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Program Information
Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw
Peter Jan Honigsberg
 Barry Murphy  Contact Contributor
May 26, 2013, 3:03 a.m.
Peter Jan Honigsberg is a law professor at the University of San Francisco and the founder and director of the Witness to Guantanamo project ( He talks to Chris about Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, how the US public turn a blind eye while the rest of the world watches, and the fate of a large group of hunger strikers at the prison.
Radio New Zealand - Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa
Shortly after September 11, 2001, Peter Jan Honigsberg, a law professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, began teaching a class about the war on terror, international security, civil liberties and human rights. The questions raised by this class led him to travel to Guantanamo and also delve deeper into the issues. He published several articles and a University of California Press book entitled A Nation Unhinged: The Human Consequences of the War on Terror. In light of his experiences, his writings, his interactions with former detainees and their attorneys, and the public’s desire for information, Professor Honigsberg was compelled to establish the Witness to Guantanamo (W2G) project.
The project is currently conducting in-depth, filmed interviews with former detainees and other witnesses, such as prison guards, chaplains, medical personnel, prosecutors, habeas attorneys, high level government and military officials, FBI agents, interrogators, interpreters and family members of detainees. Witness to Guantanamo is the only project that is systematically filming and preserving these narratives in order to document the human rights abuses and rule of law violations that took place at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. By creating an archive of these videos, W2G will collaborate and partner with other projects around the United States and the world to educate the public and mobilize pressure to hold U.S. government officials and private actors accountable. W2G’s filmed narratives provide voice to former detainees and other witnesses so they can share their personal and poignant stories.
The project’s methodology reflects the Shoah (“catastrophe”) model. After some groups denied the reality of the Holocaust, director Steven Spielberg began filming video accounts of the experiences of survivors. Over 52,000 Holocaust survivors have told their personal stories and the collection is now archived at the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.
All the interviews will be translated into English and transcribed to reach the broadest audience possible. It is our intent that the video archive grow into an invaluable resource for present and future generations of activists, scholars, historians, journalists, students, documentarians, lawyers, former detainees and the general public. Eventually, individuals will be welcome to apply to use the interviews to support qualitative and quantitative social science research; select footage for documentary and other media-related projects; create educational units on Guantanamo for elementary through graduate school students; and inform and educate the public. The diverse potential uses of the archive will be limited only by the imagination.

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00:26:12 1 May 22, 2013
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