I have received several complaints about last night's BBC2 broadcast of The Third World War. I, myself, only caught the final ten minutes of the programme, but it was enough to hear the narrator say something to the effect of:
"Since 9/11 over 3000 of al-Qa'eda's foot soldiers have been caught including some 600 currently being held at Guantanamo Bay."
Please can you ask the programme makers to issue a correction of this serious error - ideally, just before the broadcast of next week's second part of the series. As you know the 600+ detainees at Guantanamo Bay have not yet been charged with any offences let alone been convicted of being al-Qa'ida's "foot soldiers". Indeed, their continued incarceration with no end in sight is the subject of much concern and anguish in the Muslim community.
The Muslim Council of Britain
12 Feb 2004
Response from Fiona Stourton, Executive Producer, 'The Third World War' series BBC.
Stephen Whittle has forwarded to me your complaint about Tuesday's programme .
The script should have attributed the claim about the numbers of `footsoldiers of Al Qaeda' in Guantanamo to the Americans and it was a mistake that it did not. I am still investigating how that ocurred. To redress it , I have just amended the scripting for next week's programme and l have added to the film a section about Guantanamo making it clear that there is no proof that the detainees have links to Al Qaeda. We state that the Americans detain people there purely on suspicion of links to Al Qaeda. This is in the context of a film which investigates the erosion of civil liberties that have followed 9/11 so l think it is made very obvious that there have been serious miscarriages of justice against Muslims in the hunt for terrorists. I hope this addresses your concerns.
The Third World War.