I see that the BBC have flown the intrepid John Humphrys over to Basra (Never mind those pesky carbon emissions, eh?) to report on the current situation there. I caught his first report this morning interviewing a senior army officer who in true blue military form showed a tenacity to finish the job by getting the Iraqi army up to speed. Humphrys zeroed in on those British soldiers who had lost their lives during the past few years in Basra wondering if their sacrifice had been in vain. How delightful for the next of kin. Why does the BBC have such a defeatist and pessimistic mindset? I always find that BBC interviews with Armed Forces personnel demonstrate the best and worst of British – with our military showing courage and vision whilst the BBC shows unrelenting gloom and doom. The beat of surrender is always close to the surface…

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47 Responses to HUMPHRYS IN BASRA.

  1. Steve E. says:

    Maybe the Beeb are celebrating some kind of anniversary at the moment… could it really be five years to the day that Humphrys and Gilligans colluded on air to spike Blair’s visit to Basra with their own ‘sexed-up’ reports?

    Well actually, no. But if you want to read a more more positive spin on events in Iraq than you’ll ever get from the quagmire-fixated Humphrys, check this out…


  2. aviv says:

    this was classic Humphrys…every grudgingly conceded positive qualified by a negative. The nadir was when he claimed that “the most one could say was that Basra was different” compared to last time, when quite clearly his own report indicated that it was better. Go on you twat, spit it out: “better”.


  3. Anonymous says:

    hopefully a squaddie will have an ND and pump 30 rounds into humprys

    accidents happen beeboids


  4. canon alberic says:

    Today was really special this morning with a remarkably long report suitable for NewsRound about “bunnys” being decapitated in Dortmund (loved the Animal Rights Activist who was played I think by Patrick Marber); then that unspeakably patronising woman attacking the Police over racism (are there or have there ever been any black reporters/newsreaders on Today?); and finally Humphries being given, yet again, an entire serving army to demoralise and undermine with his bitter and wholly personal anti-Iraq war agenda.
    I just switched him off, it really does work. You dont have to listen. I dont know anyone, apart from teenage contrarians, who doesnt think Today is a load a lazy poisonous bollocks and soon enough there will be a reckoning (by desertion) between the public and these treacherous sods.
    Also, I hate to say it, love the 6 county anomaly and its rather exquisite dialect and all that, but that Newsreader has an accent so intense, irritating and unintelligible that hatred of the listener can be the only explanation for her selection: Count Arthur Strong would be easier on the ear.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Odd DV that you make no mention of General Barney White-Spunner’s two compliments to Mr Humphrys.

    Not once, but twice, the General congratulated him on his ‘objective’ reporting.


  6. Emil says:


    Indeed, bunny rabbits scampering over sawdust and chewing juicy lettuce leaves (completely oblivious to some nutter wanting to decapitate them) really had me wondering if I’d woken up on April 1st.


  7. aviv says:

    anonymous- i’d be careful making claims regarding BBC objectivity on Major Gen. White-Spunner’s behalf. From Ephraim Hardcastle:

    “Major General Barney White-Spunner, 50, our commander at Basra Airport, tersely informed Radio 4’s James Naughtie after they’d listened to a deeply pessimistic report about the five-year occupation: ‘I wonder how much of the BBC pension fund will be invested in Iraqi stocks in ten years time. I’d be prepared to bet with you it will be quite high.’ Mentioning the pension fund took the wind out of Jim.”


  8. zamboy says:

    Canon Alberic: The Today prog is, indeed, hideously white, isn’t it? Out of 5 regular presenters there are not too many ethnic minorities. Let’s see, there’s Evan, representing the gay listeners, Sarah representing the ladies, and 3 white, middle-aged men. Hmmmmm…..surely at least one should be sacrificed so that the presenters can more closely represent the ethnic diversity of the BBC as a whole and the nation. My money is on Ed doing the decent thing. Well, Jim and John are representing Scotland and Wales, so I think Ed should go. How about replacing him with Sharmi? A lady and an ethnic in one person, and with all the right views and attitudes. Perfect! That is unless the BBC wants to make the case that the presenters do actually represent Today’s listeners because minorities don’t listen to it? Hmmmmmm?


