Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

Egypt state TV blames Israel for Sinai bombings (& more on Mayor Livingstone)

July 27, 2005

* “Lets just get one thing out of the way. There is no justification for suicide bombing in Israel either... There is no justification for terrorism anywhere” – Tony Blair, addressing leading international media yesterday, in an implicit criticism of some journalists present and also of members of his own political party, including London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

* On the cover of the new edition of the British satirical magazine, Private Eye, there is a photo of Blair saying to Livingstone: “We must track down the evil mastermind behind the bombers,” to which Livingstone replies: “Yes, and invite them round for tea.”

* Leading (London) Evening Standard columnist today again blames Israel for Britain’s “shoot to kill policy”

-- This dispatch further explores the themes of international terrorism.

 

CONTENTS

1. Egyptian state TV: Israel to blame for Sharm El Sheikh bombings
2. Ukrainian political party: “London attacks were part of Zionist plan”
3. Ariel Sharon responds to Ken Livingstone
4. London Evening Standard columnist blames Israel
5. Killer of Van Gogh jailed for life
6. Israel criticizes Pope for failing to condemn terror attacks
7. “Egyptian film mocks peace with Israel” (AFP, July 25, 2005)
8. “Appeasing Terrorism Encourages More Attacks” (By Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat, July 22, 2005)
9. “Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq” (New York Times, July 22, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

EGYPTIAN TV BLAMES ISRAEL FOR SHARM EL SHEIKH BOMBINGS

Egyptian State television has repeatedly aired an interview blaming the deadly terrorist attack at Sharm el-Sheikh last weekend on Israel. Retired army general Fuad Allam, a commentator on Egyptian state television, said “I’m almost certain that Israel was also behind this attack because they want to undermine our government and deal a severe blow to our economy. The only ones who benefit from these attacks are the Israelis and the Americans.” These comments were re-aired several times on government-controlled Egyptian TV. Egypt is supposedly a moderate pro-American country.

AND SO DOES ISLAM ONLINE

Islam online, the website created by Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, who is described by London Mayor Ken Livingstone as a “leading progressive Muslim,” also questioned whether Sharm el-Sheikh bombs were caused by “Mossad hands”. They quote Hussein Rashid, the deputy chairman of the Egyptian Misr Al-Fatat party who wrote on the party’s web site: “It is as clear as day that Mossad is behind the Sharm blasts to terrify innocent people, wage war on the Arabs and spark confusion and sedition.”

AND SO DOES AL JAZEERA

On Al-Jazeera a “security expert,” Majdi Birnawi said: “I believe that Mossad or some other [Israeli] security organization carried out this attack.”

AND NEWSPAPER FEARS ISRAELI HELP MORE THAN BOMBERS

The London-based Palestinian-owned daily al-Quds al-Arabi said Israel’s offer to help Egypt fight terror was an even bigger blow than the terror attacks themselves. The newspaper said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s offer to send forensic experts to Sharm el-Sheikh was a “curse.”

(Dispatches on this list earlier this year have detailed other similar conspiracy theories in the Arab world, such as “Mossad agents running ops inside the U.S”, “Israel killed Rafik Hariri” and “Arafat killed by Israeli high tech laser attack”. I also attach below an article from Agence France Presse on a new Egyptian film which shows the Egyptians uneasiness over peace with Israel agreed in 1979.)

UKRAINIAN POLITICAL PARTY: “LONDON ATTACKS WERE ZIONIST PLAN”

The newspaper of the Ukrainian Conservative Party, has published a statement saying the July 7 terror attacks in London “showed the presence in world politics of clandestine Zionist organizations,” which, “using common fears, wish to achieve their main goal, world domination.” The Ukrainian Conservative Party is a new party that will take part in its first Ukrainian elections next spring.

ARIEL SHARON RESPONDS TO KEN LIVINGSTONE

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has called London Mayor Ken Livingstone “ignorant” after Livingstone said during in an interview discussing the London bombings on Sky News TV last week that Likud and Hamas are “two sides of the same coin”. Livingstone, who seems to attack Israel at every opportunity and earlier this year said a Jewish reporter working at the (London) Evening Standard should be a “concentration camp guard,” also said that Israeli actions “border on crimes against humanity.” Sharon told Israel radio in response that “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization, which has murdered and wounded thousands of Israelis. The comparison drawn by the mayor of London was grave and inappropriate. It indicates ignorance and a basic misunderstanding of reality.”

CALLS FOR LIVINGSTONE TO GO

During the 1980’s, Livingstone was described by The Sun newspaper as “the most odious man in Britain,” but he remains a hero to many British leftists and to many British Muslims.

An increasing number of British Jews, by contrast, are writing to Tony Redmond, the UK Local Government Ombudsman (enquiries@lgo.org.uk) demanding Livingstone be forced to resign for having brought the London Assembly and the mayor’s office into disrepute. Others have called for Livingstone to be prosecuted under race hate legislation for remarks he made last week about British Jews.

On July 20, in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s influential “Today” programme, and also at a press conference the day before, Livingstone made a series of remarks about the causes of terrorism in London. He said Israel had been “indiscriminately slaughtering men, women and children for decades” and, referring to the British suicide bombers in Tel Aviv in 2003, he said it “was wrong to brand a British Muslim boy a terrorist if he got involved in Palestinian violence against Israel”.

Livingstone went on to suggest that “Jewish boys in Britain” had contributed to this “slaughter” of Palestinians. These remarks have been interpreted by many as inciting British Muslims (a key electoral base for Livingstone) to participate in anti-Semitic attacks.

Last year, Livingstone publicly embraced Yusuf Qaradawi, who is also known for his anti-Semitic remarks and support for suicide bombing in Israel. At the time, homosexual groups were more vocal than the somewhat timid British Jewish leadership in attacking Livingstone. Qaradawi has advocated the death of homosexuals as well as Jews.

BLAIR ON ISRAEL TERROR

British prime minister Tony Blair gave his monthly press conference Tuesday. A particularly high number of leading journalists from around the globe attended, including ones from Al-Jazeera, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

Pointedly addressing some of the journalists in the room, Blair went out of his way to say: “Lets just get one thing out of the way as well. There is no justification for suicide bombing in Israel either... There is no justification for terrorism anywhere. Period.”

Blair also said, “People mustn’t accept the idea that America is evil or Israel should not exist, as then it is a smaller step to extremism and terrorism.”

He answered another question by saying, “Suicide bombing is wrong in Israel, London, New York – anywhere. There is another way to make progress in the Middle East – stop the terrorism and get into negotiations.” “I’ve got every support for the mayor of London, but I disagree with him on this issue,” said the British prime minister.

UK FOREIGN SECRETARY STRAW ALSO CRITICIZES LONDON MAYOR

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also criticized Livingstone. Both are members of Blair’s ruling Labour Party. Straw said: “There can be no excuses for terrorism, none whatever. Terrorism is indiscriminate in its victims and in its political aims. It is against democracy and it is against life and on the issue of terrorism there is no case for relativism whatsoever... Mr. Livingstone’s remarks were as wrong as they were unacceptable. There is no and there can be no moral equivalence between a democratic party [the Likud] and its supporters, operating in a democracy that is Israel, and a terrorist organisation whose policy is the slaughter of innocent civilians. It was quite wrong for him to suggest this comparison.”

LONDON EVENING STANDARD COLUMNIST BLAMES ISRAEL

Today in the London Evening Standard, senior commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown writes under the headline “With this shoot-to-kill policy I’m terrified for my son’s life,” “Isn’t it comforting for Muslims to know that the shoot-to-kill trick was learned from Israeli marksmen.” She ends the piece by saying: “The policy must be withdrawn immediately ... London is not Gaza.”

I have already dealt with these libels in a dispatch earlier this week. Israel routinely disarms suicide bombers without harming them.

A subscriber to this email list says: It is interesting that she uses the word “trick” (rather than “tactic” or some other non-emotive word) implying craftiness or subterfuge. And why bring Israel into this issue at all? British police shot an innocent Brazilian.

Here is a letter from Inna Tysoe (of Sacramento, California) published today in The Guardian, making a similar point as my Jerusalem Post article (which incidentally has now been reprinted in a number of news outlets in Canada, the US and elsewhere):

Christopher Hack writes that “the special force[s] involved in the Stockwell killing received Israeli training” (Letters, July 25). Yet as the London police were shooting a man they had chased into the tube, Israeli police were arresting a bona fide suicide bomber. It seems that at least some of the lessons the London police picked up in Israel did not stay with them.

“HE WAS SO CALM AS HE KILLED HIM, IT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS OUT WALKING HIS DOG.”

[This is an update to dispatches on this subject last year.]

Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The court ruled it was a “terrorist” attack since it had caused “great fear and insecurity” in the Netherlands.

Bouyeri ambushed the filmmaker on an Amsterdam street last November, shot him repeatedly, stabbed him and slit his throat before thrusting his manifesto into his chest on the point of a knife. Some witnesses at the trial said he was so calm “it looked like he was out walking his dog.”

Bouyeri admitted to the killing and vowed to repeat the act if given the chance. He offered no defense during the trial, saying he only acknowledged Islamic law. Bouyeri said Van Gogh, who was a great-nephew of the famed 19th Century Dutch painter Vincent, had “insulted Islam.”

Bouyeri is the son of Moroccan immigrants but was raised and educated in the Netherlands. Before the murder, Bouyeri was said to have attended private prayer sessions with Syrian spiritual leader, Redouan al-Issar, who is now back in Damascus.

ISRAEL CRITICIZES POPE FOR FAILING TO CONDEMN TERROR ATTACKS

The Israeli Foreign Ministry yesterday summoned the Vatican envoy to Israel to express “Israel’s outrage that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn terror against Israelis.”

On Sunday the pontiff prayed for God to stop the terrorism this month in many countries, including Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq, during his noontime blessing delivered from his Alpine retreat in Italy’s northwestern Valle d’Aosta region, where he is vacationing.

Benedict did not mention or condemn several terror attacks leading to the deaths of Israeli civilians this month, including the suicide attack at the Netanya shopping mall in which five Israelis (four of them female, including two 16-year-old girls), and the mortar attacks on the kibbutz in southern Israel that killed a young woman sitting on her porch shortly before she was to be married.

“The pope deliberately failed to condemn the terrible terror attacks that occurred in Israel last week,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry statement said.

“WHEN DENIAL CAN KILL”

Irshad Manji writes in the new issue of Time magazine: “While our spokesmen assure us that Islam is an innocent bystander in today’s terrorism, those who commit terrorist acts often tell us otherwise. For too long, we Muslims have been sticking fingers in our ears and chanting ‘Islam means peace’ to drown out the negative noise from our holy book. Far better to own up to it.”

“APPEASING TERRORISM ENCOURAGES MORE ATTACKS”

The final two articles below both deal with the obsession of many in the western media with claiming the Iraq war has brought terrorism to London. The highly regarded Iranian-born writer Amir Taheri, who has been a columnist at Asharq Alawsat since 1987, argues that “those who look for excuses for terrorism do so only to justify a policy of appeasement.”

The final article below is a rare example of the New York Times publishing a piece not blaming “lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian road map for worldwide terrorism.” Olivier Roy writes in the Times: “From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.”

I attach three articles, with summaries first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

EGYPTIAN FILM MOCKS PEACE WITH ISRAEL

“Egyptian film mocks peace with Israel” (By AFP, Ynetnews, July 25, 2005)

A quarter century after the Camp David Accord, a film released this week in Cairo shows that Egyptians’ uneasiness over peace with Israel dies hard... The plot centers around an Egyptian businessman and womanizer who returns home after getting rich in the Gulf to find, to his horror, that Israel has opened an embassy in his building.

Popular slapstick comedian Adel Imam is petrified when he discovers the Star of David-adorned flag floating above the balcony nearest to his flat overlooking the Nile, not unlike the actual building that houses the Israeli embassy in Cairo’s Giza neighborhood -- a stone’s throw from the University of Cairo, which is a stronghold of anti-Israeli sentiment…

But Imam displays good old common sense and draws much laughter from the audience by poking fun at leftist rhetoric and at the so-called martyr manufacturers...

Director Sharif Arafeh insists he didn’t want the movie to give a particular answer to the Middle East conflict, but he steps out during the reception and television footage of a dead Palestinian child he got to know in the Gulf catches his eye, and the film ends with the hero leading a large protest against Israel’s repressive policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Imam, described as the “Arab Charlie Chaplin” by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for which he works as a goodwill ambassador, diplomatically chose not to comment on whether the 1979 peace deal between Israel and Egypt should translate into warmer ties.

By contrast, the Egyptian public and most critics seem to have understood the movie’s not-so-hidden message: Israelis should stay home and if there’s peace, then it should be cold...

 

APPEASING TERRORISM ENCOURAGES MORE ATTACKS

“Appeasing Terrorism Encourages More Attacks” (By Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat, July 22, 2005)

... One theory is that Britain’s participation in the liberation of Iraq helped Al Qaeda transform a bunch of ordinary Muslim youths into suicide-killers. This latter group’s analysis has now received a seal of respectability from a London think-tank on foreign affairs known as Chatham House.

... The reason why Chatham House prefers to focus on the British role in Iraq rather than in Afghanistan has nothing to do with reality. It has to do with what is politically fashionable and what is not.

In circles for which Chatham House caters it is fashionable to pretend that Afghanistan didn’t happen. It is hard to defend the Taliban with their obsession with burqaa and beard and their bombing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Saddam Hussein, however, was supposed to be a secular and Socialist ruler who could claim some kinship with the “useful idiots” in the West. More importantly, from Chatham House’s point of view, the “international community”, meaning Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, swallowed the liberation of Afghanistan but made loud noises against the liberation of Iraq.

Can Chatham House guarantee that if Britain withdrew from Iraq the Al Qaeda would not demand a similar withdrawal from Afghanistan?

And after withdrawal from Afghanistan, would Al Qaeda and its emulants sit back and savour their victory or would they ask for more retreats by Britain until they win the power to set its foreign policy agenda?

What the terrorists describe as the “Madrid ghazva” gave Al Qaeda its first major political victory in Europe because they managed to change a government that was especially hostile to them. The Madrid ghazva“, in part, inspired, the “London ghazva” which, if it produces another political victory for terrorism, would surely inspire many other attacks.

Those who look for excuses for terrorism do so only to justify a policy of appeasement.

Experience, however, shows that the appeaser becomes a more attractive target for the terrorists. The appeased terrorist concludes that, having won a battle, he should press for victory in his war against a weakened adversary. Appeasing terrorists was tried by President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, and made France the most-targeted Western country for a decade…

 

WHY DO THEY HATE US? NOT BECAUSE OF IRAQ

“Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq” (By Olivier Roy, The New York Times, July 22, 2005)

... Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

... First, let’s consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000, at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations...

From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.

What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). “Born again” or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970’s (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the “world proletariat” and “Revolution” without really caring about what would happen after...

... The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations. And their vision of a global ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the globalization that has made them what they are.

(Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of “Globalized Islam.”)

 



FULL ARTICLES

EGYPTIAN FILM MOCKS PEACE WITH ISRAEL

Egyptian film mocks peace with Israel
‘Arab Charlie Chaplin’ shows 25 years of peace has done little to alter Egyptian attitudes towards Israel
By AFP
Ynetnews
July 25, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3117849,00.html

A quarter century after the Camp David Accord, a film released this week in Cairo shows that Egyptians’ uneasiness over peace with Israel dies hard.

Sharif Arafeh’s “An Embassy in the Building” seeks to humorously depict the average Egyptian man’s rejection of normalization.

The plot centers around an Egyptian businessman and womanizer who returns home after getting rich in the Gulf to find, to his horror, that Israel has opened an embassy in his building.

Popular slapstick comedian Adel Imam is petrified when he discovers the Star of David-adorned flag floating above the balcony nearest to his flat overlooking the Nile, not unlike the actual building that houses the Israeli embassy in Cairo’s Giza neighborhood -- a stone’s throw from the University of Cairo, which is a stronghold of anti-Israeli sentiment.

But Imam is in for another surprise when he bumps into the Israeli ambassador, played by Lofti Labib, in the lift.

“An actor must play every role, even that of the nasty guy,” Labib told AFP.

From then on, Iman’s life turns into a living hell, as the prodigal son becomes an intruder in his own home.

He can no longer take his conquests home without being subjected to body searches and questioning.

The dazed and confused hero is preyed upon by Marxist intellectuals who overwhelm him with slogans and Islamist radicals who suggest he might want to have a go at being a suicide bomber.

But Imam displays good old common sense and draws much laughter from the audience by poking fun at leftist rhetoric and at the so-called martyr manufacturers.

He rebels and becomes the street’s living idol after he asks the judiciary to evict the embassy from his building.

One night, Imam takes home a gorgeous young woman who turns out to be an Israeli spy. Mossad agents barge into his bedroom and snap pictures.

Bamboozled, again, and now the victim of blackmail, he agrees to host a party for the Israeli ambassador.

Director Arafeh insists he didn’t want the movie to give a particular answer to the Middle East conflict, but he steps out during the reception and television footage of a dead Palestinian child he got to know in the Gulf catches his eye, and the film ends with the hero leading a large protest against Israel’s repressive policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Imam, described as the “Arab Charlie Chaplin” by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for which he works as a goodwill ambassador, diplomatically chose not to comment on whether the 1979 peace deal between Israel and Egypt should translate into warmer ties.

By contrast, the Egyptian public and most critics seem to have understood the movie’s not-so-hidden message: Israelis should stay home and if there’s peace, then it should be cold.

Refuting local press reports, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt said he did not intervene with local authorities to try and stop the movie from being broadcast.

“We see this as a form of artistic expression and thus see no reason to comment on it,” Yacov Setti, the embassy’s press adviser, told AFP.

Asked by AFP whether he would be ready to meet the Israeli ambassador, Labib answered with a flat no.

“I will wait until there is a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

 

APPEASING TERRORISM ENCOURAGES MORE ATTACKS

Appeasing Terrorism Encourages More Attacks
By Amir Taheri
Asharq Alawsat
July 22, 2005

aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=912

Why did terrorists bomb London on July 7th, killing at least 56 people?

The question is at the centre of a debate in Britain the outcome of which could define future British, and perhaps Western policy, in countering terrorism.

One theory is that Britain’s participation in the liberation of Iraq helped Al Qaeda transform a bunch of ordinary Muslim youths into suicide-killers.

This latter group’s analysis has now received a seal of respectability from a London think-tank on foreign affairs known as Chatham House.

That analysis, however, is strange for several reasons.

To start with it is not clear how Chatham House or anyone else could know to what extent the suicide-killers may or may not have been motivated by Britain’s role in Iraq. The two claims of responsibility for the terrorist operation cite a variety of reasons, making it clear that the attack on Britain was part of a broader campaign against the “infidel” West.

Then there is another problem. How could Islamist suicide-bombers be concerned only about Britain’s participation in the war in Iraq and not about its similar role in Afghanistan?

If the suicide-killers were Al Qaeda Islamists then they should be angrier about the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan which they regarded as the only genuinely “Islamic” government anywhere in the world, rather than the toppling of Saddam Hussein whom they saw as an atheist and a purely tactical ally. Also it was Afghanistan, not Iraq that had welcome Osama bin Laden and presented his gang with operational bases.

The reason why Chatham House prefers to focus on the British role in Iraq rather than in Afghanistan has nothing to do with reality. It has to do with what is politically fashionable and what is not.

In circles for which Chatham House caters it is fashionable to pretend that Afghanistan didn’t happen. It is hard to defend the Taliban with their obsession with burqaa and beard and their bombing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Saddam Hussein, however, was supposed to be a secular and Socialist ruler who could claim some kinship with the “useful idiots” in the West. More importantly, from Chatham House’s point of view, the “international community”, meaning Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, swallowed the liberation of Afghanistan but made loud noises against the liberation of Iraq.

Can Chatham House guarantee that if Britain withdrew from Iraq the Al Qaeda would not demand a similar withdrawal from Afghanistan?

And after withdrawal from Afghanistan, would Al Qaeda and its emulants sit back and savour their victory or would they ask for more retreats by Britain until they win the power to set its foreign policy agenda?

What the terrorists describe as the “Madrid ghazva” gave Al Qaeda its first major political victory in Europe because they managed to change a government that was especially hostile to them. The “Madrid ghazva”, in part, inspired, the “London ghazva” which, if it produces another political victory for terrorism, would surely inspire many other attacks.

Those who look for excuses for terrorism do so only to justify a policy of appeasement.

Experience, however, shows that the appeaser becomes a more attractive target for the terrorists. The appeased terrorist concludes that, having won a battle, he should press for victory in his war against a weakened adversary.

Appeasing terrorists was tried by President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, and made France the most-targeted Western country for a decade.

Mitterrand launched his appeasement weeks after becoming president in 1981. He released all the 31 convicted terrorists in French prisons and lifted the ban on pro-terrorist publications and illegal radio stations. He also abolished the State Security Court, set up to deal with terrorism, describing it as a Nazi-style outfit. He let the Basque terrorists of ETA use French territory as a base against Spain and allowed various Palestinian groups and The Irish Republican Army (IRA) to operate in Paris.

Mitterrand feted Yasser Arafat, then regarded as the godfather of terror, and traveled to Cyprus to court Libya’s dictator Muammar Kaddafi, the principal paymaster of international terror at the time. Mitterrand’s appeasement included the Khomeinist regime in Tehran and led to an exchange of ambassadors and high level contacts.

The French leader emphasised the ideological propinquity of his Socialist party with “other radical movements”, meaning terrorist groups that were also “striving for justice.” At one point Mitterrand even talked of the “common roots” of the French Revolution and the Khomeinist take-over in Iran.

In 1984 Mitterrand’s policy led him into vetoing an American plan for joint G-7 action against international terrorism. In a meeting with the then Vice President George W H Bush, who headed a special anti-terrorism unit created by President Ronald Reagan, Mitterrand argued that the only way to deal with the threat was to“ address the grievances” which were “often caused by Western policies.”

Not surprisingly terrorist of all denominations began to see France as a safe haven.

Abu Nidal and Carlos visited Paris for business and pleasure. Imad Mughniyeh, a Lebanese terrorist on the American “most wanted list” dropped in for shopping holidays. Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini sent his nephew, one Massoud Hendizadeh, to set up a terror headquarters in Paris. The Islamic Embassy in the French capital became the centre of operations for Europe. Later, when French police issued an arrest warrant for Vahid Gorji, the man who headed the Iranian terror headquarters in Paris, Mitterrand arranged for him to be put on the first flight to Tehran to escape prosecution.

Payback for Mitterrand’s policy started with the assassination of General Rene Audron, a senior member of the French Defence Ministry in 1985. A few months later Paris was hit by a series of bomb attacks, including on two major department stores in which 35 people were injured on Christmas eve.

In February 1986 a major shopping arcade and a hotel in Champs Elysees were bombed. The wave of attacks continued with the bombing of the Forum des Halles and the attempted blowing up of the Eiffel Tower.

By March 1986 France was the victim of a full-scale terror campaign, including a suicide operation in which two Arab terrorists were killed in the Champs Elysees. Attacks on the Paris metro, the Orly Airport, and shopping centres created a climate of fear. Dozens of other plots, including an attempt to derail a high-speed train, were nipped in the bud by the police.

Throughout the Mitterrand appeasement a total of 93 people were killed and more than 800 wounded in terrorist attacks in France. To these must be added 17 Iranian dissidents who were killed by hit-squads from Tehran.

But this was not all. Fifty-three French paratroopers were killed in a suicide attack in Beirut in 1983. Also in Beirut a pro-Syrian group assassinated France’s ambassador while a Khomeinist gang held the French ambassador in Tehran hostage for several days. A total of 37 French citizens were held as hostages in the Middle East, and two murdered in cold blood, by the same terror groups that Mitterrand had tried to appease.

France is not alone to have tried appeasement and failed. Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Saudi Arabia and, more recently Spain, have had similar experiences. The British should know that any appeasement of terrorists could put them in an even greater danger.

 

WHY DO THEY HATE US? NOT BECAUSE OF IRAQ

Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq
By Olivier Roy
The New York Times
July 22, 2005

www.nytimes.com/2005/07/22/opinion/22roy.html?

While yesterday’s explosions on London’s subway and bus lines were thankfully far less serious than those of two weeks ago, they will lead many to raise a troubling question: has Britain (and Spain as well) been “punished” by Al Qaeda for participating in the American-led military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? While this is a reasonable line of thinking, it presupposes the answer to a broader and more pertinent question: Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

If the answer is yes, the solution is simple to formulate, although not to achieve: leave Afghanistan and Iraq, solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. But if the answer is no, as I suspect it is, we should look deeper into the radicalization of young, Westernized Muslims.

Conflicts in the Middle East have a tremendous impact on Muslim public opinion worldwide. In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to Iraq, Al Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among Muslims. But many of the terrorist group’s statements, actions and non-actions indicate that this is largely propaganda, and that Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind its global jihad.

First, let’s consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000, at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Another motivating factor, we are told, was the presence of “infidel” troops in Islam’s holy lands. Yes, Osama Bin Laden was reported to be upset when the Saudi royal family allowed Western troops into the kingdom before the Persian Gulf war. But Mr. bin Laden was by that time a veteran fighter committed to global jihad.

