FDL Book Salon Welcomes Andy Worthington: The Guantanamo Files

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[Welcome Andy Worthington and Stacy Sullivan of Human Rights Watch, and please stay on topic, or please take other discussions to the previous thread. Thanks, Bev]

Andy Worthington has written an extraordinary book, The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, that provides the only thorough accounting of the nearly 800 men who have passed through the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. In it, he details who they are, how they got there, how they were treated in US custody, and most shockingly, how few of them were actually involved in any kind of terrorist activity against the United States or its allies.

By methodically analyzing 7,000 pages of transcripts of the tribunals the Pentagon held at Guantanamo to assess the detainees’ status as “enemy combatants,” as well as sifting through news reports and interviews with lawyers and released detainees, Worthington concludes that although Guantanamo is holding some terror suspects who were allegedly involved in the planning of the 9/11 and other terrorist attacks (including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several other so-called “high value detainees”), the overwhelming majority of the men who have passed through the prison were low level foot soldiers or humanitarian aid workers, religious teachers or economic migrants who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.