  9. canon alberic says:

    I think Mugabes Information Minister would fit in very well. He has the verbal concision of Naughtie, the self-righteousness and “sexy” laugh of Montague, the jolly Panglossian style of Davis, and the reasonable pluralistic personally modest approach to debate so characteristic of Humphries.


  10. Jack says:

    I would never attempt to defend al-BBC’s cowardly and irredeemably execrable coverage of Iraq, Israel &Co. However, the notion that our blood and treasure is well spent in Iraq is mistaken. This conflict is religious, and certainly cannot be won by ‘winning hearts and minds’, defeating ‘insurgents’ (cough, cough), or strafing other nebulae. The problem is Islam, a totalitarian political ideology. We could pour our entire GDP into Iraq and the outcome would be the same: admirable and brave, but dead, soldiers; impoverished UK citizens, chaos-fed Jihad. Hugh Fitzgerald explains this very clearly indeed and any refutation of this must deal with his full analysis. The BBC is correct in that this is a useless war, but for entirely the wrong reasons. Even their stopped clock is right twice a day.


  11. david c says:

    in no way do i wish to rubbish the effort, and sometimes the terrible price paid, by our military in iraq and afganistan but no member of the services at any level is going to be other than upbeat as to the outcome particularly when interviewed by any of the news media.

    dunkirk – senior officer to others around him with shells,bullets etc flying about ‘don’t want to appear defeatest but finding difficult to convince myself things going entirely in our favour’


  12. Nachman says:

    I listened to the Humphreys report this morning and thanked heaven that there were not people like him around in WWII. Can you imagine the day after the D-day landings “Well General Montgomery can you tell the families of those who sacrificed their lives on the beaches that it was not in vain”. The BBC it seems in the guise of Humphreys has no compunction in rubbishing the sacrifice of brave soldiers who were after all sent on our behalf to support a civilian population against the tyranny of terrorism which followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein. In Humphreys world view if wars have to be fought but someone gets killed then it was not worth fighting – Hitler would have loved him. As I said thank heavens he was not around with his defeatist attitude in WWII. The fact is the BBC has progressed with its solidly negative reporting for so long that even I found myself doubting the upbeat comments of the interviewee which the evidence shows is not misplaced. Such is the bias the BBC broadcasts.


  13. Martin says:

    Anonymous: You shouldn’t laugh about that. Wen I served in the RAF BBC reporters were NOT welcome and it did at times concern Officers as to what might happen if some beeboid turned up!!


  14. Steve E. says:

    ‘All the local people I’ve talked to over the past few days say the same: life is getting back to normal. But what’s normal?’

    Humphrys “reports”


  15. Joel says:

    The interviewer asks the interviewee questions. That’s how an interview works. The the interviewee answers.

    All very starightfoward.


  16. Joel says:

    Even thogh I clearly can’t type for shit.


  17. ThinAndBritish says:


    Have you stopped beating up your wife yet?

    No don’t sue me I’m not alleging anything. But it’s quite a good example of a loaded question 😉


  18. David Preiser (USA) says:


    Regarding the article you link to as your “Homepage” – how come the BBC will quote Chief Inspector Yates when he refers to “the recent terrorist incident in Fermanagh,” yet they will edit the “T” word from an Israeli policeman’s statement, and BBC reporters will correct themselves on air when referring to similar attacks against Israelis?

    Or is this just part of the BBC narrative that we must all now look to Northern Ireland for moral guidance?


  19. ThinAndBritish says:

    Or another, OT, loaded question example I can’t resist, just to make my 2p’s worth:

    “How concerned are you about dangerous anthropogenic climate change?”


  20. Hugh says:

    Joel: The interviewer asks the interviewee questions. That’s how an interview works. The the interviewee answers.

    All very starightfoward.

    Really? So no difference then between Paxman and Frost or the GMTV couch. Or are you in fact arguing that no interview can be biased because it’s just asking questions?


  21. RR says:

    How about

    “What happened to make you Islamophobic?”


  22. Jack Bauer says:

    Sir Humphrys flies into the war zone to interview the pleb troops.


