Biased BBC reader Martin points out

the latest in a string of Newsnight gaffes:


Britons indeed! The BBC has been straining all day to imply that these non-Britons (with a penchant for ‘action holidays’, ‘study’ and ‘training’ in far-off lands) are British, but it’s taken Newsnight to put it down in black and white.

On the same subject, David Preiser suggests a spot of comparing and contrasting between The Times profile of these non-Britons and the BBC’s profile of them – the differences being as obvious we’ve come to expect.

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34 Responses to Biased BBC reader Martin points out

  1. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    Andrew Marr, another “Briton” is sure to invite them on for a reunion with his old pal Moazzam Begg after which they can all go back to Marrs place and get funky over his collection of Joan Baez 78rpm records.


  2. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Looks like somebody finally got through to the BBC about the agni innocenti being released into British custody from Guantanamo. For the very first time, Katty Kay – filling in for Matty Frei, who is off for Winterval – referred to them as “British Residents”. Finally. Likewise, Gordon Carrera of BBC News (UK), used the same terminology. Perhaps UK residents caught the report on a domestic broadcast.

    No “Brits”, “British Citizens”, or “Britons”. I say that’s a result.


  3. Richy says:

    Speaking of BBC gaffes, one blogger noticed how BBC online reported that

    “Gordon Brown says the option of privatising Northern Rock has not been ruled out”.


  4. Anonymous says:

    ive noticed as well over the last few hours Al Beeb has started referring to these terrorists as “british residents”

    but i suppose saying “Brits” is more of a headline grabber for an organisation that is in terminal decline

    keep up the bad work Beeboids. You’re typing your own P45 along the way


  5. Chuffer says:

    They’re now “British residents”, but now the indignancy level (on Radio 2 news, anyway) has reached factor six with the news that those horrid Spanish would like a word with one or two of those wholesome lads. How dare they?


  6. MattLondon says:

    ive noticed as well over the last few hours Al Beeb has started referring to these terrorists as “british residents”

    Terrorists, are they? How does “Anonymous” know?

    At least now they have been released from their 4 or 5 years of extra-legal detention and returned to civil society we’ll be able to hear their side of it.

    But they are being consistently described as British residents now – and my memory is that in earlier reports on Radio 4 news of the discussions about them between the UK and US governments, their status was generally accurately described.


  7. Frank T. says:

    We must insist that these terrorist suspects are not described as ‘British residents’ but ‘residents of Britain’. To describe a person as ‘British’ suggests nationality or citizenship.


  8. Mick Vaar says:

    Historically, the British Resident was a kind of 2nd rank ambassador, residing at a foreign court.

    What’s evidently happening is that these gentlemen, with their wide and valuable experience of the Middle East and its cultures, and first-hand experience of Western judicial systems, are being groomed for the diplomatic service, so for the BBC (or others) to describe them as “British Residents” (albeit trainees) is probably quite up to their usual standards of accuracy.


  9. Andy says:

    I’ve been enduring the same thing, don’t they realize how ridiculous they sound. The BBC are doing their damnedest to imply that these people are British in some way. They are no more British than I’m an eskimo.


  10. Martin says:

    Notice in this BBC report that we are told by the BBC that these men “living” in the UK. But they were not!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yet more distortion of the facts from the BBC.


  11. Tim says:

    BBC Radio London was yesterday describing these guys as ‘residents’ of Guantanamo Bay; not prisoners/detainees/captives etc.


  12. PeterUK says:

    “Al Beeb has started referring to these terrorists as “british residents”

    The accurate description is “former British residents”
    Nor do we need to know “their side of the story”.They are foreigners arrested by another government in a a war zone in a third country.It isn’t anything whatsoever to do with Britain at all.

    If the BBC wants to adopt martyrs,let them adopt some poor little chavess being prosecuted for watching Coronation Street without a license.

    BTW Surely the former Guantanamo residents cannot object to being sent to Spain,an EU country,no torture no death penalty,not at war with al Qaeda?


  13. Martin says:

    Nice to see Vanessa Redgrave sticking up bail money. I wonder if she’s ever bothered to get her lardy arse off her comfy sofa and actually see how these extremists treat women in Afghanistan?

    She’s just another leftie trot.


  14. BaggieJonathan says:

    I meant to post this here and not on the general thread, oops, sorry.

    The headline reads “Spain seeks UK Guantanamo man”.

    Then it is tempered a little “A UK resident freed from Guantanamo Bay appears in court after his arrest under a Spanish warrant.”

    The article then is linked.…/uk/ 7153146.stm

    Thing is the guy is not British, never was, even calling him a UK resident is near to deliberately misleading.