He and the other members of the first generation of Al Qaeda left the Middle East to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Except for the smallish Egyptian faction led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, now Mr. bin Laden’s chief deputy, these militants were not involved in Middle Eastern politics. Abdullah Azzam, Mr. bin Laden’s mentor, gave up supporting the Palestinian Liberation Organization long before his death in 1989 because he felt that to fight for a localized political cause was to forsake the real jihad, which he felt should be international and religious in character.

From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.

What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). “Born again” or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970’s (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the “world proletariat” and “Revolution” without really caring about what would happen after.

It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don’t distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

Even their calls for the withdrawal of the European troops from Iraq ring false. After all, the Spanish police have foiled terrorist attempts in Madrid even since the government withdrew its forces. Western-based radicals strike where they are living, not where they are instructed to or where it will have the greatest political effect on behalf of their nominal causes.

The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations. And their vision of a global ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the globalization that has made them what they are.

(Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of “Globalized Islam.”)


Dilpazier Aslam, extremist member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, sacked by The Guardian

July 26, 2005

* Hizb Ut-Tahrir’s leaflet says: “Kill them [the Jews] wherever you find them.”
* Dilpazier Aslam chooses to leave The Guardian rather than renounce Hizb Ut-Tahrir

[This is an update to the dispatch of July 18, 2005, titled Guardian staff journalist exposed as member of extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir.]

 

CONTENTS

1. “Dilpazier Aslam leaves Guardian” (The Guardian media section, July 22, 2005)
2. “Background: the Guardian and Dilpazier Aslam” (The Guardian, July 22, 2005)
3. “Aslam targeted by bloggers” (The Guardian media section, July 22, 2005)
4. “‘Guardian’ trainee may sue over sacking” (The Independent, July 24, 2005)
5. “We rock the boat” (By Dilpazier Aslam, The Guardian, July 13, 2005)

 





[Note by Tom Gross]

DILPAZIER ASLAM

A week after The Guardian provided their reporter Dilpazier Aslam with a platform for his extremist views on their opinion page, he has been removed from his job. This followed pressure on The Guardian generated by various outside media, including this email list.

The Guardian, which claims it is the “best daily newspaper on the world wide web,” admits in its follow-up background article that although Aslam did not mention his membership of the extremist Islamist group Hizb Ut-Tahrir on his 15 page application form, he “made no secret of his membership of this political party, drawing it to the attention of several colleagues and some senior editors.”

HIZB UT-TAHRIR AND OMAR BAKRI MOHAMMED

While The Guardian calls Hizb Ut-Tahrir a “political party,” it is banned as a terrorist group in several European countries. In Germany it is banned under German laws outlawing organizations which propagate Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, but it remains legal in Britain.

In another article, The Guardian merely describes Hizb Ut-Tahrir as a “fringe group”. Hizb Ut-Tahrir attracted 10,000 people to its conference in Birmingham, England’s second largest city, in 2003. The British Home Office advised ministers that the group “holds anti-Semitic, anti-Western and homophobic views.”

“KILL THE JEWS WHEREVER YOU FIND THEM”

For example, in March 2002, Hizb Ut-Tahrir published a leaflet threatening Jews. It said: “Kill them wherever you find them.” It went on to say that “The Jews are a people of slander” and praised Palestinian suicide bombers: “Today the mujahideen in Palestine provide us with the best of examples. The youth are competing in the martyrdom operations [i.e., suicide bomb attacks].”

In a meeting last week with The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, Aslam said he did not consider these words to be promoting violence or to be anti-Semitic. Rusbridger, under criticism from interests outside the mainstream media, including a number of influential journalists and political figures on this email list, then instituted disciplinary processes which led to Aslam’s dismissal. (Aslam says that he is “currently taking legal advice”.)

Hizb Ut-Tahrir is thought to have links with another British-based, al-Qaeda-linked group, Al-Muhajiroun and its leader Omar Bakri Mohammed, known as the “Tottenham Ayatollah” for the area of north London where he resides. Both groups declare their long-term aim is to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate. Mohammed has lived in Britain for 20 years and claims to have given religious instruction to the two Britons who went to Israel and murdered Israelis in a suicide attack at the Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv in 2003.

Last week Omar Bakri Mohammed, who has received many welfare and other benefits from the British tax-payer over the years, told the New York Times that the British government and the British people deserved the “blame” for the July 7 attacks in London.

THE GUARDIAN BLAMES BLOGGERS

Instead of admitting that they made a gross error of judgment in hiring Dilpazier Aslam, The Guardian has now attempted to shift the blame onto bloggers and rival newspapers for “personal attacks” on Aslam. They specifically target “rightwing bloggers from the US” and especially Scott Burgess (who “spends his time indoors”) and whose weblog, The Daily Ablution, broke this story. In an interesting twist to the story, the Guardian celebrates the fact that Aslam beat Burgess to the journalistic traineeship at the Guardian.

Scott Burgess is from New Orleans, but now lives in London. The Guardian assertion’s that “raving right-wing Americans” were essentially the only people who criticized its employment of an unrepentant Aslam, is untrue. A number of British commentators from right, center and left, also did so.

The Guardian also vents its fury at The Sun newspaper and what it calls its “attack-dog columnist,” Richard Littlejohn, who wrote: “A Guardian journalist has been unmasked as an Islamist extremist”. Richard Littlejohn is a long-time subscriber to this email list, and an influential columnist of sensible opinion.

BURGESS RESPONDS

The departure of Aslam from The Guardian is the first media scalp by British bloggers. In the US, it is widely recognized that Dan Rather’s departure from CBS was caused by various prominent weblogs. On his website, Scott Burgess has responded to many of the accusations in the Guardian article “Aslam targeted by bloggers” (attached below). Perhaps his strongest point is that, “given the choice between a Guardian job and membership in an organisation that calls for followers to ‘kill [Jews] wherever you find them,’ the 27 year-old Mr. Aslam chose the latter.” To read his full critical assessment of the Guardian’s recent actions, his blog can be found at dailyablution.blogs.com.

As I pointed out in a previous dispatch on Aslam, it is unlikely that The Guardian would have acted with such a defensive tone if one of their reporters was a member of the far right British National Party (which, while anti-Semitic in many ways, has not gone so far as to advocate the killing of Jews on its website.).

I attach five articles, with summaries.

-- Tom Gross

 


SUMMARIES

DILPAZIER ASLAM LEAVES GUARDIAN

“Dilpazier Aslam leaves Guardian” (By Steve Busfield, Media Guardian, July 22, 2005)

[This is the full article]

media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1534495,00.html

Trainee journalist Dilpazier Aslam had his contract with the Guardian terminated today. The move followed an internal inquiry into Aslam’s membership of the political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir. A statement said: “The Guardian now believes continuing membership of the organisation to be incompatible with his continued employment by the company.”

“Mr Aslam was asked to resign his membership but has chosen not to. The Guardian respects his right to make that decision but has regretfully concluded that it had no option but to terminate Mr Aslam’s contract with the company.”

The inquiry followed a piece written by Aslam for the Guardian’s comment pages entitled “We rock the boat”. The statement added: “The Guardian accepts that it should have explicitly mentioned Mr Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir at the end of his comment piece.” A correction will appear in the paper’s Corrections and Clarifications column.

Aslam said: “I am shocked by the manner in which this whole affair has been handled. My treatment throws up issues which will be of grave concern to all journalists. I am currently taking legal advice.”

 

BACKGROUND: THE GUARDIAN AND DILPAZIER ASLAM

“Background: the Guardian and Dilpazier Aslam” (The Guardian, July 22, 2005)

... Dilpazier Aslam is a 27-year-old British Muslim from Yorkshire. After university he studied journalism at Sheffield University with the help of a bursary from the Sheffield Star.

... On his 15-page application form he did not mention that he was a member of the Islamist political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir, despite being invited to describe any participation in public affairs or political campaigning.

... Subsequent to joining the Guardian, Aslam made no secret of his membership of this political party, drawing it to the attention of several colleagues and some senior editors.

On July 12 - the day it was announced that the July 7 London bombs had been placed by young British Muslims from west Yorkshire - Aslam was asked to write a piece for the comment page.

His 560-word article, “We rock the boat: today’s Muslims aren’t prepared to ignore injustice”, was published the following day. In editing the piece the Guardian did not make it clear - as it should have done - that the author was, in addition to being a Guardian trainee, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. The Comment editor was not aware of this fact.

... On Monday July 18 Aslam was advised that the Guardian considered that Hizb ut-Tahrir had promoted violence and anti-semitic material on its website and that membership of the organisation was not compatible with being a Guardian trainee.

The following day Aslam told the editor, Alan Rusbridger, that he was not willing to leave Hizb ut-Tahrir and that, while he personally repudiated anti-semitism, he did not consider the website material to be promoting violence or to be anti-semitic.

The matter was subsequently treated under the paper’s grievance and disciplinary procedure. Aslam was invited to a meeting with GNL’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, at which he repeated his refusal to leave the organisation or repudiate its material.

Having considered all the circumstances Ms McCall took the view that Aslam could not remain a member of the Guardian’s trainee scheme.

The paper will carry a clarification making it clear that Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir should have been mentioned in the context of his July 13 article.

 

THE GUARDIAN BLAMES THE BLOGGERS

“Aslam targeted by bloggers” (By a staff reporter, Media Guardian, July 22, 2005)

Rightwing bloggers from the US, where the Guardian has a large online following, were behind the targeting last week of a trainee Guardian journalist who wrote a comment piece which they did not care for about the London bombings.

The story is a demonstration of the way the ‘blogosphere’ can be used to mount obsessively personalised attacks at high speed...

... Scott Burgess, a blogger from New Orleans who recently moved to London, spends his time indoors posting repeated attacks on the Guardian for its stance on the environment, its columnists such as Polly Toynbee, and its recent intervention in the US presidential election campaign.

He pitched into Mr Aslam, who as it happened, beat him to the traineeship on the Guardian. Googling the 27-year-old Muslim’s name, Mr Burgess picked up some articles the journalist had openly written in the past for Hizb ut-Tahrir websites and denounced him on his blogspot, The Daily Ablution, saying: “He is on record supporting a world-dominant Islamic state.”

... In the Independent on Sunday, Shiv Malik, also briefly a Guardian intern, accused the hapless Aslam of mounting “a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media”.

And in the tabloid Sun, their attack-dog columnist, Richard Littlejohn, took the opportunity to claim: “A Guardian journalist has been unmasked as an Islamist extremist”.

Many bloggers repeated Malik’s untrue assertion - made in the Independent on Sunday - that the Guardian was “refusing to sack” Aslam.

The episode was a striking illustration of the way that blogs and bloggers can heat up the temperature and seek to settle scores - as well as raise legitimate concerns about journalism and transparency - when something awful happens in the streets of London.

 

‘GUARDIAN’ TRAINEE MAY SUE OVER SACKING

“‘Guardian’ trainee may sue over sacking” (By Andrew Johnson, The Independent, July 24, 2005)

news.independent.co.uk/media/article301242.ece

[For reasons of space, there is a summary only of this article on this dispatch – TG]

A trainee journalist at The Guardian newspaper is considering legal action after being sacked for refusing to give up membership of a radical Muslim organisation…

... The Guardian says that its comment editor was unaware of his membership. However, colleagues say he made no secret of it in the newsroom.

“There was a failure of understanding about what this organisation was,” a Guardian source said. “It just shows the media’s lack of understanding of Muslim life. It was much more Guardian cock-up than conspiracy.”

 

WE ROCK THE BOAT

“We rock the boat” (By Dilpazier Aslam, The Guardian, July 13, 2005)

... It is not the done thing to make such comparisons, but Muslims on the street do. Some 2,749 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. To discover the cost of “liberating” Iraqis you need to multiply that figure by eight, and still you will fall short of the estimated minimum of 22,787 civilian Iraqi casualties to date. But it’s not cool to say this, now that London’s skyline has also has plumed grey.

Shocked would also be to suggest that the bombings happened through no responsibility of our own. OK, the streets of London were filled with anti-war marchers, so why punish the average Londoner? But the argument that this was an essentially US-led war does not pass muster. In the Muslim world, the pond that divides Britain and America is a shallow one. And the same cry - why punish us? - is often heard from Iraqi mothers as the “collateral damage” increases daily.

... Perhaps now is the time to be honest with each other and to stop labelling the enemy with simplistic terms such as “young”, “underprivileged”, “undereducated” and perhaps even “fringe”. The don’t-rock-the-boat attitude of elders doesn’t mean the agitation wanes; it means it builds till it can be contained no more.

 



FULL ARTICLES

BACKGROUND: THE GUARDIAN AND DILPAZIER ASLAM

Background: the Guardian and Dilpazier Aslam
The Guardian today issued this briefing on the background to the story
The Guardian
July 22, 2005

www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1534499,00.html

The Guardian - in common with most news organisations - is actively exploring ways in which to increase the diversity of its staff.

Among the programmes it has run or sponsored are the Scott Trust bursaries for journalism students, the Hugo Young internship programme and a diversity training scheme. This last scheme is designed to capture applicants from a variety of backgrounds: race or ethnicity is not a factor.

In addition to these schemes, it has done much in the past year to explore and engage with the Muslim community. It has established an annual Muslim Youth Forum, in which young Muslims meet to debate and discuss political, religious, cultural and social issues. Last year’s discussions, under the title Being Muslim & British, were fully reported in the paper.

In January this year, the Guardian held a two-day conference, Islam, Multiculturalism & British Identity, involving a wide range of opinion-formers.

These debates form the basis of a book which the Guardian will shortly publish - in collaboration with the Barrow Cadbury Trust - exploring critical debates within the Muslim community and opening up these discussions to a new younger generation of participants.

The Guardian recently won the national newspaper award in the Commission for Racial Equality’s Race in the Media awards for the way the paper has challenged stereotypes and explored differences between young muslims.

Dilpazier Aslam is a 27-year-old British Muslim from Yorkshire. After university he studied journalism at Sheffield University with the help of a bursary from the Sheffield Star.

He was a journalistic trainee on the Matlock Mercury in 2004. He won the NUJ George Viner award for promising black journalists in 2003.

He was selected to be one of the Guardian trainees under its diversity scheme and began the year-long programme in October 2004, working in many editorial departments across the paper, including research, photos, graphics, Guardian North, G3s, Guardian Unlimited and the city office.

On his 15-page application form he did not mention that he was a member of the Islamist political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir, despite being invited to describe any participation in public affairs or political campaigning.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a legal organisation in this country, though banned in others. It is described in an internal Home Office briefing note as a “radical, but to date non-violent Islamist group.”

The note says of the organisation that it is “an independent political party that is active in many countries across the world. HT’s activities centre on intellectual reasoning, logic arguments and political lobbying. The party adheres to the Islamic sharia law in all aspects of its work.”

The note adds: “It probably has a few hundred members in the UK. Its ultimate aim is the establishment of an Islamic state (Caliphate), according to HT via non-violent means. It holds anti-semitic, anti-western and homophobic views.”

Different countries and organisations take varying views of the Hizb ut-Tahrir. It is banned in Russia, Germany and Holland. In this country the National Union of Students has barred Hizb ut-Tahrir from its unions, claiming the group is “responsible for supporting terrorism and publishing material that incites racial hatred”.

The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) is reported by the Home Office to hold the view that “although not a serious threat at present ...it would be naive to think that if we leave them alone, they will go away. They are an organised minority group who are determined to make themselves and their albeit unrepresentative voices heard.”

Subsequent to joining the Guardian, Aslam made no secret of his membership of this political party, drawing it to the attention of several colleagues and some senior editors.

On July 12 - the day it was announced that the July 7 London bombs had been placed by young British muslims from west Yorkshire - Aslam was asked to write a piece for the comment page.

His 560-word article, “We rock the boat: today’s Muslims aren’t prepared to ignore injustice”, was published the following day. In editing the piece the Guardian did not make it clear - as it should have done - that the author was, in addition to being a Guardian trainee, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. The Comment editor was not aware of this fact.

After the article was published a number of people drew attention to a document Hizb ut-Tahrir posted in March 2002, on its British website, Khalifah.com, of which the Guardian was previously unaware.

It quotes a passage from the Koran [“kill them wherever you find them...”] followed by material arguing: “the Jews are a people of slander...a treacherous people... they fabricate lies and twist words from their right places.”

The effect of this juxtaposition appeared to be the incitement of violence against Jews.

The piece remained on the website until recently and is still available on other Islamist websites.

Before joining the Guardian, Aslam wrote three pieces for Khalifah.com, and was once billed as its “middle eastern correspondent”.

In October 2002, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s spokesman in Denmark, Fadi Abdelatif, was found guilty of distributing racist propaganda after handing out this document in a square in Copenhagen.

Abdelatif was given a 60-day suspended sentence. According to a BBC Newsnight report “the court rejected Abdelatif’s argument that he was merely quoting from the Koran, and the leaflet was an act of free speech.

“The court also did not accept that the leaflet was, as he argued, aimed solely at the Israeli state and not Jews generally. In particular, the court found that in ‘linking the quotes from the Koran to the subsequent description of Jews as a people characterised negatively...is an evident statement of a threat against Jews.’”

On Monday July 18 Aslam was advised that the Guardian considered that Hizb ut-Tahrir had promoted violence and anti-semitic material on its website and that membership of the organisation was not compatible with being a Guardian trainee.

The following day Aslam told the editor, Alan Rusbridger, that he was not willing to leave Hizb ut-Tahrir and that, while he personally repudiated anti-semitism, he did not consider the website material to be promoting violence or to be anti-semitic.

The matter was subsequently treated under the paper’s grievance and disciplinary procedure. Aslam was invited to a meeting with GNL’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, at which he repeated his refusal to leave the organisation or repudiate its material.

Having considered all the circumstances Ms McCall took the view that Aslam could not remain a member of the Guardian’s trainee scheme.

The paper will carry a clarification making it clear that Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir should have been mentioned in the context of his July 13 article.

 

THE GUARDIAN BLAMES THE BLOGGERS

Aslam targeted by bloggers
By a staff reporter
Media Guardian
July 22, 2005

media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1534497,00.html

Rightwing bloggers from the US, where the Guardian has a large online following, were behind the targeting last week of a trainee Guardian journalist who wrote a comment piece which they did not care for about the London bombings.

The story is a demonstration of the way the ‘blogosphere’ can be used to mount obsessively personalised attacks at high speed.

Within hours, Dilpazier Aslam was being accused on the internet of “violence” and belonging to a “terrorist organisation” - both completely untrue charges.

One blogger appealed for “some loyal Briton to saw off your head and ship it to me”. Another accused Aslam of being guilty of “accessory before the fact to murder.”

These ravings were posted alongside more legitimate questions as to whether a newspaper should employ a reporter who belongs to a controversial political group linked to the promotion of anti-semitic views.

Aslam’s comment piece was about the attitudes of angry young Muslims in the north of England and headlined “We rock the boat: today’s Muslims aren’t prepared to ignore injustice”.

It did not mention that the author was a member of the radical but non-violent Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, proscribed in Germany and Holland as anti-semitic.

Scott Burgess, a blogger from New Orleans who recently moved to London, spends his time indoors posting repeated attacks on the Guardian for its stance on the environment, its columnists such as Polly Toynbee, and its recent intervention in the US presidential election campaign.

He pitched into Mr Aslam, who as it happened, beat him to the traineeship on the Guardian. Googling the 27-year-old Muslim’s name, Mr Burgess picked up some articles the journalist had openly written in the past for Hizb ut-Tahrir websites and denounced him on his blogspot, The Daily Ablution, saying: “He is on record supporting a world-dominant Islamic state.”

Another blogger, Laban Tall, wrote enthusiastically that Burgess’ coup “has resounded across the blogging universe like a shockwave from a supernova”.

He said: “I bet the Guardian wish they’d given him the job now, not Mr Aslam. Scott applied for the job in June 2004. Mr Aslam got it. They say revenge is a dish best eaten cold.”

Mr Burgess fished out a website article written by Mr Aslam before September 11 for Hizb ut-Tahrir. He quoted one line: “Establishment of Khilafah [the worldwide Islamic caliphate] is our only solution, to fight fire with fire, the state of Israel versus the Khilafah state.”

A fellow blogger, Dsquared, promptly accused him of using quotes out of context. “It is more than four years old, written when the author was a teenager, before 9/11 and during a really nasty episode early in the intifada. How many people posting on this blog would like to have their teenage scribblings used as an assessment of their politics as an adult?

“The way you’ve used these excerpts is a bit spintastic and if this is the worst you can dig up, I don’t think the Guardian can be blamed for not rumbling him.”

But meanwhile, New Jersey undergraduate Joe Malchow [aka Joe’s Dartblog] was writing on his own blog: “Guardian employs known member of terrorist organisation.”

Fantasies like this zoomed round the world and soon seeped into the paper’s mainstream rivals.

Perhaps the most extreme blog was posted by “dreadpundit”, a right-wing New Yorker using the name “Bluto”. He wrote: “Okay, Dilpazier, I’ve decided to bow to your ‘logic’ - sauce for the goose and all that. That’s why I’m issuing a secular fatwah and asking for some loyal Briton to saw off your head and ship it to me (use Fed-Ex, please, so I can get a morning delivery, and do remember the dry ice, also, a videotape of the “execution”).”

In the Independent on Sunday, Shiv Malik, also briefly a Guardian intern, accused the hapless Aslam of mounting “a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media”.

And in the tabloid Sun, their attack-dog columnist, Richard Littlejohn, took the opportunity to claim: “A Guardian journalist has been unmasked as an Islamist extremist”.

Many bloggers repeated Malik’s untrue assertion - made in the Independent on Sunday - that the Guardian was “refusing to sack” Aslam.

The episode was a striking illustration of the way that blogs and bloggers can heat up the temperature and seek to settle scores - as well as raise legitimate concerns about journalism and transparency - when something awful happens in the streets of London.

 

WE ROCK THE BOAT

We rock the boat
Today’s Muslims aren’t prepared to ignore injustice

Comment
By Dilpazier Aslam
The Guardian
July 13, 2005

www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1527323,00.html

If I’m asked about 7/7, I – a Yorkshire lad, born and bred – will respond first by giving an out-clause to being labelled a terrorist lover. I think what happened in London was a sad day and not the way to express your political anger.

Then there’s the “but”. If, as police announced yesterday, four men (at least three from Yorkshire) blew themselves up in the name of Islam, then please let us do ourselves a favour and not act shocked.

Shocked would be to imply that we were unaware of the imminent danger, when in fact Sir John Stevens, the then Metropolitan police commissioner, warned us last year that an attack was inevitable.

Shocked would be to suggest we didn’t appreciate that when Falluja was flattened, the people under it were dead but not forgotten - long after we had moved on to reading more interesting headlines about the Olympics. It is not the done thing to make such comparisons, but Muslims on the street do. Some 2,749 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. To discover the cost of “liberating” Iraqis you need to multiply that figure by eight, and still you will fall short of the estimated minimum of 22,787 civilian Iraqi casualties to date. But it’s not cool to say this, now that London’s skyline has also has plumed grey.

Shocked would also be to suggest that the bombings happened through no responsibility of our own. OK, the streets of London were filled with anti-war marchers, so why punish the average Londoner? But the argument that this was an essentially US-led war does not pass muster. In the Muslim world, the pond that divides Britain and America is a shallow one. And the same cry - why punish us? - is often heard from Iraqi mothers as the “collateral damage” increases daily.

Shocked would be to say that we don’t understand how, in the green hills of Yorkshire, a group of men given all the liberties they could have wished for could do this.

The Muslim community is no monolithic whole. Yet there are some common features. Second- and third-generation Muslims are without the don’t-rock-the-boat attitude that restricted our forefathers. We’re much sassier with our opinions, not caring if the boat rocks or not.

Which is why the young get angry with that breed of Muslim “community leader” who remains silent while anger is seething on the streets.

Earlier this year I attended a mosque in Leeds for Friday prayers. It was in the month of Ramadan, when Islamic fervour is at its most impassioned, yet in the sermon, to a crowd of hundreds - many of whom were from Iraq - Falluja was not referred to once; not even in the cupped-hands prayers after the sermon was over.

I prayed my Eid prayer in a mosque in Sheffield and, though most there were sickened and angry about events in Iraq, the imam chose not to mention Falluja either. We “youngsters” - some now in our 40s - had seen it before. This was deliberate silence, in case the boat rocked.

Perhaps now is the time to be honest with each other and to stop labelling the enemy with simplistic terms such as “young”, “underprivileged”, “undereducated” and perhaps even “fringe”. The don’t-rock-the-boat attitude of elders doesn’t mean the agitation wanes; it means it builds till it can be contained no more.


Shooting a Brazilian: Living with terror in London and Israel

July 25, 2005

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach an article by myself from today’s Jerusalem Post. It was commissioned as a follow-up to the note from Friday evening’s dispatch, London bomber traveled to Israel; Britain begins to “wake up” to terror reality.

I attach a short extract from the piece, followed by the article.

