Biased BBC reader Clifford provides his first contribution…

“The news reports onRadio 4 (the only BBC source I’ve used about this) since yesterday (11 October2011) evening have carried the story of the deal to release Gilad Shalit, anIsraeli soldier, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. All the reportsI have heard have used the word ‘captured’ to describe how Shalit came to beheld in Gaza by a Palestinian militant group, which is possibly not entirelyunder the control of Hamas, though for years Hamas has made no real effort tocontrol it.

To ‘capture’ means to seize someone who is meant to be in legal custody in thenational territory concerned. The normal word for taking someone, including asoldier, against his will across an internationally recognised border, as theborder prevailing between Israel and Gaza is, when he was on his own side ofthat border, as Shalit was at the time (2006), is ‘kidnapping’. However, thatdistinction is either too complicated and subtle for BBC journalists or, inview of the BBC’s record in such matters, the failure to observe thatdistinction is a calculated attempt to present the kidnapping of Shalit by aparamilitary Palestinian group as legitimate. This was either linguisticincompetence or (as I suspect) biased reporting — the BBC is capable of usingthe word ‘kidnapped’ when it wants, as in its reporting on Afghanistan.”

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20 Responses to CAPTURED?

  1. Mailman says:

    To use the word kidnap woud lend credibility to Israels ongoing operations to protect its citizens. 

    To use the word captured lends credibility to the Palestinian war against the non-state (to the BBC) of Israel.

    Its no surprise.



  2. cjhartnett says:

    Well spotted sir!
    Funny how you get so used to the selected use of words by the BBC that sometimes it`s not noted just how slyly biased that they are!
    You and Yours was a case in point…some guff about product placement…Winifred Robinson said that the BBC aren`t allowed to do it, so they don`t!
    It`s as if Berghaus jackets weren`t all over their outdoor correspondents!
    Newnight last night gave us a hatchet job on Dacre and Rupert…for balance they chose Steve Coogan no less…as well as …er Louise Bagshawe/Mensch.
    She`s a Tory innit?…so that`s balance as the BBC apply it!
    I`m presuming that Hugh Grant was unavailable to balance the piece still further!
    Still…Paxo surely won`t be having that clear scriptural Baptist on again. He was meant to be the fundie bigot, but instead gave the clear scriptural gospel of repentence no less…two or three times too!
    Apoplexy and scratching of bone heads followed I`d imagine!


  3. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Even Fox News uses the term “captured”. I understand the reason why people want him to be described as “kidnapped”, but he’s a soldier and not a civilian, and was grabbed as part of a war.  Soldiers are captured, whether their in their own territory or behind enemy lines, I think.

    Certainly it should be pointed out where Cpl. Shalit was when he was grabbed, if Hamas (or their colleagues) invaded Israel to do it or whatever.


    • Henry Wood says:

      Well, let’s take a look at this argument …

      If, during the times of “The Troubles”, any one of the Republican insurgent forces in Northern Ireland had abducted a British soldier, say from his Army lookout post, surely it would have been reported as a kidnapping and most definitely not a “capture”?

      To broaden the argument, David, I see you are writing from the USA: now, you must allow me to be hypothetical here, but suppose the US had troops along the border with Mexico in an attempt to stop drug-trafficking, gun smuggling etc., and one of those troops were to be kidnapped ON US SOIL, then carried across the border to an enclave under the control of a gang of bandits, bandits which the US and other world governments class as terrorists or a gangster organisation – in other words an armed gang just like Hamas – would you or any US citizen would be happy in describing that US soldier’s kidnapping as a “capture”?


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        I understand where you’re coming from, Henry, but speculating about an NI hypothetical doesn’t prove anything.  In your Mexican gang scenario, I wouldn’t say “captured”, as the Mexican drug gangs are citizens (assuming for now that it’s not corrupt Mexican police doing it). So they would “kidnap”.  Whereas as I view Hamas as being a political/military entity at was with Israel, so “captured”. 