    Jamil El Banna is Palestinian.

    The other ‘UK’ Guantanamo detainees are not British either.

    Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer is Saudi Arabian.
    Binyam Mohammed is Ethiopian.
    Abdenour Samuer is Algerian.
    Omar Deghayes is Libyan.

    Strangely enough none of these were snatched from the UK or even Libya, Algeria, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia or the disputed west bank.

    Surely after all this time we have the right to hope that the BBC will stop misleading us about these ‘Britons’.

    Would it not be misleading to talk of US resident Los Angeles man referring to David Beckham?
    Yet it would be more correct to talk of that than these guantanamo detainees as Britons.

    Just changing from Britons to British residents is not enough, the bias is still there.

    The bias must stop.


  15. BaggieJonathan says:

    El Banna – “I’ve been here for years and I have never seen a judge. Put me on trial. Just give me a chance.”

    So he gets his chance in Spain.

    But, “Protesters against his detention gathered outside court.” and “Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather, MP for Mr El-Banna, who described Spain’s move as “extremely distasteful and very insensitive”.”

    The lawyers asked for extradition to Spain, when its happening they complain.

    The profiles of these men on the BBC must have been written by the men or their lawyers, they are so clearly unlikely as to be in other circumstances funny.

    In particular the Abdenour Sameur is about as offensive and insulting as I can imagine. Even the stupidest person can see that facts were not the priority in the description of his reasons for coming to and leaving the UK and his being on the Afghan and Pakistan border.

    Just where does the BBC get off in not showing up the enormous deficiencies in this argument?

    We want news, not lies and propaganda.


  16. Ritter says:

    BBC still using the word ‘Britons’.

    Guantanamo detainee freed on bail

    Right hand side headline in green:

    ‘Guantanamo Bay Britons’

    According to Wikipedia, to be a Briton you just have to be an ‘inhabitant’ of the Islands.


    “British people, or Britons, are a nation or inhabitants of Great Britain or citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, one of the Channel Islands, or of one of the British overseas territories.”

    Following that rationale, David Beckham is indeed American. What a lot of crock.


  17. John Reith spins in his grave says:

    Isn’t that Clive Stafford Smith a weird bloke?

    With that strange mid-atlantic accent – he’s like an android designed by a US educated Sony engineer to resemble a public school brit.

    In fact, he and that other Gitmo lawyer – the Gareth Pierce woman with the immobile face and the all concealing fringe could both be running on batteries.

    Perhaps they’re Al Qaeda’s secret weapons, painstakingly designed in the caves of Tora Bora.


  18. Allan@Oslo says:

    I’ve just read the BBC’s link in Ritter’s post and it is rock-bottom for the BBC. It is a propaganda sheet featuring Vanessa Redgrave declaring herself “honoured” to be of help by putting up bail for a non-Briton who hates the west.
    The loony left, the BBC and islam: all working together to eliminate our way of life.


  19. Umbongo says:


    “With that strange mid-atlantic accent”

    Re Clive Stafford Smith: even though we are not told if he’s an American citizen (although it’s a good bet that he is), from his biography on the Reprieve website it appears that he’s spent a lot of time in the US.


  20. Martin says:

    Gareth Pierce? I’d always assumed she was a bloke in drag (seriously) I’ve never heard of a woman called Gareth.

    You’ve got the three of them.

    Stafford-Smith, Pierce and Imran Kahn. Find some terrorist suspect and there they are all lined up behind them defending their “uman rights”

    Notice that they only ever take on cases in western Countries? I didn’ see Stafford-Smith or Kahn going to the help of the woman in Saudi Arabia who was going ot get lashed for being gang raped. Perhaps I missed it? Nor did I see any of them offering to help out in Teddygate.


  21. woodentop says:

    Extradition to Spain was reported on favourably by the Beeb (when it was Pinochet in the frame)…


  22. PeterUK says:

    “Stafford Smith has obtained permission to represent some 90 Guantanamo prisoners. Recently, he has also started putting together cases on behalf of those detained in Bagram Air Base, the U.S. facility in Afghanistan. (At Bagram, writes Emily Bazelon in the March/April issue of Mother Jones, many of the torture methods seen in Abu Ghraib were pioneered.) Supported by a Soros Justice Fellowship, Stafford Smith has set out on an unusual and challenging legal path to defend his clients.

    First, though, Stafford Smith has to find out who his clients are. Because the U.S. government refuses to reveal the identities of the detainees held in Guantanamo and bases in Afghanistan, he has had to follow tips and travel throughout the Middle East to meet with families of detainees. ”

    Obviously the find us a victim technique ,which is why Stafford Smith ended up with three foreigners instead of some lads from Bradford.
    Note the ubiquitous name of George Soros rears its head.
    Excerpt from Mother Jones.