 



EXTRACT

By Friday evening, 12 hours had passed since the shooting of the man, but the BBC still hadn’t interviewed a grieving family, no one had called for British universities be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs hadn’t been ordered to play their matches in Cyprus, and The Guardian hadn’t yet called British policy against its Pakistani population “genocide.”

As for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who is in overall control of transport in the city, including the train where the man was shot, and who strongly defended the shoot-to-kill policy as a legitimate way to prevent suicide bombings, he was not yet facing war crimes charges – as Livingstone himself has demanded Israeli political leaders should be.

 


LIVING WITH TERROR IN LONDON AND ISRAEL

From London to Jerusalem
By Tom Gross
The Jerusalem Post
July 25, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1122171719427

Last Friday, as British police frantically searched for four presumed suicide bombers on the run, the people of London had a glimpse of what the people of Israel live with daily. The explosive devices of all four men had failed to go off properly on London’s transport system the day before and the men had subsequently escaped.

During the course of Friday, there were roadblocks and house searches throughout London. Closed circuit TV footage of the four was released to the public in the afternoon, and by evening two suspects had been taken into custody. The people of London expressed the fear of “living with terror 24/7,” the world expressed their sympathy and there was much supportive and understanding coverage of Britain’s plight by international media and politicians.

Palestinian terrorists have carried out over 25,000 attacks on Israelis since September 2000, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. Israeli security forces have thwarted thousands of attacks, and Israelis have grown used to living with manhunts of the kind seen in London on Friday, yet they are barely reported on abroad.

The head of the Shin Bet confirmed last week that Israel presently receives some 60 intelligence warnings of potential Palestinian terror attacks every day, and this month alone several Israeli women and teenage girls have been killed in various attacks.

A BARRAGE OF BULLETS

Such was the nervousness in London on Friday, that at 10 in the morning a dark-complexioned man was shot dead on a train at Stockwell Tube (subway) station in south London. Witnesses on the train immediately said that it was clear the man had been unarmed, and in the words of one, was “literally executed.” He was already lying on the ground motionless, having tripped, when British police pumped five bullets into his head at close range. On Saturday evening the police confirmed what had been fairly apparent from the time of the shooting – that they had mistakenly targeted an innocent man. (It turned out he was a Brazilian Catholic.)

Israel has taken enormous care in its “targeted killings” of “ticking bombs,” almost never killing anyone in a case of mistaken identity.

Contrary to the absolute lies told in the British media in recent days, the Israel Defense Forces have not instituted a shoot-to-kill policy, or trained the British to carry out one. For example, on Friday, at the very time British police were shooting the man in the Tube, the IDF caught and disarmed a terrorist from Fatah already inside Israel en route to carrying out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Israeli forces didn’t injure the terrorist at all in apprehending him, and disarming him of the five-kilogram explosives belt, packed with nails and metal shards, that he was wearing.

And yet for taking the bare minimum steps necessary to save the lives of its citizens in recent years, Israel has been mercilessly berated by virtually the entire world.

Had Israeli police shot dead an innocent foreigner on one of its buses or trains, confirming the kill with a barrage of bullets at close range, in a mistaken effort to thwart a bombing, the UN would probably have been sitting in emergency session by late afternoon to unanimously denounce the Jewish state.

MAYOR LIVINGSTONE TO THE HAGUE?

By evening, 12 hours had passed since the shooting, but the BBC still hadn’t interviewed a grieving family, no one had called for British universities to be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs hadn’t been ordered to play their matches in Cyprus, and the Guardian hadn’t yet called British policy against its Pakistani population “genocide.”

As for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who is in overall control of transport in the city, including the train where the man was shot, and who strongly defended the shoot-to-kill policy as a legitimate way to prevent suicide bombings, he was not yet facing war crimes charges – as Livingstone himself has demanded Israeli political leaders should be.

Instead on Friday, Polly Toynbee, the leading commentator for The Guardian, wrote that the terrorists were “deranged,” “savage” and “demented” “killers” who “murder in the name of God.” This is a far cry from the habitual manner in which The Guardian and others describe the suicide killers of Israelis “fighters” and “activists.”

LONDON AND TEL AVIV BOMBERS KNEW EACH OTHER

One of the London terrorists responsible for the bombings on July 7, Mohammed Sidique Khan, traveled to Israel in February 2003. He stayed in Israel for just one day, and we can surmise that he wasn’t there to volunteer on a kibbutz or visit Yad Vashem.

Two months later, on April 30, 2003, two other Britons of Pakistani origin were involved in the suicide attack on Mike’s Place, a popular bar in Tel Aviv, killing or injuring 58 people. Hamas later released a video of the two British citizens explaining their motivation for the attack, which included calling on God to punish Tony Blair and George W Bush. It has now been revealed that back in England Mohammed Sidique Khan had been friends with one of the Mike’s Place bombers.

Khan’s visit to Israel was the main international headline in the Washington Post last Tuesday. Yet most British papers have completely ignored it. The Independent and The Daily Telegraph didn’t mention it at all; the Scotsman, the Times and Sun newspapers only very briefly.

There seems to be little interest in Britain in the murder of Israelis by British citizens. Many British journalists evidently have difficulty in admitting that people murdered on buses in Israel are as much victims as those on London buses.

CONTINUING TO EMBRACE HAMAS

Another British citizen, Richard Reid, who became known as the “shoe-bomber,” also visited Israel and the Gaza strip for 10 days in July 2001. Reid was arrested in December 2001 after he tried to light a fuse extending from his shoe on a flight from Paris to Miami.

If people in Britain and the US want to stop terrorists, they need to recognize the inspiration and quite possibly the training that Hamas, the masters of the suicide attack, have given to would-be British and other terrorists, such as Reid. Instead, British officials continue to embrace Hamas, and hold talks with them.

Another of the problems Britons will have to overcome if they want to successfully deal with suicide bombers is to stop listening to the lies propagated by large sections of their media. For example, the cover story of this week’s New Statesman, the favored publication of many in Britain’s ruling Labour party, says “there were no suicide bombers in Palestine until Ariel Sharon, an accredited war criminal, sponsored by Bush and Blair, came to power.” You begin to wonder whose side some in Britain’s media are on.

(Tom Gross is a former Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph)


London bomber traveled to Israel; Britain begins to “wake up” to reality of suicide bombing

July 22, 2005

Much of this dispatch was prepared on Tuesday and Wednesday, prior to yesterday’s attempted terror attacks in London and today’s incidents in the British capital. However, I have today added several elements to the introductory note, below.

 

CONTENTS

1. “Suspected London Bomber Traveled to Israel” (Washington Post, July 19, 2005)
2. “Iran ayatollah says Blair government could have bombed London” (Iran Focus, July 15, 2005)
3. “Mossad: Netanyahu was warned of London bombs” (Al Jazeera, July 19, 2005)
4. “He wasn’t a terrorist” (The News of the World, July 17, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

LIVING WITH TERROR IN LONDON AND ISRAEL

Today, the people of London got a glimpse of what the people of Israel live with daily. Palestinian terrorists have carried out over 25,000 attacks on Israelis since September 2000, resulting in thousands of deaths and injures. The Israeli army and the Shin Bet have thwarted thousands of attacks. Israelis have grown used to living with manhunts of the kind seen in London today, yet they are barely reported on abroad.

The head of the Shin Bet today confirmed that Israel presently receives some 60 intelligence warnings of potential Palestinian terror attacks every day.

Unlike the brown-skinned man who was shot dead this morning at Stockwell Tube (subway) station in south London, whom witnesses say was unarmed and literally executed – he was already lying on the ground motionless when British police pumped five bullets into his head at close range – Israel has taken enormous care in its “targeted killings” of “ticking bombs,” almost never killing anyone in a case of mistaken identity.

MAYOR LIVINGSTONE TO THE HAGUE?

And yet for taking the bare minimum steps necessary to save the lives of its citizens in recent years, Israel has been mercilessly berated by virtually the entire world.

Had Israeli police shot dead that man this morning in London, the UN would probably now be sitting in emergency session to denounce Israel unanimously.

Although over 12 hours have passed since the shooting of this man, the BBC has still not interviewed a grieving family, no one is calling for British universities be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs are not being forced to play their matches in Cyprus, The Guardian hasn’t yet called it “genocide,” and London Mayor Ken Livingstone (who is in overall control of transport in the city, including the train where the man was shot) is not facing war crimes charges (as Livingstone himself has demanded of Israeli political leaders.)

Instead we have the leading commentator for The Guardian, Polly Toynbee, writing today (in the space of her opening paragraph alone) that the terrorists are “deranged,” “savage” and “demented” “killers” who “murder in the name of God.” This is a far cry from the way The Guardian and other Europe media call the suicide killers of Israelis “fighters” and “activists.”

ONE OF THE 7/7 LONDON TERRORITS VISITED ISRAEL

One of the London terrorists, Mohammed Sidique Khan, traveled to Israel in February 2003. He stayed in Israel for just one day, and we can surmise that he wasn’t there to volunteer on a kibbutz or visit Yad Vashem. Two months later, on April 30, 2003, two other Britons of Pakistani origin were involved in the suicide terror attack on Mike’s Place, a popular bar in Tel Aviv, killing or injuring 58 people. Hamas later released a video of the two British citizens explaining their motivation for the attack, which included calling on God to punish Tony Blair and George W Bush.

AND YET THE UK PRESS BARELY SEEMS TO CARE

The visit of Mohammed Sidique Khan to Israel was the main international headline in the Washington Post on Tuesday. Yet most British newspapers have completely ignored the fact that Khan went to Israel. The Independent and The Daily Telegraph didn’t mention it at all. The Scotsman, the (London) Times and Sun newspapers only mentioned it very briefly. (It is no surprise that the New York Times’s report on the bombers also made no mention of Mohammed Sidique Khan’s visit to Israel.)

It is no coincidence that many in the British ruling elite have taken little interest in the murder of Israelis by British citizens. They are so contemptuous of Israel that they don’t want to face the possibility that people murdered going to work and school on buses in Israel are as much victims as those on London buses.

RICHARD REID ALSO VISITED ISRAEL

Another British citizen, Richard Reid, who became known as the “shoe-bomber,” also visited Israel and the Gaza strip for 10 days in July 2001. Reid was arrested in December 2001 after he tried to light a fuse extending from his shoe on a flight from Paris to Miami

If people in Britain and the US want to stop terrorists, they need to recognize the inspiration and quite possibly the training that Hamas, master of the suicide attack, have given to would be British and other terrorists, such as Reid. Instead, British officials continue to embrace Hamas, and hold talks with them

AL JAZEERA CONTINUE TO PUSH NETANYAHU STORY

The main story on Al Jazeera on Tuesday was another rehash of the myth that Binyamin Netanyahu received a warning six minutes before the London bombs. As I wrote in the dispatch on July 7, only two hours after the London bombs, the Associated Press has shown extreme irresponsibility in prominently releasing this fake story. Its continued use by Al Jazeera is further evidence of this.

THE GUARDIAN AND HIZB UT-TAHRIR

In the recent dispatch Guardian staff journalist exposed as member of extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir (July 18, 2005), I reported that Guardian journalist Dilpazier Aslam is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist Muslim organization. Two days later, the Financial Times reported that the British government will now outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir. The party has already been banned in countries like Germany, under Germany’s laws outlawing parties that promote anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. The Guardian continues to stand by Dilpazier Aslam and it would appear they have no problem about having an Islamist supremacist on their staff.

KEN LIVINGSTONE AND SHEIK YOUSEF QARDAWI

In the same dispatch I also included an article on Ken Livingstone. It has since been reported that Sheik Qardawi will not visit Britain, perhaps due to the criticism in many newspapers of Qardawi’s anti-Semitism and his repeated calls for the murder of Israelis. However, Livingstone has continued to defend Qardawi and also justify suicide bombs against Israelis.

On Tuesday, Livingstone called Qardawi a “leading progressive Muslim” and Livingstone then compared the Israeli government with Hamas. “I don’t make any distinction,” the mayor of London said.

While being called a “great mayor” in recent days by the BBC, Livingstone is regarded by many decent Britons as a dangerous anti-Semite who has done much to encourage Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Semitism among London’s 800,000 Muslims.

CHERIE BLAIR AND KEN LIVINSTONE: TERROR SYMPATHIZERS?

The Washington Post today reported yesterday that “Britain Will Act to Bar Terrorist Sympathizers” some people in Britain are asking whether this will include the wife of the Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Mayor of London. In June 2002, Prime Minister Blair’s wife Cherie Booth-Blair said Palestinians felt they had “no hope” but to blow themselves up.

SIR BERNARD CRICK

Sir Bernard Crick, of Birkbeck College, University of London, and one of the most distinguished professors in Britain, has become one of the first Britons (other than Livingstone) to blame Israeli policies for the London terror attacks. Crick told BBC Radio Four, “It’s not easily refuted that these kinds of protests... have been going on since the failure of Israel to follow the UN resolutions after the 1967 war. ”

CAMBRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL REMOVES SUICIDE BOMBER FILM

In the dispatch, Humane portrayal of Palestinian suicide bombers at Berlin Film Festival (February 15, 2005), I discussed the film “Paradise Now,” which portrays Palestinian suicide bombers as complex and conflicted people. The 25th Cambridge Film Festival, taking place at the present time in the English university town, has announced they will not be showing this film as they had planned due to “recent tragic events”. This is another small example of the way people in Britain are not glamorizing Palestinian suicide bombers as much as they used to before the July 7 London suicide bombs.

PALESTINIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL MEMBER ON THE LONDON BOMBINGS

In an Al Jazeera television interview on July 12, Palestinian National Council member Mamoun Al-Tamimi blamed Britain and the US for the July 7 terror attacks. “They (the London bombers) love death like that man loves life. Who made them love death? Britain and the U.S. with their actions. And, and the American and British peoples will pay the price if they don’t put an end to these governments.”

HE WASN’T A TERRORIST

Attached (below) is an interview with the uncle of one of the July 7 suicide bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, who says that his nephew was not a terrorist. These comments contradict what he had previously said on television and in newspapers.

I attach four articles, with summaries.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

SUSPECTED LONDON BOMBER TRAVELED TO ISRAEL

“Suspected London Bomber Traveled to Israel” (By Craig Whitlock and Kamran Khan, Washington Post, July 19, 2005)

One of the suspected London transit bombers visited Israel for one day in the spring of 2003, Israeli authorities have reported as part of an international effort to re-create the travels of the four men investigators believe set off the July 7 explosions.

Mohammed Sidique Khan arrived in Tel Aviv and left the next day, senior Israeli intelligence officials have told Israeli reporters. Investigators say they have found no evidence that his trip was related to the subsequent April 30, 2003, suicide attack on a Tel Aviv nightclub by two British men of Pakistani origin...

The purpose of Khan’s trip to Israel is one of the many unknowns in the investigation.

Several weeks after his visit, a British-born man of Pakistani descent, Assif Muhammad Hanif, blew himself up at Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv nightspot, killing three other people. Two weeks later, the body of another British citizen, Omar Khan Sharif, who investigators say fled the bar after a bomb he was carrying failed to detonate, was found in the sea off Tel Aviv.

Some Israelis wondered whether the timing meant that Khan’s visit was somehow related to those attacks... Terrorism experts have long worried that terrorists with European Union passports would find it easier to cross borders to carry out attacks...

 

IRAN AYATOLLAH: BRITISH GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE BOMBED LONDON

“Iran ayatollah says Blair government could have bombed London” (Iran Focus, July 15, 2005)

... Addressing worshippers at the site of Tehran University, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful Guardian Council, the unelected constitutional watchdog, said, “At times they blame this [London bombings] as the work of Al’ Qaeda. Al’ Qaeda means [United States President George W.] Bush and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair who were the mothers of Al’ Qaeda and brought to life this illegitimate child”.

“There exists the possibility that the British government carried out this work, like the possibility [of American involvement] in the September 11 affair, since they themselves stand to benefit the most”, Jannati said.

Jannati is a close confidant of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is widely seen as Jannati’s protege...

“The British government stood to gain the most from the London bombings, so that they could tell their people not to protest against their war on terrorism”, the senior ayatollah said...

 

AL JAZEERA CONTINUE TO PUSH FAKE NETANYAHU STORY

(* For space reasons, I include a summary of this article only – TG)

“Mossad: Netanyahu was warned of London bombs” (Al Jazeera, July 19, 2005)

www.aljazeera.com/me.asp?service_ID=9369

Controversy continues over the recent Associated Press story which detailed the remarks of a “senior Israeli official” who said that Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in London for an economic conference, was warned by Scotland Yard “minutes” in advance of the bombings...

It should be noted that the first story detailing Netanyahu’s “advance” warning was never retracted. [Tom Gross adds: This is true, and I have repeatedly criticized the AP for not retracting their phony story.]

Further confirmation of the Mossad having prior knowledge of the bombings was made by an Israeli news site which cites the spy agency’s chief Meir Dagan, in an interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag:

“The Mossad office in London received advance notice about the attacks, but only six minutes before the first blast. As a result, it was impossible to take any action to prevent the blasts.” [Tom Gross adds: This quote is false.]

 

“HE WASN’T A TERRORIST”

(* For space reasons, I include a summary of this article only – TG)

“He wasn’t a terrorist” (By Mahzer Mahmood, The News of the World, July 17,2005)

www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/story_pages/news/news2.shtml

THE uncle of suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer last night told the News of the World the 22-year-old’s murderous act did not make him a terrorist.

In a searingly frank and shocking exclusive interview, Bashir Ahmed claimed Tanweer was a “desperate” young man “driven” to commit the atrocity by the West’s treatment of Muslims.

And he BLAMED Tony Blair and George Bush for the July 7 bombings, warning: “There will be more.”

“These (suicide bombers) are desperate people,” said Ahmed. “They can see that their brothers are not getting their rights, so they take extreme action.”

The businessman was pictured on TV worldwide last week talking with dignity of his family’s shock at the news that Tanweer had detonated the Aldgate Tube bomb, killing himself and six others.

But face to face with our Investigations Editor Mazher Mahmood—a Muslim himself—he revealed the deepest feelings he hid from the cameras.

Ahmed—who was attacked and punched in the street by a skinhead on Friday—has lived for 44 years in Britain, a country he loves.

... Ahmed PRAISED Tanweer—who came to his unsuspecting uncle’s kebab shop in Leeds to say goodbye the night before the bombings—as a caring person “regardless of race or colour”. He said his nephew was “looking for justice for human beings”.

“I would not say that he (Tanweer) was a terrorist,” said Ahmed.

“He was driven to this. He was desperate. He was driven to that by desperation because he couldn’t find justice anywhere. This lad has made a name for himself in the world. Muslims call it a sacrifice, the Europeans call him a terrorist.”

Cigar-smoking dad-of-four Ahmed describes the 55 lives taken by his nephew and his murderous pals as “a few” ...

 



FULL ARTICLES

SUSPECTED LONDON BOMBER TRAVELED TO ISRAEL

Suspected London Bomber Traveled to Israel
By Craig Whitlock and Kamran Khan
The Washington Post
July 19, 2005

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/18/AR2005071801437.html?referrer=email&referrer=email

One of the suspected London transit bombers visited Israel for one day in the spring of 2003, Israeli authorities have reported as part of an international effort to re-create the travels of the four men investigators believe set off the July 7 explosions.

Mohammed Sidique Khan arrived in Tel Aviv and left the next day, senior Israeli intelligence officials have told Israeli reporters. Investigators say they have found no evidence that his trip was related to the subsequent April 30, 2003, suicide attack on a Tel Aviv nightclub by two British men of Pakistani origin.

New details emerged Monday about trips that three of the four London bombing suspects made to Pakistan. Khan and Shehzad Tanweer arrived in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, on Nov. 16 last year on the same Turkish Airlines flight, then flew home together Feb. 7, Pakistani investigators said after reviewing immigration records.

A third suspect, Hasib Hussain, flew into Karachi on July 15, 2004, on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Riyadh, records show. Pakistani officials said they did not know how long Hussain stayed, but his family in Leeds has told British investigators he was gone for about four months.

With details like these, investigators are trying to retrace the precise movements of the three men, each a British native of Pakistani descent. From Karachi, the men traveled elsewhere in the country. “The main destination in Pakistan for all three suicide bombers was Lahore,” a major city near the Indian border, said a senior official with Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency in Karachi, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A senior intelligence official in Lahore said Khan and Tanweer stayed at separate addresses near the city, despite arriving and leaving together.

Tanweer’s family has said he left Leeds to attend a religious school, or madrassa , so he could study Arabic and the Koran. They said he intended to stay for nine months but came back early. Pakistani intelligence officials said they have uncovered evidence that all three bombers met with Islamic militants, but have not given details.

Tanweer made a separate visit to Pakistan earlier in 2004 and met with Osama Nazir, who was later arrested and charged with participating in a 2002 grenade attack on a church in Islamabad, the Associated Press reported last week, citing unidentified Pakistani intelligence officials. Five people, including two Americans, died in the explosion. Pakistani officials did not say Monday whether they had found immigration records confirming the trip.

The investigation into the subway and bus bombings in London, which killed at least 55 people including the presumed bombers, has become increasingly focused on connections to Pakistan. Security officials in London have said they are searching for a Pakistani man who entered Britain at an English Channel port two weeks before the attacks and slipped out of the country the day before the bombings. That man, whom officials have not identified, was on Britain’s terrorism watch list but was allowed to enter the country.

Although the three bombers arrived in Karachi aboard flights that originated in Istanbul and Riyadh, Pakistani officials said that it appeared those were merely transit points on trips that began in London and that the men did not appear to have broken their journeys in those cities.

Investigators said they were trying to figure out who paid for the tickets and sponsored the trips. Hussain was an unemployed 17-year-old when he traveled to Pakistan. Tanweer worked part time in his father’s fish-and-chips restaurant in Leeds, and Khan was a teacher’s assistant at an elementary school.

The purpose of Khan’s trip to Israel is one of the many unknowns in the investigation.

Several weeks after his visit, a British-born man of Pakistani descent, Assif Muhammad Hanif, blew himself up at Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv nightspot, killing three other people. Two weeks later, the body of another British citizen, Omar Khan Sharif, who investigators say fled the bar after a bomb he was carrying failed to detonate, was found in the sea off Tel Aviv.

Some Israelis wondered whether the timing meant that Khan’s visit was somehow related to those attacks. However, Israeli investigators have said they have turned up no such evidence.

Terrorism experts have long worried that terrorists with European Union passports would find it easier to cross borders to carry out attacks.

Pakistani officials said they were cooperating closely with British and U.S. investigators on the London bombing probe. They have tried to deflect suspicions that the plot originated in Pakistan.

“Yes, you can say that the London bombers had some connections in Pakistan,” Aftab Khan Sherpao, Pakistan’s interior minister, said Monday. “But the investigations so far here and in Britain have shown that citizens from various nations could have been involved in the attack.”

In a television interview, Pakistan’s U.N. ambassador, Munir Akram, gave a sharper assessment, saying Britain had only itself to blame for the bombings.

“It would be a grave mistake to point fingers at Pakistan or anybody outside your country,” Akram told the BBC. “It is important not to pin blame on somebody else when the problem lies internally. Your policies in the Middle East, your policies in the Islamic world -- that is the problem with your society and that is where the problem lies as far as this incident is concerned.”

Akram’s comments echoed the conclusions of a briefing paper released Monday by one of Britain’s most prominent foreign policy research groups. The report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs said Britain’s strong support for the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the U.S. approach to fighting terrorism, has been “a high-risk policy” that has left Britain more vulnerable to attacks at home.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw dismissed such criticism, saying that “the time for excuses for terrorism is over.”

At a gathering of European foreign ministers in Brussels, Straw said, “The terrorists have struck across the world, in countries allied with the United States, backing the war in Iraq, and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq.”

Britain’s three major political parties reached agreement to speed action on anti-terrorism legislation that Prime Minister Tony Blair is preparing, the BBC reported. It is to come before Parliament in October.

Khan reported from Karachi. Correspondent Scott Wilson in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

 

IRAN AYATOLLAH SAYS BRITISH GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE BOMBED LONDON

Iran ayatollah says Blair government could have bombed London
Iran Focus
July 15, 2005

www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2853

One of Iran’s most powerful clerics hinted during the Friday prayers sermon in Tehran today that last week’s London bombings could have been the work of the United Kingdom government.

Addressing worshippers at the site of Tehran University, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful Guardian Council, the unelected constitutional watchdog, said, “At times they blame this [London bombings] as the work of Al’Qaeda. Al’Qaeda means [United States President George W.] Bush and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair who were the mothers of Al’Qaeda and brought to life this illegitimate child”.

“There exists the possibility that the British government carried out this work, like the possibility [of American involvement] in the September 11 affair, since they themselves stand to benefit the most”, Jannati said.

Jannati is a close confidant of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is widely seen as Jannati’s protege.

The July 7 multiple bombings in London’s underground railways and a city bus left at least 54 people dead and close to 1,000 people injured.

“The British government stood to gain the most from the London bombings, so that they could tell their people not to protest against their war on terrorism”, the senior ayatollah said.

Jannati’s comments echoed a similar speech at last week’s Friday prayers’ sermon by Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani, who blamed the bombings on the West.

