Friday, October 01, 2004

BBC runs anti-US story, using terrorist lawyer as sole source

The BBC continues its journalistic descent, this time with a story alleging that American military personnel tortured a British Muslim militant captured in Afghanistan and now in custody at the US Navy facility in Guantanamo, Cuba.

A lawyer for the suspected terrorist, Clive Stafford-Smith, says that the Americans "tortured" Moazzam Begg, citing a letter Begg sent home from Guantanamo.

However, a look at the letter shows that Begg offered no evidence to support his claim. In his letter, Begg complains the Americans put him in solitary confinement, made him take off his clothes, called him names and hurt his feelings.

A BBC-TV editor called this writer for comment when the story broke on October 1. This writer cautioned the editor not to fall for what appears to be a politically motivated, possibly phony story, and that the BBC risks falling into the same trap as the Daily Mirror tabloid last spring, which ran sensationalist photos of British troops abusing an Iraqi man - photos quickly exposed as forgeries.

This writer also informed the BBC that Stafford-Smith has a history of working with terrorist support groups in the United States, particularly the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights which has specialized in supporting political extremists, terrorists and spies since it was founded nearly 40 years ago.


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