Tag Archives: reunion

BBC Airing Guantánamo Guard/Detainee Reunion

Posted by: Audiegrl

“He would say, ‘you ever listen to Eminem or Dr Dre’ and… I thought how could it be somebody is here who’s doing the same stuff that I do when I’m back home”~~Former Guard Brandon Neely

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Why would a former Guantanamo Bay prison guard track down two of his former captives – two British men – and agree to fly to London to meet them?

BBC News/Gavin Lee~~”You look different without a cap.”

You look different without the jump suits.”

With those words, an extraordinary reunion gets under way.

The journey of reconciliation began almost a year ago in Huntsville, Texas. Mr Neely, 29, had left the US military in 2005 to become a police officer and was still struggling to come to terms with his time as a guard at Guantanamo.

He felt anger at a number of incidents of abuse he says he witnessed, and guilt over one in particular.

Highly controversial since it opened in 2002, Guantanamo prison was set up by President George Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to house suspected “terrorists“. But it has been heavily divisive and President Barack Obama has said it has “damaged [America’s] national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al Qaeda“.

Mr Neely recalls only the good publicity in the US media.

The news would always try to make Guantanamo into this great place,” he says, “like ‘they [prisoners] were treated so great’. No it wasn’t. You know here I was basically just putting innocent people in cages.”

The prisoners arriving on planes, in goggles and jump suits, from Afghanistan were termed by then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the “worst of the worst“. But after getting to know some of the English-speaking detainees, Mr Neely started to have doubts all of them were fanatical terrorists.

Mr Neely was 22 when he worked at the camp and left after six months to serve in Iraq. But after quitting the military his doubts about Guantanamo began to crystallize. This led to a spontaneous decision last year to reach out to his former prisoners on Facebook.

Released in 2004, after being held for two years, Mr Rasul and Mr Ahmed and another friend from Tipton had been captured in Afghanistan on suspicion of links to the Taliban. The three said they were beaten by US troops although this was disputed by the US government at the time.

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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 naive, 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“.

Both sides are beginning to bond, yet towards the end, Mr Neely has a confession of his own. It threatens to destroy the mood of reconciliation.

He is deeply ashamed of an incident in which he “slammed” an elderly prisoner’s head against the floor.

Mr Neely recalls that he thought he had been under attack because the man kept trying to rise to his feet. But weeks later he discovered the prisoner thought he was being placed on his knees to be executed and believed he was fighting for his life.

Mr Ahmed is speechless, then evidently conflicted as he wrestles in his mind with whether or not he can forgive. Eventually, he says he can.

But should Mr Neely be prosecuted for his actions? Mr Ahmed pauses again.

He’s realized what he did was wrong and he’s living with it and suffering with it and as long as that he knows what he did was wrong. That’s the main thing.”

Afterwards, each say they had genuinely found some sort of closure from meeting. The sense of relief in all their faces speaks volumes, and they leave the meeting closer to one another.

Their story will be featured on the documentary Guantanamo Reunited on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday 14 January at 2200 BST.

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Lopez Tonight! Guest Schedule for 12/14 thru 12/17



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Monday, December 14, 2009

50 Cent
Mark Harmon

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

George Lopez Show Cast Reunion
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mariah Carey
David Beckham

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ray Romano
Lake Bell

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Funniest Clip from Last Week’s Show

George welcomed one of “The Original Kings of Comedy,” Cedric the Entertainer. Cedric chatted about watching Shaquille O’Neal try to text with “them big fingers,” old-school Christmas gifts, and his thoughts on Tiger Woods ruining it for married men who want to play golf.

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A Real Life Lion King Story–Christian the Lion Reunion

Posted by Audiegrl

The lion king of London

Backseat driver: Christian the lion tours London in the backseat of a soft-top car

Backseat driver: Christian the lion tours London in the backseat of a soft-top car

London Evening Standard/Nick Curtis—By chance, actors Virginia McKenna and her husband Ben Travers visited Sophisticat one day. They had played conservationists Joy and George Adamson in Born Free, the film about a lion, Elsa, who was returned to the wild. With the two Australians’ enthusiastic approval, McKenna asked George Adamson if he could do the same for Christian.

In August 1970, Rendall and Bourke flew with Christian to Adamson’s Kora nature reserve in Kenya, where he was gradually introduced to the wild. Despite his swanky Chelsea upbringing, he adapted well, eventually severing all ties with Adamson and Kora, mating with wild lions and disappearing to establish his own territory. In the YouTube footage from 1971 he is caught in a halfway stage, already comfortable with other lions but delighted that his old human friends have come to visit. “People assume we were scared but we could see the love and affection in Christian’s face,” says Bourke of their ecstatic reunion.

lioncalled christian bookcoverThe massive online popularity of the clip has taken the men agreeably by surprise and led them to revise and reissue their excellent 1971 book, A Lion Called Christian. Owning Christian left both of them with an interest in conservation, Rendall professionally and Bourke as a sideline to his career as an art curator. Rendall hopes those viewing the clip will be prompted to take a greater interest in the world’s ecological balance. “The number of lions today is a third of what it was when we bought Christian,” he says. “That alone tells you something’s wrong.

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Warning: Have your box of tissues ready. Once you watch this …it’s Niagara Falls…

George Adamson

George Adamson

George Adamson – Born in India, Adamson moved to Kenya when he was eighteen. At the age of 32, he became a warden at Kenya´s Game Department. Four years later, he married Joy Adamson, who also had a passion for the lions of Kenya. One day they acquired three lion cubs, but two went to a zoo. The third cub they named Elsa, a lioness who became very trusting towards the Adamsons.

georgeadamsonwildlifelogoIf you would like more information about the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust, please click here.

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