        • Henry Wood says:

          Hi David, I wasn’t really looking to “prove” anything, just gazing around me and wondering why the English language has changed so much since I was first taught about it well over 60 years ago. 😀
          On your last point, yes Hamas is a political/military entity at war with Israel. For Hamas to cross into Israel and kidnap a soldier *IS* a kidnapping, it is *NOT* a capture. Captures happen on the field of combat. Kidnapping happens outside of military actions, just as Israeli troops crossing borders and “capturing” terrorists are actually kidnapping them.


          • David Preiser (USA) says:

            If a covert team sneaks across enemy lines to grab a member of the opposing force, that’s still a capture in my book.  It’s the context of the act, not the location, I’d say.

            Still, when all media is using this term, there’s no point in bashing the BBC about it, as that will be their defense anyway.


  4. Grant says:

    The BBC will go out of its way to avoid the word ” kidnapped ”  when it suits the Beeboids.
    People taken by Somali gangsters are “seized”  or , at the very worst “abducted” .
    The BBC have no humane concern about the people victimised. So long as the Beeboids can make their pathetic, juvenile , political points out of their enemies’ misery, they are happy.   


  5. hippiepooter says:

    R5L was using the term ‘kidnapped’.   
    Still, was Eichmann ‘captured’ in Argentina by Israel or ‘kidnapped’?   
    I think we can broaden out Clifford’s premise.   
    When Israel capture a Palestianian terrorist, it’s because they’re a Palestinian terrorist.  They dont ‘capture’ Palestinians for being Palestinians.   
    Gilad Shalit was ‘captured’ for being an Israeli, to extort the release of Palestinian terrorists.  It was a kidnapping.   
    I will never forget Shalit displayed and humillated before a baying Hamas mob in Gaza the other year.   
    These people really are scum.  No wonder Radio 4 does their propaganda for them.


  6. Biodegradable says:

    The BBC really does have Israel on the brain!

    This just dropped into my mail box:

    Subject: Strauss-Kahn sex case dropped
    From: BBC Breaking News Alert <>
    To: Biodegradable
    Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 17:05:41 +0100 (BST)

    Israel has


    • My Site (click to edit) says:


      How on earth does the subject heading kick off this way?


      • Biodegradable says:

        That’s the entire message. I haven’t received any other News Alert either previously or since regarding Israel. Neither have I received anything covering the Strauss-Kahn story.

        I’m bewildered too.


  7. Henry Wood says:

    Another point for the BBC to consider …

    Shalit *CANNOT* be classed as a “captured” soldier as his captors have not followed the usual customs of war accorded to POWs. The truly biased BBC should be asking, “Why is this ‘captured’ soldier not being treated as a ‘captured’ soldier?” It would never cross their tiny biased minds to ask such a question, simply because:

    A. Shalit is an Israeli so rules do not apply to him.

    B. Shalit is a Jew – see point A.

    I know all this because my Mossad friend recorded the following meetings in Broadcasting House:

    “OK, editors, end of editorial meeting. Let’s have no more nonsensical talk of Israelis being real soldiers and entitled to anything under the rules and laws of war, right?” [general consensus from attendess]

    “Oh, by the way, have any of you picked up information as to which civilian army Palestinian soldiers will be released from Irsaeli jails in exchange for the Israeli professionally trained killer of women and children? Do we have plenty crew ready on the gorund to interview them as they are gloriously welcomed back home?” [hubbub of claims of readiness from “reporters” including al bowen]

    “FINALLY, *NO PICS OR VIDS* of crying Jews when Shalid reaches home. NO INTERVIEWS EITHER!” [much affirmative shaking of heads from attendees]

    Meeting breaks for Turkish coffee.


    • Demon1001 says:

      Of course when these 1000 Pallis are returned the BBC will glorify in the cheering crowds of lovely peaceful citizens shouting “Death to the Jews, Destroy Israel etc.” 

      If they actually show Shalid’s return, the BBC will “remind” us how many Palestinians are still languishing in Israeli prisons and how many were killed (the over-inflated figures that also include ones killed by their own Palestinian brothers) and that Israel is still building settlements.  Nothing positive towards Israel will be heard on the BBC unless it’s countered by many other voices.


      • Biodegradable says:

        What the BBC won’t do is tell its audience why those Palestinians were condemned to prison sentences.

