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Journalist Andy Worthington on the widespread hunger strike by prisoners at Guantanamo; Homeland Security whistleblower Julia Davis refuses to be intimidated by heavy-handed threats from Scott Bloch, former Bush appointee at Justice Dept.Worthington is a journalist and photographer, and author of The Guantanamo Files. His website provides the most comprehensive coverage of America’s offshore prison colony. Over a month ago, lawyers for prisoners reported a hunger strike spreading, and now more than 100 of the 166 inmates is reported to be refusing food. The Pentagon admits that at least 28 are on a hunger strike, and that at least 10 are being force fed. Mainstream media like the NY Times suggest that the Obama administration is under-reporting the situation. We also talk about the proposal to spend almost $200 million on facilities at Gitmo, and the recent decision by the administration to hold Abu Ghaith, bin Laden’s son-in-law, at a lockup in Manhattan (not at Gitmo) and to arraign him in federal court (not a military commission). And Worthington comments on Jeh Johnson, Harold Koh and Neal Katyal, who have all worked in the administration and have histories of advocating for human rights and detainee rights.
At about 50 minutes into the podcast, Julia Davis returns. She was fired by Department of Homeland Security and subject to incredible retaliation–including a helicopter assault on her home that led to her father’s death–after she blew the whistle on her boss’s refusal to respond to security threats at the US-Mexican border in 2004. Her story is recounted in a movie, Top Priority: The Terror Within, and you can order a DVD here.
When she sought protection from the Office of Special Counsel at “Justice” Department, it was Scott Bloch who rejected her claim. Davis has written articles critical of Bloch, and he recently demanded that she remove the articles, claiming unspecified inaccuracies. One of the offending stories revealed that Bloch was misusing the photo, name, and story of an Iraq War whistleblower to promote Bloch’s law firm–which he has refused to take down.
Bloch has plead guilty to lying to Congress, and will be sentenced in early May. If you have been affected by his role at OSC, you can write a Victim Impact statement, but take care to limit your remarks to your own views, and don’t mention third parties or other info that could disqualify your statement. Send to:
Judge Robert L. Wilkins
Re: Victim Impact Statement in USA v. Scott Bloch, 1:13-CR-5333 Constitution Ave, NW Washington, DC 20001