Harking back to my post last week

Harking back to my post last week about the BBC’s ignorant/biased coverage of the foreign nationals detained at Belmarsh (arguably for their own safety, in preference to forcibly deporting them to their home countries) BBC News 24 were at it again today with an interview with Barry Hugill of Liberty* that was shown several times, complete with a small strap line reading “UN panel criticises UK detention policy” and a large flashing strap line reading “Torture report”.

Yet again no mention was made of the right of these individuals to leave the UK whenever they wish for any other country that will take them (or even that some of them have already done so). The interviewer did ask “What are we supposed to do with foreign terrorist suspects?” – a half-hearted question that was all too readily elided by Hugill. The questions should be:

1) Do we have a right to deport people from our country?
a) Yes; b) No.
2) What do we do if we wish to deport someone whose home country has a dodgy human rights record?
a) Look after them; b) Send them home anyway.

– for that is the nub of the issue – it’s got little to do with detention without trial, and everything to do with foreigners who are effectively undeportable because we don’t want to force them to go home even though they’re no longer welcome here.

Why can’t or won’t the BBC cover this story properly?

* a few years ago a relative of mine who worked in a small hospital took a call from the local branch of the National Council for Civil Liberties (as Liberty then was) – the NCCL caller was concerned about a colleague who was unwell but who didn’t want to go to hospital – the question was “how can we force him to go?” 🙂

Stephen Pollard comments

on a BBC reporter’s Mid-East handiwork:

‘it is so completely wrong that it can only signal an ignorance so profound that its author has no place anywhere near news scripts – or a bias which is equally profound.’

I know from memory that this is not the first time the BBC have misrepresented a certain Mr Barghouti.

Looking at the BBC website I can see the BBC’s attitude is to pretty unrelentingly downplay Barghouti’s crimes. They describe him ‘currently serving five life sentences on terrorism charges in an Israeli prison’. Excuse me Auntie, but wasn’t he convicted of five counts of murder? Isn’t it also normal to describe people convicted as serving sentences for the crimes they were convicted of, rather than the charges originally brought(even assuming one had accurately related them)? Can it be the BBC don’t trust the Israeli legal system- the one which ordered Ariel Sharon to re-route his wall? And anyway, what place does the BBC’s trust or mistrust of the Israeli legal system have in their function as a new provider?

It looks to me that the BBC are trying to help anoint a new Arafat. The king is dead (Arafat), long live the king (Barghouti):

‘But it is believed that he is the most popular Palestinian leader. He is seen by many as a hero and a major figure in the fight against Israeli occupation, our correspondent says.

He has been described as charismatic and determined, and was often thought of as a natural successor to Arafat, our correspondent adds.’

You’ve heard about Marines shooting Iraqis

(who, let’s not forget, were out to kill them first). What about French ‘peacekeepers’ who shoot and decapitate Ivorian protesters? As John Rosenthal points out,

It does not require a very elaborate demonstration to be able to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it were not the French, but rather the American military that was caught on videotape firing into a crowd of civilians, it would be all over the airwaves 24/7.

Is the BBC partially funded by the French government? If not, France owes them big time. (Silly me for thinking BBC coverage should be fair to the public and government funding it!) And while I’m on the subject of France in Ivory Coast, where is any BBC ‘analyst’ critiquing the double-standard at play between France and the UN? This really stinks. Where is the BBC? (My thanks to Instapundit, Transatlantic Intelligencer and Free Will for doing what the MSM is failing to do.)

UPDATE: I did manage to find one mention of this incident in a BBC online article.

When French tanks and armoured vehicles massed at the Hotel Ivoire, a luxury hotel not far from the state television and the presidential residence, state media implored Ivorians to form a human shield around the president.

According to the radio, the French tanks were intending to oust President Gbagbo. Again, thousands of people responded to the call, and again, hundreds of people were injured and at least 10 died. State television showed report after report showing wounded men and women in graphic detail, accompanied by commentaries denouncing France.

This is a BBC story on how the media has been used in Ivory Coast to fan tensions, yet there is no scrutiny of French actions. Their explanations are taken at face value. So, do I hear the BBC alleging that the deaths of at least ten civilians and the wounding of many others by French soldiers is to be blamed on the misuse of radio and TV by the Ivorian government?

