Thames, while lunchtime drinkers soaked up the sun on the lower decks, where there is a bar, I was asked why it was so hard for the US to release or transfer to the US mainland prisoners that it costs nearly a million dollars each, per year, to hold at Guantánamo.

I explained that, although opposition has been raised by Congress, President Obama has proven to be “unwilling to spend the political capital” to release any of the 86 men (out of 166 in total) who were cleared for release by his inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force three and a half years ago. I spoke about his “fine speech” on May 23 when he said he was going to resume releasing prisoners — but has not released anyone since — and reminded viewers of the “new tyranny” of the US, at a time when, ironically, the nation was celebrating its freedom, 237 years ago, from the tyranny of British rule.

Asked about the force-feeding in Guantánamo, where 45 of the 120 men who have been on a hunger strike for five months are being force-fed, I explained how “medical professionals all agree that it is wrong to force-feed a mentally competent prisoner, and that force-feeding is a form of torture,” but pointed out that allowing prisoners to die would be a PR disaster for the US. I stressed, however, that we always need to look at political issues behind the hunger strike and the force-feeding. Read the rest of this entry »

On Guantánamo, the Three Steps Obama Needs to Take Now

Late on Friday evening, RT published an article I had been commissioned to write for them, entitled, “In Guantánamo, fine words are no substitute for freedom.” In it, I examined in detail the parts of President Obama’s national security speech on Thursday that dealt with the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where a prison-wide hunger strike has been raging for nearly four months.

The 166 men still held are expressing their despair at having been abandoned by all three branches of the US government — by President Obama and his administration, by Congress and by the judiciary, and for good reason — 86 of these men were cleared for release three years ago by an inter-agency task force that President Obama established when he took office in 2009, and most of the 80 others would be entirely justified in concluding that, in their cases, justice has gone AWOL.

A month ago, President Obama finally broke his silence on Guantánamo to deliver an eloquent speech at a news conference in which he explained why Guantánamo is such an abomination, but shied away from acknowledging his own part in the failure to close the prison, as he promised when he took office in 2009, and put the blame solely on Congress. Read the rest of this entry »

TV and Radio: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo, the Hunger Strike and Shaker Aamer

It’s been a busy week, with the prison-wide hunger strike still raging at Guantánamo, and the government’s denials about it taking place crumbling under sustained media interest.

I’m delighted that the major US newspapers have picked up on the story, and also that CBS News and CNN have finally deigned to cover it, although in general, as was noted at the start of the week by RT — which is engaged in the kind of sustained coverage of the story that ought to be undertaken by the US networks — US TV remains a Guantánamo-free zone.

I appeared briefly on RT’s show on Monday about the hunger strike — part of a short interview that replaced a larger segment planned for last Friday that was scuppered by technical problems — but what I particularly liked about the show was how RT succinctly exposed the shallowness of most US broadcast news, and the ignorance of the American public when it comes to Guantánamo.

In the streets of New York, a reporter for RT asked residents if they knew that over half of the 166 men still in Guantánamo — 86 in total — had been cleared for release but are still held  — only to be met with surprise and, in some cases, evident shock and indignation. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: On Guantánamo Hunger Strike, Andy Worthington Tells RT that Prisoners “Feel They’re in a Living Tomb”

Yesterday, I spoke to RT about the ongoing hunger strike at Guantánamo, which involves over a hundred of the remaining 166 prisoners. I first discussed it last week in an article entitled, “A Huge Hunger Strike at Guantánamo,” which, I’m glad to note, was very widely read.

The six-minute video is available below via RT’s YouTube channel, and below is a transcript of the interview, made available by RT (where the video is also available). I do hope you have the time to watch it, and if you like it, please feel free to share it, to let as many people as possible know about the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo, over 11 years after the prison first opened, and over four years since President Obama came to office promising to close it.

“Gitmo prisoners feel they are in a living tomb”
RT, March 14, 2013

There is a palpable sense of despair amongst the Guantánamo Bay prisoners, both those who years ago had been told they would be released and those who were designated for indefinite detention, investigative journalist Andy Worthington told RT. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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