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We are all human beings at the end of the day, good or bad we all deserve certain basic rights. We must lead from example, if we lower ourselves to the level of the terrorists then surely we are no better than them. Haven't we learnt anything from the last 2 world wars? God help us, we really are slow learners.
Human rights have to be applied to all human beings, and not withdrawn from anybody on the assumption that they would not respect those rights. The acts these people may have done have not been established in court, so how can a punishment be inflicted? Unlawful practices of this kind by a state might be called state terrorism - they deepen the clash between East and West. Panorama on Guantanamo was excellent: is there a way that it can be shown on some television in the U.S.A.?
M. Alonso, Spain
The BBC have clearly abandoned balanced and objective journalism. This one-sided programme blatantly set out to elicit emotional responses from viewers unwilling or unable to accept that many, perhaps all, those detained in Guantanamo have been involved in attacks on western people.
The Panorama reporter failed to refer to the suspicions about the detainees and instead focused on the conditions in the camp. As other respondents have said, would British or American people captured in similar circumstances in Afghanistan or Iraq be afforded even remotely similar conditions. The Taleban showed what they were capable of. Let's not be afraid to stand up for our own freedom and safety. If we unfortunately get it wrong on occasions, we will have to go a long way to match the merciless and wilful actions perpetrated by many of those at Guantanamo.
Thank you, Vivian White and team, for an informative, if frightening view of repercussions of September 11th. I cannot recall a time more chilling to live through - the US has sanctioned torture and unjustified imprisonment, making it potentially a role model for those nations already steeped in human rights abuses.
Lynne Shimell, UK
We appreciate the efforts of the Panorama team in bringing such contentious issues to our screens. However we do feel short changed. The programme contained interviews with a group of recently released "detainees" from camp delta. The interviews with these people did not give their full story showing only their understandable anger and anguish. There was no information regarding their treatment or the conditions in which they were kept. Why is this? Innate cynicism leads to thoughts of some form of censorship.
Graham and Gail Bolger, UK
It is sad to see a country so proud of its judicial system and its care for innocence around the world becoming as evil as the forces it proclaimed to fight.
William White, UK
At last an expose of the worldwide unlawful actions of United States by the BBC. Also the revelation of the collusion of the British government with this flouting of international law by the US has raised some further alarming questions about the conduct of Tony Blair in this so called fight against terrorism. I hope the BBC will continue with its investigative journalism about the real reasons we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Well done.
Paul Smith, UK
The Bathist broadcasting company continues with its blinkered assessment of US foreign policy. It gave us 50% of the story of Camp Delta. By conveniently leaving out of the discussion the crimes of the Taleban and al-Qaeda and how the combatants actually landed up in Camp Delta. It focussed on some really bad overacting by recently released Afghani fighters and a taxi driver that was handed over by his mates for a bounty. The story line in all these plots is the same, The Americans done it. The standard of journalism in the Bathist Broadcasting company is so bad that it wouldn't even make a good home movie. The BBC news/affairs department is unable to comprehend the inability of our legal system to deal with terrorism and instead of analysing a difficult situation and making positive suggestions it continues with its anti US agenda.
Brilliant journalism. The BBC will no doubt get more flak for honest reporting but please keep it up! I was very moved by this programme, up until tonight I assumed that all the detainees were Taleban fighters caught on the battle field. I am ashamed that the British Government sits on its hands while 9 British detainees are treated worse than animals.
I feel very strongly and will be contacting my MP, the foreign Office and EU to make my feelings known, unless we do something soon American will be building such camps of terror all over the world. We must work hard to preserve humanity.
You have produced yet another documentary which characterizes the BBC's arrogance and lack of balance. The very bald, but unarguable facts are as follows: al-Qaeda declare war on "the decadent West". The West responds with a lack of political will. al-Qaeda kills 3,000 civilians.
The West (the US as usual, primarily) responds with considerable political will, including the use of pretty well any measure to prevent a repeat performance. The BBC shoots holes in this response, and has the arrogance to ask the question, at the end of its Guantanamo documentary, as to "how America should respond" - naturally (as usual) without providing any sensible alternative.