The Organisation of al-Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe, an al-Qaeda offshoot, claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Emami-Kashani said that the West, in particular the United States and Israel, carried the responsibility. “You who speak of al-Qaeda’s Islamic and terrorist nature, have you forgotten who are the mother and father of al-Qaeda”, the senior cleric questioned, in an address to the United Kingdom and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Al-Qaeda’s father is in the White House and its mother is despotic Israel”.


Palestinian terrorist leader in Jenin appears in Reuters staff party video

July 19, 2005

CONTENTS

1. “Terrorist at journalists’ party” (Ynetnews, July 15, 2005)
2. “The curse of the language corrupters” (By Michelle Malkin, July 16, 2005)
3. “BBC language that Labour loves to hear” (Daily Telegraph, July 13, 2005)

 


[Note by Tom Gross]

TERRORIST IN REUTERS PARTY VIDEO

It has been revealed that Zakaria Zubeidi, the head of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, made a guest appearance in a video prepared by the staff of Reuters in Israel and the Palestinian Authority for a colleague who was leaving. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has claimed responsibility for over 300 terror attacks since it was set up by Yasser Arafat (in part using European Union aid money) in 2000. Those attacks have resulted in hundreds of Israeli men, women and children being killed or maimed. Zubeidi has small black marks on his face after a bomb he was preparing blew up in his face three years ago. He is wanted by Israel on multiple murder charges.

Also present at the party, which took place in March, were journalists from the BBC, ITN, the Independent newspaper of London, and some French journalists.

Reuters spokeswoman Susan Allsopp said in a statement issued to Ynet, the internet site of Israel’s most popular newspaper Yediot Ahronoth, that the film “was shown at a private farewell party.”

(For more on the way Reuters reporters work in the Middle East, see
www.nationalreview.com/issue/gross200407120846.asp )

WHY NOT CALL “RAPISTS” “UNPLANNED LOVERS”?

Following my article “The BBC discovers ‘terrorism,’ briefly”, and often citing the examples in it, many journalists have now written about the BBC and the language they used in describing the London attacks.

For example, in the article attached below, Michelle Malkin, a nationally syndicated columnist in the US, looks at the use of language by the BBC and also by American politicians and media. What next, she asks? Why not call “burglars” “takers,” and “rapists” “unplanned lovers”?

INTERNAL MEMO AT BBC: “STOP CALLING THEM TERRORISTS”

The third article below, from the Daily Telegraph, says that a memo was sent to senior editors at the BBC only hours after the London bombs ordering them to stop using the word “terrorist” as the BBC was worried about offending its World Service audience. An argument broke out between some senior journalists and news executives which suggest that the London attacks brought home to the BBC what terrorism really means. I also know from sources at the BBC that my article has been discussed in private by senior BBC news execs.

I attach three articles, with summaries first.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

TERRORIST AT JOURNALISTS’ PARTY

“Terrorist at journalists’ party” (By Yaakov Lappin, Ynetnews, Yediot Ahronoth, July 15, 2005)

... Top terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi made a “guest appearance” in a video prepared by the staff of Reuters news agency in Israel and the Palestinian Authority as a “going away” gift for a colleague, Ynetnews has learned.

Zubeidi, who heads Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, has been named by security officials as a key figure in organizing terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

Zubeidi’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have claimed responsibility for more than 300 terror acts in the last five years...

The party included guests from the BBC, ITN, the Independent newspaper, and French journalists...

 

THE CURSE OF THE LANGUAGE CORRUPTERS

“The curse of the language corrupters” (By Michelle Malkin, July 16, 2005)

Across the pond, the British Broadcasting Corp. is taking well-deserved lumps for whitewashing the July 7 terrorist attacks in London. Editors have reportedly expunged the word “terrorist” from the BBC Web site and substituted the sanitized “bomber” to describe the killers.

Next: “Burglars” will be “takers.” “Child molesters” will be “ticklers,” “Rapists” will be “unplanned lovers.”

High-minded BBC guidelines admonish employees against using words like “terrorist” that “carry emotional or value judgments.” Yet, employing a reporter, Barbara Plett, who told viewers she bawled her eyes out when an ailing Yasser Arafat was whisked off to France last November, is model objectivity.

But bashing the terror-coddling BBC is too easy. Let us turn to our own language corrupters.

Nearly four years after the September 11 attacks, the White House and the press still use the empty phrase “War on Terror” to describe the global battle against radical Islamist throat-slitters, suicide bombers and hijackers who incinerate children on their way to Disneyland. And in the wake of the London terrorist attacks, we Americans continue to bow to an unwritten editorial policy of invoking sanitized phrases and bloodless bluster as a substitute for concrete action.

... It’s precisely these kinds of national security profiling and targeted immigration enforcement measures that obstructionists characterize as an “anti-Muslim backlash,” which is why no one will talk about them despite all the “heightened alert” posturing.

In London, “terrorists” are “bombers.” In the U.S., citizen watchdogs are “vigilantes.”

The Ministry of Truth would be pleased.

 

BBC LANGUAGE THAT LABOUR LOVES TO HEAR

“BBC language that Labour loves to hear” (By Tom Leonard, London Daily Telegraph, July 13, 2005)

When is a terrorist not a terrorist? When he is on the BBC, of course. Where -according to the corporation’s editorial guidelines - “the word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than aid to understanding” ...

Within hours of the explosions, a memo was sent to senior editors on the main BBC news programmes from Helen Boaden, head of news. While she was aware “we are dancing on the head of a pin”, the BBC was very worried about offending its World Service audience, she said.

BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as “terrorists” although - nonsensically - they could refer to the bombings as “terror attacks”.

And while the guidelines generously concede that non-BBC should be allowed to use the “t” word, BBC online was not even content with that and excised it from its report of Tony Blair’s statement to the Commons.

A row has now broken out with a handful of the corporation’s most senior journalists and news executives, fighting what one described yesterday as a “disgusting and appalling” edict.

He was particularly angry, he added, because most World Service listeners don’t even pay a penny for the BBC...

Few people at the top of the BBC think that not calling terrorists “terrorists” is remotely absurd. And that, say their critics, is the nub of the problem: corporation bosses are so sure they are “doing good” and that their assumptions are shared by all that they believe they are apolitical...

 



FULL ARTICLES

TERRORIST AT JOURNALISTS’ PARTY

Terrorist at journalists’ party
Top terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi made “guest appearance” in video prepared by Reuters staff as “going away” gift for colleague, Ynetnews has learned
By Yaakov Lappin
Ynetnews
July 15, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3113222,00.html

Close buddies? Top terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi made a “guest appearance” in a video prepared by the staff of Reuters news agency in Israel and the Palestinian Authority as a “going away” gift for a colleague, Ynetnews has learned.

Zubeidi, who heads Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, has been named by security officials as a key figure in organizing terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

Zubeidi’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have claimed responsibility for more than 300 terror acts in the last five years.

A Reuters spokeswoman confirmed the video’s existence, but said the London-based news organization is “not associated with any group or faction in any conflict.”

The screening, which occurred in a Jerusalem restaurant last March, involved the showing of a video during a private party.

“The video’s theme was what Israel would be like in 10 years,” said an Israeli government official who attended the party and viewed the video.

“All of a sudden, at the end, there is Zakaria Zubeidi, playing the head of Reuters. Zubeidi was sitting in Reuters’ Jenin office, saying he was Reuters’ chief,” the official said.

‘They thought video was hilarious’

The party included guests from the BBC, ITN, the Independent newspaper, and French journalists.

“They all thought the video was hilarious,” the official said. He added that only a few individuals did not seem amused during the screening.

“They were laughing; they thought it was very funny, he said.”

Reuters spokeswoman Susan Allsopp said in a statement to Ynetnews that the film “was a spoof video put together for a departing member of staff by a few of his colleagues in Israel and the Palestinian territories. It was shown at a private farewell party and was meant to be humorous.

“As soon as editorial management in Jerusalem became aware of the video they told the staff involved that Reuters found it to be inappropriate and in poor taste,” the statement said. “The member of staff for whom the party had been held has never met Mr. Zubeidi. Reuters would like to make it clear that it is not associated with any group or faction in any conflict.”

 

THE CURSE OF THE LANGUAGE CORRUPTERS

The curse of the language corrupters
By Michelle Malkin
July 16, 2005

Across the pond, the British Broadcasting Corp. is taking well-deserved lumps for whitewashing the July 7 terrorist attacks in London. Editors have reportedly expunged the word “terrorist” from the BBC Web site and substituted the sanitized “bomber” to describe the killers.

Next: “Burglars” will be “takers.” “Child molesters” will be “ticklers.” “Rapists” will be “unplanned lovers.”

High-minded BBC guidelines admonish employees against using words like “terrorist” that “carry emotional or value judgments.” Yet, employing a reporter, Barbara Plett, who told viewers she bawled her eyes out when an ailing Yasser Arafat was whisked off to France last November, is model objectivity.

But bashing the terror-coddling BBC is too easy. Let us turn to our own language corrupters.

Nearly four years after the September 11 attacks, the White House and the press still use the empty phrase “War on Terror” to describe the global battle against radical Islamist throat-slitters, suicide bombers and hijackers who incinerate children on their way to Disneyland. And in the wake of the London terrorist attacks, we Americans continue to bow to an unwritten editorial policy of invoking sanitized phrases and bloodless bluster as a substitute for concrete action.

How many times have you heard some cable TV talking head or political hack urging us to be on “heightened alert” - without having the courage to spell out exactly what that means?

How many times has this been followed by a furrowed-brow precaution from some civil rights lawyer or human rights activist urging us to avoid an “anti-Muslim backlash”?

I’d have an easier time cheering the “We will not yield” and “We are not afraid” sloganeering if just one of our tough talkers in Washington would get brutally specific about how they will show vigilance, courage, alertness and refusal to yield to radical Islamic terror. Allow me:

* A true state of “heightened alert” would mean barring any new religious visas for Muslim clerics and ending all visa-free travel, which means scrapping the anachronistic and insecure Transit Without a Visa program and the dangerously lax Visa Waiver Program.

* A true state of “heightened alert” would mean a targeted visa moratorium for terror-sponsoring and terror-friendly nations. The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 placed such a ban on temporary visitor visas for individuals from the seven official state sponsors of terrorism. The list should be expanded and revisited if and when intelligence points to new al Qaeda breeding grounds. And yes, that means tourists from Egypt, Yemen, Syria and the Philippines might be denied a Grand Canyon vacation the next five years. Tough noogies.

At this point, despite all the grand rhetoric from both political parties about increased information-sharing and cooperation, I have limited confidence that our consular offices abroad are capable of stopping the next Mohamed Atta or Hani Hanjour from getting a temporary visa. The fewer applications from danger spots they have to deal with, the better.

* A true state of “heightened alert” would mean killing off the idiotic Diversity Visa Lottery Program once and for all and scouring the H1-B visa program for Islamist exploitation.

* A true state of “heightened alert” would mean unapologetic government monitoring of Arab and Muslim foreign students on temporary visas, Muslim chaplains and soldiers serving in the military and in prisons, and Arab and Muslim pilots and flight students.

* A true state of “heightened alert” would mean immediate deportation of illegal aliens from terror-sponsoring and terror-supporting nations, increased National Guard dispatches on both the northern and southern borders, aggressive police-federal cooperation to catch illegal border crossers and overstayers in the interior, and vigorous encouragement of volunteer border security efforts like the Minuteman Project.

It’s precisely these kinds of national security profiling and targeted immigration enforcement measures that obstructionists characterize as an “anti-Muslim backlash,” which is why no one will talk about them despite all the “heightened alert” posturing.

In London, “terrorists” are “bombers.” In the U.S., citizen watchdogs are “vigilantes.”

The Ministry of Truth would be pleased.

 

BBC LANGUAGE THAT LABOUR LOVES TO HEAR

BBC language that Labour loves to hear
By Tom Leonard
The (London) Daily Telegraph
July 13, 2005

www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2005/07/13/do1302.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2005/07/13/ixop.html

When is a terrorist not a terrorist? When he is on the BBC, of course. Where - according to the corporation’s editorial guidelines - “the word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than aid to understanding”.

Bomber, attacker, insurgent, militant - all are fine by the Beeb because they carry no “emotional or value judgments”.

And heaven forbid anyone get emotional about the deaths of at least 52 people in the London bombings last week.

Within hours of the explosions, a memo was sent to senior editors on the main BBC news programmes from Helen Boaden, head of news. While she was aware “we are dancing on the head of a pin”, the BBC was very worried about offending its World Service audience, she said.

BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as “terrorists” although - nonsensically - they could refer to the bombings as “terror attacks”.

And while the guidelines generously concede that non-BBC should be allowed to use the “t” word, BBC online was not even content with that and excised it from its report of Tony Blair’s statement to the Commons.

A row has now broken out with a handful of the corporation’s most senior journalists and news executives, fighting what one described yesterday as a “disgusting and appalling” edict.

He was particularly angry, he added, because most World Service listeners don’t even pay a penny for the BBC.

The BBC militants/insurgents may be furious but they can hardly be surprised. The corporation that only last year was winning plaudits for standing up to Downing Street bullying over Iraqi WMDs is now cosier with Labour than it has been at any time in its history.

Far from the Hutton Inquiry teaching the BBC that it should be less politically engaged, its bosses appear to have realised that it is actually fine to play politics - just so long as they are the politics of Labour.

The same senior BBC journalist who expressed contempt for the “terrorist” ban was withering about the corporation’s current Africa season. The BBC’s interminable series of programmes highlighting poverty in Africa has been a “disgrace”, he said.

“We’ve simply been advancing Gordon Brown’s agenda and in an entirely unsophisticated way.”

It didn’t get less sophisticated than the anti-poverty drama, The Girl In The Cafe, in which the writer Richard Curtis provided an Honest Joe chancellor character who seemed clearly intended to be mistaken for his friend, Mr Brown.

Later that week, viewers watching Live8 could have been forgiven for thinking it had been organised by the BBC, not Bob Geldof. Just days after it largely turned a blind eye to the Battle of Trafalgar commemorations, the corporation set aside hour after hour of airtime to events in Hyde Park.

In the festival of hyperbole and back-slapping that followed, nobody interviewed by the BBC cheerleaders was allowed to be anything other than deliriously positive about the campaign to “make poverty history”. And when BBC1 covered the campaign on the evening news, it interviewed only two people - both Government ministers.

As Adam Boulton, Sky News political editor, told a Lords select committee two weeks ago, it has reached the stage where a public service institution “rather than serving the public, gets close to serving the Government”.

Boulton also picked out the BBC’s NHS Day programmes, which stressed the merits of the health service more than any drawbacks. If Sky aired a Private Health Day, people would say it was “absurd”, he said.

Few people at the top of the BBC think that not calling terrorists “terrorists” is remotely absurd. And that, say their critics, is the nub of the problem: corporation bosses are so sure they are “doing good” and that their assumptions are shared by all that they believe they are apolitical.

A glimpse into the future was provided a year ago this month when - at a time when many thought the BBC still had a lot of sucking up to do to the Government over its charter renewal - its director general set out the way forward. Mark Thompson used the sort of language he knew Downing Street would like – because it was precisely the language that the Labour-dominated regulator Ofcom has used about the BBC.

No longer just a broadcaster, the corporation was to be a social force in the land, he said. The corporation was an “important builder of social capital, seeking to increase social cohesion and tolerance”, which in future would try to “foster audience understanding of differences of ethnicity, faith, gender, sexuality, age and ability or disability”.

A few months earlier, in its annual statement of programme policy, the BBC for the first time included a section entitled “the purpose of the BBC”. Its five aims include ones to “support the UK’s role in the world” and “help make the UK a more inclusive society”.

What has any of this got to do with broadcasting? And where was the public debate before the state-owned broadcaster was allowed to take on itself such overtly political roles? The answers, predictably, are nothing and nowhere.

The BBC - which, true to form, was sounding off in its annual report yesterday about BBC1 focusing too much on white, middle-class suburbia - argues privately that it is trying to seek out a new role as its audiences slip in the digital age.

Critics counter that it is misusing the licence fee and imposing the views of the metropolitan elite upon the rest of the population. Mr Thompson, we learnt at the weekend, is a close confidante of Sir Ian Blair, the “pc PC” Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and the pair exchange notes on how to “transform” their organisations. Who would have thought it?


The six golden rules when writing a New York Times editorial

The six golden points that must be included in a New York Times editorial on the Mideast:

1. Whatever The Problem, Blame Israel
2. Ignore Palestinian Flouting of the Road Map
3. Promote the Myth of Palestinian “Moderation”
4. White-Wash Terror Groups
5. Palestinian Failures Are Caused By Israel
6. The U.S. Must Pressure Israel

[Full details below in the “Full Articles” section]

 

CONTENTS

1. “The Sulzberger Indifference Template” (Mediacrity weblog, July 15, 2005)
2. “Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists” (Dallas News, Editorial, July 15, 2005)
3. “Weak Brits, Tough French” (The New York Sun, July 12, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALS: “THE SULZBERGER PROBLEM”

In response to the latest New York Times editorial on Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza (which is very similar to almost all their other editorials on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in that whatever the situation, the Times says Israel is to blame), Mediacrity, a weblog written anonymously by a senior American journalist, has produced a “Sulzberger Indifference Template.” I attach it below.

The New York Times’ editorial page is the most influential in the world and their consistent failure to mention the corruption and encouragement to violence and anti-Semitism by the Palestinian Authority, or the many positive humanitarian and economic policies by Israel, is a major problem for the future resolution of the Palestinian-Israel conflict. Opinion-makers the world over continue to be misinformed of the actualities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict thanks in part to often manipulative reporting and editorials by the New York Times.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN’S “JEWISH FASCISM”

It is no coincidence, for example, that New York Times columns, such as the one from Gaza last week by Thomas Friedman conjuring up the notion that “Jewish Fascism” exists in Israel, are widely and favorably circulated in the Arab world. For example, Friedman’s piece is presently displayed prominently and favorably on the official media website of the PLO.

I have criticized the publishers of the New York Times, the Sulzberger family, before on this list. Some view the Sulzbergers’ disdain for the state of Israel as a result of the fact that even after their conversion from Judaism to Christianity, many in New York and Washington WASP society continued to regard them as Jews. The Sulzbergers have therefore continued to bend over backwards to distance themselves from Jewish concerns now, as they did during the Holocaust.

For more of my writings on the New York Times, see for example,
www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross031403.asp.

CALLING THEM WHAT THEY ARE: TERRORISTS

The Dallas News in their editorial of July 15, 2005 (attached below) says terrorists must be called terrorists, whether in New York, London, Israel or Iraq. Those who murder children or murder Shia Moslems at prayer in mosques in bomb attacks in Iraq are terrorists. The paper says “words have meanings” and too many media organizations such as Reuters and the BBC are “too timid, sensitive or ‘open-minded’” to call them terrorists.

THE BBC GIVES A RARE VOICE TO ISRAELI CIVILIANS

Following articles by myself and others at the beginning of last week criticizing the BBC, the BBC – while still generally broadcasting reports unfair to Israel – has also done one or two more positive things. See, for example, “How Israelis live with bombers” -- news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4679373.stm

“AS THE BRITISH BAN FOX HUNTING, THE FRENCH BAN HIJABS”

Daniel Pipes, in the final article attached below, says that in the war against terrorism, contrary to the perception of many, it is the British who are weak and the French who are tough. Whilst Britain may be heavily involved in Iraq and Afghanistan they have failed much closer to home in shutting down the support mechanisms that make terrorism possible.

As journalist Mathew Kalman wrote in yesterday’s (London) Daily Mail in an article titled “Declare war on Economic Jihad”: “There are many bogus charities with links to terrorist groups still operating in Britain.” For example, Interpal, a front for funding Hamas has been banned in the US, Australia and Canada but continues to operate in Britain.

I attach three articles with summaries first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

THE SULZBERGER INDIFFERENCE TEMPLATE

“The Sulzberger Indifference Template” (Mediacrity (weblog), July 15, 2005)

The New York Times editorial today on the Gaza disengagement, “Aimless in Gaza,” follows what I would describe as the “Sulzberger Indifference Template” for editorials on Israel. The godfather of this Template was Arthur Hayes Sulzberger, publisher of the Times from 1935 to 1961 and co-founder of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. He is grandfather of the current publisher.

When you read Times Middle East editorials, remember that the newspaper is an ancestral property of the Sulzberger family, whose historic indifference to Israel and Jewish concerns has been well documented. The Times’ disgraceful indifference to the Holocaust was recently recounted in a book, and Arthur Hays Sulzberger’s indifference to Israel has resonated through generations of Times editorial writers...

... Over all, a typical Times editorial - condescending, detached from reality, one-sided. The same mentality that kept Auschwitz off the front pages is continuing to burn bright on 43rd Street.

(The full six points of the template, which are worth reading for those who have the time, are attached below in the “Full Articles” section.)

 

CALL THEM WHAT THEY ARE: THOSE WHO MURDER IRAQI CIVILIANS ARE TERRORISTS

“Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists” (Dallas News, Editorial, July 15, 2005)

... Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word – “insurgent” – on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as “insurgents.”

... People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are – terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists. Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists. Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists. IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all... To call them “insurgents” insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.

 

WEAK BRITS, TOUGH FRENCH

“Weak Brits, Tough French” (By Daniel Pipes, The New York Sun, July 12, 2005)

Thanks to the war in Iraq, much of the world sees the British government as resolute and tough and the French one as appeasing and weak. But in another war, the one against terrorism and radical Islam, the reverse is true: France is the most stalwart nation in the West, even more so than America, while Britain is the most hapless.

British-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain, and America. Many governments - Jordanian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, French, and American - have protested London’s refusal to shut down its Islamist terrorist infrastructure or extradite wanted operatives. In frustration, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak publicly denounced Britain for “protecting killers.” One American security group has called for Britain to be listed as a terrorism-sponsoring state.

... More broadly, President Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after September 11, 2001, to share terrorism data with their American counterparts “as if they were your own service.” The cooperation is working: A former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, called the bilateral intelligence tie “one of the best in the world.” The British may have a “special relationship” with Washington on Iraq, but the French have one with it in the war on terror.

France accords terrorist suspects fewer rights than any other Western state, permitting interrogation without a lawyer, lengthy pre-trial incarcerations, and evidence acquired under dubious circumstances. Were he a terrorism suspect, the author of Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, Evan Kohlmann, says he “would least like to be held under” the French system.

... The British have seemingly lost interest in their heritage while the French hold on to theirs: As the British ban fox hunting, the French ban hijabs. The former embrace multiculturalism, the latter retain a pride in their historic culture. This contrast in matters of identity makes Britain the Western country most vulnerable to the ravages of radical Islam whereas France, for all its political failings, has held onto a sense of self that may yet see it through.

 



FULL ARTICLES

THE SULZBERGER INDIFFERENCE TEMPLATE

The Sulzberger Indifference Template
Mediacrity weblog
July 15, 2005

The New York Times editorial today on the Gaza disengagement, “Aimless in Gaza,” follows what I would describe as the “Sulzberger Indifference Template” for editorials on Israel. The godfather of this Template was Arthur Hayes Sulzberger, publisher of the Times from 1935 to 1961 and co-founder of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. He is grandfather of the current publisher.

When you read Times Middle East editorials, remember that the newspaper is an ancestral property of the Sulzberger family, whose historic indifference to Israel and Jewish concerns has been well documented. The Times’ disgraceful indifference to the Holocaust was recently recounted in a book, and Arthur Hays Sulzberger’s indifference to Israel has resonated through generations of Times editorial writers.

So on to today’s manifestation of the Sulzberger Indifference Template:

1. WHATEVER THE PROBLEM, BLAME ISRAEL. This is the cornerstone of the template. These editorials always maintain a pretense of even-handedness (“the failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders”), but the message of the editorials is almost invariably that Israel gets the lion’s share of the blame for whatever happens to be going awry at any particular point in time (“Sadly, most of the blame for the current paralysis lies with Mr. Sharon”).

2. IGNORE PALESTINIAN FLOUTING OF THE ROAD MAP. One essential feature of both the Times’ editorial and news coverage (most recently here* -- see item below this one -- TG) has been to ignore the Palestinian failure to act against terror groups, as required by the first phase of the Road Map for Peace.

3. PROMOTE THE MYTH OF PALESTINIAN “MODERATION.” Having ignored Palestinian Authority inaction, failures, incitement and ties to terror groups, the Times goes on to chide Israel for failing to support the “moderate” Palestinian Authority and its “moderate” chairman. (“Demonstrating to the Palestinians that they haven’t really won anything is far, far less important to Israel’s well-being than strengthening the authority and credibility of moderate Palestinian leaders like Mr. Abbas.”)

4. WHITE-WASH TERROR GROUPS. In accordance with its view that the Palestinians don’t have an obligation to confront terror groups as required by the road map, the Times believes that these groups are “opposition groups” that do all sorts of good stuff and need to only say, “We won’t do it no more.” (Mohammed Abbas “faces a rapidly strengthening opposition movement, Hamas, which is building popular support through its extensive network of social welfare programs while refusing to follow Mr. Abbas’s lead in renouncing terrorism.”) Not disarming, not disbanding, “renouncing” is good enough for the Times.

