Former "war on terror" detainees have played a large role in shaping perceptions of U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. One of the more popular former detainees is Moazzam Begg, who writes columns about the supposed horrors of America's detention policies and regularly appears on television and in anti-American documentaries. Begg is a big hit with the global left. Now, seeking to capitalize on his post-Gitmo fame, Begg is upping the ante by trying to win even more hearts and minds with an Xbox videogame. The Telegraph (UK) reports:
The 41-year-old, who was released in 2005, will now feature as himself in the game for Microsoft's Xbox 360.
In the game, players control a detainee at the camp, which has been sold by the US Government to a shadowy agency called Freedom Corp.
Before he is subjected to torture and scientific experiments, the character must shoot his way out of the detention camp to bring down his captors.
Moazzam, who has a financial stake in the game, said he has not yet received any money from the producers.
So, by the sound of it, the videogame will allow users to pretend they are Gitmo inmates shooting at American servicemen who are detaining alleged terrorists -- such as Begg. The director of the firm that is producing the game, Zarrar Chishti, denies this, of course, saying that "no US or British soldiers get killed in it." Chisti claims: "The only ones being killed are mercenaries."
Right. Even so, those "mercenaries" were and are detaining some of the worst terrorists on the planet. If you want to understand just how morally inverted worldwide perceptions of Gitmo have become, consider the resume of the videogame's star -- Moazzam Begg. The depravity of the game will quickly become apparent.
As Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Cucullu recounts in his excellent book Inside Gitmo, Begg moved from the UK to Afghanistan in August 2001. Begg claims he was just trying to raise his family and open a school -- in Taliban country. Prior to that, Lt. Col. Cucullu notes, Begg "had been arrested several times for suspicious activities linking him to radical Islam." During the 1990s, Begg traveled to the jihadist hotspot of Bosnia and Herzegovina "on at least six occasions." Begg later told the FBI that he "felt that jihad was an appropriate way to deal with those who harmed Muslims."
In fact, Begg admitted quite a bit to the FBI during the time he was detained in Bagram (prior to his transfer to Gitmo). Cucullu writes:
At Bagram, Begg reportedly signed a statement before FBI interrogators in which he admitted that among other actions he had trained at three al Qaeda camps, and "was armed and prepared to fight alongside the Taliban and al Qaeda against the US and others. He had retreated to Tora Bora with Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda fighters, finally making his way back to Islamabad where his family lived in a rental house."
Begg claims his admission to the FBI was torture-induced, but of course he has no evidence to back up his claims, and the FBI is hardly a rough and tumble interrogation outfit. That is, there is no reason to believe Begg's reversal. And according to the documents produced by U.S. military intelligence at Gitmo, Begg's story is even worse. Begg allegedly "recruited individuals to attend al Qaeda run terrorist training camps in Afghanistan," "provided money and material support to al Qaeda terrorist training camps," and "provided support to al Qaeda terrorists by providing shelter for their families while the al Qaeda members committed terrorist acts."
You may be wondering why Begg was transferred to the UK in 2005. Cucullu reports:
All major U.S. security organizations - the DOD, FBI, and CIA continued to say that Begg was a committed terrorist and active supporter of terrorist organizations. His release by the personal intervention of President Bush, a decision that overruled all three agency recommendations that he be detained, was done, many think, as a political palliative to his friend and war supporter British prime minister Tony Blair, who was under much criticism at the time for not demanding immediate release of all British citizens held at Guantanamo.
Cucullu adds that Gitmo interrogators told him "that Begg in their opinion is a hardened terrorist who has used the opportunity of release to enter the public information forum in a big way. "He is doing more good for al Qaeda as a British poster boy than he would ever do carrying an AK-47," Gitmo's chief interrogator Paul Rester told Cucullu.
Begg's propaganda efforts will now include a disgusting video game in which Begg, who once admitted he was a committed al Qaeda fighter, gets to target "mercenaries" -- in reality, stand-ins for American servicemen. One wonders if leftist organizations, such as Amnesty International which has supported Begg in the past, will support his latest endeavor.