Guantanamo Roundup.

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous wrote the following email. I lost it for a bit, and seem to be unable to cut and paste the internal links he provided to the R4 programmes, although I can play them myself. Never mind. You go find them yourselves. Here’s the email:

Today (Feb 18th) I’ve witnessed one of the grossest examples of the BBC’s anti-American agitprop (or rather, anti-American-when-there’s-a-Republican-in-the-White-House agitprop).

On Radio Four’s “Any Questions”, the very first question put to the panel was this:

“What action should the British government take to bring about an end to the use of torture at Guantanamo Bay?”.

Hear the actual transmission here. [This is the first link I couldn’t seem to copy – NS]

The premise of the question assumes as fact that the U.S. authorities are indeed administering torture at Guantanamo Bay. But only two months ago the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a particularly full account of the U.S’s total rejection of torture, not only by the U.S. itself, but also the U.S.’s allies in the war against terror. As if that’s not bad enough, the BBC itself had actually reproduced Condi’s statement in full in a dedicated news report.

There have been all sorts of Guardian articles implying all sorts of maltreatment by the US authorities, but I’m not aware of any specific allegations that can be verified, or which, in any event, actually constitute torture.

Of course, when it came to Any Answers [another link I couldn’t copy here – NS] following transmission, all but one of the contributors on this topic were rabidly anti-American and anti-Bush administration. The one who wasn’t was a grandmother, no doubt chosen for that very reason (nevertheless she gave a good defence of the reasoning behind Camp X-Ray’s existence).

Is it any wonder, with the BBC being the planet’s most influential broadcaster, that America is becoming reviled in some parts of the world, and universally disparaged even among its allies?

Rottweiler Puppy has a (bleeding magnificent, actually) post about the same subject.

Because, here’s the thing: the United States has never been credibly accused of torturing its prisoners at Guantanamo. Not once. Indeed, the UN report Beeboids are swooning over is about as critical of the base as it’s possible to get, but even here there is no accusation that the U.S. engages in torture. The report, which you can read here [pdf], actually comes across as a protracted whine that the U.S. refused to grant investigators from the twin human rights capitals of Algeria and Pakistan, unmonitored access to its intelligence assets. The word ‘torture’ is used 89 times, though, in connection with the actual treatment Gitmo inmates receive (as opposed to attempts to define the term or explain its meaning), the closest the UN team get to the Any Questions position is to claim that force-feeding of hunger-striking inmates ‘amounts to torture’. (As, some people might say, do chemotherapy, lumber-punches and any other number of painful-but-lifesaving medical procedures.)

However, the point is that no one — not the UN, not Amnesty International, not the Guardian — has ever accused the U.S. of no ifs or buts torture in the way that Any Questions does here.

Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Guantanamo Roundup.

  1. will says:

    Sorry but O/T

    R5Live’s “Upallnight” dealt with the take over of some US port facilities by a state owned Dubai company.

    Difficult one for the BBC? Should they support Bush in not being beastly to the Arabs, or kick him anyway?

    They had an interview with a member of the WH press corps. She would fit right in with the BBC, only interested in the political posturing rather than the substance.

    After her initial spiel, the 1st question from the Beeboid – “What are Fox News making of this?”

       0 likes

  2. Rob Read says:

    The bBC can only ask one question to those without official left-wing victim group status, namely “When did you stop hitting your wife”?

    For official leftwing victim groups the question is “Why do those nasty right-wingers slander you?”

    I don’t pay the bBC TV-Tax, and you shouldn’t either.

       0 likes

  3. Cockney says:

    Are Any Questions questions vetted in advance? If not it’s not really the BBC’s fault, rather one for the panel to shoot down (or not as the case may be).

       0 likes

  4. will says:

    Further re R5Live’s “Upallnight” dealt with the take over of some US port facilities by a state owned Dubai company.

    the BBC person introduced the item by musing that Bush’s position might be a favour to “his oil buddies”

    No evidence was advanced for this “theory”. It was just gratuitous slander. Is that appropriate from the state funded paragon? We can all do gratuitous slander.

       0 likes

  5. RottyPup says:

    I would very much imagine the BBC do have the questions vetted in advance, if only for the sake of making sure only left-of-reality viewpoints get a look-in.

    However. Even if the questions were unmoderated, surely Dimbleby’s sitting there for a reason — He should have corrected this question before turning it over to deranged harpy (and now fellow Beeboid presenter, I believe) Diane Abbott.