5. PALESTINIAN FAILURES ARE CAUSED BY ISRAEL. The Times excuses Palestinian inaction in Gaza thusly: “With Israel taking a chilly ‘that’s for you to work out’ approach to the logistics of the transfer, Mr. Abbas has begun responding in similar tones.”

6. THE U.S. MUST PRESSURE ISRAEL. The Times, like a stern and disapproving mother, knows what is in Israel’s best interests -- which is, of course, to “do more” for the Palestinians. That is always couched in terms of Israeli leaders acting against the best interests of its own people --and, of course, the world at large. Thus, after the “similar tones” baloney above, the Times continues: “That is a luxury neither side can afford, and the rest of the world can’t either. Ms. Rice and Mr. Wolfensohn need to spend the next month getting the two sides working together constructively on a smooth transfer that builds a basis for a wider peace.”

Over all, a typical Times editorial--condescending, detached from reality, one-sided. The same mentality that kept Auschwitz off the front pages is continuing to burn bright on 43rd Street.

 

* Roadmap Amnesia Watch
Mediacrity weblog
July 5, 2005

From the New York Times article yesterday on Hamas being invited to join a “unity government”: “While Mr. Abbas seeks to co-opt Hamas and other armed factions, Israel says he should be confronting the groups.”

New York Times policy (in addition to ripping off blogs) is to treat the Road Map for Peace as a series of “Israeli demands” instead of what they are, which are commitments by the Palestinian Authority. The first step of the Road Map states as follows:

“Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.”

 

CALL THEM WHAT THEY ARE: THOSE WHO MURDER IRAQI CIVILIANS ARE TERRORISTS

Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists
Dallas News
Editorial
July 15, 2005

www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/071505dnediiraqkids.105158b.html

Two words not uncommon to editorial pages are “resolve” and “sacrifice,” especially as they relate to war.

Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word – “insurgent” – on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as “insurgents.”

The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. If they ever held a moral high ground, they sacrificed it weeks ago, when they turned their focus from U.S. troops to Iraqi men, women and now children going about their daily lives.

They drove that point home with chilling clarity Wednesday in a poor Shiite neighborhood. As children crowded around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and toys in a gesture of good will, a bomb-laden SUV rolled up and exploded.

These children were not collateral damage. They were targets.

The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist.

People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are – terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists.

Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists.

Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists.

IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all.

Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or “open minded,” we’ve resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers.

No more. To call them “insurgents” insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.

 

WEAK BRITS, TOUGH FRENCH

Weak Brits, Tough French
By Daniel Pipes
The New York Sun
July 12, 2005

Thanks to the war in Iraq, much of the world sees the British government as resolute and tough and the French one as appeasing and weak. But in another war, the one against terrorism and radical Islam, the reverse is true: France is the most stalwart nation in the West, even more so than America, while Britain is the most hapless.

British-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain, and America. Many governments - Jordanian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, French, and American - have protested London’s refusal to shut down its Islamist terrorist infrastructure or extradite wanted operatives. In frustration, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak publicly denounced Britain for “protecting killers.” One American security group has called for Britain to be listed as a terrorism-sponsoring state.

Counterterrorism specialists disdain the British. Roger Cressey calls London “easily the most important jihadist hub in Western Europe.” Steven Simon dismisses the British capital as “the Star Wars bar scene” of Islamic radicals. More brutally, an intelligence official said of last week’s attacks: “The terrorists have come home. It is payback time for … an irresponsible policy.”

While London hosts terrorists, Paris hosts a top-secret counterterrorism center, code-named Alliance Base, the existence of which was recently reported by the Washington Post. At Alliance Base, six major Western governments have since 2002 shared intelligence and run counterterrorism operations - the latter makes the operation unique.

More broadly, President Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after September 11, 2001, to share terrorism data with their American counterparts “as if they were your own service.” The cooperation is working: A former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, called the bilateral intelligence tie “one of the best in the world.” The British may have a “special relationship” with Washington on Iraq, but the French have one with it in the war on terror.

France accords terrorist suspects fewer rights than any other Western state, permitting interrogation without a lawyer, lengthy pre-trial incarcerations, and evidence acquired under dubious circumstances. Were he a terrorism suspect, the author of Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, Evan Kohlmann, says he “would least like to be held under” the French system.

The myriad French-British differences in treatment of radical Islam can be summarized by the example of what Muslim girls may wear to state-funded schools.

Denbigh High School in Luton, 30 miles northwest of London, has a student population that is about 80% Muslim. Years ago, it accommodated the sartorial needs of their faith and heritage, including a female student uniform made up of the Pakistani shalwar kameez trousers, a jerkin top, and hijab head covering. But when a teenager of Bangladeshi origins, Shabina Begum, insisted in 2004 on wearing a jilbab, which covers the entire body except for the face and hands, Denbigh administrators said no.

The dispute ended up in litigation and the Court of Appeal ultimately decided in Ms. Begum’s favor. As a result, by law British schools must now accept the jilbab. Not only that, but Prime Minister Blair’s wife, Cherie Booth, was Ms. Begum’s lawyer at the appellate level. Ms. Booth called the ruling “a victory for all Muslims who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry.”

By contrast, also in 2004, the French government outlawed the hijab, the Muslim headscarf, from public educational institutions, disregarding ferocious opposition both within France and among Islamists worldwide. In Tehran, protesters shouted “Death to France!” and “Death to Chirac the Zionist!” The Palestinian Authority mufti, Ikrima Sa’id Sabri, declared, “French laws banning the hijab constitute a war against Islam as a religion.” The Saudi grand mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, called them a human rights infringement. When the “Islamic Army in Iraq” kidnapped two French journalists, it threatened their execution unless the hijab ban was revoked. Paris stood firm.

What lies behind these contrary responses? The British have seemingly lost interest in their heritage while the French hold on to theirs: As the British ban fox hunting, the French ban hijabs. The former embrace multiculturalism, the latter retain a pride in their historic culture. This contrast in matters of identity makes Britain the Western country most vulnerable to the ravages of radical Islam whereas France, for all its political failings, has held onto a sense of self that may yet see it through.


Guardian staff journalist exposed as member of extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir

July 18, 2005

* Guardian journalist in Islamic website: “We will have to run an Islamic state which must lead the world, economically, militarily and politically”
* London’s mayor Ken Livingstone: Is he a terrorist puppet?
* The BBC’s extremist guests

 

CONTENTS

1. “‘Guardian’ man revealed as hardline Islamist” (Independent on Sunday, July 17, 2005)
2. “Glorifying the Radicals” (Editorial, Wall Street Journal Europe, July 18, 2005)
3. “London’s mayor: A terrorist puppet?” (Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2005)
4. “Why blame the terrorists? Apparently we can agree that it’s Britain’s fault” (Times of London, July 15, 2005)

 


[Note by Tom Gross]

GUARDIAN STAFF JOURNALIST SUPPORTER OF ISLAMIC STATE

It has been revealed that a Guardian staff reporter Dilpazier Aslam, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the radical Muslim organization which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law. These allegations first appeared on “The Daily Ablution” weblog, and appeared in print for the first time yesterday in the Sunday edition of Britain’s left-leaning Independent newspaper. Speculation is mounting that it may have been a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media. Hizb ut-Tahrir is outlawed in nearly every country it operates in, such as in Germany and Holland, but not in Britain.

Today the Guardian confirmed Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, but said they are sticking by their reporter. It is unlikely they would do so, if one of their reporters was a member of the far right British National Party.

The Guardian said that Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom. In 1994 Richard Gott, a veteran Guardian journalist, was forced to resign as literary editor of the Guardian (after initially being defended by the paper) after he was unmasked as a former Soviet KGB agent.

ADVOCATING A WORLD ISLAMIC STATE - MILITARILY AND POLITICALLY

Before being hired by The Guardian, Aslam worked at Khalifa.com where he had co-authored an article telling Muslims, among other things, that “we will have to run an Islamic state which must lead the world, economically, militarily and politically.”

It is particularly ironic that The Guardian ran a comment piece last Wednesday by Aslam packed with extremist opinion about the London bombs and effectively defending the actions of the perpetrators, when another Guardian journalist, David Foulkes – a 22-year-old Guardian trainee from Manchester who had just started his training with the paper – was one of the victims, dying in the underground train bomb explosion at Edgware Road.

THE BBC: GIVING MUCH OF ITS AIRTIME TO THE EXTREMISTS

In its editorial today (written by a long-time subscriber to this email list, and attached below), The Wall Street Journal Europe criticizes much of the mainstream media and politicians for “Glorifying the Radicals”. The Journal also urges Muslim clerics in Britain to follow the example of their Spanish colleagues by issuing a fatwa against Al Qaeda, as Spanish Imams did following the Madrid bombing.

The Wall Street Journal also criticizes the BBC today for inviting on as its “respectable” experts on Islam, the most extreme voices such as Azam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain. As the Journal points out, the BBC failed to tell viewers that Tamimi is a former spokesman for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, and that he has repeatedly glorified Palestinian suicide bombers for murdering Israelis. The BBC also invited as its guest commentator Asghar Bukhari, chief executive of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who backs Tamimi without reservations.

As is par for the course when its guests are attacking Israel or America, the BBC presenter barely challenged either guest.

MAYOR KEN LIVINGSTONE AND SHEIK YOUSEF QARDAWI

Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London who is a member of Tony Blair’s ruling Labour party, is coming under criticism in Britain and beyond for having embraced the advocates of suicide bombing last year and of “glorifying the radicals”. I have detailed this in previous dispatches. My dispatch titled London’s mayor still refuses to apologize for “Nazi remark” (February 18, 2005) also charts how “Red Ken” had refused to apologize after calling an Evening Standard reporter (who is Jewish) “a concentration camp guard”.

In March 2005, Livingstone, in a comment piece he wrote for The Guardian, accused Israel of being responsible for anti-Semitism and said that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “war criminal who should be in prison.”

The Los Angeles Times article (attached below) criticizes Livingstone’s welcoming of Sheik Yousef Qaradawi to London. Last year Qaradawi told the BBC that suicide bombings by Palestinians were “martyrdom in the name of God”. Mayor Livingstone then called the Sheik a man of “moderation and tolerance”.

THE BBC: MODEL FOR THE INFAMOUS MINISTRY OF TRUTH IN GEORGE ORWELL’S NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR

The final article below takes a critical look at why many British opinion-formers are blaming Britain – rather than terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam – for the attacks of July 7. The writer of that piece, Gerard Baker, of the Times of London, becomes the latest journalist to mention the “BBC’s now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word ‘terrorism’ from its coverage of last week’s bombings” – a revelation first made in print by my article “The BBC discovers ‘terrorism,’ briefly” a week ago in The Jerusalem Post.

Baker writes: “The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and I can’t think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy. The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of the ‘guidelines’, become literally unthinkable.”

There are summaries of these articles first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

‘GUARDIAN’ MAN REVEALED AS HARDLINE ISLAMIST

“‘Guardian’ man revealed as hardline Islamist” (By Shiv Malik, The Independent on Sunday, July 17, 2005)

The Guardian newspaper is refusing to sack one of its staff reporters despite confirming that he is a member of one of Britain’s most extreme Islamist groups.

Dilpazier Aslam, who has been allowed to report on the London bombings from Leeds and was also given space to write a column in last Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law.

It is understood that staff at The Guardian were unaware that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir until allegations surfaced on “The Daily Ablution”, a blog run by Scott Burgess. Speculation is mounting that it may have been a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media.

Late on Friday The Guardian released a statement to The Independent on Sunday saying: “Dilpazier Aslam is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation which is legal in this country. We are keeping the matter under review.” The paper refused to comment further.

In 2001 Mr Aslam wrote in the group’s in-house journal, Khilafah, that: “The establishment of Khilafah [an Islamic state] is our only solution, to fight fire with fire, the state of Israel versus the Khilafah State”…

At the end of the piece readers were not told that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, only that he was a “trainee journalist”. Though Hizb ut-Tahrir is a legal organisation in this country, the group is outlawed in nearly every other country it operates in, including Germany and Holland. It is thought to have between 2,000 and 3,000 members in the UK...

 

GLORIFYING THE RADICALS

“Glorifying the Radicals” (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal Europe, July 18, 2005)

... Instead of shunning Islamic radicals, many in the mainstream media and political establishment present them as moderates and repeat their justifications for terrorism. The London attacks produced only a brief moment of polite restraint. By Wednesday, less than a week after the July 7 bombings in London that claimed 55 lives, the Guardian apparently had no second thoughts about publishing an article by Dilpazier Aslam, one of its trainee journalists. In it, Mr. Aslam argued that the British have no right to be shocked by the attacks since that would, “suggest that the bombings happened through no responsibility of our own.”

... Last Thursday, the BBC invited Azam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain to present a film about what he considers to be the reasons for the terrorist attacks. In the film, Mr. Tamimi interviews young British Muslims ostensibly angry about Iraq and Palestine and concludes that the way to prevent this “killing of the innocents for the sins of the guilty,” is to change Britain’s foreign policy.

During the subsequent panel discussion, Mr. Tamimi, a former spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, repeated his previous glorifications of Palestinian suicide bombers, but insisted that supporting such attacks could not possibly encourage British Muslims to do the same in the U.K. The BBC presenter, Gavin Esler, only feebly challenged Mr. Tamimi’s support for murdering Jews in Israel. Instead, he gave the last word on this matter to Asghar Bukhari, chief executive of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who promptly backed Mr. Tamimi without reservations. “I couldn’t agree more,” he said.

Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who impressed the world with his near-Churchillian defiance and who now wants to curtail indirect incitement, fell into the root-cause trap when he suggested shortly after the attacks that the Middle East conflict was one of the reasons for terrorism.

The obvious moral fallacy is trying to explain, let alone justify, terrorism with foreign policy grievances some Muslims may have. Even this “anger” that so-called Muslim representatives like to talk about isn’t spontaneous outrage that this community feels for the suffering of their co-religionists wherever they may be. Instead, it’s highly selective. Consider the lack of outrage among such spokespersons over the genocide in Sudan, where already up to 300,000 Muslims have been slaughtered by a radical Islamic regime, or the thousands of innocent Iraqis, including two dozen children last week, who have been killed by Baathists and Islamic terrorists.

Rather, this “anger” is carefully fomented, nurtured and channeled exclusively towards those conflicts where Muslims fight non-Muslims. So simply to point at this supposed fury and demand policy changes is not only morally reprehensible but also disingenuous. This anger at the West that many Muslim leaders encourage is a political tool of radical Islam rather than one of its alleged causes...

Muslim clerics in Britain would improve their image if they emulated their Spanish colleagues who issued a fatwa against al Qaeda after the bombings in Madrid. No better moment than now for truly moderate Muslims who eschew violence without qualification to claim a leadership role from the extremists. A good start would be for them to question the widely held canard among their co-religionists that Muslims are the victims of a Western conspiracy...

 

LONDON’S MAYOR: A TERRORIST PUPPET?

“London’s mayor: A terrorist puppet?” (By David Gelernter, LA Times, July 15, 2005)

Our hearts go out to London — but not to its mayor. London’s leader, Ken Livingstone, eloquently condemned the recent terrorist bombings. But in the past, he never seemed too concerned about terrorists murdering Israelis. The tale of Livingstone’s ambivalence is a sordid kind of Greek tragedy.

Last year, he welcomed a violently Jew-hating Muslim preacher to London. In so doing, he became a silent partner of Islamic terrorism — which has now turned against his own city. Today, he is an updated Oedipus Rex, accessory to a horrible crime of which he himself is a victim...

... Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “war criminal who should be in prison.” (And President Bush is “the greatest threat to life on this planet.” London’s dapper mayor has a good word for everyone!)

... Israel is no more a “terrorist state” than Britain, France, America. Livingstone isn’t soft on Jew-hating clerics because Israel is a “terrorist state.” There’s a better explanation.

Europe has followed a simple rule for thousands of years: Find the worst thing a person can do, then accuse the Jews of doing it.

... But now London’s mayor might think twice before welcoming another theologian of terror. The theologians themselves should carry government health labels. “Warning: Terrorists don’t only kill Jews.”

 

WHY BLAME THE TERRORISTS? APPARENTLY WE CAN AGREE THAT IT’S BRITAIN’S FAULT

“Why blame the terrorists? Apparently we can agree that it’s Britain’s fault” (By Gerard Baker, Times of London, July 15, 2005)

... It has been evident, of course, in the BBC’s now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word “terrorism” from its coverage of last week’s bombings in London. The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and I can’t think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy. The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of the “guidelines”, become literally unthinkable.

But lest I be accused by my former colleagues at the BBC and by others of merely indulging my current employer’s commercial interests by attacking the BBC, let me also cite an example from this very newspaper. On Tuesday the paper published a cartoon on this page by its highly distinguished cartoonist, Peter Brookes, which made a point with his usual pellucid clarity. Two figures — one an Islamist terrorist, the other a sinister-looking military officer bearing the flags of Britain and the US, each nursing a large bomb and titled “Spot The Difference”...

Imagine this. Suppose we’d never invaded Iraq, and terrorists had blown up London in pursuit of their cause, what would the apologists have said about last week’s attacks? In fact we know exactly what they would have said because many of them did say it after al-Qaeda attacked the US on September 11 — long before any American or British soldier set foot in Afghanistan or Iraq.

They said it was because of our support for Israel and its “brutal occupation of Palestinian territory”, our complicity in the victimisation of Arabs from the Balfour Declaration to the ascent of the Jewish lobby in America.

But what if there had never been an Israel and instead a Palestinian state existed peaceably in the heart of the Middle East, and the terrorists had still attacked us? What would the apologists have said then? They would have said, of course, that we were to blame for having abused the Arabs and Muslims generally for decades through our colonial ambitions and economic exploitation of Arabia and the broader Middle East.

And what if there had never been a British Empire and British occupation of Arab lands, and terrorists had still attacked us? Then it would have been the Crusades, and the long-standing ill-treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors.

And what if there had never been a crusade, and they’d still attacked us? I’m stumped at this point to confect an answer, but I can guarantee that whatever it was that would have been said it would have been Britain’s fault...

 



FULL ARTICLES

‘GUARDIAN’ MAN REVEALED AS HARDLINE ISLAMIST

‘Guardian’ man revealed as hardline Islamist
By Shiv Malik
The Independent
July 17, 2005

news.independent.co.uk/media/article299681.ece

The Guardian newspaper is refusing to sack one of its staff reporters despite confirming that he is a member of one of Britain’s most extreme Islamist groups.

Dilpazier Aslam, who has been allowed to report on the London bombings from Leeds and was also given space to write a column in last Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law.

It is understood that staff at The Guardian were unaware that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir until allegations surfaced on “The Daily Ablution”, a blog run by Scott Burgess. Speculation is mounting that it may have been a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media.

Late on Friday The Guardian released a statement to The Independent on Sunday saying: “Dilpazier Aslam is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation which is legal in this country. We are keeping the matter under review.” The paper refused to comment further.

In 2001 Mr Aslam wrote in the group’s in-house journal, Khilafah, that: “The establishment of Khilafah [an Islamic state] is our only solution, to fight fire with fire, the state of Israel versus the Khilafah State”.

The day after it was revealed that the London bombers were British, Mr Aslam wrote a column in which he billed himself as “a Yorkshire lad born and bred”.

In the piece, he suggested that second- and third-generation British Muslims were prepared to “rock the boat” and that agitation against British foreign policy would build up “till it can be contained no more”.

At the end of the piece readers were not told that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, only that he was a “trainee journalist”. Though Hizb ut-Tahrir is a legal organisation in this country, the group is outlawed in nearly every other country it operates in, including Germany and Holland. It is thought to have between 2,000 and 3,000 members in the UK.

Speaking for the Muslim Council of Britain, Mr Inayat Bunglawala said: “For a party which claims it is open, you’d think this person would have disclosed his affiliations.”

Mr Bunglawala added: “The Guardian has a better record in giving space to minority voices but [by employing a Hizb ut-Tahrir member] it exacerbates the idea that this is a mainstream Muslim voice,” he added.

Sources in The Guardian said that Mr Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom under The Guardian’s one-year traineeship scheme.

One source said: “There was a feeling that we genuinely wanted more diversity, and like all national newspapers we were still a bit ‘pale and male’ so we were keen to recruit from different backgrounds.”

In 1994 Richard Gott, a veteran Guardian journalist, resigned as literary editor after he was unmasked as a former KGB spy. He admitted meeting the Russians and going on expenses-paid trips, but denied taking money. Last night The Independent on Sunday was unable to contact Mr Aslam for comment.

 

GLORIFYING THE RADICALS

Glorifying the Radicals
Editorial
The Wall Street Journal Europe
July 18, 2005

Last Friday, British Home Secretary Charles Clarke outlined government plans to ban even indirect statements of support for terror and violence. One can of course wonder whether this might unduly limit freedom of speech. But without a doubt, this legal initiative is the result of the moral failure of British and European institutions, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to act as gatekeepers and reject extreme positions as acceptable political arguments in Western democratic societies.

Instead of shunning Islamic radicals, many in the mainstream media and political establishment present them as moderates and repeat their justifications for terrorism. The London attacks produced only a brief moment of polite restraint. By Wednesday, less than a week after the July 7 bombings in London that claimed 55 lives, the Guardian apparently had no second thoughts about publishing an article by Dilpazier Aslam, one of its trainee journalists. In it, Mr. Aslam argued that the British have no right to be shocked by the attacks since that would, “suggest that the bombings happened through no responsibility of our own.”

He was referring to Iraq of course. Before joining the Guardian, Mr. Aslam, who calls himself “a Yorkshire lad, born and bred,” had been working for the London-based Web site Khilafa.com. There he coauthored an article telling Muslims why they should excel in sciences: “We will have to run an Islamic state which must lead the world, economically, militarily and politically.”

Last Thursday, the BBC invited Azam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain to present a film about what he considers to be the reasons for the terrorist attacks. In the film, Mr. Tamimi interviews young British Muslims ostensibly angry about Iraq and Palestine and concludes that the way to prevent this “killing of the innocents for the sins of the guilty,” is to change Britain’s foreign policy.

During the subsequent panel discussion, Mr. Tamimi, a former spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, repeated his previous glorifications of Palestinian suicide bombers, but insisted that supporting such attacks could not possibly encourage British Muslims to do the same in the U.K. The BBC presenter, Gavin Esler, only feebly challenged Mr. Tamimi’s support for murdering Jews in Israel. Instead, he gave the last word on this matter to Asghar Bukhari, chief executive of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who promptly backed Mr. Tamimi without reservations. “I couldn’t agree more,” he said.

Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who impressed the world with his near-Churchillian defiance and who now wants to curtail indirect incitement, fell into the root-cause trap when he suggested shortly after the attacks that the Middle East conflict was one of the reasons for terrorism.

The obvious moral fallacy is trying to explain, let alone justify, terrorism with foreign policy grievances some Muslims may have. Even this “anger” that so-called Muslim representatives like to talk about isn’t spontaneous outrage that this community feels for the suffering of their co-religionists wherever they may be. Instead, it’s highly selective. Consider the lack of outrage among such spokespersons over the genocide in Sudan, where already up to 300,000 Muslims have been slaughtered by a radical Islamic regime, or the thousands of innocent Iraqis, including two dozen children last week, who have been killed by Baathists and Islamic terrorists.

Rather, this “anger” is carefully fomented, nurtured and channeled exclusively towards those conflicts where Muslims fight non-Muslims. So simply to point at this supposed fury and demand policy changes is not only morally reprehensible but also disingenuous. This anger at the West that many Muslim leaders encourage is a political tool of radical Islam rather than one of its alleged causes.

Much is being said these days that the Muslim communities in Britain, Europe and elsewhere must do more to ostracize radicals in their midst. In a survey of five Muslim countries by the Pew Research Center, support for Osama bin Laden and suicide bombings has declined but is still intolerably high. Opinion ranges from 18% of those sampled in Morocco to 88% in Jordan who say that violence against civilian targets is justified in at least some circumstances. Another study last year found that 13% of British Muslims support terror attacks against the U.S.

Such polls are tricky, since the circumstances in which they are asked, and the wording, can flip the results. But they give Europe’s political organizers of Muslims a sense of self-justification. The community contributed in great numbers to the millions of people who demonstrated against the Iraq war throughout Europe.

It would be gratifying to see more responsible leadership. Muslim clerics in Britain would improve their image if they emulated their Spanish colleagues who issued a fatwa against al Qaeda after the bombings in Madrid. No better moment than now for truly moderate Muslims who eschew violence without qualification to claim a leadership role from the extremists. A good start would be for them to question the widely held canard among their co-religionists that Muslims are the victims of a Western conspiracy.

But the outlook is not promising. As long as the collusion between leftist journalists and politicians and the more radical Muslim leaders continues, the moderates will have a hard time getting heard.

 

LONDON’S MAYOR: A TERRORIST PUPPET?