During the Queen’s Speech Debate in the Commons this afternoon

there was breaking news of a new Fathers4Justice protest at Buckingham Palace. Sky News covered the protest and the removal of the protestor with a split screen – the left picture and the sound covered Charles Kennedy in the Commons, whilst the right picture showed events at Buckingham Palace. Meanwhile, BBC News 24 stuck rigidly with Charles Kennedy. Was it beyond the ability of News 24 to cover the end of the F4J protest? Couldn’t figure out how to split the screen? Didn’t have enough film crews or satellite trucks? (not likely, given all the lame ‘going live’ reports these days). Or was it an editorial decision? Curious telly-taxpayers would like to know…

“The detention of foreign terrorist suspects without trial has been hugely controversial”

– the intro to a packaged piece by Carole Walker on BBC Breakfast News at 8am this morning. Yet again, nowhere in the package is it mentioned that the people who are ‘detained without trail’ are free to leave the UK at any time (for any other country that will take them – not just their home countries with the allegedly dodgy human rights records).

All that is needed to cover this story satisfactorily are seven extra words “foreign terrorist suspects who cannot be deported for legal reasons.

Why is it so difficult for BBC journalists to grasp (and mention) this essential aspect of this story? Are they ignorant? Don’t they pay attention to such details? Or is this detail just inconvenient?

Ex-detective relives bomb memory

– unfortunately BBC News Online have managed to forget to mention, even in passing, who was responsible for these IRA atrocities in 1974 – not once does the article mention the IRA, Northern Ireland, terrorism, murder or even how many people were murdered or maimed in Birmingham that day. Shameful – shameful incompetence or shameful bias – either way, this shoddy journalism doesn’t justify a compulsory annual BBC Telly Tax.

Compare and contrast…

BBC News Online have a major story (second story on their UK edition homepage this morning) headlined Police ‘can cope’ with hunt ban, complete with a picture of a ‘toff’ drinking, rather than a more relevant picture, such as a fox or hunting dogs (the use of which is to become illegal). BBC News Online informs us that:

Senior police officers say they have enough resources to deal with the ban on hunting with hounds.

The BBC story is supported with a quote from Suffolk’s Chief Constable, Alastair McWhirter:

Suffolk Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter promised a “proportionate response” to any illegal hunting, adding: “We have been policing hunting for 30 years.”

The Times covers the same story, headlined Hunt ban impossible to enforce, Police say – which informs us that:

THE ban on hunting will be almost impossible to enforce, police chiefs said yesterday, hours after it became law.

Senior lawyers also predicted that the level of proof required for a successful prosecution would be difficult to obtain.

Photographs or a video of riders chasing a fox or deer would be needed to prove that unlawful hunting had taken place.

The Times quotes the same Chief Constable, Alastair McWhirter, but at greater length:

Alastair McWhirter, the Association of Chief Police Officers spokesman on hunting with dogs, said last night that prosecutions would go ahead only if people admitted that they were hunting or if an animal were seen during a chase.

In a statement which will come as blow to supporters of the ban, Mr McWhirter said: “It is not an offence to wear red or pink coats or jackets, it is not an offence to exercise hounds or keep up traditions of using horns or meeting for a ride on horseback on private land.

“Unless someone owns up, you need a wild mammal in the picture to show that someone has committed an offence.”

However, Mr McWhirter later added: “We would enforce it to the best of our ability.”

The Times also quotes some other eminent people, including:

Peter Neyroud, the Chief Constable of Thames Valley, said: “Enforcement is not going to be easy.”

Chief Superintendent Rick Naylor, president of the Superintendents’ Association, said that there would be problems with forces having to deal with mass disobedience.

David Spens, QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said that the hardest matter would be proving that people intended to go hunting and to break the law.

Courtenay Griffiths, QC, public affairs spokesman for the Bar Council, said: “If there is no proof that people were chasing a fox or a deer, then that will be difficult for the police.

“Without some sort of independent evidence whether that is an affidavit from a witness, electronic, video or photographic evidence, I don’t see how they could bring a prosecution.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian, usually required reading at the BBC, reports that Police fear hunting ban strain:

Police could be stretched to the limit dealing with widespread public disorder following the hunting ban, the leading representative for rank and file officers warned yesterday.

Jan Berry, who chairs the Police Federation in England and Wales, admitted that vociferous opposition to the new law would put huge strain on the resources of small rural forces and create problems for officers on the ground.

At the same time, Alistair McWhirter, the chief constable of Suffolk, said he expected the new laws would be “tried to distraction” in the courts.

“I foresee it being the most tested piece of legislation since the drink driving laws were introduced in 1967,” he said.

