Thank you for sending us your comments on Panorama: On Whose Orders?
Panorama: On Whose Orders? BBC One 8.30pm on Monday 25 February 2008
The debate is now closed but you can read a selection of your comments below.
How low have we become? We are willing to police and preach human rights to the world, yet,when out own people abuse, we (families of the abusers) want to hide behind the veil of "morale breaking for our boys" people who don't want to know their faults can never go forward!
Shame on you for this programme. No one condones real torture but you are giving a voice to people who actively try to undermine the armed forces. Again, left wing bias from the BBC. What's wrong with holding suspect killers for a couple of hours against a wall with a hood on when you consider this against the extreme stress and pressure our lads are under from the same people who will willingly behead them for example and yet we are supposed to bend over backwards to look after them. This is a war situation. Things like this happen. Try supporting the British troops for once instead of everyone but the British!. Typical BBC.
Steve, Birmingham UK
After watching this eye opening programme I am ashamed of being British. This is how disgusted I feel after watching this programme that I am writing this comment.
The government sent the British Army to Iraq in 2003 and its 2008. Yet no one is to blame for any of those inhuman killings. Over 200 statements were taken. This alone should be investigated!
I am so glad that Panorama went to court to realise this essential viewing of the TRUTH. What really happened in Iraq and to those who were captured by these predators? In my eyes Tony Blair is to blame he sent the forces into Iraq to find machinery/explosions of mass destructions, which didn't exist. Reports after reports came back saying this BUTTony Blair did not give up. The underlying mission was black gold - OIL. These poor Iraqis were captured and power of five applied on them. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering they went through.
Why isn't there any justice for Iraq? Power of Five, who is responsible?? Why aren't there any answers??
Independent investigation - we shall wait and see.
An Asian British Muslim - ashamed of the British Army
Ishrats Sultana, Bradford
What absolute tosh. No actual journalism was in evidence for the full 30 mins. I don't normally get annoyed but I will not tolerate 'simulated accounts' that misrepresent our dedicated, professional soldiers. It puts their lives in danger and lines the pockets of Mr Shiner and his ambulance chasers.
If any one is unproffessional, it's the documentary makers.
Quite frankly I found myself shouting at the TV when watching this extremely biased programme. The BBC has positioned itself that the British, and especially our armed forces, are always in the wrong. No evidence has been produced, except the testimony of people who are attacking our armed forces, to support these allegations. I would like to suggest that the people making this programme try interviewing people in Iraq about the human rights abuses that are being inflicted on ordinary Iraqis. No you do not have the bottle. It is disgusting that our licence fees went towards this.
Nik Frampton, Hampshire
The top brass of the BBC disgust me. You have put the lives in jeopardy by reporting rumours and hearsay as if they are the truth. Some of the posts on here show that the more gullible members of our society have been drawn in by what can only be described as tabloid level journalism at best.
Joe Butler, Wales
Well done Panorama for producing a well documented report. With so much photographic evidence and clear cases of prisoners being tortured there is definitely need for a public hearing. All of the selected comments on your site seemed very negative, I would like to say don't get discouraged, since the majority of people who feel strong enough to respond will be the people who dislike what you have to say.
Claire, Farnborough, UK
Thank you BBC, you have just made my upcoming tour of Afghanistan more dangerous by broadcasting the enemy's propaganda. You are beneath contempt, I only hope ten years from now, when you grow up a bit, you start to wonder if you've collectively caused more death and violence, by making programs like this, for both sides, than if you had been fair and balanced.
Good to see most of the British public are not buying this rubbish, however, I suspect this programme went down well in parts of the Islamic world and has provided more fuel to keep the hate and violence going, and because it's made by the BBC, it must be true right?
I am pleased with the majority of the emails you have decided to publish. Good honest British people showing their disgust at the way the BBC treats the Armed Forces. It is time to stop using tax payers money funding this second rate Enemy of the State broadcasting company.
Reading the above comments, I am amazed at the lack of understanding demonstrated by those that reject the findings of the BBC. This is an incredibly brave programme which has taken a year to make and I fully understand that conclusive evidence from the army has been 'stone walled'. The USA and West have shown no respect for the word of law, by invading a sovereign state, imprisoning men without trial, killing civilians, using illegal munitions and even participating in rendition, so why is it so hard to believe that torture could also have happened. We must investigate fully and punish those who had a hand in such inhumane activities.
