Richard Littlejohn on torture

This is part two of ‘Richard Littlejohn: The cloaca series


It is vitally important to understand that Richard Littlejohn does not condone torture, but that he does condone torture whenever he writes about it.

I’ve described the Daily Mail writer / reader’s use of the word ‘but’ as essentially an admission that they are about to write something that contradicts the first part of the sentence that has gone before it. For example, the old line ‘I’m not racist, but most crime is committed by black men’ is a typical example of pre-empting an accusation by stating that you are not guilty of something you know you are about to be accused of.

In today’s column Richard Littlejohn uses this exact technique in textbook fashion when he talks about the use of torture on people suspected of being connected to terrorist activities:

I’m not condoning torture, but it would be naive to pretend that it doesn’t exist in less scrupulous parts of the world…

The problem I have with this statement is that his argument is that torture happens, therefore we should accept it and use it when it suits us. Let’s try using the argument with another kind of crime, rape for example:

I’m not condoning rape, but it would be naive to pretend that it doesn’t happen in less scrupulous parts of the world…

You are either against something or for it. You cannot be against torture if you then accept that it happens in other countries and that we therefore ‘can’t discount vital intelligence simply because it hasn’t been gleaned under the Queensberry Rules’. Littlejohn’s argument for the use of torture is always the same: whatever it takes to get results is justified when it comes to ‘terrorists’. Yet what results has torture actually achieved? Littlejohn always argues that those suspected of terrorism are guilty because of where they were ‘picked up’ (he used the exact same argument to suggest that Binyam Mohamed is guilty):

They were arrested variously in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa  –  on the battlefield, in Al Qaeda training camps and safe houses, or trying to board planes with fake documents.

This is what Littlejohn lists – and all that he lists – to support his argument that: ‘There seems to be convincing evidence of their involvement in terrorist activity’. Which is complete rubbish, it is precisely because torture has failed to procure any evidence – convincing or otherwise – that these men are eventually being released, many of them after spending several years in ‘detention camps’  – a useful euphemism designed to make us think of naughty schoolchildren passing an hour idly staring out of a window after school, rather than adults locked up for years in a constant ritual of sensory deprivation and other forms of torture. If all these years of torture and detention have left columnists like Littlejohn with no other evidence than the locations where they were originally ‘picked up’ then I would be arguing that not only is torture completely barbaric and amoral, it is also a complete waste of time.

Probably the worst part about Littlejohn claiming that he does not condone torture is not just the fact that he clearly attempts to condone torture for the next few paragraphs of this article, but the fact that he has told us in the past exactly what he thinks about torture: ‘How should we grill terrorists – with a cuddle and a cup of tea?‘. Here he makes it clear in the very first paragraph what he thinks of brown people who allege that they have been tortured with the implicit collusion of the British government:

Maybe I’m in a minority of one here, but I still don’t understand the fuss over Binyam Mohamed.

And he argues that the British should be using torture:

British intelligence officers are accused of colluding in his alleged torture on the basis of supplying a few pertinent questions to his interrogators about what he got up to while he was living here.

That’s their job, for heaven’s sake. They would be failing in their duty if they didn’t make every attempt to glean information from suspected terrorists who want to do us harm.

No one is actually accusing any British officer of physically torturing him, merely of turning a blind eye. There is a legitimate debate as to whether he was tortured at all, in the true sense of the word.

Condoning torture does not get much clearer than that – especially his sinister suggestion that what is accused of having taken place might not be ‘real’ torture. This becomes ever more callous when Littlejohn then goes on to  list the treatment he suggest might not really be torture:

While at Gitmo, he was shackled and deprived of sleep – practices approved at the time by the White House. He is also said to have suffered severe mental stress over threats that he would be removed from U.S. custody and transferred to a more cruel regime.

OK, so the Americans put the frighteners on him, but if they hadn’t cared less whether he lived or died, they wouldn’t have had him on suicide watch.

His treatment wasn’t pretty, but it has to be put in context of the 3,000 people killed in the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

As to his claims to have suffered genital mutilation while in CIA custody in Morocco, there has never been any firm evidence produced.

