How to Close Guantánamo on Its 10th Anniversary: Three Radio Interviews with Andy Worthington

by Andy Worthington  

I wrote this on a plane flying across the US, from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, a week into my 12-day visit to campaign for the closure of the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which has been the focus of my work for the last six years.

It feels like more than a week, as it has been such a busy time, first of all in New York, which I wrote about here, and, for the last two days, in Washington D.C., where the horrors of Guantánamo were dreamt up, where those who could close it have failed or refused to do so — the administration, Congress and two particular courts (the D.C. Circuit Court and the Supreme Court) — and where a number of significant events took place to push for the closure of the prison.

I’ll discuss these in another article very soon, but for now I wanted to thank the hosts of three radio shows who have interviewed me in the last week, and to make those shows available to readers who might appreciate my commentary on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo.

On Monday January 9, in Santa Fe, the film I co-directed with Polly Nash, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” was screened for the anniversary, and to coincide with this screening, Mary-Charlotte of Santa Fe Radio Café broadcast an interview with me that was recorded before I left the UK. That interview is available here, and it was a great pleasure to speak with Mary-Charlotte, who first interviewed me several years ago. I hope it led to some people deciding to attend the screening, and I hope that the screening went well, as I am regularly told by my American friends that the film always has a powerful impact on US audiences.

Also before I left the UK, I met with, and then recorded a brief commentary about Guantánamo on its 10th anniversary, which was included in a program called Speaker’s Corner on a community radio station in London with Noémie Adam and Rajiv Bera, two former students from the LSE (the London School of Economics) who are now volunteering with the legal action charity Reprieve. I had previously met Noémie in connection with a screening of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” that she arranged at the LSE two years ago, and it was great to meet up with her and Raj near my home, to discuss the state of the world over a cup of coffee, and then to record my segment for the show, which also featuring commentary by Asim Qureshi of Cageprisoners, and, in the studio, Chris Chang of Reprieve. The show is here, and a blog entry about it is here.

The last of the three radio shows discussed in this article took place last Friday, after I arrived in the US, when I spoke to Michael Slate of KPFK in Los Angeles last Friday while I was visiting the offices of The World Can’t Wait (the sponsors of my trip to the US). Michael and I have spoken several times, and it was a delight to speak to him again, even though the circumstances of my visit are far from cheerful, because he has followed my work and understands the depth of the crimes and failures involved in the Bush administration’s establishment of Guantánamo, the Obama administration’s inability to close it, and the obstruction of lawmakers and certain judges towards bringing this bleak emblem of America’s disregard for the law to an end. The interview is here, and I hope, over the next few days, to also be able to provide links to the four radio interviews I took part in — on shows in Berkeley, New York and Portland, Oregon — while I was in Washington D.C., as well as video of some of the events in which I was proud to be involved.

Note: Please visit the website of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign whose logo is displayed above, and sign up to join a growing body of people demanding that President Obama fulfill his unfulfilled promise to close the prison.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.