London’s mayor: A terrorist puppet?
By David Gelernter
The Los Angeles Times
July 15, 2005

Our hearts go out to London — but not to its mayor. London’s leader, Ken Livingstone, eloquently condemned the recent terrorist bombings. But in the past, he never seemed too concerned about terrorists murdering Israelis. The tale of Livingstone’s ambivalence is a sordid kind of Greek tragedy.

Last year, he welcomed a violently Jew-hating Muslim preacher to London. In so doing, he became a silent partner of Islamic terrorism — which has now turned against his own city. Today, he is an updated Oedipus Rex, accessory to a horrible crime of which he himself is a victim.

Too many Europeans are ambivalent, like Livingstone. Terrorists, they figure, are evil; but if their preferred victims are Jews and Americans, how bad can they really be? As Europe prepares its own destruction, it resembles Germany in the early 1930s: Jew-hatred everywhere, on a low boil.

Last year, Mayor Livingstone welcomed Egyptian cleric Sheik Yousef Qaradawi —the “Theologian of Terror” — to London. The sheik has called suicide bombings “heroic operations of martyrdom” and has urged Muslims to “destroy the aggressive Jews.” Livingstone called the sheik a man of “moderation and tolerance.” In an Op-Ed piece, the former editor of London’s Asharq al Awsat Arabic-language newspaper begged to differ: “When it comes to political matters, Sheik Qaradawi represents the utmost degree of extremism.”

But maybe there’s a reason for the mayor’s lack of concern about a theologian of terror. Many Europeans love to run on about Jewish terrorism in 1940s Palestine, during Israel’s struggle for independence from Britain. Israel owes its creation and continued existence, Livingstone says, to “systematic violence and terror.” Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “war criminal who should be in prison.” (And President Bush is “the greatest threat to life on this planet.” London’s dapper mayor has a good word for everyone!)

It’s time to dispose of the endlessly repeated Jewish terrorism story. You’ve heard about sins of omission. Jewish terrorism existed and was unforgivable, but describing it without mentioning the official Jewish response is a lie of omission.

There were repeated confrontations between Palestine’s Jewish community and Jewish terrorists. A famous one followed the 1944 murder in Cairo of Lord Moyne, the British minister-resident in the Middle East, by the terrorist Stern Gang. In response, the shocked and revolted Jewish community hunted down terrorists relentlessly, turning over more than 700 names to the British.

There were truces too, when the Jewish authorities (desperately outgunned and outnumbered in their war for independence) tried to co-opt two terrorist groups, the Stern Gang and the Irgun, into the regular army. But the Sternists and the Irgun invariably returned to terror, shattering the truce.

Jewish terrorism was stamped out at last after a U.N. mediator was assassinated in late 1948. Israel’s new Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered: “Arrest all Stern Gang leaders. Surround all Stern bases. Confiscate all arms. Kill any who resist.” Soon afterward, the Irgun also bit the dust.

An Israeli private citizen summed things up following an earlier terrorist attack. “None of the barbarities the Arabs have committed in the past months can excuse this.” (And the Arabs had committed plenty.) Ben-Gurion laid it on the line: “There is no compromise, no equivocation. The way of terror or the way of Zionism.”

Israel is no more a “terrorist state” than Britain, France, America. Livingstone isn’t soft on Jew-hating clerics because Israel is a “terrorist state.” There’s a better explanation.

Europe has followed a simple rule for thousands of years: Find the worst thing a person can do, then accuse the Jews of doing it.

In medieval times, bubonic plague wiped out whole towns; naturally, Jews were accused of spreading plague. The French imprisoned Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus on phony charges of aiding Germany at a time when aiding Germany was the worst crime France could imagine. The Nazis persecuted Jews on phony charges of sabotaging Germany. After World War II, colonialism and Nazism seemed like the worst of crimes — so Israel was denounced (still is) as colonialist and Nazi. In 1975, racism was crime No. 1; the U.N. dutifully denounced Zionism as racist.

Today, terrorism is our top crime; more and more Europeans are bound to join Livingstone in calling Israel a terrorist state. Jew-hatred is Europe’s eternal flame.

But now London’s mayor might think twice before welcoming another theologian of terror. The theologians themselves should carry government health labels. “Warning: Terrorists don’t only kill Jews.”

 

WHY BLAME THE TERRORISTS? APPARENTLY WE CAN AGREE THAT IT’S BRITAIN’S FAULT

Why blame the terrorists? Apparently we can agree that it’s Britain’s fault
By Gerard Baker
The Times of London
July 15, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,19269-1694666,00.html

Right after September 11, a question widely asked in the American and European media was: Why do they hate us? It was not, to be sure, the first question out of the mouths of most Americans. That question was: “What are their names and addresses and how quickly can we dispatch a B52 to their neighbourhood?” But it was an important question nonetheless, deserving of serious attention by all who sought to end the threat from Islamist terrorism.

A week after July 7, I have the same question. Why do they hate us? But the “they” of my question are not the al-Qaeda slaughterers, the jihadis from Leeds and elsewhere and their sympathisers across Europe. I think we know by now why they hate us. The “they” of my question are the massed ranks of so many British opinion-formers.

I don’t mean the perennially opportunist sort like the Galloways and the Kennedys. Nor do I mean the pure, certifiable lunatics who inhabit the ideological theme parks at the Socialist Worker and the editorial pages of The Guardian. I mean a sizeable chunk of serious, influential British opinion, from across the political spectrum, who act in a way that suggests they honestly think this country is the principal author of the bad things that happen to it.

It has been evident, of course, in the BBC’s now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word “terrorism” from its coverage of last week’s bombings in London. The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and I can’t think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy. The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of the “guidelines”, become literally unthinkable.

But lest I be accused by my former colleagues at the BBC and by others of merely indulging my current employer’s commercial interests by attacking the BBC, let me also cite an example from this very newspaper. On Tuesday the paper published a cartoon on this page by its highly distinguished cartoonist, Peter Brookes, which made a point with his usual pellucid clarity. Two figures — one an Islamist terrorist, the other a sinister-looking military officer bearing the flags of Britain and the US, each nursing a large bomb and titled “Spot The Difference”.

To be fair both to my colleague and to the BBC, these are not extreme political positions, but views widely held throughout certainly the British media and widely expressed in the past week.

The common thought behind them is essentially this: our nation’s military action in Afghanistan and Iraq is morally indistinguishable from the terrorists, so don’t call one terrorism and not the other. Instead, say London and Baghdad have both been “bombed”.

Further, of course, since we have almost certainly killed more civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq than the Islamists have killed in the West, what happened to us last week is actually our own fault.

I would try to explain why this is dangerously flawed thinking but it’s been evident for some time now that any real effort to contradict this idea would be pointless. That is because this thirst for self-blame among this sizeable section of Britain’s thought-leaders is literally unquenchable.

Imagine this. Suppose we’d never invaded Iraq, and terrorists had blown up London in pursuit of their cause, what would the apologists have said about last week’s attacks? In fact we know exactly what they would have said because many of them did say it after al-Qaeda attacked the US on September 11 — long before any American or British soldier set foot in Afghanistan or Iraq.

They said it was because of our support for Israel and its “brutal occupation of Palestinian territory”, our complicity in the victimisation of Arabs from the Balfour Declaration to the ascent of the Jewish lobby in America.

But what if there had never been an Israel and instead a Palestinian state existed peaceably in the heart of the Middle East, and the terrorists had still attacked us? What would the apologists have said then? They would have said, of course, that we were to blame for having abused the Arabs and Muslims generally for decades through our colonial ambitions and economic exploitation of Arabia and the broader Middle East.

And what if there had never been a British Empire and British occupation of Arab lands, and terrorists had still attacked us? Then it would have been the Crusades, and the long-standing ill-treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors.

And what if there had never been a crusade, and they’d still attacked us? I’m stumped at this point to confect an answer, but I can guarantee that whatever it was that would have been said it would have been Britain’s fault.

This English self-loathing would be less objectionable if it had not been so prominent in its less virulent form, in so much British policy and public life, for the past 60 years. In its less virulent form, it was the driving force behind the misguided anything-goes multiculturalism of the 1960s and 1970s and the desire to shed vestiges of British or English nationalism within the European Union for 40 years now.

Especially curious is that it is an oddly British, or perhaps Anglo-Saxon phenomenon. The French elites certainly don’t succumb to it, or the Russian, or the Chinese, though all three of them have a fair bit to answer for in their own histories.

And that’s the irony: the most painful irony of all in this English self-loathing is this simple truth. The beauty of human freedom that so many in the world now enjoy, the wonder of so much prosperity, the legacy of the Enlightenment, the very principles of cultural and political tolerance and free inquiry, owe more to Britain, and latterly our Anglo-Saxon allies who have taken on the baton in the past century, than to any other country on Earth.


London bomber: He loved cricket and drove his Dad’s Mercedes

July 13, 2005

* British bomber: “From cricket-lover to terrorist”
* Three generations of one family received horrific burns in yesterday’s terror attack that killed four women in Netanya, Israel – yet no mention of the word terror to be found in most of the Western media
* Completely ignored by BBC and others: Among the victims were two 16-year-old girls from Tel Aviv
* 24 children blown up Moslem fundamentalists in Iraq today – yet no mention of the word terror to be found

 

This is a follow-on from yesterday’s dispatches:

* The London bombs: The BBC discovers “terrorism,” briefly (July 12, 2005)

* Gaza mosque & radio station welcome the “blessed acts” in London (& other reaction) (July 12, 2005)

 

CONTENTS

1. He loved martial arts and drove his dad’s Mercedes
2. “From cricket-lover who enjoyed a laugh to terror suspect” (Guardian, July 13, 2005)
3. “The cricket-loving terrorist whose father runs the local chip shop” (Daily Telegraph, July 13, 2005)
4. “Don’t want to know” (Letters to the Editor, Jerusalem Post, July 13, 2005)
5. “Politeness in the photocopier queue is why we’re losing the War on Terror” (Times of London, July 13, 2005)
6. “So whose side is the BBC on?” (Daily Mail, July 13, 2005)

 


[Note by Tom Gross]

HE LOVED MARTIAL ARTS AND DROVE HIS DAD’S MERCEDES

Attached below are summaries of articles from today’s British press, on the middle class, British-born Muslims whom the British police now say carried out suicide attacks in London last Thursday. Shahzad Tanweer, for example, is described as a cricket-lover who enjoyed martial arts and drove his dad’s Mercedes.

“SOMEONE MUST HAVE KNOWN”

The Daily Telegraph’s lead editorial today says: “It is inconceivable that, as four young men became sufficiently radicalised that they were prepared to immolate themselves and others, no one around them noticed. Someone - in a home, a mosque, a study group - must have had a suspicion of where things might be heading.”

This synopsis no doubt also applies to Ahmed Abu Khalil who blew himself up yesterday outside a Mall in the Israeli seaside town of Netanya, with 22 pounds of explosives (i.e. a much greater quantity of explosive than used in any of last week’s London bombs.)

ON HIS WAY TO COLLECT HIS TEST RESULTS, HE BLEW HIMSELF AND OTHERS UP

Like the British suicide bombers, the family of Abu Khalil claim they were unaware of his intentions. They said they last saw him when he told them he was going to collect his school exam results. According to Palestinian journalists, Khalil was among those who received a pass in those exams.

THREE GENERATIONS OF ONE FAMILY WOUNDED IN NETANYA ATTACK

Four Israeli Jewish women were murdered and at least 90 people were wounded, many horrifically, by Khalil. Among those killed were two 16-year-old girls from Tel Aviv.

Among the injured were three generations from the same family. Anna Lifshitz, 50 was seriously wounded as was her daughter Margarita Sobersky, 26. The third member of the family, Lial, who is 3 years old, was burned in the attack and hospitalized in moderate to serious condition.

None of the above information is given today in most mainstream media outside Israel.

The Netanya shopping center has been struck three times by Palestinian suicide murderers including an attack in 2001 that killed five people.

NETANYA: THE MACCABIAH’S OLYMPIC VILLAGE

It is thought that the attack was also aimed at Jewish sportsmen and women staying in Netanya, who are taking part in the Maccabiah games there. The 17th Maccabiah games began on Monday. They are known as the “Jewish Olympics” with 7,000 Jewish competitors from 55 countries, making it (according to Reuters) the third largest sports gathering in the world behind the Olympic Games and soccer’s World Cup.

PALESTINIANS CONDEMN “TERRORIST ATTACK” WHEREAS BBC & REUTERS BLAME “MILITANTS”

Following the bombing, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Abbas condemned the bombing as a “terrorist attack”. Even though Abbas called it “terrorism,” the BBC and Reuters described the suicide bomber as a “militant”, whilst the New York Times uses the term “Palestinian faction” to describe Islamic Jihad. The Guardian today uses its report on the bomb as an excuse to label Israeli settlements as “colonies.”

The bomb in Netanya caused particularly severe injuries because it was packed with nails and small iron balls. Loss of life was limited because the bomber was unable to get past the “checkpoint” at the entrance to the mall. He instead approached a group of French teenage girls (tourists in Israel) near the entrance to the mall and blew himself up near them, according to Israeli media reports.

As usual, the reporting today on BBC world service contains much misinformation as well as utter garbage. The emphasis, as is par for the course in BBC misreporting, is how horrible Israel is, with the implication that Jewish Israelis have brought being killed and burned upon themselves. The BBC also says there have been no Palestinian attacks for five months. There have in fact been dozens of attacks. Most were thwarted (such as the attempt on Beersheva hospital) but some resulted in several deaths in this period. The last attack before yesterday’s Netanya bomb came just one hour earlier, at Shavei Shomron, although alert Israeli security forces managed to prevent that suicide bomber yesterday causing any injury to anyone other than himself.

THE BBC ALSO FAILS TO SEE TERRORISTS IN IRAQ

Today in Iraq 24 children were murdered by a suicide bomber who drove a car laden with explosives into some US soldiers handing out sweets to the children. The BBC again fails to call this a terrorist attack, instead blaming militants, which is not in and of itself a negative word.

MY ARTICLE ON BBC AND TERRORISM INSPIRES OTHERS

Following my article in The Jerusalem Post yesterday (The BBC discovers “terrorism,” briefly), there has been much analysis on the way the BBC and AP covered last Thursday’s bombs in London. The article has been cited on dozens of blogs, and radio stations across America, today. (I have been interviewed by three myself.) I also attach below articles today by Daniel Finkelstein in the Times of London, and by Stephen Pollard in the Daily Mail (London). Both criticize the BBC, and Finkelstein also criticizes AP, and both articles contain close similarities to my article, research and dispatch of yesterday, even though neither writer cites my work. Both writers are subscribers to this email list.

-- Tom Gross

 

INFORMATION ON 7/7 BOMBERS (Extracts only)

“THEY ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE.”

From cricket-lover who enjoyed a laugh to terror suspect
By Sandra Laville and Ian Cobain
The Guardian
July 13, 2005

www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,16132,1527429,00.html

Ten days ago Shahzad Tanweer, a 22-year-old British Asian, was playing cricket in the local park with his friends. It was something he loved to do. He was a sporty young man who loved martial arts, drove his dad’s Mercedes and had many friends in the Beeston area of Leeds.

“He is sound as a pound,” said Azi Mohammed, a close friend. “The idea that he was involved in terrorism or extremism is ridiculous. The idea that he went down to London and exploded a bomb is unbelievable.

“I only played cricket in the park with him around 10 days ago. He is not interested in politics.”

... “Shahzad went to a few mosques around here but he was more interested in his jujitsu. I trained with him all the time; he is really fit.”

According to family and friends Shahzad, despite his secular appearance, went to many mosques but was a regular at the Bangali mosque on Dewsbury Road near his home…

Shahzad was the product of parents who worked hard to build a business after arriving in Britain from Pakistan. As a little boy he played in the streets and alleyways of the culturally mixed working class community of red brick Victorian houses in Colwyn Road which his family made home when he was seven.

Neighbours say they recall him as a smiling boy who would play cricket and football with his friends and his brother on the streets. His father’s business grew steadily from a small curry takeaway in Beeston, which he owned with Mr Afzal, to a popular fish and chip shop…

His mother, Parvez Akhtar, and father are respected in Beeston. “They are all good people. All Shahzad wanted to do was to have a laugh,” said Azi.

In Stratford Street, Beeston, a friend of Hasib Hussain, another of the suspected bombers, said he was very tall and known as a gentle giant.

... He added that Hasib had travelled to the hajj - the Muslim pilgrimage – in Mecca.

 

THE CRICKET-LOVING TERRORIST WHOSE FATHER RUNS THE LOCAL CHIP SHOP (Chips is the British term for French, or Freedom, fries – TG)

The cricket-loving terrorist whose father runs the local chip shop
By Paul Stokes and Nick Britten
The Daily Telegraph
July 13, 2005

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/13/nbomb113.xml&sShet=/news/2005/07/13/ixnewstop.html

... Hasib Hussain, 18, was the younger of two brothers whose family originated from Pakistan.

Their house in a sloping red-brick terrace block in Colenso Mount, Holbeck, Leeds, was sealed off by police for examination…

Shehzad Tanweer, 22, was the son of a local businessman, who locals said had been to university to study a sports science degree and trained in tai kwon do and judo.

He was born in Bradford and is believed to have attended Lawnswood comprehensive school in Leeds. According to friends he was non-political and shunned Muslim dress, preferring to wear jeans and T-shirts.

He had two sisters and lived with his father Mohammed and mother Parveen in a large house, converted from a pair of semi-detached properties, in Colwyn Road, Beeston, Leeds.

The road was cordoned off and a silver Mercedes remained parked on the drive as police teams searched the premises last night…

Mr Tanweer Snr, who bought the property in 1990, runs the South Leeds Fishery fish and chip shop nearby. Azzy Mohamed, 21, who knew Shehzad Tanweer, said: “Shazzy is the best lad I have ever met. He’s a top guy and a top lad.

“We play cricket together, he’s a bowler and a batsman…

 



FULL ARTICLES

DON’T WANT TO KNOW

Don’t want to know
Letters to the Editor
Jerusalem Post
July 13, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1121135428513&apage=3

Sir, – In London last week on business, I too was struck by the almost lackadaisical attitude of both the British media and people to the bombings (“The BBC discovers terrorism,” July 11). Most striking was the almost total lack of anger toward the terrorists. Indeed, the media and others treated the attacks more as a crime committed by individuals than as terrorism committed by an organized group. Whenever I mentioned Islamists or Muslims I was chided for being presumptuous. What I did sense was a sadness, reminiscent of Princess Di’s death.

I came away believing that the British are not prepared to fight the global war on terror because they do not accept the fact that they are in a war. Nor do they want to acknowledge that they have an enemy in their midst.

Phil Goodman
Edison, New Jersey

 

POLITENESS IN THE PHOTOCOPIER QUEUE IS WHY WE’RE LOSING THE WAR ON TERROR

Politeness in the photocopier queue is why we’re losing the War on Terror
By Daniel Finkelstein
The Times of London
July 13, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,21129-1691644,00.html

I’m furious. According to the Associated Press and an assorted mixture of internet nutters, the Israelis were tipped off about the London attacks moments before they happened. Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was able to change his plans to visit a hotel directly above one of the blast sites. It’s a repeat of the old canard about 9/11. You know the one — the Jews had been warned and stayed away from the World Trade Centre.

You can see why I’m cross. If the Israeli Government knew, why didn’t they tell me? Don’t they regard me as a sufficiently important intelligence asset? Mossad was, it seems, willing to leave it to chance that I took the car in last Thursday. Uncharacteristically sloppy, I’d say.

Not many people in this country believe this barmy conspiracy theory, but I think its very existence is telling us something. In fact I think it is telling us why, for all the coverage about stiff upper lips and stoic Londoners, we are losing the War on Terror.

I’m not the first person to say this, of course. It is quite common to make this point and to argue that George Bush and Tony Blair are to blame. But I’ve got a rather different culprit in mind. Actually this is a bit embarrassing, because we don’t know each other very well and we’ve always rubbed along fine until now, but I think the real culprit is . . . well, I think it is you.

Let me start in the queue for the photocopier. Ellen Langer, the distinguished Harvard social psychologist, conducted a fascinating experiment in just such a queue. Addressing her fellow queuers in the library, she said: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” Surprisingly 60 per cent of those asked complied and let her push to the front. Then, with other groups, she tried a different tack: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush.” You won’t be surprised to learn that this time 94 per cent let her by. After all, “I’m in a rush” is a decent reason for seeking a favour.

But now get this. Langer also tried asking: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies.” This time 93 per cent complied. In other words, it wasn’t the quality of the reason she gave that led people to agree to her request, but the mere fact that she provided a reason at all.

We are desperate to understand why things happen and to make sense of whatever reason we are given, even when there is no reason worth making sense of. And ever since 9/11 this hunger for understanding has let us down. This week we have all talked about how life goes on unchanged and how nobody can push us around and how we must never give in to terrorism, as if the events of the past four years haven’t given the lie to every one of these propositions.

Few Westerners may subscribe to the “Jews did it” theory (though a vast number of Arabs do) but other, hardly more credible, “reasons” have attracted much greater support. It was Bush’s fault, it was Blair’s fault, it was the fault of American policy in the Middle East, it was the fault of all of us who have done nothing about the desperation of alienated Muslims. So many seem incapable of accepting that these things happen just because criminals do criminal things. It is no more interesting to understand their reasoning than to find out what the Yorkshire Ripper thinks about prostitutes.

And the more we search for reasons, the more we have aided the terrorists. For our political collapse, the collapse in public resolve since 9/11, has been quite astonishing. That’s what I mean when I say it’s all your fault.

Let’s do the maths. Ultimate victory may be beyond the terrorists’ reach. Apart from anything else I’m not sure they would realise they had won even when it was all over. But just because they can’t win, doesn’t mean we can’t lose. And I believe that is exactly what we are doing.

The past four years have seen Europeans turn against America, Nato teeter on the verge of collapse and the Government of Spain fall as the direct result of a terrorist outrage. Tony Blair, so brave in his response to terror, had to creep back to No 10 after the election, badly damaged, his political base cracked.Israel, always controversial, is now commonly talked about as if it were a pariah state.

Most astonishing of all has been our loss of self-confidence. On Thursday night, as the weblog Harry’s Place has observed, the BBC website ran an article headlined “Bus man may have seen terrorist”. By the next morning the headline appeared as “Passenger believes he saw bomber”. Another page on the site referred to “the worst terrorist atrocity Britain has seen”. By Friday lunchtime these words became “the worst peacetime bomb attacks Britain has seen”.

And this wasn’t an accident. Editors were following Section 11 of the BBC’s editorial guidelines which read: “The word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term.” What is this, if not a disastrous loss in confidence? Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers puts up £9,000 (remember this figure the next time you are told that it is impossible to cut public spending without damaging services) to finance a Muslim extremist to travel to Britain and speak at a conference. We need him, say the Met, to contribute to “a debate into dealing with tensions in communities”.

So I’m afraid I can’t join into the orgy of self-congratulation that has followed the London bombings.

Yes, they struck close to home for many people and, of course, it is impressive that so many Londoners have been ready to get back on the Tube and travel to work. I can quite see why many find it frightening. All this was brave, the Blitz spirit, something to be proud of. But politically we have not been so brave, so immovable. And, barking though they may be, I think the terrorists can see this.

It is always difficult to counsel that we should understand less, be less curious. Yet in the War on Terror, to understand less is to comprehend more.

 

SO WHOSE SIDE IS THE BBC ON?

So whose side is the BBC on?
By Stephen Pollard
Daily Mail (London)
July 13, 2005

For years, the BBC has been infected by a left-liberal bias. Its reporting, for example, of the arguments over the future of the EU has made out that those in favour of ever-greater European integration are peace loving sages, as opposed to those who believe in self-government who are, by definition, xenophobic bigots.

That bias, real as it is, has often been subtle. Let the BBC’s reports wash over you without paying full critical attention and you might not even notice it.

But the distorted way in which the BBC has reported the terrorist murders in London is of a different order of magnitude altogether.

In the immediate moments after the murders, it seemed as if something might have changed for the better. The murderers were, rightly, described by BBC reporters as terrorists. The BBC’s website had a page with the headline, “Bus man may have seen terrorist”. The story began, “A bus passenger says he may have seen one of those responsible for the terrorist bomb attacks in London.” Another page referred to “the worst terrorist atrocity Britain has seen.”

The use of the word terrorist was surprising, but welcome. Surprising, because in its coverage of terrorism in Israel, the BBC has consistently described the suicide murderers who blow up buses, with the specific intent of murdering as many Israelis as possible, as ‘extremists’ or ‘militants’. The word terrorist never passes correspondents’ lips.

So to see the BBC describe Thursday’s murderers as terrorists looked like a rare example of the corporation using accurate descriptions of terrorists.

It did not last long. By Friday, those web pages had been edited to excise all references to terrorism. The first page had a new headline: “Passenger believes he saw bomber”. The story was changed to: “A bus passenger says he may have seen one of those responsible for the bomb attacks in London.” And the second story now read: “the worst peacetime bomb attacks Britain has seen.”

No mention of terrorism was anywhere to be seen.

But for all the warped values which led to such changes, the edits merely affected the BBC’s own words. What the corporation did to the Prime Minister’s words in the House of Commons on Monday, however, was simply shocking.

