Andy Worthington


No Justice for Omar Khadr at Guantánamo

By Andy Worthington 

Exactly two years ago, when I began writing a weekly column for the Future of Freedom Foundation on Guantánamo, torture and other crimes and abuses committed as part of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” I focused on the story of Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen who was just 15 years old when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002, and the news today that he has accepted a plea deal, and has agreed to an array of charges relating to terrorism and murder in exchange for a reported eight-year sentence, does nothing to diminish the profound sense of unease — and of warped justice — that has plagued Khadr’s case for the last eight years.

In that article, written while Khadr was enduring interminable pre-trial hearings for a planned trial by Military Commission under the Bush administration, I analyzed an important, and almost completely overlooked document regarding the treatment of juvenile prisoners at Guantánamo — those under 18 at the time their alleged crime took place.

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“Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week: Day Six – Education, Human Experimentation and a Grand Finale

 By Andy Worthington 

 
Getting up at the crack of dawn to visit a high school to discuss Guantánamo could hardly have been a less appealing idea after the exhausting events of the day before — four radio interviews, and a forum on torture — and the cumulative effects of five days of speaking and campaigning as part of “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week.
 
However, the high school visit last Friday morning, to a public school in San Francisco, was one of the high points of the week, and the contrast between the high school students and the university students at UC Berkeley School of Law, where the student activists of Boalt Alliance Against Torture struggle to overcome the depoliticized avarice of the majority of their colleagues, could hardly have been greater.

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Andy Worthington and Justine Sharrock at “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week

By Andy Worthington

As part of “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week (the largest gathering of anti-torture experts and activists since the Bush administration began its “War on Terror” over nine years ago), I was delighted to join Justine Sharrock, journalist and author of Tortured: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things, at Revolution Books on Sunday evening for the opening event.

I discussed the event in an article a few days ago, when I wrote: “Justine and I ran through various aspects of the “War on Terror” — in particular, its effects on those subjected to arbitrary detention and torture in the cages of Guantánamo and elsewhere, and, through Justine’s account, its effect on the US soldiers required to implement this torture and cruelty by their political masters, who, as the Abu Ghraib scandal showed, then tried to pretend that it was the work of “a few bad apples.”

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Liveblogging “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week: Day One

Guantanamo FilesBy Andy Worthington

The weather in the Bay Area is radiant — hot, sunny, and astonishing for mid-October — and, although a ten-hour flight from London and my usual paranoia about Homeland Security could hardly be described as constituting the best recipe for a relaxing welcome to the United States, I got off the plane at Los Angeles International Airport at 2.30 pm on Saturday (while my body was telling me it was 10.30 pm) with something of a spring in my step.

I’m here for a week to take part in “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week, an extraordinary series of events to raise awareness of the United States’ use of torture in the “War on Terror” — and, specifically, to highlight how its use is illegal, morally corrosive, unnecessary and counter-productive.

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The Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo - Part Six: Captured in Pakistan

By Andy Worthington 

This is the sixth part of a nine-part series telling the stories of all the prisoners currently held in Guantánamo (174 at the time of writing). See the introduction here, and Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five.
 
This sixth article tells the stories of 14 prisoners seized in two house raids in Faisalabad, Pakistan on March 28, 2002, which led to the capture of the supposed “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah.

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Andy Worthington Attends “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week, October 10-16

By Andy Worthington

Remember, John Yoo, the smug, shameless apologist for unfettered executive power who once claimed that, if he so desired, the President of the United States could crush a child’s testicles and there was nothing that anyone could do about it?

It was John Yoo, a follower of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who took a position with the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (which is charged with objectively interpreting the law as it applies to the Executive branch), and then, in 2002, wrote two blatantly subjective, unprofessional and politically motivated memos — forever known as the “torture memos” — which purported to redefine torture and told the government and the CIA that it was OK to torture Abu Zubaydah (the “high-value detainee” who turned out to be no such thing, despite being waterboarded 83 times), and any other Muslim that the President regarded as a terrorist.

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Who Are the Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo? Part Three: Captured Crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan

By Andy Worthington

This is the third part of an eight-part series telling the stories of all the prisoners currently held in Guantánamo (174 at the time of writing). See the introduction here, and Part One and Part Two.

This third article tells the stories of 22 prisoners seized in Pakistan after crossing from Afghanistan in December 2001, shortly after the prisoners described in Part One, and during a week-long period when around a quarter of the total number of prisoners held at Guantánamo (779 in total) were seized. Although these 185 or so men were routinely regarded as al-Qaeda members who had fled from the showdown between al-Qaeda and the US (via its Afghan allies) in the Tora Bora mountains, the truth is that almost every significant al-Qaeda member escaped from Tora Bora, that many of these men were nothing more than insignificant foot soldiers, and that many others were missionaries, humanitarian aid workers or economic migrants, caught fleeing the death and destruction in Afghanistan.  Nevertheless, all were presented as al-Qaeda operatives by their Pakistani captors, who then handed them over — or sold them — to their US allies.

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The Definitive List of the Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo

By Andy Worthington

 
Over the next month, in an attempt to focus attention more closely on Guantánamo, and on the remaining prisoners who are held there, I’ll be publishing an eight-part series of articles (in conjunction with Cageprisoners, for whom I work as a Senior Researcher), telling, for the first time, the stories of the 176 men who are still held.

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Ramadan Force-Feeding and Renewed Secrecy: the Surreal World of Guantánamo

By Andy Worthington 

 
In a disturbing report in the Miami Herald, the ever-vigilant Carol Rosenberg reports that an unknown number of hunger strikers at Guantánamo are being force-fed between dusk and dawn — a mixture of cruelty (force-feeding) and respect (for Ramadan) that is sadly typical of the surreal, otherworldly reality of Guantánamo, over eight and a half years after the prison first opened.

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The Case of Abu Zubaydah: US Court Relies on Lies to Continue Detention

By Andy Worthington

In the history of the “War on Terror,” few stories are as disturbing as that of Abu Zubaydah.
 
Seized in Pakistan in March 2002, Zubaydah was initially regarded as a “high-value detainee” of such significance that the Bush administration conceived its torture program specifically for use on him.

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