There’s that Alastair McWhirter chap again. The Grauniad then goes on to discuss at some length law enforcement contingency planning for dealing with possible widespread civil disobedience and the government/police priority for dealing with this (presumably compared to things like murder, rape, robbery, theft etc.).

It seems clear that, unless The Times and The Guardian have been foolishly making up quotes from a lot of eminent and well connected people, the BBC version of the story is complete spin, selectively taking one quote from Alastair McWhirter that supports their story, whilst omitting entirely any mention of the anticipated difficulties in enforcing the new Hunting with Dogs Act (also known as the Class War Against Toffs/Troops Out of Iraq Now (Alternative) Act).

If you want the news on this subject then do read the articles in The Times and The Guardian (and doubtless in The Telegraph too). If you’re a leftie looking for solace in the face of a possibly pyrrhic parliamentary victory just stick with the BBC.

BBC News Online’s article concludes with these assertions:

Fox-hunting, the main focus of the debate, has been practiced for about 300 years in Britain.

Hunt enthusiasts say the ban infringes their human rights and that it will be a bitter blow to the rural economy.

Opponents have been campaigning for a ban for decades and say the practice is appallingly cruel and unnecessary.

Just for good measure, in contrast to these BBC assertions, we should note here that, according to The Guardian at least, the Act brings “to an end almost 700 years of foxhunting in England and Wales”, that there is more than a little debate (outside of the BBC at least) about the relative cruelty of hunting with dogs vis-a-vis the alternatives, and furthermore, again according to The Guardian, that the ban in Scotland, enacted in 2002, has almost doubled fox kills from 500 to 900 per year and that hunting dogs have fallen from 1,100 to 550, 400 of which were put down.

It almost goes without saying, of course, that the resources of The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph etc. are available free of charge to UK online readers – in complete contrast to the pathetic and biased BBC News Online coverage that we are dragooned into paying for via the BBC’s Telly Tax.

Several dollars short and several days late.

“Lobstertom” writes:

Finally they’ve given us a report on the Oil for Food scandal – buried in the Business section.

It is “We discovered this…” and “we found that…” It is an absolute lot of nonsense. And of course with a shot at the Americans in the last line.

Also they fail to mention Kofi Annan at all – as you will know UNSCAM was run out of his office.

If they have changed the “report” I have already taken a copy – I’ll let you know if they change it.

I was amused but not surprised by the headline: “Companies in ‘oil-for-food scam'” True, companies were one end of it. But given that it takes two to tango wouldn’t an equally valid headline have been “UN in ‘oil-for-food scam'”? Equally valid but not equally likely to appear.

Come to think of it another equally valid but not equally likely headline would be “Biggest Financial Scandal in the History of the World.”

Nicholas Vance of LNBBCN has some serious questions

(again) to ask of the BBC’s coverage in Fallujah.

Looking at the BBC pages this morning, it did seem to me that the BBC’s coverage began and ended with the notion of a humanitarian crisis caused by the US assault on Fallujah. The question Nicholas raises is, who exactly was responsible for this crisis? Was it really the consequence of US actions? He suggests that one particular angle has been ignored by the BBC: that of the actions of the thugs (or Minutemen if you prefer to take your lead from Michael Moore) who controlled Fallujah prior to the US military action- and in particular the relationship these men may have had with the BBC’s ‘inside sources’. It’s a good question.

Update. This needed saying:

‘Since the Vietnam era, American journalists seem to operate by an ethic reversing the infamous slogan of antiwar demonstrators, who chant “media lies, people die.” Much more accurate would be to say “people die, media lies.”‘

Trust today’s BBC to be in the vanguard of an unworthy cause.

A racist stereotype hastily changed.

According to one of Tim Blair’s readers, Richard Compton, the caption to the picture of Condoleezza Rice on this BBC piece about her appointment as Bush’s secretary of state has been changed.

It originally read “His master’s voice.”

If you scroll down the post there is another useful comment on the BBC article from “Bill”:

Wow, that Beeb piece is off the wall… “the influence of the State Department which tends to take a longer term view of world affairs… [than the president]”

Cause Islamicism and tyranny always just fix themselves if we’re nice to them… the “long-term” view. In fact Theo van Gogh was just saying the other day… oh, wait. No. No, he wasn’t saying anything.

“The State Department has lost power over the past 30 years as influence has moved to the White House.” Errrrrummmmmm…. yah. Last I checked it was and extension of the Whitehouse, not a separate branch of government…