The BBC is probably well past its sell by date, and documentaries such as this with their sanctimonious tone are part of the reason why. It continues to question the invasion of Iraq in tones which increasingly sound of sour grapes after its own (political - against its charter surely) campaign headed by Today failed to prevent Mr Blair from going to war.
The BBC in this documentary now seeks to defend the indefensible - a group of people dedicated to the overthrow of a civilization which has nurtured such overindulged organizations as....the BBC.
To those viewers that complain your documentary was bias and didn't show both sides of the story I have only this to say - How can you show both sides when one side greets you with a wall of silence and censorship and refuses to allow you to film? Think about it!
Adam Cox, UK
Thank you for your very informative and unbiased presentation of Guantanamo Bay... It is good to see that the BBC is still continuing to show programmes that allow the common man a look see into things that would might otherwise have been swept under the carpet... How can anyone draw a conclusion that has truth as the basis when in most other cases we are being fed the Propaganda? Thank God for the BBC and may you continue to inform us for a long time yet...
Della Mills, United Kingdom
Interesting programme. A case of America repeating mistakes made by other "strong" countries when trying to defeat nameless terrorists i.e. persecuting innocent and guilty alike and breaking the very codes that they claim to uphold. Playing into the terrorists hands and will ultimately promote terrorist recruiting, as in N.Ireland, Palestine and elsewhere.
Martin S, Ireland (North and South)
This is a war, but not a war in the conventional sense where the enemy is known and can be recognised. These people are fighting a dirty war therefore unconventional measures are needed. In cases like this innocent people will get sucked in and they have my sympathy, but those who are about to face the Military Court are not innocent, including the two British citizens mentioned in the report, should face trial and if found guilty should sentenced accordingly. Those remaining at Camp Delta do so based on sound evidence and intelligence. The Taleban and al-Qaeda have no regard for Human Rights so why on earth should they be treated otherwise. All terrorists should be executed without question.
Arrest, without trial, without due legal process, and consequent torture, physical and mental, is nothing new for American allied dictatorships in the Muslim world. Just look at Egypt, the three British citizens held there not for terrorism, but for belonging to a peaceful religious movement in the UK, not listed as violent even by the Egyptians. What America is doing in Guantanamo and Bagram, is exactly what it has taught its protégé's for years. It is this alliance with brutality in places like Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan, that breeds resentment for the USA globally.
Kaashif Nawaz, Whitechapel, London
Your Panorama programme on suspected terrorist prisoners is yet another example of the propaganda being put out by the BBC which supports the "Social Worker" mentality in this country. Of course people have rights but sometimes these must be over ridden for the sake of the community as a whole. Terrorists have no thought for innocent people and they kill without compunction.
Mike Head, UK
Excellent programme, more shown and revealed than I would have thought, but then still much remains which journalists are not allowed access to. It's an absolute disgrace what's happening there, and unbelievable that three detainees are children, one only 13 years of age. Such hypocrisy of the Americans who say they stand for justice and then hold people without charge under torture for months and leading to years, and this treatment to children?
Thank you for your recent two programmes Panorama, both enlightening and disturbing. I would like to ask detractors of the programme such as Gary and Mark about the people held for over a year and suddenly released? Were these the terrorists that we were being tough on? Were these the people (presumably 'innocent') who deserve to have had no human rights or ones who Americans felt more secure in the knowledge that those who had 'committed these crimes' were incarcerated?
Then we should ask ourselves about the remaining 'prisoners' - how many of these are innocent and how many are terrorists? How many lives are being ruined both in Cuba and with the families of innocent detainees? how much compensation is being paid to the freed detainees or the families of those murdered by the coalition forces?
I am shocked that our prime minister, a lawyer himself, appears to tolerate such a travesty of justice as exists at Guantanamo Bay. I am equally shocked to see that some writers on this forum, so readily assume the guilt of cruelly treated prisoners not yet brought to any legitimate court or given any recourse to justice.
