The Tipton 3 vs the CIA
The Road to Guantanamo
(Free download – 2006 Directed by Morgan Spurlock)
If film won’t play go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HCw-5Qnm8c
The Road to Guantanomo is docudrama about the Tipton 3, three British Muslims who were captured along with dozens of civilian refugees when the Afghan town of Kunduz fell to the Northern Alliance. When their captors’ CIA advisers learned they were from Britain, they were transferred to Guantanamo in the belief they would provide valuable intelligence under interrogation (i.e. torture). In addition to providing a realistic and gruesome depiction of daily life in the US prison at Guantanamo Cuba, the film provides an in depth look at the psychological make up of both the Tipton 3 and the CIA agents who conducted their interrogation sessions
The film begins in September 2001, when Azif decides to travel from Tipton (a suburb of Birmingham) to his home village in Pakistan to meet the bride his family has chosen for him. He meets her, decides to participate in the arranged marriage and requests that his three closest friends from Tipton join him in Pakistan for the ceremony. The four of them (their friend Monir is killed in a bombing raid shortly after his capture in Afghanistan) sleep in a mosque in Karachi to save the expense of a hotel. They are moved by an impassioned speech by the imam about the need to help the Afghan people (who are caught in a decade long civil war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance) “in any way they can.”
The young Muslims’ motives for traveling to Afghanistan are unclear. The film leaves the impression they are victims of reckless youthful curiosity. In any case they cross the border October 11, 2001 – the same day Bush begins carpet bombing Afghanistan. They spend 2 ½ weeks in Kabul. Because the continuous air raids severely restrict their movements, they arrange for what they think is a ride back to Pakistan. Because they speak neither Farsi nor Pashtun, they end up in Kunduz province and become trapped there when it’s taken over by the Northern alliance.
Daily Life in Guantanamo
During their three years at Guantanamo, they are denied access to their families or lawyers. When they first arrive, they are held in open air cages rather than cells. The most striking aspect of their stay at Camp Xray is the extreme level of verbal and physical abuse and systematic degradation they experience at the hands of their Marine guards. In addition to being constantly deprived of food and water (as punishment for refusing to confess and other infractions). they must remain seated at all times are are punished if they talk, stand up, move, pray or put towels on their head (to pray). The guards swear at them constantly. If they persist in talking (or praying, standing up, moving etc), four or five marines enter their cage and beat and kicked them to a bloody pulp.
The treatment their CIA torturers subjects them to consists mainly of verbal abuse, food deprivation, painful shackling and cavity searches, beatings and extensive periods of isolation. Azif describes having his wrists and ankles shackled to the floor – and being forced to defecate and urinate on himself – while in isolation.
Two of the Tipton 3 had prior criminal records in Britain related to gang activity. Azif and Ruhel had both pleaded guilty to breaking a man’s jaw and cheekbone with a bottle and hammer in a gang fight in 1998. Ironically it’s this criminal record that results in their release. For months CIA interrogators try to get them to confess to attending Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in either January or August 2000. Both Azif and Ruhel have alibis for these periods, owing to frequent contact with the police, courts and probation.
Ironically the men’s prior experience with gangs and street life leaves them much better prepared than the devout Muslim detainees for the brutal sociopathic behavior of their CIA interrogators. Although the CIA has Azif’s police records, showing he was in Britain during the periods in question, they continue to torture him to force him to confess. This conduct is distinctly different from that seen in torture experiments – in which subjects engage in torture because a superior orders this to. This is pure sociopathy, a personality disorder (according to the DSM IV) characterized by a total lack of empathy and a callous, cynical and contemptuous disregard for the feelings, rights and suffering of other human beings.
After years of running the streets of Birmingham and Wolverhampton, the three youths are far more skilled at dishing out putdowns than their CIA interrogators. During his time at Camp X-ray, Shafiq writes and performs a rap for his friends and the guards about the way they are being treated:
“My name’s Shafiq Rasul, and I’m from Tipton,
I tell them I ain’t Taliban, but they don’t wanna listen.
You won’t believe I just came out here, for my mate’s wedding, do you?
I never thought my ass would be heading for Cuba.”