  23. douzens says:

    John Humphreys’ interview was interesting and measured I thought! I thought the most telling remark BUT NOT pursued by JH was the remark following enquiry “when will we know time to go?” General says “a long term bilateral arrangement between Iraqi and British….”. Iraq has a worrying pattern: 1) Invade; 2)Occupy; 3)improve security and set up puppet governence; 4)resistance slowly builds against long term presence and here we go again! Ask the Russians!


  24. TPO says:

    Wen I served in the RAF BBC reporters were NOT welcome …….
    Martin | 09.07.08 – 2:20 pm | #

    When and where.
    I was mostly at Odiham 1965-1970 with spells with the UN in Cyprus.


  25. David Preiser (USA) says:

    douzens | 09.07.08 – 5:39 pm |

    Iraq has a worrying pattern: 1) Invade; 2)Occupy; 3)improve security and set up puppet governence; 4)resistance slowly builds against long term presence and here we go again! Ask the Russians!

    But don’t ask the Japanese or the Germans.


  26. Martin says:

    TPO: During and after the Falklands war (Harriers). Also BBC reporting in Gulf war 1. Many of my mates who got sent out to the gulf were very unimpressed with BBC reporters.


  27. Fleur says:

    Actually…the Iraq war is NOT that unpopular with the public since things have considerably cooled off there. No, it’s Afghanistan, and in particular Helmund, where it all looks so hopeless and worthless. But that place is REALLY dangerous which is why the BBC chose the softer target of Basra. It’s THAT blatant.


  28. banjo says:

    As an antidote to the bbc policy of condemnation by the faintest of praise regarding british forces,i decided to watch Tour of Duty presented by Andy McNab on ITV4,excellent prog,has american heroes too.
    A far cry from beebs attitude which only seems to notice our forces when they`re dead,dying,royal or under investigation.


  29. Martin says:

    Fleur: Actually there are many “libersls” outside of the BBC that support the war in Afghanistan. Yasmin Alabi Brown being one.

    So the BBC likes to concentrate on the Boosh/Blair two cheeks of the same backside Iraq war.


  30. Tim says:

    Globally the coolest June for 12 years

    2 million sq kms more ice at the poles since same time last year.

    How much longer can the BBC keep up the bare faced lies on Global Warming?


  31. Tim says:

    Wrong thread sorry!


  32. Terry Johnson says:

    Any war against islamofascists will be the WRONG war for Al-BBC. Humphreys is just an old Leftist dinosaur who should be presenting Jihad snuff movies on Al-Jaazera.


  33. TPO says:

    Martin – Sorry, I meant where were you in the RAF, apart from the Gulf & Falklands. Waddington perhaps?
    When I left in 1970 I was a contractor in the Oman till 1972. Not Only were the BBC not welcome there, They weren’t let into the country.

    On other things:

    Knife crime ‘much worse’ in last five years, 80 per cent of police officers say

    Its findings are in stark contrast with the British Crime Survey, which states that the level of knife crime has remained stable in recent years.
    However, those figures are misleading and bear no relation to what is being experienced by people and police forces across the UK, according to think-tank Policy Exchange, which published the new report.
    Jonathan McClory, one of the report’s authors, said: “We polled 1,200 police constables and they’ve all said that gun and knife crime is much worse than official statistics are saying.

    Unlikely that the BBC will cover this and if they do they will most likely try to rubbish it.
    I mean the police on the ground actually knowing what the true situation is doesn’t fit in with Labour’s preferred option, gauging crime by an opinion poll.


  34. Chuffer says:

    “I listened to the Humphreys report this morning and thanked heaven that there were not people like him around in WWII. Can you imagine the day after the D-day landings “Well General Montgomery can you tell the families of those who sacrificed their lives on the beaches that it was not in vain”. ”

    See this:


  35. Martin says:

    TPO: I was based at Wittering for the most part along with various “deployments” to places like the Falklands, middle east Cyprus etc etc.


  36. archduke says:

    i too heard that interview this morning – and i note ZERO MENTION of the Americans who came in to command and control the Iraqi forces to retake Basra…

    google it if you dont believe me.


  37. archduke says:

    also, if you google around , you’ll find that Basra re-taking was equisively an Iraqi/American joint operation – with the Americans utterly exasperated with the British forces and how they fucked it up.. despite the surge happening elsewhere.