The programme worryingly shows that all Americans interviewed have a very slim grasp of reality, international law and human rights. Granted the twin towers attack was appalling, however there is no excuse for completely ignoring international law and basic human rights. If countries were just to get on with doing whatever they felt was OK, we would be back to a state of anarchy in a very short step in time.
Congratulations for disclosing the conditions of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. I urge those who are concerned to ring the Foreign Office and ask what is being done to ensure fair and accountable trials for all the British people being held there.
Mary Hazelwood, Britain
The comments from "Gary A Clark, Scotland" are astonishing. His comments: "remember the crime these people have committed" & "think of the acts these people have done" - you have totally missed the whole point of the programme.
This is all about giving every single human being on the planet the right to a fair trial - not one organised by your accuser, where judge, jury and prosecution are all liable to be biased against you. Give these people a fair trial under international law. If they are properly found guilty, then give them appropriate punishment. If not, then set them free. Do not detain them for an indefinite time without recourse to basic human rights.
Ken Grant, UK
Sir, so incensed at what I have seen in this programme tonight, that I no longer see America as the land of the free but as the bully boys of the world. If the law cannot protect the ordinary person, their is no hope. I'm ashamed of the support given by the UK government
J Kenny, England
Interesting and revealing programme about the home of freedom and democracy denying those very freedoms and democratic rights illegally. I think it should be noted though the uk has its own detainees held without charge and without adequate access to lawyers within the UK. maybe we should also highlight our own abuses too at the hands of our government.
Sally Jones, UK
It occurs to me that bin Laden is playing the US like an fine fiddle. Might it not be that the main purpose of 9/11 was not to kill a couple of thousand civilians (which really achieves nothing in itself) but to provoke a reaction that would result in the US showing it's true colours? Certainly their reaction to the attack on the WTC has opened the eyes of the rest of the world to their bully boy tactics. I used to be a firm supporter of the US but I'm now beginning to see them through the eyes of their oppressors. If this was bin Laden's plan all along I'd say he's received a 110% success rate. al-Qaeda membership must be at an all time high.
Adam Cox, UK
Maybe I missed it; but I didn't hear anyone asking the relatives of British citizens caught in Guantanamo Bay, what they think their relatives were doing at such a time in such a place. I never hear this question asked by the BBC. There seems to be an assumption that everyone is Guantanamo Bay is innocent. Personally, even though I'm sure that some people shouldn't be there and I'm sorry for them - I think the majority of them are highly dangerous terrorists, not prisoners of war.
Sarah P, London,
Your programme was informative. I have travelled extensively, mainly in the Middle East. The brain-washing which most US troops undergo is in itself sick. I met US forces on their R&R in Nassau in the sixties, and it was frightening to think of their dedication to a lost cause. The US is fighting another lost cause world wide.
Hugh Miller Mitchell,
I found the questioning by Panorama of the Americans very weak and pathetic. Afraid to ask awkward questions. This was not investigative journalism of the standard we expect of Panorama
Nigel Edwards, Wales
America the Brave, let's all thank god that we have Mr Bush to protect us from anyone they choose to decree as a terrorist. Imprisonment without trial, no access to legal representation and a failure to adhere to human rights conventions. The American people must feel so proud.
Your programme was very informative. Unfortunately all it does for me is to say that I am not proud of our close association with America, and am now not exactly proud to be British either.
Dave Tingle, England
I applaud your investigative journalism. It is a bastion for democracy. I hope Tony Blair watched the programme. He should have said that the people detained deserved a fair trial and were innocent until proven guilty when he was standing alongside Bush. As it is , he showed nothing but cowardice and sycophancy. I hope the BBC challenges him now on the issue and his performance. Congratulations. These things should be followed up.
John P. Butler, Wales
Tonight's Panorama (5/10/03) was absolutely excellent. Most of the time these days, BBC seems to and pump out American style trash (including sensational, over-hyped trailers). Not tonight though! Very well done indeed. (But why don't we see peak-time trailers for Panorama, like the old days? I caught the programme by chance rather than prior knowledge.)
