Friday, November 13, 2009

Andy Worthington on Democracy Now

On Democracy Now! Andy Worthington Discusses the Forthcoming 9/11 Trials and “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (Video)


I was delighted to be invited to discuss Guantánamo on Democracy Now! this morning, just an hour after the story first broke that the Obama administration is preparing to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other prisoners to the US mainland to face trials in federal court for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

As I explained to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, this is good news to the extent that the whole of the “War on Terror” – with its egregious human rights violations – was supposedly justified as being necessary for the pursuit and capture of those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and although I believe that the government will be able to avoid having to dwell on the fact that Mohammed and his co-defendants were all tortured in secret CIA prisons if the Justice Department is able to produce any evidence whatsoever of their involvement in the attacks, I explained to Amy and Juan that I was deeply disappointed to hear that it is expected that other prisoners – including Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri, another CIA prisoner, who, like Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, was subjected to waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning – will not face a federal court trial, but will, instead, be put forward for trial by Military Commission.

As I have explained at length over the last two and a half years (and as the Commissions’ former prosecutor, Morris Davis, explained in a op-ed for the Wall Street Journal this week), the revival of the discredited Commissions, which struggled in vain to establish their legitimacy over the course of seven years, demonstrates only that the administration lacks the courage to trust the federal courts, and, as a result, is prepared to endorse the existence of a second-tier judicial system to be used in cases where it fears that the evidence will not be strong enough to secure a conviction.

I count myself fortunate to have had this interview scheduled on the day that such an important story broke, but was also glad that there was time to discuss – and show clips from – my new documentary film “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash), which I have been showing in New York, Washington D.C. and the Bay Area over the last week, and which was the initial spur for my appearance on the show.