The Road to Guantanamo
March 10, 2006 8:58 AM   Subscribe

The Road to Guantanamo, the latest film by prolific UK director Michael Winterbottom, details the experiences of the Tipton Three (previously discussed here), a trio of British Muslims who stumbled into US custody in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and ended up spending two years in Gitmo. The film tells a powerful if somewhat one-sided story of naivety, incompetence and rank injustice.

Last night the film was shown on Britain's Channel 4 to an estimated 1.6 million viewers, and it was the talk of the Berlin Film Festival a couple of weeks ago. In a bizarre twist, on their return from attending the premiere of the film in Berlin, the Tipton Three and the actors who played them were arrested and interrogated about terrorism links. Luckily for them, this time their captivity was measured in hours, not years.
posted by LondonYank (22 comments total)
it's also available for download here
(though, you do have to pay for it)
posted by tnai at 9:02 AM on March 10, 2006

Even if half the stuff in that film was true it's still barbaric and criminal.

Animals shouldn't be treated the way they were (and others still are).
posted by twistedonion at 9:16 AM on March 10, 2006

Makes you proud to be British... sorry, i meant horribly ashamed.

Mind you - the feeling would only be worse if we had a Gitmo...
posted by Meccabilly at 9:28 AM on March 10, 2006

I don't know about this film. I watched it last night and didn't find it the least bit eye-opening or that it had anything to add. I've seen the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay photos, and that's all the evidence I need to know that what happened and is happening to hundreds of people is barbaric.

This film was overwrought, and the recreated footage was not done well.
posted by travosaurus at 9:28 AM on March 10, 2006

So what were they doing in afghanistan at the time?
posted by delmoi at 9:31 AM on March 10, 2006

Who cares what they were doing in Afghanistan, really? But I believe they were selling cookies and lace doilies.
posted by palinode at 9:38 AM on March 10, 2006

delmoi: what does that have to do with how they were treated?

Love thine enemy.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:42 AM on March 10, 2006

delmoi: We cannot control the actions of others, we can only control our own actions.

My personal belief is that it's wrong to kill, torture, terrorize, assault, etc. This remains true even if I have a deep and abiding dislike of somebody, and them of me.

Even if I were to disregard my morality, I would see a historical pattern that escalation is almost always a terrible idea. If there's a need to detain somebody, it should be done in a fair and humane way. They should be treated so well that they end up confused by their hate.

This is why I don't give a shit what they were doing in Afghanistan.

This is why my first impression of you is that you are deeply immoral, and violent.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:52 AM on March 10, 2006

(I'm not sure if I should've removed that last sentence or not. But I have trouble imagining that a moral person could look at the situation, and immediately excuse the behaviour by pointing out irrelevancies.)
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:54 AM on March 10, 2006

Delmoi must MUST find justification for this, MUST, lest his world view be questioned.

Please prove me wrong on this?
posted by Elim at 9:55 AM on March 10, 2006

Why is delmoi's question not a valid question? I mean, I think Guantanamo is shit and should be shut down, and I think that torture is obviously immoral and counter-productive, but why is it so wrong to ask, "hey, what were they doing in Afghanistan"?

Would being curious jeopardize my liberal status?
posted by billysumday at 10:00 AM on March 10, 2006

billysumday: because it has nothing to do with the way they were treated, which is the subject of the FPP.

If we were discussing prisoner abuse, I wouldn't much care whether the prisoner was a jaywalker or a murderer. Either way it would be wrong.

His derail onto the other subject is his way of saying "they might be bad people, so our bad behaviour is excusable."
posted by I Love Tacos at 10:05 AM on March 10, 2006

Without distracting from the conversation about prisoner abuse, etc: after Winterbottom's recent work (loved 9 Songs), I'm excited to see this -- could you elaborate, travosaurus (or others), on the pros/cons of the film?
posted by jrb223 at 10:08 AM on March 10, 2006

“I would see a historical pattern that escalation is almost always a terrible idea.”