Mark Poor, UK
You are very quick to forget about the people that died in the twin towers and on the planes that were destroyed by these animals. All the terrorists deserve the death penalty
I have just watched the programme and I am more afraid of America than any non-US terrorist organisation. God help us. What have we done to freedom, it is truly dead. You must wonder when will it hit the UK?
The worst single sided report I have ever seen. The prisoners at Guantanamo Bay do not deserve any rights.
Your angle is insulting and pathetic. Get with the real world.
I am a 52 year old disabled male who has never felt the need to protest before in my life, but after seeing this programme I feel I must somehow make my way to the capital when Mr Bush arrives in this country to let him know how badly I feel about what his government is doing to the world. I am so angry at this. It is an outrage to all that is decent in any democracy.
Mike Cooke, UK
The war on terror is absolutely terrifying.
In the name of freedom, freedom itself is under its most serious threat. In a just world, the US and for that matter the UK administration, who supported an illegal war as part of the war on terror should be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Excellent, brave journalism.
I hope it makes a difference.
By their actions in Guantanamo George Bush and the US military are shaming the high principles that the American flag stands for and prostituting the moral integrity that the founding fathers envisaged for the nation.
America is breaking my heart. What is happening in Guantanamo (and the route "detained persons" take to get there) is illegal and wrong. It brings a great shame upon a great nation historically defined by freedom, democracy and justice.
The programme shows that America's 'war on terrorism' has descended into little more than an exercise in rounding up anyone who reads the Koran and using them as a scapegoat. The sad thing about this is not just that innocent people are being tortured, but it is fuelling even more resentment against the West, and therefore will ultimately place us all in greater danger. The programme also left me with a feeling of disgust that my own government is complicit in this illegal practice.
Your programme on what goes on at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram detention centre deserves the highest praise. I thank god for people such as the producers of such programmes for telling the whole world about mans inhumanity to man. Being a Labour Councillor in the London Borough Of Redbridge and a Labour party member for over 23 years, I am ashamed of my leader Tony Blair's complicity with Bush. Like Justice Goldstone said in your programme, I pray the day comes when a future American president has to humbly apologise to the world for what Americans have done to the free people of this world in the name of War against Terrorism.
Councillor Filly K. Maravala,
Ilford, Essex, United Kingdom
Why has tabloid journalism crept into this programme? Panorama was always clear-headed and rational; in the past few years it has become more willing to use cheap tactics. Tonight your reporter posed a question of Mr. Begg, father of a British detainee, asking him if his son was calling to him. An emotive question, designed to cause an emotional reaction, and sure enough, the camera zoomed in to pick up on the tears welling up in his eyes. Don't sink to the depths of nauseating American Enquirer-style reporting, please. Keep your dignity.
E. Fenton, The Netherlands
I was absolutely disgusted by what I saw on tonight's Panorama. The only good thing to come out of this is it has enhanced my appetite for active political protest against these atrocities of the modern era. There is a question we must ask ourselves. If Afghanistan took 660 Americans and told the American Government that they were now 'detained personnel,' the Bush Administration would launch an assault to retrieve them almost immediately.
I must finish by saying that I am not a supporter or sympathiser of terrorism, but supporters of Camp Delta must remember, these men have not been tried, not been charged, not even arrested.
Good on the USA for avoiding the wimpy liberals and making every effort to stop terrorism striking again. Your programme was deliberately biased and your reporting focused on the point you wanted to make. The BBC reporting during the war on Iraq was similarly awful and biased. Letting known liars from the Iraq military present information as if it were the truth. Why doesn't the BBC start standing up for the people of this country by seeing the positive side of the efforts to rid the world of terrorism?
As is all too common in the BBC another one-sided anti-American programme - absolutely no indication of what 'detainees' might have been up to (taken for granted, I suppose, but never spelled out in all its horror). Who do you think we are up against! Get real!
