Letter to Guardian on misuse of langauge by USA (not published)
20 December 2010
So, ‘WikLeaks founder is high-tech terrorist,’ says Biden (Guardian 20 December). Even by the most elastic definition, ‘terrorism’ involves the imposition of extreme fear on a person or population, through the threat of dire consequences and violence. By no stretch of the imagination can the release of confidential diplomatic exchanges be construed in this way. Biden’s comments are another irresponsible attempt by the US to conceal its anti-humanitarian policies, along with its use of other Orwellian terms like ‘extraordinary rendition’ for illegal kidnapping, ‘coercive counterintelligency’ for torture and ‘humanitarian intervention’ for the invasion of other countries etc. Bernard Shaw memorably said that the USA and Britain were two nations divided by a common language, and that has never been truer. But, what is even more serious is that we are now divided by our concepts of morality.