Littlejohn is happy to suggest that the torture might not have happened because of the lack of ‘any firm evidence’ yet he is happy to condemn as guilty those suspected of terrorism on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. Richard Littlejohn condones, justifies and makes feeble excuses for the use of torture although – as his columns unintentionally make clear – no useful evidence seems to be procured through the use of torture.

The two columns have another link, equally as unpleasant, and it goes like this: ‘OK, so we torture people, it’s not like they’re even British anyway!’. In the case of Binyam Mohamed he argues:

Why did the Government go to such lengths to secure his release from Guantanamo Bay and then charter a private jet to fly him ‘home’ to Britain?

For the umpteenth time, he’s not British. He’s not even a British ‘resident’…

Frankly, he is not our responsibility. We owe him nothing. Why would anyone in their right mind want him back?

In his latest column he makes much the same argument, but in even more extraordinary terms:

we bend over backwards to give succour to our enemies. Only a couple of these men can be described as ‘British’ by any stretch of the imagination.

They are mostly foreign nationals, granted permission to live in Britain, who voluntarily chose to move abroad.

The argument seems at worst to be implying that anyone foreign is our ‘enemy’ and at best to be arguing that as they are not – in Littlejohn’s eyes – technically British they do not deserve our concern or protection from torture. You could argue that the only technicality that makes them not British in Littlejohn’s eyes is their skin colour or religion.

Richard Littlejohn condones the torture of people racially or ethnically different to himself. His calculated ‘but’ is a complete shambles and is contradicted not by the paragraphs that follow in the same column, but also by the attitudes and columns that have come and gone before it. He condones torture not necessarily because he has the stomach for human suffering, but because he does not view people racially different from him as human beings. This is why he goes to such lengths to argue that the people being tortured are not really British (even when they clearly have British passports) and why he can dismiss the 1994 genocide in Rwanda with the question:  ‘Does anyone really give a monkey’s about what happens in Rwanda? If the Mbongo tribe wants to wipe out the Mbingo tribe then as far as I am concerned that is entirely a matter for them’.

Richard Littlejohn is a cloaca, this cannot ever be stated enough.


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The Daily Mail Distortion of Terrance Gavan

I’ve just finished reading Nick Davies Flat Earth news and it is a brilliant book that ends with a chapter on the Daily Mail that I really wish every Daily Mail reader was forced to read. In it Davies describes the Daily Mail selecting stories based on what readers want to read, serving up any distortion that it knows will satisfy its readers: attacks on black people, gays, women, the loony-left, Muslims, asylum-seekers, immigrants, single parents and so on. Likewise, popular stories that did not fit into the narrow worldview of the Daily Mail reader were simply not run – no matter what their inherent news value may have been.

This week the Daily Mail have buried the story of Terrance Gavan – an ex-BNP member (according to the Daily Mail at least) and former soldier given 11 years for making and hoarding a substantial cache of weapons and explosives. Someone like Anjem Choudary for example is constantly attacked by the Daily Mail – pointing out that he is on benefits and digging into his past: ‘Swilling beer, smoking dope and leering at porn [all things that the average Mail reader despises], the other side of hate preacher ‘Andy’ Choudary’. A search for ‘Anjem Choudary’ on the Mail website brings up 80 articles attacking him because he is exactly the kind of target that Mail readers want to go after: he is a Muslim extremist, he is a supporter of terrorism and is clearly someone with a badly distorted view of the world.

However, the same accusations could easily be levelled at Terrance Gavan: according to The Times he told police he was a BNP member (whatever Mail readers may argue in the comments: this is an extreme political party), furthermore he had specifically joined the BNP because he had a ‘strong hostility towards immigrants in this country’ (the words of Judge Calvert-Smith) and had indicated that he had ‘planned to target an address he saw on a TV programme that he believed was linked to the July 7 bomb attacks in London (words of the Times). So here we have someone who was equally linked to extreme political views but someone who had actually manufactured the devices to enable him to carry out attacks, their is currently no evidence to suggest that Anjem Choudary – no matter how unpleasant his views may be – has ever actually tried to manufacture explosives or other weapons.

