Thursday 30 May 2013

Camp Bastion (Update)

The answer to the question raised in the last post, 'Did the BBC obtain those legal documents from the lawyers campaigning on behalf of the detainees at Camp Bastion?', is 'yes'. 

The BBC News website may have been coy about how the documents came to be seen by the BBC, but Evan Davis on Today wasn't. 

His introduction to an interview with the BBC's Clive Coleman at 6.30am was perfectly open about it, and the way he framed the story at this point - complete with its assertion of a comparison with Guantanamo - seems to reinforce my concern that the BBC risks being seen to have acted as a tool and and mouthpiece for those campaigning lawyers:
Well, why might British forces hold up to 85 Afghan nationals in a holding facility at Camp Bastion, the main base in Afghanistan? It looks like a mini Guantanamo. 

The obtained documents are from UK lawyers, who are representing some of those who say they are being detained. 
Plus, it certainly isn't a BBC scoop to have been given those documents by lawyers, as part of their campaign on behalf of the Afghan detainees - contrary to the impression given by the BBC News website's tight-lipped account of the story. 

The story was carried on all four of Radio 4's current affairs programmes - Today, The World at One, PM and The World Tonight.

Phil Shiner and Richard Stein - the two most prominent lawyers involved in the case - must have been delighted by this wall-to-wall coverage from the BBC.

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