    O/T: Have your (delusional) say on the not-so-golden dome. Here’s Ahmed from ‘ilford/iraq/uk'(?!): “no maater what anyone says..my assumption is that is was neither sunnis or shias who did this.. it was someone trying to cause hatred between two peoples who have lived together for decades without ANYONE harming or destroying a religous site which is holy to both. the truth will come out no doubt ( like it always does ) as to who was behind this.”

    … So was it Jooos or the U.S. military? Sadly, Ahmed doesn’t give an opinion. Either that, or he thinks it doesn’t maater.

       0 likes

  6. archduke says:

    Ahmed’s delusions are further amplified , if not fed, by Al BBC themselves, with complete crap such as this:

    “The BBC’s Jon Brain in Baghdad says the attack was almost certainly designed to raise the existing tensions between the majority Shia and minority Sunni populations.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4740010.stm

    how does he know that?
    who said that to him?
    what is his evidence for that?
    how did he come to that conclusion?

    note that there is no reference to who might want to raise tensions –
    this news-by-omission leaves the door open for the “its all the Jooos fault”.

       0 likes

  7. john reith says:

    On both Any Questions and Any Answers the questions are put by members of the public. If you don’t like the electorate, maybe you guys should follow Brecht’s suggestion and appoint a new one. Or…you could go along/call in yourselves.

       0 likes

  8. gordon-bennett says:

    I went to an Any Questions recording several years ago. The audience had to turn up early, so the programme could start on time, and the producer asked for questions.

    He got many more than were needed and he it was who selected some for broadcast. Those who submitted the selected questions were then re-seated at the front of the hall.

    The beeb has made a point of selecting questions whose wording is offensive to the US or Conservatives.

    I have complained several times but that just seems to confirm for them that their intentions to denigrate are on target.

       0 likes

  9. Jeffrey Mushens says:

    Please don’t tar Amnesty International with the same brush as the UN or Guardian.Amnesty have just criticised the Government of Iran and have also criticised the behaviour of the insurgents in Iraq. I don’t always agree with what they say but I’m glad we have Amnesty to speak for the powerless.

       0 likes

  10. Rob Read says:

    On Question Time the questions are put by members of the public who are chosen by the BBC, based on selection criteria that they define and locations tend to be outside Conservative (biggest vote in England) areas.

       0 likes

  11. What formula did Question Time use for the infamous post-9/11 broadcast?
    Was anyone accountable for it?

       0 likes

  12. archduke says:

    rob -> are those selection criteria published anywhere?

       0 likes

  13. Ritter says:

    john reith

    “On both Any Questions and Any Answers the questions are put by members of the public.

    ——

    True – but thats only half the story (like most BBC News reports). You have omitted to tell us that the ‘public’ invited to QT are ‘vetted’ by the BBC for their polictical views and then the overal make up of the ‘public’ in the audience is gerrymandered so that it does not reflect actual public opinion at large but projects the (invariably) left-wing viewpoint that the BBC want to broadcast.

    The BBC have admitted this:

    Anger at news special audience
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_4730000/newsid_4735500/4735515.stm

    Most posters here have no objection to the ‘public’ being involved on Question Time, just to the BBC skewing that so called ‘public’ audience to ensure a biased discussion in favour on the left wing view.

    The Guardian can do that if it wants. We have a free press and free choice of purchase. And long may that continue. The BBC however has a Charter that allows it to collect a fee from every tv user in the land and thus has obligations regarding ‘impartiality’ imposed on it via the Charter. The BBC regularly ignores it’s ‘impartiality’ obligations – that’s why sites like Biased-BBC exist. Some days the blog is ‘on fire’ with examples of bias.

    I hope that mild ‘fisking’ didn’t hurt too much. It’s just too easy sometimes. But you walked straght into it with your assumption that QT audience reflects the views of the ‘public’. You are watching too much BBC News – come here more often and have a read, & find out the truth.

       0 likes

  14. TAoL says:

    It is a loaded question, for sure, and one that is based on a major assumption, of course.

    A similar question…

    “What action should the British and American governments take to bring the terrorists of Guantanamo Bay to justice swiftly?”

    …could be asked, but would the producers of AQ allow it, I wonder?

       0 likes

  15. Natalie Solent says:

    Archduke, I think the BBC chap was quite right to say that “the attack was almost certainly designed to raise the existing tensions between the majority Shia and minority Sunni populations.”