    No fault of the British forces themselves – they are fine fighting men – just that their command is woeful – which is , in my view, a crystal clear reflection of the “dithering” of Gordon Brown.


  38. archduke says:

    “Jack | 09.07.08 – 1:37 pm”

    jack – sad as it is, i must admit that i tend to agree with you.

    on the other hand, the jury is still out, and we can only hope that Iraq turns into a Middle East powerhouse. much as Japan did in the far east after WW2.

    but to be honest, my hope is tainted by a severely heavy dose of pessimism. The retrograde nature of Islam will severely hamper any Iraqi progress…


  39. archduke says:

    “banjo | 09.07.08 – 6:38 pm ”

    i agree – have been watching that too – Andy McNab’s series on ITV4…

    seriously well worth watching folks.


  40. archduke says:

    further to my comments above about Japan – i find parallels to the current Iraqi situation, which the BBC never reports on.

    Japan only recovered when it became clear to them that the Bushido death cult strain of Shinto was a dead end – literally. It led to the nuke bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Iraq has reached a similar stage – namely the Al Anwar rebellion *against* Al Qaeda forces. Iraqis in that sorry province got a taste of Al Q deathcult rule for over 6 months. And they rebelled against it.

    Funny how the BBC has barely reported on a genuine and REAL iraqi national rebellion…


  41. Martin says:

    archduke: Agreed. The British “management” of Basra was a failure. They took a soft approach which in the early years after the invasion had more success than the Americans in the north.

    However, once Iran started stiring it up and the south got infiltrated by the extremists the British army started to lose contol. Combine that with Blair/Broon running the forces down in Basra (two try to cut the deaths and send more troops to Afghanistan) the Brits just lost it there.


  42. will says:

    Newsnight had Seymour Hersh guesting. He reports that US special forces are inside Iran & appears to link that with the bombing of mosques in the country. Paxman doesn’t consider it necessary to ask Hersh what the US would gain by such actions.


  43. Jack Hughes says:

    The funniest example I remember of poor reporting of military matters was this exchange between a very telegenic lady reporter and a tank officer.

    The piece was about depleted uranium (DU) armour-piercing shells / rockets.

    Beeber: But aren’t they … dangerous ?

    Officer: Yes – they can ruin your day


  44. mailman says:

    The only people who could have saved Iraq was the Americans. Love them or hate them, they at least had the political and military will to make the surge work.

    I remember all the pompus reporting going on when the Black Watch was moved north to support the americans and how they wouldnt wear helmets incase they alienated the locals. That lasted all of 5 minutes when the first suicude car bomb went off killing a couple soldiers.

    Britain had it easy in the South yet still managed to lose there.



  45. ex-techie says:

    TPO | 09.07.08 – 7:48 pm

    I was a contractor in the Oman till 1972. Not Only were the BBC not welcome there, They weren’t let into the country.

    Actually the BBC had a transmitter + tech unit based at Masirah.


  46. TPO says:

    Actually the BBC had a transmitter + tech unit based at Masirah.
    ex-techie | 10.07.08 – 12:19 pm |

    Yes I saw it when I flew into RAF Masirah in a SOAF Strikemaster, still half-pissed to fix another SOAF Strikemaster.
    I never gave it a thought at the time why the BBC would have so many arials on a poxy little island in the Arabian Gulf.
    Many years later, in a different role, I found out exactly what the arials were for.
    The BBC had a small relay station there for their transmissions in Urdu etc. No journalists, I suspect that the maintenance of the relay station was done by people from the other organisation.
    The point was that the BBC certainly were not welcome in the Dohfar region or up at Muscat and were never invited whilst I was there.
    The only journos invited were from the Telegraph and from Flight International, and they were tightly chaparoned.


  47. Bryan says:

    There was a fine example of the BBC’s disdainful, knee-jerk, ignorant approach to anyone wearing the uniform of the armed forces of a Western country when a hack interviewed the commander of an American ship which which was the first to arrive to assist Indonesians after the tsunami.

    “But what help can you possibly provide that could make a difference,” bleated the hack.

    The commander patiently explained that the ship had its own desalination plant and could provide a continual flow of clean water to the stricken region.

    One disappointed little hack retreated into his lefty cocoon and went on his way. Nothing to bash America with here, and therefore no story.