Mark Mardell Sneers At The US Again

As`part of the BBC’s sensational run-up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Mark Mardell speaks to a CIA officer about the use of torture, and whether or not it can ever be justified.

The ideas discussed in the full piece may or may not be of interest to you. I don’t know, and frankly don’t care. What I want to draw your attention to is this statement by Mardell, with which he ends the piece:

Such discussions are the meat and drink of adolescent debating societies, rather than mature democracies – where it is more normal to assume it is very wrong, while very occasionally turning a blind eye if it happens.

It has always intrigued me that when Britain really stood in peril of foreign conquest, when the blitz was killing more people than died on 9/11 night after night, it seems torture was not used.

Perhaps they simply never captured a Nazi senior enough to be worth putting to the question. What is the tipping point?

This is the BBC North America editor giving you his personal opinion that, not only is the US inferior to Britain, but we’re no better than adolescents. This is opinion, not journalsim, and sure as hell not impartiality.

Will any of you trust someone about US issues who so candidly sneers at us?

UPDATE: My thanks to all who have pointed out that Mardell is not only biased and arrogant, but ignorant of his own country’s history as well. His statement, on which his entire case for US inferiority seems to rest, is patently false. A full complaint to the BBC is on the way.

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27 Responses to Mark Mardell Sneers At The US Again

  1. Reed says:

    Perhaps he ought to do a bit of googling before offering us the condescending opinions that he passes of as journalism :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/nov/12/topstories3.secondworldwar

    I’m not sure what is worse : the laziness of the article or the conceit of the writer who assumes we will all absorb it without questioning the content or motives.

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    • Reed says:

      “Will any of you trust someone about US issues who so candidly sneers at us?”  
       
      No. Absolutely not. Thankfully I have the excellent Sky News and access to many of the US news Networks, so I can bypass the awful BBC News to get a variety of takes on US politics. BBC reporters/commentators have for some time looked down their snobby noses at most things American. Politics in particular.

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  2. john says:

    David.
    If the BBC’s Mardell is British. which I assume he is, then I am ashamed that I share the country of my birth with him.

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  3. George R says:

    Yes, the ill-informed Mardell tone of voice is:

    ‘Come on you Americans. surely you can sort out your problems without resorting to rendition, torture and Gitmo’?

    He totally underestimates the nature of the Islamic jihad which the West is confronted by.

    In Mardell’s utopian world, it’s all: ‘Can’t we all get round a table and sort things out like sensible mature adults’?

    By the way, a headline from ‘Jihadwatch’ today:

    “Key al-Qaeda affiliate” and ex-Gitmo detainee killed in Afghanistan

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  4. Louis Robinson says:

    “It has always intrigued me that when Britain really stood in peril of foreign conquest, when the blitz was killing more people than died on 9/11 night after night, it seems torture was not used. “ 
    A massive display of ignorance. Read some history, Mr. Mardell.

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    • DP111 says:

      Quote: ’Come on you Americans. surely you can sort out your problems without resorting to rendition, torture and Gitmo’?

      They are. Its no longer safe to do “charity” work in Afghanistan or Yemen, as Americans dont take prisoners any more. Meanwhile drones are doing the talking.

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  5. Span Ows says:

    i AM ASHAMED TO SAY i DID’T BELIEVE THOSE WERE HIS WORDS (SORRY dAVID) I HAD TO GO AND CHECK. i SIMPLY CANNOT BELIEVE HE CAN BE SO EFFING (oops, Caps lock, sorry) stupid, insulting and wrong.

    Worth pointing out that anyone in a normal job making errors and lyingweek-in week-out wouldn’t be employed very long. 

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  6. Span Ows says:

    “Mr Mudd was nominated to be President Obama’s undersecretary of intelligence, but dropped out because of what he knew about interrogation techniques under the previous administration. ”

    This looks mighty like Mardell trying to suggest it doesn’t go on any more! 

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    • Span Ows says:

      P.S. Please note the “faith app” ad on the right hand side. It’s been there all day, I noticed it earier when George posted on the open thread (about 7 hours ago!) and doesn’t change to othe religions.

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  7. matthew rowe says:

    What a prat and lazy if he cannot even check his own employers history???
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8361655.stm

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    • Span Ows says:

      very intersting. Note that the profesor who gave the speech about brainwashing and wartime interrogation died suddenly soon after the media scandal.

      He was an expert on hypnotism and a member of the Eugenics society(obituary on last page) …UK version of teh Manchurian candidate spring to mind: someone the government didn’t want talking any more?