Frank, Hampshire, UK
For a nation professing to be on the side of justice and honesty this broadcast smacked of blatant scaremongering and fabrication in favour of the same insurgents who are dedicated to our (and our much fought for right to free speech's)demise. Get a grip BBC and realize that just because someone claiming to be innocent accuses British Soldiers of committing a crime does not mean that claim has any credibility. It's about time the BBC started putting more faith in our Armed Forces mechanisms of investigation than in the out of the blue claims of enemy insurgents and reported "leaned-on" Iraqi doctors. Another PR victory for those exploiting and manipulating the western media machine in the name of terror and death - thanks for getting their propaganda out there BBC - why don't you try reporting the facts next time?
Steven , London UK
Clearly, the fact that I am a middle aged woman means that what I say is not worth bothering about. However I think the Panorama programme about our troops allegedly involved in abusing Iraqi prisoners was such very bad journalism and defaming to our Army, I think it is despicable that our licence fee is spent on programmes that are always looking for something to destroy the reputation of our troops. Our Troops have to put up with the most disparaging press and it is wrong that they are portrayed in this way. they are Heroes.
Mrs M C Harding, Nr Hail sham
I'm disgusted at some of the comments I've read. Just because they're our boys doesn't make them above the law. If Iraqis are shooting guns at our boys you need to remember its Britain occupying Iraq illegally, not the other way round. Some of the posts have tried to justify the treatment of Iraqi civilians by British soldiers by comparing how Al Qaeda terrorists treat their prisoners which is absurd. Al Qaeda are a terrorist organisation, the British Army are supposedly representing the civilised world. No one is above the law whether they are at war or in civilian life. It's quite obvious that there has been a cover up and the murderers have got away with it once again. These allegations need to be investigated independently and not by the army. If they turn out to be true than those Iraqi families who have lost their sons and fathers should be apologised to and compensated financially for their pain and suffering. Maybe then the Iraqis will believe that our Boys are really there to help them.
Adam , London UK
A disappointing program in all honesty. Glad to see that the British public aren't so blind as to not notice the obvious bias reporting and poorly thought out evidence. I echo the sentiments of the above - the BBC should issue an apology and attempt to return to balanced reports based on facts rather than shock headline tactics. Very disappointing although not surprising; the BBC's reporting as been increasingly anti-Army, I assume because it's such an easy target.
Adam Richardson, London UK
The BBC's credibility was exposed last night as being for what it is worthless. No proof of anything was exposed at a continuing great public expense.
The Board of Trustees should resign and certainly the BBC should be awarded the white feather. I now resent paying this now dishonorable and discredited BBC any licence fees which are now obtained by deception.
What a waste of TV licence funds, nothing more than a collection of rumours poorly put together to have yet another go at our troops.
Jon, Swansea, Wales
A year to make a documentary based on unsubstantiated allegations? Poor show Panorama.
Tibbie Dunbar, Hampshire
We are supposed to be the good guys. Some things are black and white, and murder and torture are both wrong.
Simon Gould, Germany
As the wife of a British soldier who was involved in the Battle for Danny Boy in Iraq in 2004, I am utterly disgusted at the total disregard and more so disrespect, for the brave and totally overstretched British soldiers who daily, in fact every minute, are willing to lay down their lives for Queen and Country. My husband fought at Danny Boy and both our families are completely proud of the way he and all of his soldiers fought for each other. During the battle itself, our soldiers, who were sent to Iraq not out personal choice but at the instructions of our government, put their own lives at immense risk, more so than Jeremy Vine and his co-presenter could ever dream of happening to themselves, in order to carry out their orders. I have known many soldiers and officers and as an educated person with a degree and a teaching qualification, I can honestly say I have never heard or met anyone within the British Army who goes into a theatre of war with anything but total regard for the people they are fighting for.
Jody Jones, Canterbury
I feel so embarrassed and stupid. Regardless of the moral aspects of this war in Iraq, I honestly believed that the British Army was honourable. I should have known better, the whole nature of closed doors that accompanies the Armed Forces and Government time and again shows aspects of deniability and corruption. No evidence gained from torture (and that's what your programme showed) can ever be considered safe and certainly would never be admissible in court. My money is funding this - what a disgrace!
I was in Iraq in 2004 and never saw any form of torture. However, I saw the result of over zealous news editors printing lies.
In and around the 4th May 2004 the Sun printed fake photos on the front page of their fine newspaper.
On Friday May the 8th the Mardi Army in Basra rose up to take the city.
A lot of people died and if we had lost the city a lot of British soldiers would have been murdered.
The media were to blame on that day, it is very lucky for the units that are there now are outside the city.
You played straight into the Mardi Army trap.
No soldier in Iraq would ever contemplate doing anything like you reported on last night.
They are too worried about being sued!