    I’m the first to say that the Beeb has some housecleaning to do with regard to its treatment of Israel and anti-Jewish violence, but I saw no reference to the Jews there. The article made it pretty clear who the obvious supects were, those who wish to derail any coalition government in Iraq.

       0 likes

  16. archduke says:

    Archduke, I think the BBC chap was quite right to say that “the attack was almost certainly designed to raise the existing tensions between the majority Shia and minority Sunni populations.”

    yeah, but he neglected to say, based on past evidence , that it could be the work of Al Zaqwari’s terror gang. Thats actually my point. nowhere in that report is this even hinted at.

    its just news-by-omission.

       0 likes

  17. archduke says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4740010.stm

    “but I saw no reference to the Jews there.”

    in fact no reference to anyone.

    But Muslims will fill in the blanks and just say the Jooos did it, because the BBC neglected to say that it could well be Al Zaqwari.

       0 likes

  18. Gary Powell says:

    Natalie Solent
    I think you miss the point.
    The Arab National Socialist party is the Bath Party. Which is the party which used to run Iraq and still runs Syria. The Bath Party exsists as a consequence of the west unwillingness or simple inability to remove them after the liberation of Europe in 1945. They conspired with hitler and the European National Socialists in the holacaust. Also to secure oil supplies for the Germans, though the middle-east.

    The sunni muslims make up most of the Bathe Party.

    National Socialists, communists and all fudermentalist religions hate capitalism and Jews in equal amounts because to them they are the SAME THING. In there eyes America represents capitalism and so therefore America represents Jews.

    Real Socialists know( A Lurker and cockney not included ) free working Capitalism is the only way that free people can stay free, from goverment and obtain any independant prosperity, status and power for themselves.

    The Jews by the nature of their History and only their History, have used their more liquid wealth to finance private and national investment for centuaries, in a BIG way. This sometimes pisses off all BIG goverments BIG time, because they can not control it.

    Dont believe me; ask Edward 1st, Cromwell, Keiser Willy, Hitler, Starlin, PolPot, Griffin , Brown, Blair etc etc.

    Dictators of any and all descriptions dont like free people as they dont always do as they are told. They reserved however their real poison for Jews in the past because they were always a minority. Until the state of Israel, which they hate more than you can possibly imagine.

       0 likes

  19. foreign devil says:

    The two ‘human rights organizations’ (whose I wonder) were INVITED to Guantanamo and REFUSED TO GO. Why? Because they were not to be allowed to actually touch the prisoners. They could see them but not actually be alone with them (makes sense to me). So what’s wrong with sitting in the same room and asking the guy if he’s okay and looking at his body to make sure? No…..that wasn’t good enough. It had to be under their terms. I suppose if US attorneys or FBI went to Wormwood Scrubs or some place, d’ya suppose the Brits would let them into the cells to interview the jihadis they have in detention? NOT! SOD OFF SWAMPY!

       0 likes

  20. archduke says:

    “They could see them but not actually be alone with them (makes sense to me)”

    indeed – one can imagine a kidnap situation developing where a detainee overpowers one of the lawyers.

    it makes perfect sense from a security point of view.

       0 likes

  21. Ashley Pomeroy says:

    “What formula did Question Time use for the infamous post-9/11 broadcast?”

    Is this edition of QT available on the internet anyway, either as a transcript or as a video? I didn’t get to see it and I haven’t seen any transcripts, although I can imagine what it was like (Noam Chomksy but with shouting, probably).

       0 likes

  22. Rob Read says:

    Wasn’t the post 7/7 QT stuffed with people of the same religion as the bombers?

    It’s like having QT in the Blitz and half the audience are Germans!

       0 likes

  23. archduke says:

    ashley -> noam chomsky is an intellectual. much as i disagree with him, he’s got a brain.

    in comparision, the QT audience in that episode was just a baying mob of muslims.

    the bbc filled the audience so that it was about 20 per cent muslim.

    the U.S. Ambassador got an apology afterwards.

    as if thats any consolation for what the poor guy went through.

       0 likes

  24. archduke says:

    “It’s like having QT in the Blitz and half the audience are Germans!”

    indeed – followed on by a newsnight expose of the fire bombing of hamburg.

