Guantánamo: A conversation this side of the wire. Led by Amy Goodman
On April 30, 2010, The UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas organized an event to mark the fifth anniversary of its Guantánamo Testimonials Project. The event was entitled Guantánamo: A conversation this side of the wire. The purpose of the event was to enable a public conversation between a former Guantánamo prisoner (Omar Deghayes) and a former Guantánamo guard (Terry Holdbrooks). The conversation was facilitated by award-winning journalist and Democracy Now producer Amy Goodman; it was hosted by Almerindo Ojeda, founding director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the America, and principal investigator for the Guantanamo Testimonials Project. The event took place at 123 Sciences Lecture Hall, in the UC Davis campus, and went from 8pm to 10pm. Mr. Holdbrooks, Ms. Goodman, and Mr. Ojeda participated in person; Mr. Deghayes was videoconferencing from Brighton, England. The event was attended by 423 individuals.
This was the first time a Guantánamo captor and a Guantánamo captive talked face-to-face before an American audience.
Important instances of prisoner abuse mentioned in this conversation include using dogs to terrorize prisoners, withholding medical attention to induce cooperation with interrogators, using entire cans of pepper spray on individual prisoners in solitary confinement cells, blinding a prisoner by pressing fingers into his eyes, desecrating the Koran, and smearing actual menstrual blood about a prisoner's head (previous testimony mentioned only fresh blood or red marker ink). Testimony was also provided regarding the three alleged prisoner suicides of 2006 and the conversion of several Guantanamo guards to Islam while serving at the Cuban base (only one was hitherto known).
The event was co-sponsored by the UC Davis Hemispheric Institute on the Americas, the UC Davis Law School, the UC Davis Humanities Institute, the Yolo County ACLU, and the Davis Peace Coalition.
- Transcription (16,177 words)
- Audio Recording (01:45:33 / 30.2 MB)
- Video Recording
- Presentation by Almerindo Ojeda (forthcoming)
- Featured Event, with Omar Deghayes, Terry Holdbrooks, Amy Goodman, and Almerindo Ojeda