2004 nearly all patrols went out with a military copper, why?
I just hope that No British soldier is killed as a result of your programme.
Danny Johnson, Bolton
I found your Panorama show last night extremely powerful, it was the most attention-keeping Panorama I've seen in a long time, and extremely overwhelming in many segments. The testimony of the British soldiers was shocking, but something that people needed to hear and see, as you could almost envision what they witnessed as they spoke - in pursuit of the enemy one must not forget their own civilisation; the censorship which the British government attempted to achieve is also a part of wider veil to keep the public in the dark. But an open attitude I believe will be better in the long run, for such material if hijacked by terrorists could be used as extremely powerful propaganda, whereas as if the mistakes of the British authorities are recognised and redeemed that will be a testament to our civilisation. I do offer my condolences to the families of both the British soldiers who have given their lives for such a messy and clearly unjustified war, and also the innocent victims who have lost their lives and loved ones for essentially nothing. However, brutality in conflict, torture in conflict, is primarily against the cardinal principle of what the leaders led their "civilised" countries into war for.
John Hutchins, london, England
Is this what BBC journalism means now? Half baked rumours taken from the most spurious of sources used to construct a sensationalist programme whose script is qualified by words such as 'maybe', 'may have' or 'most likely'? Or have you another agenda? To help this Labour Govt. perhaps by besmirching the name of the one British institution that still commands respect around the world (unlike your own) and whose mis-treatment by Brown/Blair is proving deeply unpopular?
From Panorama's own webpage:
"Panorama has spent over a year talking to battlefield survivors, medical staff, and Iraqi former prisoners in Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.
...Panorama has seen no proof that prisoners died at the hands of their captors and concludes that the case being brought by solicitors Phil Shiner and Martyn Day represents the most extreme interpretation of a troubling but confusing incident."
So why dedicate an entire programme to promoting "extreme interpretation" (or lies, if you will)?
Panorama means a full view, yet what we were presented with last night was blinkered propaganda eagerly lapped up by the more gullible among us.
I think there should be a public inquiry into the allegations of the British soldiers in Iraq. If founded, Britain should not be allowed to participate in China's Olympics.
My experience is the British never do wrong in a foreign country.
Victor Bull, London, United Kingdom
There is no doubt the allegations are serious, but what is it with the BBC? If you want information about how our forces are coping in Iraq and Afghanistan you would be hard pressed to find any regular reports, yet when an opportunity arises to dig the dirt on the British Army, then the BBC can devote a whole programme to it. There are correspondents in both countries, yet you could be forgiven for thinking that we don't have any British people there at all.
Why does the BBC prefer to concentrate on an incident like this rather than highlight the difficulties faced by our forces? They deserve better than this.
Another propaganda coup for Islamic militants. It is nothing short of disgusting that this programme was aired. Here is the truth. Your programme has just recruited more Islamic terrorists on false claims, given publicity by yourselves, by Islamic terrorists. Well done Panorama, may you sleep well at night knowing you're endangering the lives of British soldiers world wide.
Stephen McConnell, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland
As I am currently serving in the Royal Navy and watching your programme, on what case can you really say that we should be punished for mis-treatment of the Iraqis when they punish our soldiers who are captured, tortured and then beheaded on television and then we give them compensation! Do you really think we would get compensation if this would happen to us in their country?
Mr Chris, Nottingham
With regard to the Panorama programme screened tonight, I hope you are all very proud of yourselves. This programme will do nothing for the morale of the troops still fighting in Iraq except probably make things worse. What was the point of the programme? Perhaps some of your so called "investigative journalists" should sign up to the Army and go out there without their protection and see how they deal with the stress of just trying to survive.
I am not condoning mistreatment of prisoners but tell me this. Do you think our soldiers are put up in hotels and treated "kindly" when they are captured? The answer is NO. They are paraded on television and be-headed? Does Iraq TV run a similar documentary putting their troops on trial by television? I don't think so!!
Any escalation of violence towards or troops is on your head.
Chris Halford, England
We have gone through two world wars. We have heard the testimony of people whose loved ones were killed in Europe. It was said 30 civilians were shot for every German Officer killed by the resistance in Holland. We have the Geneva Convention to try to mitigate the horrors of war. Yet what have we now? Extraordinary renditions on British territory was not supposed to have happened, but they did and the full truth about this may not yet be out. I so hope your programme is wrong. I so hope these damaged people are delusional with the pain they have suffered - if they are not, or there is any hint we are responsible for the horrors shown on your programme tonight, then we should give ourselves up willingly to the Hague war crimes tribunal. At least we might salvage some respect. As a footnote, only cowards could kill a hooded man - that is why I am sure this could not have been done by the British.
