Frankie Boyle on Trump and Guantánamo

Trump wants to restock Guantánamo. Who’s the ‘worst of the worst’ now?

By Frankie Boyle

This article originally appeared in The Guardian. A full version is available here.  

President-elect Trump says he wants to keep Guantanamo open. He wants to “load it up” with “bad dudes”, just like George W Bush wanted to in 2001.

This absurdity is nothing new to Guantanamo – it’s a place where even books make the authorities uneasy. Crime and Punishment and Uncle Tom’s Cabin have been banned, along with Jack and the Beanstalk. Thankfully, Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith is still allowed in – but his books are not.

Test your knowledge of the books that have been banned in the world’s most notorious prison

When Guantanamo first opened, we were told the people held there  – without charge or trial – were the “worst of the worst”. Then, as details started to trickle out, along came the bounty fliers too. They offered $5000 for any bearded foreign looking guy you didn’t like:

Guantanamo Bounty Flyer

Guantanamo Bounty Flyer

A chap called Mohammed el Gharani was just 14 when he arrived at the prison. Mohammed never went near Afghanistan until the Americans took him there, and started interrogating him with a Yemeni translator. The word “zalat” means “salad” in Saudi, but it means “money” in Yemeni. They demanded what “zalat” he’d taken to Pakistan. Mohammed said he had none, as he could get “zalat” – salad – wherever he needed it.

GITMO4

Mohammed el Gharani with books sent by Reprieve supporters

Today, 55 prisoners remain at Gitmo. They include Haroon Gul, an Afghan refugee brought there in 2007 after he was mistaken for another man.

We now know all this because organisations like Reprieve have investigated these cases and exposed the truth to the world.

At Guantanamo, the US Government has given us 15 years of injustice. If Trump really does commit to more of this madness, he will have achieved the impossible: being an even worse President than we’d imagined.

Frankie Boyle is a comedian, a supporter of Reprieve and a campaigner for prisoners held in Guantanamo.