       0 likes

  25. “Noam Chomsky is an intellectual”. Darn right he is. Gordon Brown was described as an intellectual in one of the broadsheets this week, and he is, just like Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Antonio Gramsci, Tariq Ali and so forth.
    I’m not an intellectual: when I’m proven wrong, I change my mind, and then I’m right again. I’m also rather useful, given that my profession is engineering. These two points alone separate me from these bloody fools who are termed “intellectuals”.

       0 likes

  26. Rob Read says:

    “An intellectual is a man who doesn’t know how to park a bike.” : Spiro T. Agnew

       0 likes

  27. Labrat says:

    All par for the course. Some fuckwit on 5 live this afternoon was still whining about the “occupation forces” in Iraq.
    MEMO TO BBC:
    No matter what you twats would like to believe, even the UN doesn’t call the foreign troops in Iraq occupation forces anymore.
    How stupid to you have to be work for the BBC?

       0 likes

  28. Gary Powell says:

    [email protected]
    Interesting that I know young socialists that became old Tories. But I can not think of any young Tories that became old socialists.

    Proof that even interlectuals are not so stupid that they can not learn something usefull. If they live long enough.

       0 likes

  29. Gary Powell says:

    Tony Benn said
    “The problem with this country is that there is a natural distrust for intellectuals.”

    Funny; I had always thought that it was our most important and enduring trait.

       0 likes

  30. Gary Powell says:

    Inteligence and intellectuals go together as well as being, liberal and being in the Liberal Party. Which is not at all.

       0 likes

  31. Anti Aunty says:

    “How stupid do you have to be to work for the BBC?” asks Labrat.

    Very. I would have said. But hey if you can read the Guardian who cares!

    Of course if your surname is Dimbleby, Magnusson or whatever, or you have the correct (Lefty) political connections, the of course that helps too

       0 likes

  32. Rick says:

    “How stupid do you have to be to work for the BBC?” asks Labrat.

    Well considering the Pension, the Salary, having your TV licence paid, the mortgage subsidy, the clothing allowances, the cars, the free TV and VCR, and the freebies showered on you………………..I guess it is only the viewers that are really stupid

       0 likes

  33. Ashley Pomeroy says:

    “noam chomsky is an intellectual. much as i disagree with him, he’s got a brain”

    Joseph Goebbels was a very clever man who had a gift for persuading people; according to the internet he had a doctorate in philosophy and he did very well for himself.. He would have fitted well into the advertising industry, and that is how I see Noam Chomsky.

       0 likes

  34. Rob Read says:

    Joseph Goebbels didn’t hate his country though (although he damaged it more).

       0 likes

  35. Sarge says:

    [email protected]
    Interesting that I know young socialists that became old Tories.

    It is a truism that most agitprop students progress through life as one would reading a book, i.e. from left to right.

       0 likes

  36. archduke says:

    “It is a truism that most agitprop students progress through life as one would reading a book”

    Peter Hitchens being one well known example.

    How do you explain Chomsky though?

       0 likes

  37. Phil says:

    “To the man in the street who, I’m sorry to say, is a keen observer of life,
    The word “intellectual” suggests right away a man who’s untrue to his wife.”

    WH Auden

       0 likes

  38. john reith says:

    Ritter….you say

    ‘some days this blog is on fire with examples of bias….’

    I’ve only been visiting this blog for a few days, but I’ve yet to see one clear example of deliberate bias. Sloppy phrasing, maybe. Bias, not yet. Most complaints on this blog seem to be nitpicking…A Pedant Writes sort of stuff that make huge assumptions about what the BBC might have included in a story without knowing what information was available at the time a story was posted or broadcast.

    I’m far from convinced that the BBC is consistently leftwing anyway. Most of the people I’ve ever met from BBC News are middle class Oxbridge types who’d be pressed to choose between Blair and Cameron.

       0 likes

  39. Cockney says:

    ‘It is a truism that most agitprop students progress through life as one would reading a book, i.e. from left to right.’

    True but most of the libertarian, ultra free market, ban welfare types who I met at university have now shuffled across into vaguely rightish centrist pragmatism. Real life can smack you round the face from either direction.

    John Reith

    You won’t find too much in your face in 50 foot letters of fire biased stuff in the BBC’s output but virtually all of it has an underlying socially liberal, economically leftist, PC tone. I’m not particularly right wing but I can see that. It’s kind of a Chinese water torture approach. The majority of Oxbridge types I know who haven’t got themselves plum jobs in the City or in finance via talent or nepotism are vaguely left wing (in an ‘intellectual’ way of course) so that’s hardly a get out.