Judy , Worcestershire
Typical of the BBC, anything to bring shame on the armed forces. Nothing British about the BBC anymore. No one would have got away with that so called behaviour, "mock executions". I almost wet myself when I heard about that. There were over a 1000 soldiers at Abu Naji camp, and if one shot was fired it would have been investigated.
No one is against fair reporting, but it is a joke and so one sided. Remind me why I pay for a Television Licence for the sake of one corporation?
A serving soldier
Our army has become brutalised. It isn't surprising, our children grow up on a diet of violent films, confrontational behaviour on TV soaps and a general attitude of do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Nothing shocks our young people any more, it isn't their fault, it's their environment. Some of them grow up without pity or the milk of human kindness, unable to perceive the results of violence.
Ann Deaves, Lower Upnor, Rochester, Kent, England
Yet another dig by the BBC at the good name of the army in Iraq. The evidence of two disgruntled soldiers about the treatment of prisoners was unfair. I was there and brave men risked their lives. You have insulted every soldier who has served on Op Telic just to sling some mud again.
Corporal British Army , England
Where on earth does it say it is right to show our armed forces in this light. Sorry but during the first gulf war we were given graphic images of our boys having been tortured by their captors and also read the accounts of 4 vets regarding their treatment under POW process. If hooding and declining other human right saves lives then we have gained valuable information. Our armed services are on the front line and it is their lives in jeopardy I say use the Q & A techniques that work to save lives. A soldiers life is priceless and their safety should be our main concern. Not the lives of those who can and probably will send home a dead British serviceman.
Vince S, Birmingham, UK
Was this programme paid for by Shiner's company? You showed clips of Iraqis getting kicked but failed to show the bit 5 min beforehand of them throwing grenades, you alleged a guy was mutilated and had his ears cut off, yet they were still attached on the footage you showed of his funeral. You forgot to mention that the men making the allegations only did so after being approached by Shiner and Co. Has the BBC forgotten the meaning of the words journalistic integrity?
Mike McClory, Baldock, Herts
You bring shame on the BBC, not the British Army.
Mike Hill, Leicester
Another example of the Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation choosing to spend my licence fee running down the armed forces.
No evidence at all bar the word of men who are suing for compensation. None - "innocent farmers" just happened to be hanging round a five hour gun battle and got some robust treatment from their captors. My heart doesn't bleed for them, but it doesn't need to - providing succour to the enemy is the job of the BBC after all.
Dave St Peters, London
Once more I am left staggered that the BBC have decided to broadcast a programme that can only be seen as an attack on the army. I have spent many years listening to a liberal approach to the war on terror from the BBC. I am quite convinced that rather than support the efforts of those men and women who travel to the most dangerous place on earth, you would rather take the chance to rubbish and sensationalise their attempts to apprehend and deal with those who attack our troops. What are the motives for such reports? There is no doubt this style of reporting will be grasped by those who will seek most advantage and what will the result be? Death to a serving soldier, a dad, son, brother, a mother, daughter, sister? Well done the BBC, once more you have shown yourself to be utterly out of touch with those who made the organisation what it was, what a disgrace. Be ashamed of yourself. I will save this email so i can resend it to you when the insurgence make their next killing and attribute it to this documentary. FOOLS.
Mr Morris, Shropshire, England.
Whilst no one would condone the ill treatment of prisoners, I feel pressure should be put on those captured during a battle to give information. Presumably, any information gained would be used to save coalition forces. It is noticeable that the compensation culture has moved into war zones now and yet no mention was made of how opposing forces treated their "prisoners". Several televised decapitations come to mind plus the murder of the military policemen - all, to me don't seem to fall within the "rules" of warfare! The Panorama programme seemed more like a Al Qaeda propaganda film - can we change the priorities please and investigate the treatment of coalition / civilian "prisoners" and whether their "rights" were maintained after capture. I'm disgusted!!
I saw your programme tonight, and I have to say I am severely disappointed. I have seen nothing tonight that indicates the British Army at checkpoint Danny Boy undertook any of the allegations you describe. These troops had been attacked by the people making the allegations and fought a pitched battle. These aren't potato guns these lads are fighting with, they're high powered weapons and bayonets. The injuries will be horrific, but that's the nature of war.
A shameful programme that is completely without basis.
Well done BBC yet another biased report. Why did you not ask who is funding the Court case? All you have done is place UK lives in danger. I look forward to the day your funding is withdrawn. In disgust
John Marchant, West Midlands