Mr Blair told MPs this: “It seems probable that the attack was carried out by Islamist extremist terrorists…” The BBC’s report of Mr Blair’s statement is a wilful distortion: “Those responsible…, probably Islamic extremists, would be hunted down.” The Prime Minister referred to them specifically as terrorists. But the BBC deliberately left out that most important word.

And it did not even report Mr Blair’s conclusion: “Together, we will ensure that though terrorists can kill, they will never destroy the way of life we share and which we value, and which we will defend with the strength of belief and conviction so that it is to us and not to the terrorists, that victory will belong.”

There were, presumably, simply too many references to terrorists for the BBC to concoct even a distorted report.

In the BBC mindset, the murderers are not terrorists. As its Editorial Guidelines puts it: “Our credibility is undermined by the careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgements. The word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding.”

The bombers, as the BBC insists they be called, merely have a different world view from the rest of us, you see. Indeed, the guidelines say, “we recognise our duty to protect the vulnerable and avoid unjustified offence or likely harm. We aim to achieve this by ensuring our output is not used to denigrate the beliefs of others.” How awful it would be if mass murdering Islamists were offended or denigrated by being called terrorists.

But terrorism is not a value judgement. It is recognised as a crime against humanity under international law. Professor Norman Geras defines it as “the deliberate targeting of civilians with a view to killing and maiming them and if possible in large numbers”. To describe Thursday’s bombers as terrorists is merely to observe the reality of human rights law.

This is, of course, about far more than labels. The refusal to use the word terrorist goes to the heart of the BBC’s world view, in which such murders are simply a response to the West’s provocation.

It is all our fault, according to the BBC’s ‘experts’. On Friday night, a Newsnight correspondent, Peter Marshall, informed us that “What the war on terror was supposed to prevent, it has brought about.”

That is the least of it. Frank Gardner, the BBC’s Security Correspondent, has been lauded for his return to work after being shot by terrorists – oh, excuse me, militants - in Saudi Arabia. His undoubted bravery ought, however, not to prevent his analysis of Thursday’s events from being exposed for what it is.

Speaking on Radio 4 on Monday, Mr Gardner declared that Western policies in Muslim countries, and ‘harassment’ of suspected Islamists in Britain and Europe, was ‘offensive’ to Wahabis. But what Wahabis find offensive is the very existence of the West, which they are committed to destroying.

He then remarked that that it was extraordinary that they planted a bomb in Edgware Road, since this was a Muslim area. Yet not only did they not plant a bomb there (it went off in a moving train), they have as long a track record of murdering Muslims as they do of killing apostates.

Mr Gardner concluded that it was “doubly tough for Britain’s Muslims…it’s more of a blow for them than for everyone else”. Really? The relatives and friends of the victims might disagree with that.

There is much, much more of this sort of thing – not least the ludicrous BBC series, The Power of Nightmares, broadcast at prime time, which sought to prove that, in the words of its producer, the threat of global terrorism, “is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media”.

Last Thursday did not happen, it would seem. It was all an illusion.

If the BBC was just another broadcaster, forced to compete for an audience, we could choose whether or not to support it. Instead, each of us is forced, under threat of imprisonment, to pay for it to broadcast its distortions of the threat we face. We have had to put up with this bias for too long. It is time the BBC was held to account for its behaviour.


The London bombs: The BBC discovers “terrorism,” briefly

July 12, 2005

[Note and Summary]

I attach an article from today’s Jerusalem Post.

The first part of the piece is about the BBC’s subtly and retroactively altering the text of stories on their website 24 hours after the London bombs in order to remove the word “terrorist,” and then getting caught out by alert British bloggers who, fed up with the BBC’s bias, recorded the changes. I note that Stalin himself could hardly have done a better job of overseeing the BBC’s award-winning website.

The second part of the piece is a follow-up to my dispatch of last Thursday, and concerns the AP’s launching of a 9/11-style “Israel knew in advance” libel about the London bombs, and how this is already spawning conspiracy theories on dozens of extremist websites.

The last part of the piece mentions some of the more resolute and sensible commentary in the British media.

The piece has already been praised by Andrew Sullivan (www.andrewsullivan.com) and a number of other high profile on line commentators.

-- Tom Gross

 



THE BBC DISCOVERS ‘TERRORISM,’ BRIEFLY

The BBC discovers ‘terrorism,’ briefly
By Tom Gross
The Jerusalem Post
July 12, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1121048976775&p=1006953079865

When it happens on your own doorstep, in very familiar settings like the London “Tube” or on a traditional red double-decker bus, right alongside the site of a building where Charles Dickens once lived, terrorism seems very different than it does when innocent people are murdered elsewhere.

Britain’s first bus bombing took place barely half a mile from the BBC’s central London headquarters, and for a day or so after last Thursday’s multiple bomb attacks, the BBC, the influential leftist daily the Guardian, and even the British-based global news agency Reuters, all seemed to suddenly discover the words “terrorism” and “terrorist.” In Saturday’s Guardian, for example, one or other of these words appeared on each of the first eleven pages.

In marked contrast to BBC reports about bombs on public transport in Israel – bombs which in some cases were even worse than those in London, since some were specifically aimed at children, and most were packed with nails, screws, glass and specially-sharpened metal shards in order to maximize injuries - terms like “guerrilla,” “militant,” “activist” or “fighter” were suddenly nowhere to be seen.

Nor – again in contrast to their coverage of Israel – did BBC correspondents, on either their domestic or international services, provide sympathetic accounts of the likely perpetrators, or explain to viewers that we must “understand” their “grievances”. Instead they did what an objective news organization should do: just report on the attacks, and their atrocious nature, and on the sufferings of the victims.

The world’s premier broadcast network appeared to throw away its own ridiculous “BBC Producer’s Guidelines”. BBC online reports, for example, had headlines such as “Terror of passengers stuck on tube” and “London Rocked by Terror Attacks.”

BBC executives had previously insisted that for the sake of what they call “even-handedness” terrorists should not be called terrorists. Their Guidelines state: “The word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier to understanding... We should try to avoid the term, while we report the facts as we know them.”

But the hope of many of the British taxpayers forced to fund the BBC that it had finally come to its senses and would henceforth call terror by its proper name, turned out to be short-lived. By Friday, the BBC’s world service was slowly reverting to its old habits, both on air and on line. (Its domestic news broadcasts have for the time being continued using the word “terrorist.”)

Presumably hoping that no one would notice, the BBC subtly and retroactively altered its initial texts about the bombs on both it British and international websites. Unfortunately for the BBC, however, previous versions of its webpages remained easily accessible to all on Google, and enterprising British bloggers, long-fed up with the BBC’s bias, recorded the changes.

“Harry’s Place” noted, for example, that on Thursday evening a BBC News webpage headlined “Bus man may have seen terrorist,” began “A bus passenger says he may have seen one of those responsible for the terrorist bomb attacks in London. Richard Jones, from Binfield, had got a bus just before it was blown up...”

But on Friday at 10.14 am GMT, that webpage was suddenly changed. The headline now reads “Passenger believes he saw bomber”, and the text begins “A bus passenger says he may have seen one of those responsible for the bomb attacks in London. Richard Jones, from Binfield, had got a bus just before it was blown up...”

Early on Friday morning another BBC webpage, headlined “Testing the underground mood,” spoke of “the worst terrorist atrocity Britain has seen.” But at 12.08 GMT, while the rest of the article was left untouched, those words were replaced by “the worst peacetime bomb attacks Britain has seen.”

There are other examples of similar censorship occurring at the BBC. Stalin himself could hardly have done a better job of overseeing their award-winning website.

In its round-up of world reactions, BBC online was also quick to highlight the views of conspiracy theorists. The very first article listed by the BBC started by quoting Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani saying Israel was behind the London attacks, followed by a commentary on Iranian state radio explicitly blaming the Mossad.

With its unprecedented worldwide news reach (its radio service alone, broadcasting in 43 languages, attracts over 150 million listeners), BBC coverage is important in formulating worldwide public opinion.

But even more influential – and in respect to the London terror attacks, far more irresponsible – was the Associated Press (AP).

The AP played into the hands of anti-Semites by irresponsibly running a bogus “Israel advance warning” story on its international newswire shortly after the London attacks. Although the story has since been retracted by the AP, the damage has been done. As was the case after 9/11, a thousand “Israel knew”-style conspiracy theories have already been spawned on extreme rightist and leftist websites worldwide.

The AP story headlined “Netanyahu Changed Plans Due to Warning,” written by Amy Teibel of the AP Jerusalem bureau, and alleging that Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in London for an economic conference, was tipped off “minutes before Thursday’s explosions,” was put out by the AP on their worldwide news wires at 11.14 am GMT (7.14 am EST) on Thursday.

Fox News ran the AP story on air at 7:50 am New York time. AP’s story also appeared on the websites of over 100 credible news outlets in the US, Canada, Ireland, India and elsewhere. More disturbingly it appeared on Al Jazeera and other Middle East media.

How could any serious editor or reporter not see that this was “black propaganda” and a replay of the post-9/11 libels? And how could the AP Jerusalem Bureau Chief not have checked before running it?

But despite the various shortcomings in the coverage of the London bombs, there was also much resolute and sensible commentary, not just from the right and center but from some on the left too.

While the usual suspects, such as the notorious Robert Fisk of the Independent (who was singled out as a journalist one could admire in Osama bin Laden’s video message last October), immediately blamed Tony Blair and George Bush for bringing the bombs upon London, most commentators saw the atrocities for what they were.

“Face up to the truth,” wrote Nick Cohen, a leading columnist for the Observer, the Sunday sister paper of the Guardian. Addressing what he called “my world of liberal London,” Cohen said “We all know who was to blame for Thursday’s murders... and it wasn’t Bush and Blair.”

(The writer is former Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph.)

Gaza mosque & radio station welcome the “blessed acts” in London (& other reaction)

* Also: Arab media commentators: UK was too soft on Moslem extremists
* Also: “Bombs used in Tel Aviv and London from same Chinese factory”

 

CONTENTS

1. Gaza mosque and radio station welcome London attacks (Sut Al Quds radio station)
2. “Expel Extremism Today” (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London-based Saudi paper)
3. “Britain nearly the only country that treats terrorists with exaggerated humanity” (Al-Watan, Saudi Arabia)
4. Saudi Columnist argues Al Jazeera supports Al-Qaeda (Al-Jazeera)
5. “The attacks are punishment from Allah” (Al-Hayat, London)
6. “Al-Qaeda Had Nothing to Gain by Attacking Britain” (Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia)
7. U.S. and Israeli Espionage behind London Bombings (Jomhouri-ye Eslami, Iran)
8. “The bombing is a great victory for Al-Qaeda” (Al-Jazeera)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

BOMBS USED IN TEL AVIV AND LONDON “FROM SAME CHINESE FACTORY”

German media have reported that the explosive material used in the London attacks was the same kind used in the suicide bomb attack on Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv on April 30, 2003. According to the German media, the Mossad says it believes that the explosives used for the London terror attacks were produced at the ZDF arms factory in China and smuggled into Britain. This explosive was used in the Mike’s Place attacks. Mossad chief Meir Dagan said the explosive in question is “much more lethal than plastic explosives and can be smuggled undetected due to its composition.”

The terrorist attack on Mike’s Place was carried out by two British citizens, recruited by Hamas. Asif Mohammed Hanif blew himself up at the Mike’s Place pub, killing a number of Israeli customers and the waitress working at the bar. His fellow British terrorist Omar Khan Sharif failed to detonate his belt and fled the scene. He was later killed by Hamas to prevent him providing operational details if captured. Both of these young men were from educated, middle class Muslim families in the British Midlands. It is believed they brought the explosive material with them from Jordan into Israel.

Today, British police raided five houses in West Yorkshire, saying that they were looking for forensic materials “directly connected” to last week’s London attacks. There is speculation that the explosive materials they are looking for in Yorkshire, from China, are of the same kind used in Tel Aviv.

Although the attacks by British citizens in Tel Aviv were condemned by the vast majority of British politicians, some Liberal and Labour politicians expressed sympathy with the bombers.

GAZA MOSQUE WELCOMES LONDON ATTACKS

The Gaza based Sut Al Quds radio station, which is affiliated to Islamic Jihad, has praised the London terror attacks. Referring to the London blasts, in a sermon broadcast live on Palestinian radio, the preacher welcomed the “blessed acts”. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the last suicide bomb in Tel Aviv, at the Stage nightclub on February 25, 2005, killing 5 Israelis and wounding 50. The Palestinian Authority has refused to take decisive action to curb the terrorist activities or the incitement to terrorism by either Islamic Jihad or Hamas.

ARAB MEDIA REACTION: UK WAS TOO SOFT ON MOSLEM EXTREMISTS

I attach below various Arab media reaction to the London terror attacks. Abd Al-Rahman, the Director General of Al-Arabiya, criticizes the British government for allowing Moslem extremists free reign on its soil, under the delusion that they would not target Britain. Much of the politically correct British media (as well as some elements of the US media) have been reluctant to publish the kind of views expressed by Al-Rahman.

Another Arab commentator Hamoud Abu Taleb, writes in Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia) that “Britain is nearly the only country that treats terrorists and extremists with exaggerated humanity”.

“U.S AND ISRAELI ESPIONAGE BEHIND LONDON BOMBINGS”

I also attach a number of articles and excerpts that contain some of the more spurious allegations in the Arab media. These include claims that “The attacks are punishment from Allah” and that “U.S. and Israeli espionage were behind the London bombings”.

Dr. Sami Sa’id Habib cites the conflicting reports regarding Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (For more on this, see the other dispatch I am sending out shortly, titled The BBC discovers “terrorism,” briefly.) It is remarkable how obsessed the Arab world is with Israel, that Dr. Sa’id Habib – who is the chairman of the Saudi Association for Aviation and Space Sciences – chooses to write about Netanyahu rather than the London bomb attacks, or about space and aviation.

“A GREAT VICTORY FOR AL-QAEDA”

The last piece below is an interview with the director of the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies (based in London), Dr. Hani Al-Siba’i. He says:

“If Al-Qaeda indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it. It rubbed the noses of the world’s eight most powerful countries in the mud.”

Translations, except for the first article (which was translated by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center) have been provided by MEMRI, the senior staff of which are subscribers to this email list.

Attached below are eight articles or extracts from articles and interviews.

-- Tom Gross

 


GAZA MOSQUE WELCOMES LONDON ATTACKS

Gaza mosque welcomes London attacks
Preacher welcomes the “blessed acts” that took place recently in Iraq and Britain; highlights their proximity to selection of Olympic host for 2012 games
By Roee Nahimas
Ynetnews
July 12, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3111465,00.html

In a reaction similar to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York, the blood spilt in the London terror attacks has been celebrated within the Palestinian territories.

The Gaza based Sut Al Quds radio station, which identifies itself with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has praised the London terrorist atrocities.

The broadcast was carried live on Saturday evening, two days after the attack.

The radio station was broadcasting a sermon, in which a preacher was inciting listeners against Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The preacher criticized Israel’s planned Gaza withdrawal, saying that Jerusalem was not part of the program.

The Palestinian Authority was described as vile for opening up a casino in Jericho.

Also in the same broadcast, Osama Bin Laden was praised, while the succession of explosions in London were welcomed.

The preacher welcomed the “blessed acts” that took place recently in Iraq and Britain, and highlighted their proximity to the selection of an Olympic host for the 2012 games.

“The sounds of happiness were heard in London, and Osama Bin Laden came and redrew the map. He made sure that the voice of the surrendered will be heard in every place,” the mosque’s preacher said.

The sermon was translated by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which emphasized that mosques under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority routinely incited for murder, and were being used by a variety of organizations with no effective supervision by the Authority.

 

ARAB MEDIA REACTS TO LONDON TERROR ATTACKS

“EXPEL EXTREMISM TODAY”

Expel Extremism Today
Abd Al-Rahman (Al-Arabiya TV Director-General)
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (A Saudi paper, based in London)
July 9, 2005

“For over 10 years now, I myself and other Arab writers have warned against the dangers of the reckless handling of the extremism that is now spreading like a plague within the British community.

“It was never understood why British authorities gave refuge to suspicious characters previously involved in terrorist activities. Why would Britain grant asylum to Arabs who have been convicted of political crimes or religious extremism, or even sentenced to death? Not only were they admitted to this country, but they were also provided with accommodation, a monthly salary, and free legal advice for those who want to prosecute the British government.

“The answer, I believe, is what... I call ‘blind generosity.’ This bizarre reasoning stuns individuals such as students who wish to establish careers abroad and whose [applications for British] citizenship are rejected. These people do not have criminal records like the others [to grant them entry].

“Like many other diseases, extremism is a contagious one. A small dose of carriers can spread the infection like wildfire, establishing a community full of destructive thoughts and practices such as the horrific [bombing] in London.

“The reason behind this [British] practice is the recklessness of internal British policies since the 1990s. This irresponsibility has been demonstrated by allowing extremists to enter the country – with the result being Thursday’s attacks. [These attacks] were a crime that the majority of us anticipated, since leniency like this, and hatred like this, were bound to converge at some point.

“The British authority’s leniency regarding fundamentalist fascism has allowed many, including Arab and Muslim intellectuals and journalists, to adopt ideologies that promote extremism and defend criminals such as bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi. The situation has escalated to the extent that Arab and Muslim intellects fear the repercussions of condemning extremists.

“The battle we face is against the ideology, as opposed to against the terrorists themselves. The terrorist groups make the most of the concept of freedom of speech, as well as of the ability to promote such ideas to gain support. Such tolerance on behalf of the British government has allowed Arab and Muslim extremists to seek refuge in Britain, away from their own countries...

“Within a decade, they have established organizations, promoted their beliefs all over the world, and denounced others as infidels in mosques, schools, and the media, and have publicly called to enjoin battle. They have spread into the city of London, reaching communities that had no previous record or practice of extremism. The results were illustrated last Thursday.

“So why has this happened?

“Until recently, London held the delusion that extremists would not target Britain, but only use it as a base, protecting their freedom as they worked against Arab and Islamic governments. For this reason, Britain was full of convicted [extremists] known for propagating their extremist ideologies.

“The time has come for British authorities to deal harshly with extremism, before complete chaos is unleashed onto British society. In the past, we talked about stopping them. Now, it is time to expel.”

 

“BRITAIN NEARLY THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT TREATS TERRORISTS WITH EXAGGERATED HUMANITY”

“Britain nearly the only country that treats terrorists with exaggerated humanity”
By Hamoud Abu Taleb
Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia)
July 10, 2004

“...There is no escape from telling the British authorities that they are not completely innocent of creating the appropriate atmosphere for the bombings in London – because Britain is nearly the only country that treats terrorists and extremists with exaggerated humanity, even when their crimes are proven…

“Britain has shut its ears [to hearing] the words of people who stood out as extremists; [it has shut its eyes to seeing] that every day they take in more activists, collect large donations, and expose their goals via the media; [and it has avoided seeing how] the papers and the media defend their terrorism. So it was unavoidable that London would, one day, fall victim to this leniency – because these base wild beasts do not differentiate between those who protect them and those who persecute them.”

 

SAUDI COLUMNIST ARGUES AL JAZEERA SUPPORTRS AL-QAEDA

Saudi Columnist argues Al Jazeera supports Al-Qaeda
By Hamad bin Hamad Al-Salami
Al-Jazeerah (Saudi Arabia)
July 10, 2005.

“Bin Laden and those who act under his patronage are in caves far from Britain, but his supporters who answer to his authority live in the bosom and patronage of the British, and find media via which they talk freely and never cease to support Al-Qaeda’s terrorist program… The Qatari channel Al-Jazeera is not the first of these, and the [London] newspaper Al-Quds [Al-Arabi] is not the last of these.

“Those [who attacked] Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, and others have now risen against the country that hosts them and provides them with work and a livelihood. Among them are: [Muhammad] Al-Musa’ari, [Sa’ad] Al-Faqiha, Abu Qatada, Abu Al-Muntazar, [Hani] Al-Siba’i, and [Abd Al-Bari] ’Atwan. They deceive millions when they appear with their robes and tarbooshes, and sometimes with [Islamic] decorations, claiming to possess knowledge in the etiquette and ethics of Islam…”

 

“THE ATTACKS ARE PUNISHMENT FROM ALLAH”

“The attacks are punishment from Allah”
From Al-Hayat (London)
July 10, 2005.

Abu ’Abdallah, who replaced “Supporters of Shari’a” leader Abu Hamza Al-Masri, who is now standing trial in Britain, told the London daily Al-Hayat that the bombing was “a punishment from Allah… because of prostitution and homosexuality.” He added: “When the reporters ask me about Muslim involvement [in the attack], I ask them about the two governments, American and British, that in recent years have killed two million Muslims.” He also blamed “the Zionist lobby, which learned from Nazi leader Adolf Hitler how to rake in support from the entire public by sowing fear among its ranks.” According to Abu ’Abdallah, “ [Even] if it is proven that the Muslims are involved in these attacks, the finger will continue to point towards the [British] government and the Zionist lobby.”

 

“AL-QAEDA HAD NOTHING TO GAIN BY ATTACKING BRITAIN”

“Al-Qaeda Had Nothing to Gain by Attacking Britain”
By Dr. Sami Sa’id Habib
Al-Madina (Saudi Arabia)
July 7 2005

Dr. Sami Sa’id Habib, chairman of the Saudi Association for Aviation and Space Sciences, argued that despite the haste in which secret groups took responsibility for the bombings, it was possible to figure out what mind had planned them using the principle of who stood to gain the most. In his view, “Al-Qaeda really had nothing to gain in carrying out this operation, particularly in timing it after the British Defense Ministry announced its plan to withdraw its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan – after all, they say that Al-Qaeda’s goal is the removal of the Americans and British from Arab lands.

“As a result of these events, the British will be forced to remain in Iraq to fight the international ‘terrorism’ that struck them in the heart of their country…

“With regard to Israeli involvement in the affair, there are conflicting reports regarding warnings received by Israeli Finance Minister and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He received the news before he planned to leave the Israeli embassy in London; he then remained in the hotel and did not leave it. Afterwards he stated that Scotland Yard had warned him – without, of course, warning the residents of London – [a statement] that was vehemently denied by Scotland Yard.”

 

U.S. AND ISRAELI ESPIONAGE BEHIND LONDON BOMBINGS

U.S. and Israeli Espionage behind London Bombings
Jomhouri-ye Eslami (A Conservative Iranian Daily)
July 9, 2005.

In an editorial, the conservative Persian-language daily Joumhour-ye Eslami stated: “…There is no doubt that this group is the protיgי of America. America uses Al-Qaeda anytime, anywhere, for the sake of its goals – even for changing British public opinion in order to make [the British] stop opposing the British government’s marching with America.

“It would appear that behind the scenes of the explosions in London stand the espionage services of America and the Zionist regime. They want to paint a more violent image of the terror, so that the British public will experience it for real and thus stop opposing Britain’s military presence in Iraq.

“This is the secret policy that started on September 11, 2001, with the explosion of the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, and that continued to London’s city buses and underground trains.”

 

“THE BOMBING IS A GREAT VICTORY FOR AL-QAEDA”

“The bombing is a great victory for Al-Qaeda”
Interview with the director of the London Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical
Studies, Dr. Hani Al-Siba’i
Al-Jazeera TV
July 8, 2005

The London Bombings

Al-Siba’i: “I think that British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a grave error when he spoke before the investigation and claimed that the perpetrators of these acts were acting in the name of Islam. I think that he will pay the price for this grave error in the future. No possibility should be ruled out. We do not rule out the possibility that it was done by the intelligence agency of another Western country hostile to Britain. We do not rule out countries... or some Zionist Americans who wanted to overshadow the G-8 summit. But at the same time, we do not rule out the Al-Qaeda organization. It’s been claimed that Al-Qaeda died in Afghanistan, and was buried in the caves there. And behold: it was resurrected after the American occupation of Iraq. Moreover, Al-Qaeda controls the war agenda in Iraq. It is the Al-Qaeda organization in the Land of the Two Rivers [Iraq], headed by Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi, that imposes its policies, to the extent that the Egyptian government was forced to... It was forced to recall [its ambassador], and other countries are afraid to send ambassadors there.”

Host: “He was not an ambassador, but rather a representative that was murdered, and then Egypt lowered its level of representation.”

Al-Siba’i: “He previously worked in the so-called ‘Israel. ’ What I want to ask is: can this organization do this? Is it conceivable that it did it? Yes, it is. Why? In the year... We must not forget that on April 15, 2004, Sheik Osama bin Laden released a taped message, in which he said... He gave... He reached out for reconciliation...”

Host: “Just to recall, you are referring to the Madrid incidents, in which some 190 people were killed.”

Al-Siba’i: “After the Madrid incidents, he addressed the Western and European nations. Obviously, he didn’t address the leaders whom he does not recognize. He talked to the Western nations about reconciliation...”

Host: “Excuse me. He gave them three or four months. But, forgive me, targeting civilians... You, as a Muslim and as the director of a center for Islamic history... Is targeting wretched civilians considered brave or manly?”