  23. Martin says:

    Shame stafford-Smith didn’t pop into the Sudan or Saudi Arabia then?


  24. PeterUK says:

    Yes ,just a coincidence that they had all been on a day trip to Britain.


  25. DP111 says:

    This is absolutely diabolical. These decent law abiding people were living in the UK, and were then abducted from here to Gitmo by the CIA/USA. No wonder the BBC is apalled.

    Now they are back, will soon be getting their citizenship, and will become patriotic British Muslims.

    Littlejohn pokes fun


  26. DP111 says:

    BTW, who is that “person” in the second photograph

    Is that person also a British resident? How is anyone to know? If that person gets kidnapped by the wicked CIA, how will we know that we are getting the correct “British resident” back?


  27. PeterUK says:

    “Melanie Cumberland, for the Spanish Government, told the court that Mr el-Banna was part of the terrorist cell between 1996 and 2001. She added: “He received and distributed extremist propaganda, some of which had been produced by Osama bin Laden. The cell sent funds to Afghanistan to finance the aims of the organisation, sometimes using human carriers or other means.”

    Miss Cumberland said that Mr el-Banna had a conviction for credit-card fraud in 1998. He first came to Britain illegally in 1994 on a false Kuwaiti passport and was granted indefinite leave to remain.”

    el-Banna is obviously a model citizen,why would he leave the bosom of his family and go to Afghanistan – to watch the poppies bloom?


  28. Sarah says:

    **Re Clive Stafford Smith: even though we are not told if he’s an American citizen (although it’s a good bet that he is), from his biography on the Reprieve website it appears that he’s spent a lot of time in the US.**

    I believe he’s a dual national. Only lawyers with US citizenship are allowed to represent Gitmo detainees.


  29. John Reith spins in his grave says:

    I believe he’s a dual national. Only lawyers with US citizenship are allowed to represent Gitmo detainees.
    Sarah | 21.12.07 – 12:21 pm | #

    American citizen!

    Do the beeb know?

    That should ensure he nver gets another mention (hopefully in his case).


  30. Joe Noory says:

    Wouldn’t the term “one time” or “former British residents” be more accurate?


  31. Allan@Oslo says:

    Yes, Joe. But the BBC doesn’t ‘do’ accuracy.


  32. eh says:

    The thing is, the BBC gets away with this. Time and time again. Because no one with any influence or authority will ever call them on it. Because all they have to do is suggest it’s the kind of thing that only Nick Griffin or people of his ilk would point out.


  33. Atlas shrugged says:


    Yes yes and yes to all the rest of you.

    But can you all please start REALLY thinking for a change?

    Instead of just coming to the BBC implanted conclusion that the BBC are just a load of innocent non conspiratorial liberal lefty homo-sexual loving childish idiots.

    Because this simply misses the point completely.

    This is exactly what the BBC wants you, and more importantly all those liberal lefty homo-sexual loving childish idiots out there, to think they really are.

    The BBC is not left-wing right-wing or even in the middle. Its far more potentially dangerous and systematically dishonest then that.

    The BBC is the whole god damned establishment Eagle screaming from both of its dishonest faces. Which could well be landing somewhere very close, very soon.

    May I state again I do not have a firm idea as to what game the BBC is really playing or how terrible the game plan is going to be for you, me or our children, in the longer term?

    But I just cant stand being lied to 24/7 by every MS news media under the sun. Especially one that I am forced by threat of imprisonment to contribute my share of its £ 3.5 billion rip-off.

    A share that makes me and most of you, morally responsible for the incredibly evil things the BBC is now directly responsible for around the entire planet.


  34. Anonymous says:

    I consider them British. I think it’s very narrow-minded (and frankly reeks of BNP type attitudes) to insist that you have to have citizenship in a country to belong to it. I bet you’d be happy for them to be British if they were being awarded a prize rather than being released from detention.

    I have lived in the UK for 30 years but still carry a Swedish passport. I would not consider it strange for someone to refer to me as being British. That does not, naturally, diminish my being Swedish either. The BBC is aimed primarly at the UK and watched overwhelmingly by people in the UK – so it’s natural that they are interested more in people who are Britons in such matters. I am sure if I somehow was kidnapped in the middle east, the BBC would be headlining that a Briton had been taken hostage – not a Swede. I would find nothing strange about that given my place of residence for the last 30 years! “British residents” / “Residents of Britain” is hardly headline-speak. The actual articles make clear their status.

    I think if one is looking so actively to find fault with something, one can begin to see faults that aren’t actually there.