       0 likes

  40. Thom Boston says:

    “Considering the Pension, the Salary, having your TV licence paid, the mortgage subsidy, the clothing allowances, the cars, the free TV and VCR, and the freebies.” – Rick

    You see, this is just nuts. BBC employees do not get their TV licence paid. They do not have a clothing allowance. I’m sure that many of them drive cars, but that doesn’t mean they get them for free. Nor do they get free TVs or VCRs (and in this DVD day and age, who needs a VCR anyway?)

    So that leaves just the salary and the pension. By god, people working at the BBC get paid? AND have a pension? It’s hardly a scandal.

    But I think this is very illustrative of a broader point. As I’ve said before, I’m addicted to this site, I can’t get enough of the crazy “Hitler is a Communist, the BNP are all a bunch of lefties” ranting. But actually, when you get down to it, there’s very little in the way of actual evidence used to back up the arguments at all. It’s all “the BBC are blaming the Jooos [I hate it when people write “Jews” like that] through omission” or “the Question Time panel is fixed.”

    Now, there may be a majority of people with centre-left views in a Question Time audience, but what no-one seems to remember is that at the last election the two major centre-left parties (Labour and the Lib Dems) secured nearly 60 percent of the vote (57.4% to be exact). Throw in the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens and it rises to over 60%. In fact at only one post-war election – 1955 – has it not been the case that the majority of votes in Britain went to centre-left parties (and arguably, Macmillan’s Tories were much more to the left than the modern Labour party). All this “the Tories got more votes in England” is nonsense. It’s a British General Election, and unless you’re calling for a dissolution of the Union then your argument is as relevant as the number of Tory votes in Hexham.

    None of this – and may I stress this – makes the 11 September Question Time acceptable. But my point is, if six of every ten Question Time audience members are not right wing, the reason is probably that six out of ten members of the British public are not right wing either. No conspiracy. No dhimmism, or whatever witty title you’re calling it. You’re looking for bias that isn’t there.

       0 likes

  41. john reith says:

    Thom Boston

    At last, a man with a sense of proportion. I was beginning to think everyone on this blog was as crazy as a bag of snakes.

    ‘looking for bias that isn’t there.’ Absolutely.

       0 likes

  42. Rob Read says:

    No Hitler was a socialist/collectivist. That is why they are called National Socialists.

    The idea is to parasite off business, not own it.

       0 likes

  43. Rob Read says:

    Although Hitler did kill less people than Stalin.

       0 likes

  44. paul says:

    An anecdote: a Conservative friend of mine and I tried to get into Q-time for their Paris show (6 months back or so). We had to answer questions (on the site) showing political orientation (attitude to the war etc.). He got in having exaggerated his views even farther to the right than they already were, I, declaring myself opposed to the war, was excluded, probably because they already had their quotient.
    Furthermore, his caustic question on the EU was accepted and he read it out.
    They strive for balance, but as TB rightly says, they have to go with what they get.

       0 likes

  45. will says:

    Thom Boston

    At last, a man with a sense of proportion. I was beginning to think everyone on this blog was as crazy as a bag of snakes.

    john reith

    why don’t you 2 just go out & chat over a pint after finishing work at the BBC, rather than bothering with this site?

       0 likes

  46. will says:

    Thom Boston “at the last election the two major centre-left parties (Labour and the Lib Dems) secured nearly 60 percent of the vote (57.4% to be exact).

    Yet none of them (per the QT audience) supported the Labour government!

       0 likes

  47. paul says:

    “why don’t you 2 just go out & chat over a pint after finishing work at the BBC, rather than bothering with this site?”
    You don’t like hearing an opposing view or what ?

       0 likes

  48. will says:

    paul “Have you guys all had an irony bypass?” john reith

       0 likes

  49. Oscar says:

    Apropos torture at Gitmo – there have been huge efforts to come up with stuff that can be defined as ‘torture’ that clearly don’t wash – like ‘being shaved without consent’ (oops sorry about the bad pun). Reading the 1980s book ‘Hitlers Children’ I was struck by how much of these tactics were learnt in cases like Baader Meinhoff. A huge fuss about ‘torture’ by the German authorities was made then on the grounds that the prisoners were suffering deprivation like an all white environment that was quiet – and what wouldn’t people pay today to have designer chic like that? Hitlers Children is well worth reading (again possibly). It’s more relevant today than ever.

       0 likes