Europe's "Michael Moore" Releases Anti-American Film
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Europe's anti-war left are ecstatic over the US military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after a screening of the British motion picture The Road to Guantanamo.
The film's director claims he reconstructed scenes of torture and abuse at Guantanamo Bay and his experience making the film has increased his resolve to bring about the immediate closure of the US-run camp.
Michael Winterbottom's film shows prisoners in orange jumpsuits being beaten by American soldiers, chained to the floors of their cells, and subjected to deafening music in solitary confinement. It purports to tell the story of Asif Iqbal, Ruhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul, the so-called Tipton Three, who set off for Pakistan in September 2001 and ended up in Camp Delta, in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay. They were released without charge after more than two years' imprisonment.
Mr. Winterbottom told the British newspaper, The Independent: "What's most shocking isn't the torture or the shackling, it's that Guantanamo Bay exists at all. I think it should be closed down, and last week the United Nations said it should be closed down."
(Wow, three guys captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan say they were mistreated at Gitmo -- that's good enough for me. Let's free all the prisoners.)
Winterbottom, as with many on the left, believes the United Nations report on Gitmo is accurate. Of course, the United Nations human rights people never bothered to visit the US detention center before condemning the conditions that exist there, and Winterbottom never visited the facility either. His whole film is based on interviews with suspected terrorists and nowhere does he even hint that they may be embellishing their stories.
Winterbottom also criticized his own government's "perverse" refusal to come to the aid of the eight British residents still incarcerated in the camp in Cuba. Mr. Winterbottom added, "There are still 500 people in Guantanamo. They are still experiencing all the things that we filmed."
But what things are they experiencing? Winterbottom uses the euphemism "reconstruction" rather than what his film truly is: a dramatization based on the unsworn testimony of three suspected terrorists who were close enough to the Afghan battlefield to be captured.
The so-called Tipton Three would have us believe that they were on their way to Afghanistan from the United Kingdom and were suddenly snatched up by the United States counterterrorists for absolutely no reason at all. In a nation -- Afghanistan -- inhabited by Middle Eastern Muslims, we are expected to believe that these three men were singled out for abduction and later torture as if there weren't enough "real" terrorists and enemy combatants to capture.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw rebutted the claims of torture and mistreatment during a radio interview in London. He said, "I am absolutely clear the US has no intention of maintaining a gulag in Guantanamo Bay. They want to see the situation resolved and they would like it other than it is. However, that is the situation that they have."
He said the US was reducing the numbers held there, but added: "The problem is what to do with those that are left, and that is a matter which the US administration are going to have to take their own decisions on, and frankly I'm not going to second-guess the decisions they make."
So far, US intelligence tracked 14 men released from Gitmo who returned to the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. One is believed to have joined the terrorist group Hezbollah. The Pentagon has estimated there may be as many as 100 who have returned to their lives as terrorists and militants in the Middle East.
Mr. Winterbottom's film, The Road to Guantanamo, mixes interviews with the Tipton Three with dramatized reconstructions of how they ended up in US military hands. They say that they decided to travel to Afghanistan after hearing a preacher in a Pakistani mosque call for volunteers to help with conducting aid work in the neighboring country.
However, records show these three men were actually captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance fighters. The Northern Alliance alleged that the so-called Tipton Three were in fact joining the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to fight against the US forces who were retaliating for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US
When the war started in October 2001 they were "trapped" and ended up being captured by Northern Alliance fighters who handed them over to US military forces.
Mr. Winterbottom is free to make all the films his heart desires, but calling this particular film a documentary is beyond deceitful. There is no actual footage used except for his three "stars" complaining about their treatment. In fact, you only see the Tipton Three being interviewed. The filmmaker hired Middle Eastern actors to play their roles during filming of the "reconstructions."
As with Michael Moore's films, the left is bestowing awards galore on the film. It's already won top honors at the Berlin Film Festival. And like a Michael Moore film it reeks of propaganda and bias. Not one representative from the International Red Cross is shown on camera saying that they find no evidence of abuse or torture at Guantanamo Bay.
Winterbottom is looking for a US distributor for his fantasy and will probably find one. His film will be undoubtedly be welcomed by the US liberal-left including Senator Dick Durbin who compared Guantanamo to a gulag, the soldiers to Nazis, and the prisoner treatment to
the killing fields of Cambodia.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.