Video: I Discuss “Is It Time for Gitmo to Close?” with Scottie Nell Hughes on Sovren Media

20.6.24

A screenshot from “Is It Time for Gitmo to Close?” with Scottie Nell Hughes on Sovren Media.

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If you have half an hour to spare, I hope you’ll watch my interview about the prison at Guantánamo Bay with Scottie Nell Hughes, on her show 360 View, as featured on the online TV channel Sovren Media, in which the other featured guest was the conservative talk radio host Steve Gill.

Scottie and I had spoken previously when she worked for RT America, between 2018 and the channel’s politically motivated closure in 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it was good to be given an opportunity to elucidate some of the many incontrovertible reasons why this festering sore from the US’s brutal and lawless post-9/11 experiments in torture, dehumanization and endless imprisonment without charge or trial should be shut down.

I’m glad to say that I was given plenty of time to explain the reasons that Guantánamo must be closed, and should have been “a long, long time ago”, as I put it — because it is, as I also explained, “a legal, moral and ethical abomination, and a great shame for the United States every day that it remains open.”

The video, available here, is also embedded below:


Is it time for Gitmo to close? – powered by sovren.media

In further discussion, I was able to describe in detail who the 30 men still held are, and why it is so shameful that 16 of them are still held despite having been unanimously approved for release by high-level US government review processes, further elaborating that, despite efforts by Hughes to claim that no one wants to take them, a State Department official appointed to oversee transfers from Guantánamo — former Ambassador Tina Kaidanow — has been working with other countries to disprove her unsubstantiated allegation.

As this interview was recorded a few months ago, and has not aired until now, it doesn’t include information received recently — that Kaidanow and her team had definitively negotiated the release of eleven of these men to Oman in October, but that it was called off at the last minute because of fears, higher up the chain of command, that the “political optics” of releasing Guantánamo prisoners after the attacks in Israel on October 7 by Hamas and other militants were not conducive to allowing these men to be granted their long-awaited freedom. I wrote about this story a month ago, as Guantánamo Scandal: Eleven Men Were Set to Be Freed Last October, Until “Political Optics” Shifted After Hamas’ Attack on Israel, and it is shameful that — still — no date has been set for the release of these men.

I also had the opportunity to talk about the the military commissions, set up to try the handful of men accused of crimes, including the 9/11 attacks, and how justice is indefinitely delayed because the entire system is infected and undermined by the torture to which these men were subjected while held in CIA “black sites” before their transfer to Guantánamo in 2006. This is because, as I described it, “torture is incompatible with the pursuit of justice”, and the only way forward is for plea deals to be negotiated, which would bring justice — and closure for the victims’ families — in exchange for the men’s continued imprisonment at Guantánamo, but crucially, with the provision of the mental and physical care that has been denied them as torture victims for all these years, although this solution, as I also explained, is regarded as so politically toxic that, after long and apparently fruitful negotiations between prosecutors and the defense teams, President Biden has refused to endorse it.

There was much more in the interview than I’ve mentioned above, and I hope that you have time to watch it, and that you’ll share it if you find it useful.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (see the ongoing photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison 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 you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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.

15 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to, and providing commentary about my interview with Scottie Nell Hughes on Sovren Media about the need for the prison at Guantanamo Bay to be closed, in which, I’m glad to note, I was provided with the opportunity to explain the many reasons why the prison’s closure is long overdue.

    I hope you have time to watch the show, and that you’ll share it if you find it helpful.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote:

    Long overdue!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    So much so, Kären. It’s so shameful that its closure just gets punted from one president to another, because no one wants to really deal with it.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote:

    Good interview. Gitmo must not be forgotten or the detainees whose health is failing nor their suffering in prison without being tried. In this the U.S. are war criminals and terrorists to deny the right to fair trials and representation, no better than the Israeli prisons in that respect.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for watching it, Kären, and yes, you’re absolutely right about the war crimes, very definitely comparable to the horrors undertaken by Israel in their prisons.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Karina Friedemann wrote:

    I talked to a spiritually intelligent young man around age 20 and he was not sure what Guantanamo was. This is really frustrating.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s a common occurrence, unfortunately, Karina – amnesia where there should be outrage. I blame the mainstream media in particular for not educating people, and for the abdication of what ought to have been their responsibility to persistently raise it as a fundamental betrayal of the right not to be imprisoned without charge or trial, which is one of the fundamental distinctions between our so-called democratic systems and dictatorships.

    It is, however, just one of the many failures of the mainstream media. When they do cover important topics, they often frame it in such a way – with their “balance”, “objectivity” and “impartiality” – that whatever outrage there should be ends up horribly watered down, and many other topics of crucial importance often never even get covered at all.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote:

    Sadly, American History classes seldom relay the horrid history, nor the false flag wars the US has started or their own, ongoing, transgressions, including Guantanamo. I bought “Addicted to War”, a well-done history of US Foreign Policy and gave them to local high school teachers for their classes. They are still sold, updated, online and I highly recommend it for all students and anyone who needs the truth of American History. The author, Joel Andreas, a professor, used Howard Zinn History Books as a reference. It is sad that truthful U.S. History is seldom taught. It really depends on each teacher as most school history books are censored. I doubt they teach of the Nakba in Palestine, either.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, the deliberate amnesia is a huge problem, Kären, and one that afflicts all the countries of the west, although the US, as the dominant power for so many decades, is more afflicted than anywhere else.

