Make The BBC Call Torture Torture

In this article –CIA ‘amnesty’ dismays campaigners– the BBC adopt various euphemism for torture, they do not call it torture. I would ask you to complain via this online form and request they use the correct language. This is what I wrote:-
Re: CIA ‘amnesty’ dismays campaigners http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8004319.stm
In this article the reporter chooses not to refer to the techniques used as torture. This is not balance, by any objective assessment of the techniques and by the legal definition as well as basic dictionary definitions the techniques were torture. To not call it that is to be biased towards the Whitehouse’s preferred language. The practices were torture, only the administration’s lawyers and officials argue they are not and as this news is worldwide the opinion of a small number of people from one country -people who were intimately involved in the process and therefore have an incentive to obscure the facts through misuse of language-  should not dictate the BBC’s terminology. Any euphemisms should be put in quotes, the BBC’s language should reflect the legal and universal definitions of torture, therefore the BBC should call it torture. A failure to do so is to propagate a corrupt linguistic meme that has political objectives.

Posted in BBC. Tags: , . 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Make The BBC Call Torture Torture”

  1. Jotman Says:

    Great point well made in your letter to the BBC.

  2. wyamarus Says:

    The sheer level of sycophancy in this by the BBC is staggering. Don’t know what gets me the angriest. The moral, ethical, linguistic, and intellectual hypocrisy individually are enough to deserve a public apology from the Beeb; but collectively it makes me mad enough to spit. They have just gone to Hell thoroughly since NuLabour sacked the real journalists after the Downing Street Memo was made public. The last half-decent newspaper in the US for accuracy in reporting was “the Christian Science Monitor”, which effectively folded it’s tent during the reign of Bush I. Most of the good, small, local papers have disappeared due to lack of advertising and the ‘political’ nature of real investigative journalism offending their advertisers. The big papers have all been gobbled up by NeoFascist flacks and conglomerates like “Lord” Murdoch and Clear Channel. Most of the people here don’t even know the meaning or value of a “free” press as the ‘Fourth Estate”…Sad.

    • RickB Says:

      Yes it is, I think the post Hutton era has been one of silencing of dissent and cosying up to power. Which is infuriating because it’s one organisation that if done right can be different to that dynamic in all the corporate press. And language is important, if we let this slide then routine police interrogation will encompass torture because the language excuses it, it’s part of the process of normalising atrocity.

  3. ralfast Says:

    CNN is playing a similar game all in the name of “objectivity”, say “on the one hand…. but on the other”. And so evil get’s whitewashed in the gray of “maybes”, “could be”, and “some say”.

    It is sickening to say the least, and there is no ifs about that.

    • RickB Says:

      Yes it’s gone beyond having differing sides, they have adopted one partisan’s side definition. Like calling a genocide ‘The Final Solution’.

  4. opit Says:

    I just ran across a similar description of press coverage to an assembled gathering of ‘journalists’ from one of the honoured – in 1880. Gak !
    Waterboarding is not ‘simulated’ drowning any more than torture is interrogation. One has to be careful not to miss the prevaracation ‘two-fer’.

  5. libhomo Says:

    I’m delighted to see the call to action. Us bloggers have readerships, and it’s our responsibility to try to encourage them to act. Here’s what I wrote:

    This article refers to waterboarding and sleep deprivation as “interrogation techniques,” not torture. This is misleading because they are recognized as torture under international law. It also is deceptive because torture is widely known among criminal prosecutors and the intelligence community for being useless as an “interrogation technique.”

    • RickB Says:

      That’s fantastic you wrote and very succinctly put, mine was a done with haste and anger, (I will post the expected bullshit reply, than figure out the next way to change this lie).

  6. opit Says:

    Iwas thinking we posted the same idea, Libhomo, and still noticed a subtle difference.
    Further to your note, confessions obtained through torture are not admissable in court. There must be historical references of interest to that.
    Re: waterboarding as actual, not simulated, drowning, I got that from a medical researcher/instructor/blogger Blue Girl Red State. commonly found at ‘They Gave Us a Republic’ on Soapblox.


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