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  8. RGH says:

    Mardell is merely a pompous prat, I’m sorry to say. But one knew that, anyway.

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  9. Mailman says:

    That is an interesting statement from Mardell. As far as I can tell spies were actually executed back then. Seeing as America doesnt actually execute the scum it has in Gitmo then surely that makes America ethically and morally superior to Britain?

    Mailman

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  10. Martin says:

    This is the problem with the BBC. They wheel out these fat queens to give us ‘their opinion’ rather than tell us the facts and let us make up our own minds.

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    • RGH says:

      That is just the point.

      ‘Mardell thinks’ could be a column in some paper.  Buy or leave it on the counter.

      Not a touch on Alistair Cooke whose decency and respect for America shone through.

      Criticism is more than acceptable if you trust the judgement of the commentator.

      Mardell is just a hack. Too superficial and partial.

      He shows his prejudice like a tart shows her knickers.

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  11. hippiepooter says:

    I vividly recall a report on the BBC before I came to Spain 9 years ago, that revealed a torture centre did exist in Britain in WWII, and when it was brought to Churchill’s attention he decided to keep it open because it produced such crucial information.

    But that doesn’t suit Mardell’s narrative.

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    • RGH says:

      7 Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 4QS

      known as ‘The Cage’.

      “Numbers 6,7 and 8 have a decidely interesting wartime past when they were home to one of the country’s most secret military operations – the London Cage.

      It was run by MI19 between 1940 and 1948 where the War Office would glean as much information as possible from prisoners of war. Very few inside and outside the organisation knew this was occuring here during the war.

      It was used partly as a torture chamber, with 3573 German officers and soldiers – many being subjected to systematic abuse.

      The Cage was run by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Scotland, who had served in SW Africa (Namibia, today)  and was awarded the OBE for his interrogation techniques. It was his memoirs that lifted the lid on what happened here. But not before the book had heavily been censored.”

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      • Span Ows says:

        RGH, thanks for that: believe it or not it has been reported extesively, surprised MM didn’t notice the Guardian’s article.

        “In one complaint lodged at the National Archives, a 27-year-old German journalist being held at this camp said he had spent two years as a prisoner of the Gestapo. And not once, he said, did they treat him as badly as the British.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/nov/12/secondworldwar.world

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  12. hippiepooter says:

    “Such discussions are the meat and drink of adolescent debating societies, rather than mature democracies – where it is more normal to assume it is very wrong, while very occasionally turning a blind eye if it happens.”

    Sometimes the temptation to get deeply personal about Mr Mardell is extremely hard to resist.

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  13. pounce_uk says:

    The bBC pushes out a photo history of events that transpired on 9/11
    9/11 timeline: The story of the day
    Want to guess the one word the bbC doesn’t mention. You know that word which the bBC uses all the time in which to promtoe a relgion of Peace. A word which means ‘Victim’ and a word which labels the followers of the only true relgion.

    Yeah funny that.

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  14. DJ says:

    Note too the bonkers view of democracy exposed by Fatty Mardell’s drivellings: apparently the sign of a ‘mature democracy’ is that things aren’t up for public debate. Instead, the government simply accepts the left’s position lock, stock and barrel and has done with the whole accountability thing.

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  15. fred bloggs says:

    As bBC as such strong supporters of ‘human rights’, I expected it to be the lead story evertwhere.  So I have listened and looked for news, comment etc about rendition, torture, etc;  very little overall.  Certainly no linkage between Rendition and the approprite members of the last Lab gov.  AGAIN I wonder why?  

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  16. Chris Shields says:

    I thought that this was a patriotic website. Attacking Churchill and the War Effort, as your commenters are doing, is never acceptable. After all, it’s what we would expect from the BBC.

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    • matthew rowe says:

      Sorry who is attacking the war effort ?? we are just pointing out that lardell is missing that facts that we engaged in tortue to get information! i have no problem with that lardell has ! war is nasty and horrid and anything we can do to shorten it and save our people is justified during such times !

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  17. Lewis Duckworth says:

    I notice Mark Mardell asks http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14767943 “Is Torture Ever Right?”. Hmmm …… Thinking about it I would in nearly all cases say no. My exception would be if I ever had Mardell in my dungeon …. although the torture might take the form of no cream cakes and pizza for two weeks, and a signed confession of about 500 deliberately biased or inadequate reports …. including his saying on the 2004 US Election night … Bush can’t win. If all goes to plan Mardell will be handed back with a much lower body weight and looking for a job with a less biased media organisation.

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