Video: On the 13th Anniversary of WikiLeaks’ Release of the Guantánamo Files, My Interview with the Julian Assange Defence Committee

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13 years ago today, on April 25, 2011, WikiLeaks and a host of international newspapers — the Daily Telegraph, the Washington Post, McClatchy, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Pais, La Repubblica, L’Espresso and Aftonbladet — published, or began publishing “The Guantánamo Files,” a treasure trove of classified US military documents from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, the last of four significant releases, in 2010-11, of classified material leaked by Chelsea Manning, the first three being the Afghan and Iraq War Logs, and a vast archive of diplomatic cables.

I was also a media partner for the release of the files, having been asked by WikiLeaks, as an independent expert on Guantánamo, to investigate them, and to brief journalists from the mainstream media partners about their significance, which I did in the days following the release of the files on April 25. The publishing date had been brought forward abruptly, from an intended release date in May, after we heard that the Guardian and the New York Times had obtained them from another source, and were intending to preempt us with the files’ publication.

I still vividly recall getting a call about this on the evening of April 24, and then having to write an introduction to the files in a matter of hours, explaining their significance. This ended up on the front page of “The Guantánamo Files,” on the WikiLeaks website, as “WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Files on All Guantánamo Prisoners,” and I also posted it on my website as “WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Guantánamo Files, Exposes Detention Policy as a Construct of Lies.”

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

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.

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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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