Yet the Mail reader gets 80 articles on Anjem Choudary and just 1 article on Terrance Gavan (this is the only result a search for ‘Terrance Gavan’ the Mail website yields). It is clear to see the news value of the average Daily Mail reader dictating the coverage that the Mail gives to these two individuals. Davies argues in Flat Earth News that this selective deliverance of news has not only made the Daily Mail the most popular, profitable and therefore powerful newspaper in the UK, it has also made it one of the most distorted in terms of the worldview that it projects.

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this before

Richard Littlejohn must be the laziest columnist in the world, which is some feat considering the utter crap that the majority of tabloid columnist’s spout. Today’s column seems to be a parody of himself, he seems to cram in all of his repetitive nonsense into one badly written spoof of Dad’s Army as if he was purposely sending himself up. Littlejohn just cannot help himself, any excuse to shoehorn any topic into a ancient sitcom and he takes it – as usual backing away from any real issues like the coward that he is – no mention of Nick Griffin’s performance on Newsnight or any other big stories, just the same regurgitated and stupid points that only he and a handful of his moronic readers care about.

Still, it is hardly surprising that Littlejohn’s only mention on the BNP / Newsnight story was to try and distance himself from the BNP, as if his xenophobic, hate-filled articles aren’t actually racist. But of course they are, and his racism – and the lies he tells to justify his racism – are exactly the sort of thing that you’ll hear BNP members repeat and get worked up about (he used to be Nick Griffin’s favourite writer).

For the BNP Richard Littlejohn’s article are evidence that their worldview is correct, and he is supplying more evidence today ‘Who do you think you’re kidding, Mr Darling?‘:

This is treason, Wilson. Assemble the platoon immediately.

I’m afraid that won’t be possible, sir.

Why ever not?

The church hall has been converted into a mosque.

When did that happen?

Shortly after Mr Jones started selling only halal meat. And the police have advised the platoon not to march through Walmington-on-Sea because it might upset the local jihadists. One of them blew himself up on the top deck of the Green Line bus the other day. Made the most frightful mess.

This is monstrous, Wilson.

The message – as ever with Littlejohn – is clear: we are being invaded by foreigners (in this case he seems to be referring specifically to Muslims) and that this invasion is ‘monstrous’. The implication is that all churches have been coverted to mosques and all butchers supply only halal meat. I seem to recall that both halal butchers and non-halal butchers seem to exist side-by-side, but in Littlejohn’s world that is despicable ‘multiculturalism’ and he prefers to skip round this and simply declare that we’re being invaded.

The whole column is just hilarious because it is what you would write if you were write a satirical piece in the style of Littlejohn: ancient sitcom used as comedy vehicle: check; a conversation in which the naive is informed of the ‘truth’ by the all-knowing (the voice of Littlejohn): check; a dig about Gold reserves being sold for a pittance: check; a dig about Gordon Brown not being elected: check; a dig about quantitative easing: check; a hilarious ‘Hanki-panki’ name for an Icelandic bank: check; a dig at Muslims: check; mentioning suicide bombers: check; mentioning Mosques: check; mention fines and ‘slop buckets’: check; mention spivs: check; Brown and the pension fund: check.

The whole thing has been written a hundred times before or more… by Richard Littlejohn. How he still thinks that any of this is topical, relevant, funny or accurate is beyond me, yet Dacre still coughs up the best part of a million pounds a year for this utter shite – which I think just about sums up Dacre’s commitment to reporting truth – he is more concerned with paying people to regurgitate this sort of crap because it supports his twisted view of the world. Tabloid Watch wrote a post a few weeks back that pointed out that Littlejohn had repeated the ‘flogging gold reserves at car-boot prices’ at least 8 times, and here he is making the same point again.

As someone has pointed out in the comments it seems that Richard has used Dad’s Army as his ‘comedy vehicle’ so many times his spoofs probably outnumber the original episodes. This column certainly feels like a repeat, and not a good one at that. Actually, look here, he has written it before, just two years ago: ‘Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Darling?‘. He even used the same title. Wow, what a columnist.