Video: Andy Worthington Discusses the Need to Close Guantánamo on CCTV America with David Remes and J.D. Gordon


Yesterday, I was delighted to be asked to take part in CCTV America’s half-hour show, “The Heat,” to debate the question, “Will Obama shut down the Guantánamo Bay detention center?” The video of the show is available below in two parts on YouTube, and it can also be found on the CCTV America website.

CCTV America described the show as follows:

US President Barack Obama vowed in 2009 to close America’s Guantanámo Bay military prison in Cuba. Five years later, GTMO remains open … 149 prisoners are still languishing there without [in most cases] prospect of a trial that could free them. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, said that GTMO’s prisoners are not entitled protection under the Geneva Conventions. The UN said it should be closed.

The detention center’s infrastructure is crumbling. The prisoners are aging and medical facilities are limited. US law doesn’t permit Guantanámo’s detainees to be transferred to the United States. There are 79 officially rated ‘low level’ detainees who are recommended for release to other countries under a resettlement policy, but that policy must still overcome major hurdles. Earlier this month, six ‘low level’ detainees were ready to board a plane to Uruguay when the agreement fell apart at the last minute.

Here’s the show:

The presenter of “The Heat” is Anand Naidoo, and the other guests on the Guantánamo show were David Remes, a lawyer who represents a number of Yemeni prisoners in Guantánamo, and J.D. Gordon, a retired US Navy officer, who was a spokesperson for the authorities at Guantánamo during the Bush administration.

I have known David and J.D. for many years. As well as representing a number of men still held, David also represented a prisoner named Adnan Latif. A Yemeni with severe mental health problems, who had been cleared for release on numerous occasions, Adnan Latif died exactly two years ago, allegedly by committing suicide, although the official story has been challenged. The fact that the show was taking place two years after his death added a poignancy to the broadcast for both David and I.

J.D. Gordon and I have frequently discussed Guantánamo and the “war on terror” online, although it would be fair to say that we do not see eye to eye, as J.D. believes — or professes to believe — the whole discredited nonsense about the prisoners being “the worst of the worst” that was peddled by senior Bush administration officials when Guantánamo opened.

On “The Heat,” I was unable to put up with any more of the lies and distortions, challenging J.D.’s claims about the men at Guantánamo being terrorists, and pointing out that very few of the men have ever been accused of terrorism, and the majority were either innocent men, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, or soldiers, who had been involved with the Taliban in an inter-Muslim civil war in Afghanistan that morphed into the “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks — and most of them were bought for money. Along the way I was also obliged to challenge J.D.’s unconnected digressions about ISIS, Lee Rigby and beheadings.

I hope you have time to watch the show, and that, if you like it, you will share it.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

21 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Neil Goodwin wrote:

    well spoken Andy! That JD was an oily fish and no mistake. xx

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you, Neil, and thanks for the supportive words.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Kathryn Michael wrote:

    Very eloquently put Andy. I don’t think I could have kept my cool as you did. I admire your patience not just on this show but the whole campaign.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Kathryn, for your supportive comments. They are very much appreciated. I don’t always respond to injustice and idiocy in a balanced manner in my life in general, but professionally I’ve always understood that I need to stay calm and be as eloquent as possible.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Saleyha Ahsan wrote:

    Going to enjoy watching you go for it Andy!!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    I hope so, Saleyha. Let me know what you think!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Diana Murtaugh Coleman wrote:

    Anxious to watch, Andy. And thanks for being so honest and courageous from the depth of who you are.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Diana Murtaugh Coleman wrote:

    Very strong and principled rejoinders to J.D.’s tired propaganda!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Diana. Your analysis is very much appreciated!

  10. Anna says...

    Good grief!

    I’d been ‘savouring’ Mr Gordon’s smug propaganda on and off in this comments section but it was an additional eye opener to actually see that person ‘live’.

    I won’t comment any further, except for a suggestion that next time maybe he will present us with hard facts and evidence, instead of insinuations and outright lies?

    Congratulations to you, Mr Remes and the journalist on your angelical patience.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Anna. Lovely to hear from you. I hope all is well with you personally, if not politically, of course, as the bad news assaults us on a daily basis.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Mo D’oh wrote:

    oh god, how did JD behave himself, Andy?

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Mo D’oh wrote:

    i’m pretty patient, but at some point i gave him such a tongue lashing that he withdrew 🙂

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    I saw that ‘interview’ the other night, Andy – how you kept your patience with JD Gordon, I’ll never know! What loathsome lies he promulgates!

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Ah yes, J.D., my one-time troll, who at one point called me the head of Reprieve – er, that would be Clive Stafford Smith. Anyway, I couldn’t put up with his nonsense, as you can see:

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    yep, that’s the one! x

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Glad you saw it too, Ruth. The key thing is to retain control, but I very much enjoyed not putting up with his nonsense.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Andy, I agree with Ruth…Good job in showing JD Gordon for the pompous ass that he is. Sadly, we have a Congress and Pentagon filled with that type of guy and a large population in this nation who buys way too much of the propaganda so afraid of a Keffiyeh that they are willing to allow atrocities in their name.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. Yes, that was the point that David Remes made, when he said that he thought that most Americans thought like J.D. All of which only confirms to me that the liberal mainstream media in the US has failed in its mission to inform the public about what is actually happening.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher John Webster wrote:

    Well done Andy you were impressively eloquent…

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Chris, for the supportive words. Glad you got to see it!

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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