Does anyone know of anything British citizens can do to protest against what is going on in Guantanamo? Who do we go to show our total disagreement with what is going on? Britain is so closely tied to America that we must all take some responsibility in the violation of people's human rights and I would like to know what I can do to stop it.
Robert Evans, Scotland
A pretty one sided programme, I don't really care for any of the detainees in camp X - you fly with the crows, you get shot with them!
Mr Clark and the American justifications for the treatment of the prisoners mirror exactly the justifications of terrorists everywhere for killing innocent people, i.e. that they are under threat and they have a right to defend themselves by whatever means necessary.
The talking heads defending the actions at Guantanamo were at best misguided and ignorant of the irony of their talking of defending freedom. At worst they were bare-faced liars. Before tonight I have never been moved to political action for any side. I have been now.
This was a powerful and important programme. The arguments of the American military personnel at both Guantanamo and Bagram did not stand up to objective scrutiny. The blatant propaganda in the form of 'movies' that was pumped into the minds of the young impressionable soldiers guarding Guantanamo bordered on the horrifying. The lawyers for the current US government have one statement alone: that they believe America is right. Self-belief in one's own righteousness has never been an argument in favour of abandoning the rule of law and should not become one now. Thank you for balanced reporting in this eye-opening programme.
Yasmin Razaq, UK
Who do I lobby about this? The Foreign Office obviously don't feel pressured enough.
Two weeks in a row Panorama has shown us quite excellent programmes. Thank you and please continue.
David Freedman, England
The programme was very interesting and showed that side that no news broadcasting channels will. If terrorism is a threat to democracy and the free world than so is injustice in the name of freedom.
Mohammed Abbas, U.K
I am only 16 years of age, strangely I was raised in the belief that human rights apply everywhere on earth, to all racial denominations of people, regardless of social status.
Following the opinion of one of the most powerful men on earth, am I now to believe that such views are hunky dory when not concerning those utilised as scapegoats for terrorism by the United States?
Nathan A Bradshaw, England
Will this programme be shown in the US? In a supposedly democratic country, all these wrongs are ultimately the responsibility of the US people to resolve. So are they being informed, either by this programme, or similar ones from US broadcasters?
Max Christian, UK
Quite clearly, in my view, these men are being held illegally in Guantanamo Bay, in very poor conditions. There are over 600 men there and I think that their human rights are being breached by America. Something they always tell us they hold in very high esteem. Torturing men being held there without being charged with any offence should be condemned the world over. These men have families to look after, and there is no contact with families allowed. So the families in many cases do not know what has happened to the men being held.
Vivian White's film was very enlightening, but he was not allowed to film everything, or talk to men being detained there. Questions he wanted to ask, and wanted answers to were not allowed. There are two Britons being held there, and the British government, I would hope, is keeping a very close interest in events at Guantanamo Bay, and will make protests about any treatment given to these men that is unjust. They may be suspected terrorists, but they have not been proven guilty of any crime. I think your film has opened many viewers eyes, and I would hope that the government has also seen the film, and wants answers to the many questions that the film raises.
People talk about the plight of the people detained captured in Afghanistan and detained in Cuba. What about the people who lost loves on 9.11.2001? People can take advantages of the laws that we have in the west. There are so many loopholes, we should be tougher on Terrorists.
After watching your report on the Guantanamo detention centre, I fear that your bias report on this subject does nothing but harm the relations between Muslim and western nations. I have travelled significantly over Muslim regions, and do you think that the very people who are complaining about human rights issues, would be dealing with western's detained in their country in the same way?
Please remember the crime these people have committed, and are still willing to commit, is it not just that they are detained in a fashion that allows the rest of the American people to feel at least a little security in knowing they are being detained in a way that will not allow them to escape.
After all, Human rights should only be adhered to those who issue it, not those who have no respect for human life, whether it is man, woman, or child. Please think of the acts these people have done, before trying to defend them, and ask yourself once again, if these people would give us the same rights, i.e. legal aid to fight our case, and hotel style detention centres. I think it would resemble more that of the film Midnight express, than that of which they aim to get for themselves.
Gary A Clark,
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