This is a guest post by Lie Lab
The BBC has the heartwarming story of the Guantanamo prison guard seeking forgiveness and reconciliation from the Tipton Three, who were among his charges:
But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?
They explain that, being in their late teens and early twenties at the time, they had made a naïve, spontaneous decision to travel for free with an aid convoy weeks before a friend’s wedding, due to take place in Pakistan.
Mr Ahmed admits they had a secret agenda for entering Afghanistan, but it wasn’t to join al-Qaeda.
“Aid work was like probably 5% of it. Our main reason was just to go and sightsee really and smoke some dope”.
Does their former prison guard believe them? Yes, says Mr Neely, who says he thinks it was a case of “wrong place, wrong time”.
Well, isn’t that nice?
In 2007 two members of the Tipton Three – Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul – agreed to participate in the Channel 4 documentary Lie Lab in an attempt to prove their innocence of allegations made by the US Government. The technology used on the show was developed by Professor Sean Spence from the University of Sheffield. It uses Functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at the activity in the pre frontal cortex to determine the truthfulness of statements, functional magnetic resonance imaging results can be questioned, however, seeing as the test relies on anxiety level. Having previously claimed that he had entered Afghanistan for the purposes of carrying out charity work, Ruhal Ahmed said on the programme that he had visited an Islamist training camp, where he handled weapons and learned how to use an AK47. Rasul refused to go through with the test.
So, this is Ruhal Ahmed’s real story. He was at a Taliban training camp. He did handle weapons. No mention of that in the BBC report.
So, did he really stray into Afghanistan for the purpose of smoking weed? Frankly, I don’t believe him.
What story did he give to the students of University College London, when he appeared at Abdulmuttalab’s War on Terror Week?
You could complain to the BBC, I suppose, if you think it might help. Perhaps they’ll put up a correction.
What do you think?
Here is a transcript of part of the interview on Radio 5 live:
Victoria Derbyshire: I’m wondering why then, in 2007 in a Channel 4 programme, you did admit that you’d been to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan
Ruhal Ahmed: I think… not only in Channel 4. We admitted we went to a Taliban training camp from the start. Even when we was in Guantanamo, we told the interrogator that we had been, because when we was in Kanduz, the whole province was under siege from the Northern Alliance, so we couldn’t, nobody could leave that province. And, for our information, the Taliban training camp was in the centre of the town. Now, we needed to know what was happening. So we, I went, Shafiq went, we all went to the Taliban training camp on many occasions to find out what was happening. Because they were the government at the time.
Victoria Derbyshire: But it wasn’t just to find out what was happening, was it. Because I thought you also handled AK47s there.
Shafiq Rasul: Being in Afghanistan, we were at that age where… seeing a gun… you’d never seen a gun in the UK… you want to hold it. You want to see what its like. But we were never there to do any training. That’s what, that’s what, we were just there. We held it to see what it was like. That’s how we’ve explained it. But it has been taken out of context, saying that ‘Oh, these guys from the UK, they were at that age, 9/11 had just happened, and they were there for terrorist training’. But, but – that’s not the case. That’s not what happened.
Victoria Derbyshire: Do you believe them Brandon?
Brandon Neely: Yeah, I believe them. If it wasn’t true then I wouldn’t be sitting with you here today. Even when they’d been released from Guantanamo, why would they be sitting here. You know. The United Kingdom would have kept them here. So, obviously, there’s no proof of anything.