Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BBC accused of broadcasting "lies"

Source: Press TV

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been deplored for spreading lies over its claims that the NATO was conducting “precision bombing” in Libya.

Campaigners attending the annual conference of Stop the War Coalition, including anti-poverty charity War on Want, slammed the BBC on Saturday for claiming that the Western military alliance's invasion of Libya will protect civilians, because they are using modern military technology to avoid civilians' deaths.

War on Want executive director John Hillary lashed out at the broadcaster for giving coverage to NATO airstrikes, particularly attacks by US-made remote-controlled Predator drones, against Libyan people since late April.

A BBC correspondent had written in March that the “NATO coalition were "plainly making big efforts to avoid killing civilians”.

"The old myth of pinpoint precision bombing has become much more of a reality", said BBC correspondent John Simpson.

"Drones can hit military targets more easily in urban areas, minimising the risk of civilian casualties," wrote another unnamed reporter.

But, John Hillary dismissed claims of increased precision as sheer “lies”, because the use of drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan is an explicit example of indiscriminate killings.

A study carried out by western military experts David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum in 2009 consolidated the fact that of the more than 700 people killed in Pakistan by drone attacks that year, only 14 were known al-Qaeda operatives and the rest were civilians.

The War on Want executive director described drones as indiscriminate weapons, the use of which violates international law.

“…yet the BBC with absolutely no backing or justification feels happy to go out and say these are precise bombing instruments", said Hillary.

"We have to stand up and say enough with these lies from the BBC.

"This is not precision bombing - this is indiscriminate bombing with massive civilian casualties," he added.

The use of drone missiles has also been described by the UN's special rapporteur on extra judicial killings Philip Alston as a crime against humanity.

The New America Foundation, a right-wing body that monitors drone attacks, has reported that at least 2,431 people have been killed by drone bombings in Pakistan since 2004.

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