Buried away in the schedules with almost no advance publicity was Lie Lab. Making use of new techniques in magnetic resonance imaging, the programme set out to discover if its subjects were telling the truth. Last week those subjects were Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul, better known as two-thirds of the Tipton Three.
That was the name given to the three young men who were picked up in Afghanistan in late 2001 by American forces and transported to Guantanamo Bay, where they were held without charges or trial for two years before being released back to Britain.
Campaigners for the men have always maintained they were innocent tourists-cum-aid workers, caught up in the invasion of Afghanistan. This was also the line of Michael Winterbottom ‘s film, The Road to Guantanamo. And given the tone and approach of Lie Lab, it also seemed to be a belief shared by the programme makers.
But at the end of what was actually a rather dry and laborious piece of science TV, when confronted with results that suggested he was less than forthcoming with the truth, Ahmed confessed (Rasul had refused to go through with the test) not only to visiting an Islamist training camp but also handling weapons and learning how to use an AK47.
None of which justifies or excuses his sub-legal and subhuman treatment in Guantanamo, but it does raise some questions about the portrayal, in some quarters of the media, of the Tipton Three as blameless heroes. The Lie Lab seemed almost embarrassed by its findings and was neither prepared, nor set up, to follow through on the story. But perhaps another TV programme might one day ask what a British citizen (or citizens) was doing at a guerrilla training camp, learning to fire weapons, in the middle of a war.
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