No it isn’t - fuck you!
*Eyes I Love Tacos suspiciously, fondles gun and genitals*

/that’s not serious btw.

Seriously though - where is Bob Hope when you need him?

Asking why they were in Afghanistan is a valid question. Border guards ask people all the time what they were doing, why, etc.

Something like stomping on their genitalia to get an answer? Not so much.
Holding them for three years without charge - which is undisputed - also a problem.
Asking why they were in Berlin? A little iffy as well.

How one asks a question, method, as well as repetition, can be harrassment - at the very least.

Apparently though the answer is - nothing dangerous, since they were released.
Folks who had them for three years, and who were not as pleasantly mannered as folks here on Mefi, were satisfied that they were doing nothing wrong in Afghanistan.

That’d be good enough for me.
/abuse, et. al. aside
posted by Smedleyman at 10:12 AM on March 10, 2006

This road to Guantanamo would require quite a bridge, no?

"So what were they doing in afghanistan at the time?"

You've got to be fucking kidding me.
posted by 2sheets at 10:20 AM on March 10, 2006

I'll note that this film is widely available via bittorrent, for those of you who are interested in viewing it, and don't live in the UK.

I'm not making any claims about whether or not they should have been detained at some point, or anything else. But it disgusts me that my country treated them in the way that it did, as they were being held prisoner.

Politics are irrelevant here. Cock and ball torture is for fetish websites only.
posted by I Love Tacos at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2006

ILT: I feel like you're insinuating that the question seeks to produce an answer that would justify a response of, "well, then they deserve it."

In reality, I just want to know why they were in Afghanistan. Was it to distribute aid? Was it as a vacation? Was it to help the Taliban? See, it, like, interests me.
posted by billysumday at 10:36 AM on March 10, 2006

From The Gaurdian
The three were in no sense fundamentalists: their brand of Islam, they say, was never that of the Taliban. But like many young Muslims in Pakistan they crossed the border into Afghanistan in October 2001, as it became clear that, in the wake of the 11 September attacks on America, one of the poorest countries in the world was about to be attacked. They had no intention of joining the fighting, they insist, but only of giving humanitarian aid. In England, none of them was rich, but in Asia, the little money they had could go a long way. For a short time they used the savings accumulated for their trip to buy food and medical supplies for Afghan villagers.

But in Taliban-led Afghanistan one aspect of their appearance made them dangerously visible - they had no beards. Travelling through a bombed landscape, they tried to escape in a taxi. But instead of reaching safety they were driven further into danger - to the city of Kunduz, which was promptly surrounded and bombarded by Dostum's troops. Aware that a bloodbath was imminent, they tried to leave on a convoy of trucks but their own vehicle was shelled, killing almost everyone on board. 'We were trapped,' says Iqbal. 'There was nothing we could do but give ourselves up. They took our money, our shoes, all our warm clothes, and put us in lines.'
posted by Elim at 10:51 AM on March 10, 2006

Spreading good ol' Democracy, y'all.
posted by NationalKato at 10:59 AM on March 10, 2006

jrb223: I just think this was a poorly made film. I think it's been getting some praise for the political nature of the film, as it is controversial and fits right into a widely held popular opinion (which I also agree with - torture is bad, and the way these prisoners were treated is just wrong). Though it taps into this popular, it neither expands on it or justifies it.

But, alas, I think it tries too hard to strike an emotional chord and fails, and with that, it fails to strike the right political cords. I was left with a "so what?" kind of reaction.

An online slideshow of prisoner torture photos taken in one the US military's prisons did more to persuade me emotionally and phsyically than this film did. Re-created footage and sound byte interviews hardly make for a persuasive argument.
posted by travosaurus at 7:03 PM on March 10, 2006

fandango_matt is a sheep.
posted by hgbrian at 7:20 PM on March 10, 2006

fandango_matt is a sheep.

hgbrian is an inarticulate jackass.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:32 PM on March 10, 2006

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