        It’s as if those evil Jews/Israelis just imprison innocent Arabs for the fun of it.


  8. sue says:

    There is no moral equivalence between hostage-taking by Hamas and the imprisonment of terrorists, convicted by due process, i.e. a proper trial in a court of law. The BBC should stop making that mistake now.

    The insoluble dilemma is whether the deal involving the exchange of 1000 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit is ultimately good or bad.

    Is it a victory for Hamas, as many people believe, or a victory for the Palestinians as a whole, as Sarah Montague said yesterday? Or is it a win win for Israel, as ‘Elder of Ziyon’ suggested in one of his thoughtful  web posts, where the arguments for and against are thoroughly examined in over two hundred comments.

    Wider political considerations will undoubtedly have influenced the Israeli government’s decision to make a deal now, one which they had previously rejected. Until now Netanyahu was staunchly against.  In his book about fighting terrorism he said that releasing terrorists in a prisoner exchange was “a mistake that Israel made over and over again” and that refusing to release terrorists from prison was “among the most important policies that must be adopted in the face of terrorism.”

    After the PA bid for statehood, from which the duplicitous Mahmoud Abbas gained popularity at the expense of Hamas, this deal hands back considerable propaganda points to Hamas, reversing the PA’s gains in the Palestinian popularity stakes, and weakening the already shaky position of Abbas.

    The immediate dilemma is so tough. On the one hand there’s the plight of Gilad Shalit himself, incarcerated and for five years, denied access to the Red Cross, his hiding place reputedly surrounded by mines.
    Prioritising his release  (albeit belatedly) sends out a heartening message to future IDF recruits and the world, that his life is highly valued.
    The gloating taunts of the malicious, mocking video his captors flaunted, the prospect of the triumphalism at the release of terrorist heroes and heroines, the inevitable public parading and celebrations with which they welcome released prisoners – these things  amplify the case against capitulating, but at the same time their heartlessness and lack of humanity reminds us of the hopelessness of not doing so.

    The feelings of the families of the victims is a compelling argument against, but nothing can bring  back the dead, and allowing Gilad his freedom doesn’t necessarily belittle their sacrifice. Many of these terrorist monsters will attempt to strike again, apparently the re-offending rate is as high as 60%, but, as Elder argues, there seems to be no shortage of prospective martyrs as it is. From bitter experience Israel is ever more proficient at protecting itself, and with no hostage in Gaza there will be nothing to restrict future retaliations.

    Personally I don’t think the logical case has been made for the deal, but the emotional one has.

    The BBC reports solely from the Palestinian perspective, and for them it represents  impartiality. It will take something extraordinary to shift this.


  9. TooTrue says:

    Interesting debate. If Hamas were a country at war with Israel then it would be fair to say that Gilad Shalit was captured in, from Hamas’ popint of view, enemy territory. Since Hamas is a terrorist group operating out of a terrorist enclave, the picture is not that clear.  
    But as Sue suggests, the point is moot anyway.  
    I’m not convinced the BBC will follow usual anti-Israel practice in its coverage of Gilad’s release. For one thing, the BBC is delighted by this major and painful concession made by the Israelis and the boost to Hamas in terms of popularity. For another, it’s a big story, representing movement at last as opposed to the stalemate and I don’t think the BBC wants to be seen to be minimising it. There also just might be a hint of BBC sympathy for Gilad and his family behind this, not least because his family fought so hard all these years against the status quo.  
    Anyone who goes against the Israeli government, for whatever reason, has to gain some credit in BBC eyes.


    • Grant says:

      I was going to post something similar. If Israel is at war with Hamas , why doesn’t Israel just invade and finish the job ? 
      But, also, how can Hamas be at war with a country whose existence they do not acknowledge  ?
      You are right, Hamas is a terrorist organisation and not a State, so this is not war.
      Shalit was kidnapped , not “captured”.  The ransom for the kidnap is 1000  Palestinian terrorists. 


  10. kevin martin says:

    Israel has been very busy preparing for anouther war which will be on all fronts…..Shalits freedom means gloves off.