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Video: On RT, Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo, Obama’s Refusal to Release Cleared Prisoners and the Supreme Court’s Failure to Act

Andy Worthington

June 12, 2012

Yesterday evening in London (and at 4pm Eastern time), I was delighted to be interviewed by Kristine Frazao, via Skype, for the news on RT (Russia Today) from Washington D.C., and specifically for an eight-minute feature entitled, "In Limbo at Gitmo," which is available below. (Click to enlarge the photo on the left, showing me addressing campaigners for the closure of Guantánamo outside the Supreme Court, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison, on January 11 this year, and see here for a video of my talk).

I was invited to appear on the show because of my report last week, Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago, which was published exclusively on my website and on the website of "Close Guantánamo," the campaign that I established in January with the attorney Tom Wilner. This report, establishing that at least 40 of the 87 prisoners cleared for release, but still held at Guantánamo, were cleared between 2004 and 2007, was discussed on RT last week, and my scheduled appearance also coincided with the depressing news that the Supreme Court had refused to accept any of the seven appeals submitted by various Guantánamo prisoners, on the eve of the fourth anniversary of Boumediene v. Bush, when a more principled Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners had habeas corpus rights.

As I was able to explain, this led to the release of a few dozen prisoners between December 2008 and July 2010, after their habeas corpus petitions were granted by District Court judges in Washington D.C., who correctly perceived that the government’s evidence was, in many cases, risibly weak, consisting of dubious intelligence reports and the testimony of other prisoners — either in Guantánamo or in secret CIA torture prisons — whose statements were fundamentally unreliable, and whose unreliability had, in many case, been noted by US officials, even though that was ignored by prosecutors in the Justice Department and by advisors in the Pentagon.

However, since summer 2010, right-wing judges in the D.C. Circuit Court have been rewriting the rules governing the habeas petitions, gutting habeas corpus of all meaning for the Guantánamo prisoners, so that none of the prisoners have had their habeas petitions granted in the last two years. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to redress this shameful distortion of its 2008 ruling in Boumediene v. Bush, and their failure, as I also explained to Kristine, means that the Guantánamo prisoners have now been abandoned by every branch of the US government, as President Obama has backed away from his promise to close the prison, and has shown a persistent lack of political courage on issues relating to Guantánamo, and lawmakers in Congress have also indulged in disgraceful fearmongering, passing legislation that, like the D.C. Circuit’s decisions, is also designed to prevent any prisoners from being released.

On the fourth anniversary of Boumediene v. Bush, this is a truly depressing state of affairs, and one made all the more depressing because of the general indifference of the US media and the American people, and I hope my contribution, and RT’s interest in the story, will help people to understand how depressing it is that the men in Guantánamo have been so shamefully failed by all three branches of the US government.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, "The Complete Guantánamo Files," a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new "Close Guantánamo campaign," and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

:: Article nr. 88803 sent on 13-jun-2012 06:03 ECT


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