David Vance at Biased BBC posted early this morning about his sense that the "BBC [was] limbering up for a new bout of blackening the reputation of the British military today, ahead of the publication of the Al Sweady Inquiry report. I heard a BBC journalist intone this morning that on some occasions Iraqi combatants were…..gasp…SHOUTED at. Oh the horror".
Well, the five-year Al-Sweady Inquiry - a £31 million public inquiry - finally found today that the claims that British troops murdered, mutilated and tortured Iraqi detainees are “wholly and entirely without merit or justification” and the result of “deliberate and calculated lies” from Iraqi witnesses and detainees driven by a desire to smear the British military.
In line with David Vance's expectations of their expectations, the BBC appears to have been completely caught off guard by this judgement - as if they were already prepared with 'the headline and the story' before the report had even been published.
Al-Sweady Inquiry: UK soldiers 'mistreated detainees'Second version
2014-12-17 11:05:03 UTC
British soldiers mistreated nine Iraqi detainees after a 2004 battle, a public inquiry into alleged abuse has ruled.
Al-Sweady Inquiry: UK soldiers 'mistreated detainees'Third version
2014-12-17 11:35:34 UTC (31 minutes later)
British soldiers mistreated nine Iraqi detainees after a 2004 battle but allegations of murder were "deliberate lies", a public inquiry has ruled.
Al-Sweady Inquiry: UK army murder claims 'deliberate lies'As someone tweeted this morning:
2014-12-17 12:10:06 UTC (35 minutes later)
Allegations of murder and torture made against British soldiers by Iraqi detainees were "deliberate lies", a public inquiry has ruled.
@SkyNews @BBCNews Who is correct; or is this BBC bias? pic.twitter.com/4b7OEcAnyb
— Mark Robey (@Onlyfreename) December 17, 2014
Well, the answers to Mark's questions are: (a) Sky News; and (b) quite probably.
Update 18/12: A similar change occurred between The World at One and PM on Radio 4 on Wednesday afternoon.
An inquiry has found that British troops in Iraq mistreated detainees after a battle ten years ago, but it described allegations that soldiers were guilty of murder and torture as "deliberate lies".
After 5 years and more than £25 million, an inquiry finds that claims that British soldiers tortured and murdered Iraqis were "deliberate lies": "This was, in fact, a shameful attempt to use our legal system to attack and falsely impugn our armed forces."