    The deliberate intent is to keep us ignorant of the bloody historical – and current – truth about our nations’ predatory history, and ongoing crimes, and to encourage us to believe in our exceptionalism, and it is, sadly, a remarkably successful endeavor in general.

    It’s only when the veil falls that people become aware of the true horrors of the system we live under, but because the truth is so deliberately suppressed, via the education system, the media and the world of entertainment, many people never even reach a moment of awakening, and remain thoroughly ignorant about the extent to which they’re being deceived.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote:

    All true, Andy. I have lost so many so-called friends who did not want me giving them the truth. Iraq War Biden pushed in the Senate. Now Genocide. I call people who wish to stay in denial “Zionist Sympathizers”, no different than Nazi Sympathizers and had to cut them off. It is shocking how well the long-term propaganda and censorship has worked and ongoing. I need to keep sending politicians the “Oct. 7th: Inside Job” film. It truly spells out the truth if only people will watch it.

    As for Gitmo, I feel too many have forgotten or assume it is shut down so I am so grateful for you keeping at it. I hope you have found a way, perhaps through music?, to find peace in yourself to keep, keeping on. I know I have been so depressed over Gaza, we have to take care of ourselves.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    I’ve never known anything like this before, Kären, to be honest, because the “Zionist sympathizer” mentality you describe is so deeply embedded in so many of our power structures, and is incapable of recognizing that a petulant, self-righteous insistence on Israel’s right to “defend itself” cannot ever justify such a genocidal response – or to recognize that the attacks on Oct. 7 wouldn’t have happened if Israel stopped insisting that its people are the “chosen people”, and that Palestine is their rightful home, and accepted that the Palestinians deserve autonomy and their own land free of Israeli depredations. It’s so profoundly shameful that they are so very obviously committing so many war crimes and crimes against humanity, and yet they refuse to even see it.

    Regarding my mental health, cycling and music help – as, of course, does the company of my family and friends – but I find it difficult, with Gaza and climate collapse, to even expect to find any kind of peace. It’s a constant juggling act just to keep despair or depression at bay, and I know many other people feel that way. In my case, I have hope, otherwise I wouldn’t have been campaigning for the men held at Guantanamo for 18 years. Hope requires work, and a very particular determination, but I fear for those who are less resilient in these unprecedentedly challenging times.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Judith Lienhard wrote:

    Kären, if people stay with mainstream media like NPR, the New York Times, etc., they are getting a very biased picture.

    I watched about 10 minutes of the Frontline special about the crisis on our campuses. From the very first image on, I knew what a smear job they were going to do.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, well said, Judith. Our mainstream media – and it’s true in the UK as well – are unforgivably inadequate at telling the truth anymore. The bias on Israel and Gaza is almost mind-boggling, the distractions into irrelevance in mainstream media coverage are endless, and, most of all, they persistently skirt the significance of climate collapse, which defies their very purpose.

    If they won’t tackle the biggest story of all our lifetimes, then what, honestly, are they for? I don’t condone their Israeli bias at all, but I do understand it. It’s happening, sadly and shamefully, because the pro-Israel mentality is so deeply embedded in every part of the ‘establishment’ structure, but on climate collapse, what, honesty, are they thinking? Ignoring it won’t make it go away. It’s getting exponentially worse, and much quicker, every year, and yet no one will stand up and tell the truth.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote:

    I agree with Judith and you, Andy. One thing that is hopeful to me is persons younger than Baby Boomers, of which I am one, are seeking live accounts of facts on Tik Tok, Instagram and surprisingly, I see some of the most profound shared content on Linked In. I do all of these very little but am astounded at the videos witnessing truth and shocking statements by Netanyahu, his evil side kick, Ben Gvir, and others that are front and center in the feeds. It helps to awaken people to the truth. It paints an entirely different reality than Mainstream News, censored by Zionist Departments of Propaganda and Censorship that Boomers tend to still watch, TV News.

    On this point, they are the Silent Majority on Genocide and seem braindead on the facts and, sadly, still a large voting block that I doubt are lobbying their AIPAC Puppet Politicians. Our generation are incredibly brainwashed to be polite, don’t buck the system and “behave”. Given my generation that were awakened in the 1968 era and protested the Viet Nam War, it feels like they have all withdrawn, given up or want to just have their material comforts and be left alone. I am incredibly disappointed in my peers, but for Veterans for Peace and a few other enlightened groups I am happy to be associated with.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Young people are clearly the future, Kären, and they need to rise up! I saw a very astute post recently by a Palestinian American commentator dismissing a clip of a typical right-wing Zionist rant by a member of Congress by noting that no one under the age of 40 is fooled by any of this propaganda because they’re getting their news through the sharing of information on social media, where young people are seeing the horrors of the genocide first-hand and are sharing the truth, seeing through the lies they’re being told, and articulating that truth very clearly.

    The contrast with older people brainwashed by the mainstream media could hardly be more stark, but sadly, unlike in the world outside the Global North, where the young massively outnumber the old, in our countries they’re in a minority, and also trapped politically because of our biased and corrupt systems of electoral representation. I share your concerns about what this has done to so many older people – I personally think that withdrawing from engagement, often living in fear (as politicians and the media have been encouraging people to do ever since 9/11), and seeking safety in materialism is a recipe for mental ossification, and the death of the mind – but I don’t think that young people will remain silenced indefinitely, especially as the reality of climate collapse becomes ever more evident.

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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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