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Close Guantanamo then policing on Peace & Justice, Wednesday Feb 24 at 9am

Written by on Saturday, February 20, 2021

On Wednesday, February 24 at 9am, our first guest on the Peace & Justice Report was Andy Worthington, an investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Missed it? You can listen to it in the WSLR archives! Andy is recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.”  He’s the co-founder websites Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. See his response to statements about the Biden administration’s proposed closure of Guantánamo made on February 12 by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who, asked whether President Biden would shut the prison before the end of his presidency, told reporters, “That certainly is our goal and our intention.”

As of Wednesday, the prison at Guantanamo Bay had been open 6,985 days. Read Andy’s Review of The Mauritanian, the film based on the best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary” by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who, based on nothing more than suspicion, was subjected to a horrendous torture program at Guantánamo in 2003, and, despite the case against him collapsing, wasn’t released until 2016. We discussed the 40 men still held there, the inadequacy of the status of all of them (six approved for release but still held, nine charged or tried in a broken trial system, and 25 consigned to oblivion as “forever prisoners”).

On the second half of the show I played an interview I did last week with Rosa Brooks who has just written Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City. Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and founder of Georgetown’s Innovative Policing Program. From 2016 to 2020, she served as a reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department. The book recounts her experiences.

She carried a gun and could make arrests. She shows the good and the bad. A quote from the book: Police officers have an impossible job. We expect them to be warriors, disciplinarians, protectors, mediators, social workers, educators, medics, and mentors all at once, and we blame them for enforcing laws they didn’t make in a social context they have little power to alter. The abuses and systemic problems that plague policing are very real, and readers will see them reflected in these pages, particularly in the flashes of cynicism and casual contempt I sometimes saw in officers with whom I worked. But the compassion, courage, and creativity I saw are real too.

Rosa’s mother is Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.