Al-Siba’i: “I think... The man [bin Laden] addressed these peoples so that they would pressure their governments. He told them: We did not attack you. You have been attacking us for more than two centuries, and your campaign continues. He said to them simply: Withdraw your soldiers from the Arabian Peninsula, withdraw from Afghanistan and Palestine...”

Host: “Excuse me, Is Sheik Osama bin Laden a religious scholar, who issues fatwas, or is he the head of Al-Qaeda?”

Al-Siba’i: “First of all, he is one of this [Islamic] nation. Allah... We have no clergy, or a pope, or anything like this. Anyone can carry out his religious duty, even if he is by himself.”

Host: “Mr. Hani, issuing fatwas is done by religious scholars.”

Al-Siba’i: “He has a Shura council, he has religious scholars... He wanted to debate with other scholars, but they refused. He asked to discuss matters with them, but they refused.”

Host: “The question, in short, is whether the religious scholars... Sir, the religious law assembly in Mecca at the end of last month issued a fatwa forbidding the killing of civilians. Should we follow it or Osama bin Laden?”

Al-Siba’i: “These assemblies resemble the assemblies of the Church. These assemblies forbid young people from going to Iraq to fight the Jihad. These assemblies... The Higher Religious Authority [in Saudi Arabia] are the ones who allowed the presence of Crusader forces in the Land of the Two Holy Places (Saudi Arabia). These assemblies...”

Host: “Mr. Hani, make no mistake. The same assembly ruled that Jihad in Iraq is allowed against soldiers. Even Sheik Osama [sic.] Al-Makdisi, Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi’s mentor... Okay. Abu Hani, okay... He asked Al-Zarqawi not to kill civilians and to attack only the Americans... I mean, only soldiers...”

Al-Siba’i: “The term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr. Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I’m familiar with religious law. There is no such term as ‘civilians’ in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not.

“These institutes, like the Islamic Association [of Britain], represent white-collar people, the effendis, people with ‘prestige.’ They only represent their own interests and do not mix in society. They don’t know... Ask other Muslims... People see them only on their TV screens. They don’t participate in the demonstrations for the poor. They are not interested in people’s problems. We invite them, and they don’t show up.”

Host: “The Muslim Association of Britain represents 400 Islamic organizations...”

Al-Siba’i: “These are all interest groups. With all due respect, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sheik Moududi group do business with one another.”

Host: “Are you claiming they are not Muslims?”

Al-Siba’i: “They are behind all these movements. They promote some people nobody has heard of. Then they promote some journalists.”

Host: “Excuse me, who do you want to promote? Those who want the banner of ‘There is no god but Allah’ over the Queen of England and Buckingham Palace?Those who want to establish a caliphate and turn the Queen of England into a captive? Those who say [England] is Dar Al-Harb and property there can be plundered? Are those the kind of people you want?”

Al-Siba’i: “These associations do not represent the Muslim public. They collaborate with the British police for certain interests. They want an ‘English Islam,’ and not the Islam that was sent to the Prophet Muhammad. If Al-Qaeda indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it. It rubbed the noses of the world’s eight most powerful countries in the mud. This victory is a blow to the economy...”

As bombs rock London, Bin Laden’s brother says he will pay for his defense

July 07, 2005

* The Associated Press plays into the hands of anti-Semites by irresponsibly running a bogus “Israel advance warning” story on its international newswire an hour ago (now retracted)
* The BBC discovers the word “terrorism” and “terrorists”
* Osama Bin Laden’s brother in TV interview on 9/11: “We didn’t think anything of it”

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

LONDON BOMBS: THE BBC DISCOVERS THE WORD “TERRORISM”

A group calling itself “Secret Organization Al Qaeda in Europe” has been the first to claim responsibility for what appears to be a series of multiple terror attacks in London this morning.

Following the attacks on London underground (subway) stations, and what apparently was a suicide bomb attack on a double decker bus, reporters and anchors for the BBC domestic and world service TV and radio networks immediately and repeatedly (and of course correctly) used the words “terrorism” and “terrorists” in the way that they almost never do when buses – often packed with school children – are deliberately blown up in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

See, for example, the BBC reports (up on line at 12.30 UK time) titled “Two die in London terror blast” (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4659093.stm) and the report titled “Terror of passengers stuck on tube” (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/4659293.stm)

The attack on the bus took place less than one kilometer (about two thirds of a mile) from the BBC’s central London headquarters.

NO ACTIVISTS, NO SYMPATHETIC EXPLANATIONS, NO GRIEVANCES

In marked contrast to reports on bombs on public transport in Israel, the BBC has yet to use the word “guerilla” or “militant” or “activist” or “fighter” – nor have they spoken of the “grievances” of likely attackers, nor provided sympathetic accounts of the likely perpetrators.

The BBC appears to be contradicting their (ridiculous) “BBC Producer’s Guidelines” that have so skewered their coverage of similar events in Israel. In these guidelines they insists that for sake of what the BBC regards as “even-handedness” attacks not be called “terrorism” and attackers not be called “terrorists.”

SKY NEWS, ASSOCIATED PRESS, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Sky News, which also speaks only of “militant attacks” in Israel, is presently running the headline, “DEATHS IN TERROR ATTACKS”(www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1188265,00.html)

An Associated Press report on the New York Times website this morning did not use the words “terrorism” or “terrorists”.

EXTREME IRRESPONSIBILTY BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

At 12.14 pm London time (07.14 am EST) The Associated Press put out a story on their worldwide news wires headlined “Netanyahu Changed Plans Due to Warning,” written by Amy Teibel of the Associated Press Jerusalem bureau.

The story began: “JERUSALEM -- British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before Thursday’s explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city, a senior Israeli official said. Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to attend an economic conference in a hotel over the subway stop where one of the blasts occurred, and the warning prompted him to stay in his hotel room instead, government officials said.”

Tom Gross adds: This Associated Press story has since been denied by Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and denied by the Scotland Yard spokesperson (the London police). Senior Israeli government spokespeople tell me that this is “pure garbage” put out by the AP in an effort to suggest Israel knew of the attacks in advance, just as anti-Semites elsewhere have spread the lie that Israel had advance warnings of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC.

As I have mentioned on this list before, the board of directors of AP (and indeed of Reuters and AFP too) need to do some serious re-evaluation of who they employ as reporters in their Middle East bureaus.

 

AL-ARABIYA

I attach an interview from Al-Arabiya TV that has been translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In the second story attached below – but not mentioned in MEMRI’s translation – Bin Laden’s brother makes clear in that Al-Arabiya interview that he would pay for Bin Laden’s defense if and when he comes to trial.

I mentioned Al-Arabiya in Tuesday’s dispatch, Growing bolder, Arab media begin to act in democratic way, but blocks remain (July 5, 2005). The Dubai-based satellite television station is considered Al Jazeera’s leading rival and has tens of millions of viewers. It is the only Arab station that does not call suicide bombers “martyrs”.

YASLAM BIN LADEN

Yaslam Bin Laden is one of Osama Bin Laden’s half brothers. They are among 54 sons and daughters of the late Saudi construction magnate Mohammad Bin Laden, who had 22 wives. Yaslam’s former wife Carmen published a memoir titled “Inside the kingdom” detailing life within the Bin Laden clan in 2004.

Yaslam Bin Laden has previously been interviewed by NBC, in July 2004. He also gave an interview to Time in November 2004. Yeslam and his former wife Carmen spell their name differently, substituting an “I” for the “E” in “Laden”.

-- Tom Gross

 



FULL ARTICLES

“WE DIDN’T THINK ANYTHING OF IT”

Osama Bin Laden’s Brother Interviewed by Al-Arabiya TV
MEMRI
July 7, 2005

On July 3, 2005, Osama bin Laden’s brother Yaslam bin Laden gave an interview to Al-Arabiya TV.

Presenter: “Where were you on 9/11?”

Yaslam bin Laden: “On 9/11, I was at the Geneva airport, with a Swiss friend who was flying back to Zurich. We sat in the airport and had coffee. I got a call from an American friend who lives in London and works as a broker on the stock market. He told me a plane had crashed into a building in New York. With the first plane, we thought it was an accident, since there are always aviation accidents. We continued to drink our coffee at the airport, and we didn’t think anything of it. The same guy called me again a little later, and told me another plane had crashed into a building. Then we thought there might be some mistake - How could this possibly happen to two planes within half an hour? My friend entered the airport and left for Zurich, and I drove into town.”

Presenter: “Did you suspect Osama bin Laden was responsible? Who did you think could do this?”

Yaslam bin Laden: “I didn’t think anything like that. I thought that something might have gone terribly wrong with the computers directing the planes, or with something else. In no way could anyone imagine such a thing.

“Some time later, I called my brother Khalil, who was in America, and he told me that, Allah be praised, everything was fine. Obviously at that time all the brothers and family members in America had to leave as quickly as possible. This was not the time to be in America. Allah be praised, with the help of the Saudi government... The Saudi government helped us and got the entire family out of America.

“From a young age, many of us were sent overseas to study. Some went to Lebanon, some to Syria, some to Egypt, and some remained in Saudi Arabia. Some of my brothers and I studied in Lebanon. I left for Lebanon at the age of six or seven, and returned only after graduating from university in America. Osama was one of those who did not leave Saudi Arabia. I think there were four or five brothers who didn’t leave. Since I returned from America in 1977 or 1978, until 1981 - I think 1981 was the first time he left Saudi Arabia for Afghanistan – I met Osama bin Laden three or four times during this period.”

Presenter: “What did you think of him?”

Yaslam bin Laden: “Osama was more religious than the rest of us. Those of us who went to Lebanon had other things on our mind.”

Presenter: “Perhaps if he had been taken to Lebanon, he wouldn’t have turned out Osama bin Laden. His mother is Syrian. Why didn’t he study in Syria?”

Yaslam bin Laden: “This was the decision of my father, may he rest in peace. I don’t know why. I’m telling you that if he had gone to Lebanon, he might have turned out a little different.”

Presenter: “Was he religious? Your former wife wrote in her book that he refused to look at her face.”

Yaslam bin Laden: “Yes, I think it’s true. He did not like to listen to music or to watch TV, and he prevented his children from doing so. I thought that was odd.”

Presenter: “You didn’t discuss this with him?”

Yaslam bin Laden: “He can do what he wants in his home, as I can in mine.”

Presenter: “Was he charismatic?”

Yaslam bin Laden: “He was still young then. We were all young.”

Presenter: “Do you think he’s dead?”

Yaslam bin Laden: “No, I don’t.”

Presenter: “How do you know he’s not dead? Where is Osama bin Laden then? The great America, which occupied two countries, or you could even say the entire world, has not yet managed to find Osama bin Laden.”

Yaslam bin Laden: “You should ask them.”

 

BROTHER SAYS HE’D PAY FOR BIN LADEN’S DEFENSE

Brother says he’d pay for bin Laden’s defense
The Associated Press
Chicago Sun Times
July 5, 2005

www.suntimes.com/output/terror/cst-nws-bin05.html

One of Osama bin Laden’s half brothers said he would pay for the terror mastermind’s defense should he ever be captured, Yeslam Binladin said in a broadcast interview.

“For sure,” Yeslam Binladin responded when asked if he would help pay. “Everyone has the right to defend himself, anyone who is accused of doing something.”

Yeslam and Osama are among 54 sons and daughters of the late Saudi construction magnate Mohammed bin Laden, who had 22 wives. Yeslam said in an interview he believed his half brother, thought to be hiding in the mountains along the Afghan-Pakistan border, was still alive. The interview recorded May 28 aired Sunday on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite television station.

When asked why U.S. forces had still not been able to track bin Laden down, Yeslam, 54, responded: “I don’t know, ask them.”

Yeslam condemned the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

Yeslam, granted Swiss citizenship in 2001, intentionally spells his name differently from his half brother, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

New Pope says he will visit a synagogue and pray in Hebrew

This is an update to dispatches earlier this year on the former and new popes, including:

* Iran bans Al-Jazeera (& note on the new pope’s stint in the Hitler youth) (April 19, 2005)
* Khatami denies, but Assad admits, Katsav handshake at Pope’s funeral (April 10, 2005)
* Iran says Pope was too close to “evil” Jews (April 7, 2005)
* A world record: 35,000 new stories on the Pope in 24 hours (April 5, 2005)
* Arab media coverage of Pope’s death infuriates Islamists (April 4, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

THE POPE WILL VISIT A GERMAN SYNAGOGUE AND PRAY IN HEBREW

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will visit a synagogue in Cologne next month and recite prayers in Hebrew. (The synagogue was restored after it was destroyed by the Nazis.) The Pontiff is due to visit Cologne from August 18 – 21, for World Youth Day, a trip originally planned by the late John Paul II.

Since his election on April 19, Benedict XVI has reached out to Jews whilst denouncing the crimes of the Nazis.

Many outside the Vatican have expressed concern that the new pope served a stint as a member of the Hitler Youth in 1941, and they have asked questions about the fact that there is no evidence other than the pope’s own word for it, that this membership was “unenthusiastic.”

I wrote at the time of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s appointment as pope, that his Hitler Youth membership was compulsory and should not be held against him. Others have since criticized me, including a distinguished historian on this email list. He has outlined in some detail the unsatisfactory explanations given by Ratzinger in his biography for the months following his 1943-April 1944 service with a German army anti-aircraft unit (the workforce of which also included slaves from Dachau concentration camp) and the last few weeks of the war, which Ratzinger spent in an allied prisoner of war camp. It has been suggested that there are some inconsistencies about Ratzinger’s account of his activites during this period of almost a year in which he was in Hungary and Germany.

POPE PRESENTED WITH STAMPS BY ISRAEL

The Israeli communications minister, Dalia Itzik yesterday (July 6, 2005) became the first Israeli to meet Ratzinger since he became Pope. She presented him with the Israel Postal Authority’s commemorative stamp honoring the late Pope John Paul II. (Those of you who would like to see this stamp can do so at
www.postil.com/postboolaee.nsf/HanpakotViewEng/D8F4DA1980056C8F4225700600377C5F?opendocument)

The stamp commemorates John Paul II’s visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where he left a letter asking forgiveness for acts committed by Christians against Jews “throughout history.” Yesterday, German finance minister Hans Eichel also gave the Pope a special edition stamp on behalf of Germany that celebrates World Youth Day.

POPE INVITED TO ISRAEL

Dalia Itzik and Israeli government secretary Israel Maimon also presented Benedict with a letter from Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon inviting him to visit Israel. Oded Ben-Hur, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, quoted the Pontiff as saying “I already have a long list of commitments to visit foreign countries, but Israel has a priority”.

Below, I attach an article from the Associated Press (as published in USA Today, America’s highest circulation daily newspaper.)

-- Tom Gross

 



FULL ARTICLE

POPE WILL VISIT SYNAGOGUE, PRAY IN HEBREW, CARDINAL SAYS

Pope will visit synagogue, pray in Hebrew, cardinal says
The Associated Press
USA Today
July 5, 2005

www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2005-07-05-pope-hebrew_x.htm

German-born Pope Benedict XVI will say prayers in Hebrew when he visits the synagogue in Cologne, Germany, that was destroyed by the Nazis, a cardinal organizing the trip said Tuesday.

Jewish representatives invited the pope to visit while he is in Germany in August for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day and Benedict replied, “I will come,” said Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

The visit will include a prayer service in which the psalms will be “prayed,” the cardinal said. “We have learned them in Hebrew.”

Since his April 19 election as pope, the German-born Benedict has reached out to Jews while denouncing crimes by the Nazis. He served in the Hitler Youth organization as a teen and later deserted from the German army in the waning days of World War II.

“We (the Germans) carry our wounds up to this day, and sometimes they are still bleeding wounds,” Meisner said of World War II and the Holocaust.

In that context, and that of the first German pope in 500 years, the cardinal said the visit becomes an “unequivocal symbol to our elder brothers and sisters” that the Holocaust “must never happen again.”

Jewish leaders have praised Benedict for his efforts to improve relations between Catholic and Jews during the many years Benedict worked in the Vatican before becoming pope.

Benedict will visit Cologne from Aug. 18-21, a trip originally planned by the late John Paul II.

Growing bolder, Arab media begin to act in democratic way, but blocks remain

July 05, 2005

* This dispatch follows yesterday’s dispatch on the problems of the Arab media. Today, I attempt to illustrate some more optimistic trends. Even more so than yesterday’s, I believe this is an important dispatch, worth reading in full.

 

CONTENTS

1. “Arab press grows bolder, but blocks remain” (The Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2005)
2. “NBC: Misjudging Al Jazeera led to terror alert” (Reuters, June 28, 2005)
3. “Al Arabiya satellite TV starts reporting from Gush Katif” (Ha’aretz, June 29, 2005)
4. “Israelis, Arabs See Groundbreaking Film” (Yahoo News / AP, July 2, 2005)
5. “The loser in Iran was the Western media” (Beirut Daily Star, June 28, 2005)

 


[Note by Tom Gross]

ARAB MEDIA BEGIN TO ACT LIKE DEMOCRATIC MEDIA

Yesterday’s dispatch (Outspoken Arab commentators lament the anti-Israel & anti-US lies of their own media) dealt with many of the impediments in the way of Arab news outlets. By contrast, this dispatch charts more positive developments.

In a period of unprecedented change in the Middle East, some Arab journalists are increasingly showing that they have the potential to monitor and criticize the abuses of their own governments.

Amid mounting American pressure on Arab governments to democratize, some Arab media have started speaking out, criticizing their leaders, attacking corruption, and demanding more freedom and transparency. One indication of this can be seen on the website of The Daily Star in Lebanon (www.dailystar.com.lb/home2.asp) with adverts urging a “support (for a) free press in Lebanon”.

AL JAZEERA

Al Jazeera TV has had an enormous impact on the media in the Middle East. Its importance is illustrated in the second article in this dispatch, which alleges that a US terror alert that interrupted about 30 overseas flights, was triggered by a CIA analysis of what were thought to be hidden messages broadcast on Al Jazeera.

On March 23, 2005, I sent out a dispatch titled Al-Jazeera to be launched in English in America. This story is now being reported by mainstream news outlets. Yesterday, the Associated Press finally reported on it, and this AP article was picked up by many newspapers today and yesterday, including the Chicago Sun Times, the Globe and Mail (Canada), the Guardian, and China Daily. The June 27, 2005 issue of Time magazine also had a four page spread on this “international media powerhouse”.

ISRAELIS NOW ALLOWED A VOICE ON ARAB TELEVISION

Previous dispatches on this list have charted how Arab television stations have ignored Israelis. For example, earlier this year Lebanese TV refused to show the Eurovision Song Contest because an Israeli was singing. (See the dispatch of May 21, 2005, titled Lebanon pulls out of tonight’s Eurovision Song Contest because an Israeli will sing.)

In a marked change from the way Arab TV stations have ignored any “humanization” of Israelis in the past, in recent days the Dubai-based station Al Arabiya has begun to report directly from the Gush Katif Jewish communities in the Gaza strip.

Al Arabiya, which has tens of millions of viewers and is considered Al Jazeera’s leading rival, was the first to break the unwritten rules of the Arab media by interviewing Israeli politicians, army officers and settlers, and is the only station in the Arab world that does not call suicide bombers “martyrs.”

ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN SIMULTANEOUS TV BROADCAST

Last Saturday, both Israeli and Palestinian TV – a private Palestinian station, not the official station of Abbas’s Palestinian Authority – simultaneously broadcast a documentary called “The Shape of the Future,” which explored possible solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Whilst this does not signal any political shift as such, it is nonetheless a significant breakthrough for Palestinians and Israelis to directly hear and see ideas which are of great consequence to the future of both peoples.

THE BIGGEST LOSER IN IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WAS THE WESTERN MEDIA

As an illustration of the importance of the Arab media I have included a piece from the Daily Star in Lebanon which highlights how poorly the Western media understood the Iranian Presidential election. The lack of accurate coverage by western journalists is particularly worrisome as Iran, its foreign policy and its nuclear program are likely to dominate the news cycle in the Middle East for some time to come.

I attach five articles, with summaries first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

ARAB PRESS GROWS BOLDER, BUT BLOCKS REMAIN

“Arab press grows bolder, but blocks remain” (By Sarah Gauch, The Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2005)

Amid mounting global pressure on Arab governments to democratize, journalists across the region have started boldly speaking out, criticizing their leaders, attacking corruption, and demanding more freedom and transparency.

... Egypt, for example, is experiencing a more open, vibrant press, which has dared in recent months to criticize Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the extension of his 24-year rule, and the possible succession of his son. In fact, most subjects seem fair game these days. “We are free to report on almost anything, except defense,” says Hisham Kassem, vice chairman of the independent daily Al Masry Al Yom.

... Other Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia, which allowed journalists to address such taboo topics as religious militancy, government mismanagement, and terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001, have opened their press for short periods but then cracked down.

... But even as media outlets embrace calls for press reform, many Arab states continue to attack the press through restrictive laws, imprisonment of journalists, and, allegedly, even murder...

 

NBC: MISJUDGING ALJAZEERA LED TO ALERT

“NBC: Misjudging Aljazeera led to alert” (By Reuters, carried on the website of Al Jazeera, June 28, 2005)

A US terror alert in late 2003 that interrupted about 30 overseas flights was triggered by a CIA analysis of what were thought to be hidden messages broadcast on Aljazeera TV, NBC Nightly News has said.

CIA analysts mistakenly thought they had found secret al-Qaida messages embedded in the crawl on the news channel, but the analysis turned out to be wrong, NBC reported on Monday, citing senior US officials.

... A CIA spokeswoman referred a call seeking comment to the National Counterterrorism Centre. Spokesmen for the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security could not be reached for comment.

 

AL ARABIYA SATELLITE TV STARTS REPORTING FROM GUSH KATIF

“Al Arabiya satellite TV starts reporting from Gush Katif” (By Nir Hassom, Ha’aretz, June 29, 2005)

... For the first time, a television crew from the Arab satellite station Al Arabiya was also visiting the Gush Katif settlements in Gaza. The Dubai-based station had decided to cover the run-up to the disengagement for its viewers.

... “The entire Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel,” one of the Tal Yam teens told Al Arabiya reporter Ziad Halaby.

... “It’s very colorful here, very interesting,” commented Halaby afterward. “I understand the settlers and their feeling that they were betrayed by [Ariel] Sharon. I believe that the rift on the right is real, not feigned.”

... Al Arabiya, founded in 2003, broadcasts via satellite to all the Arab states. It has tens of millions of viewers and is considered Al Jazeera’s leading rival. When it broke the unwritten rules of the Arab media by interviewing Israeli politicians and army officers, “the other stations criticized us, and then followed suit,” said one of its local producers, who asked to remain anonymous. Al Arabiya is also the only station in the Arab world that does not call suicide bombers “martyrs.”

 

ISRAELIS, ARABS SEE GROUNDBREAKING FILM

“Israelis, Arabs See Groundbreaking Film” (By Steve Weizman, Associated Press, July 2, 2005)

In a groundbreaking cooperative venture, Israeli and Arab TV stations on Saturday simultaneously broadcast the first part of a documentary exploring possible solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Program’s producer Search for Common Ground, a conflict resolution foundation, hopes that by presenting the dispute in graphic human terms and focusing on the need for territorial compromise by both sides, then the series could have a greater impact than previous documentaries, which centered on the conflict’s history.

The first two parts of the four-part series, titled “The Shape of the Future,” were aired in Hebrew on Israel’s Channel Eight cable channel and in Arabic on the public Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), on the privately-owned MAAN Palestinian channel. They were also aired throughout the Arabic-speaking world by the Abu Dhabi satellite channel...

“It was a good program. It showed that both sides had concerns, both sides were human, both sides suffered similar troubles and have metaphorical hopes for the future,” said Marwan Awwad, a contractor, watching in Jordan.

Assad Azzouni, a Jordanian novelist of Palestinian origin, said the program was “awful.” ...

 

THE LOSER IN IRAN WAS THE WESTERN MEDIA

“The loser in Iran was the Western media” (By Gordon Robison, Daily Star, Lebanon, June 28, 2005)

So Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is not Iran’s new president. That result must come as a particular surprise to anyone who tried to follow the campaign by light of the Western media...

The answer may be much simpler, if no less embarrassing: Granted how little most of us outsiders know about the politics of the Islamic Republic, it was probably just easiest to focus on Rafsanjani because he, alone among the candidates, was a familiar figure to Western journalists.

That quality made him easy to write about, and easy to cover; it made it especially easy for us to assume that he would win...

 



FULL ARTICLES

ARAB PRESS GROWS BOLDER, BUT BLOCKS REMAIN

Arab press grows bolder, but blocks remain
This week, Al Jazeera aired a controversial program about torture in Arab jails.
By Sarah Gauch
The Christian Science Monitor
June 28, 2005

www.csmonitor.com/2005/0628/p05s01-wome.html

Amid mounting global pressure on Arab governments to democratize, journalists across the region have started boldly speaking out, criticizing their leaders, attacking corruption, and demanding more freedom and transparency.

But even as media outlets embrace calls for press reform, many Arab states continue to attack the press through restrictive laws, imprisonment of journalists, and, allegedly, even murder.

“Journalists who have tried to stake out an independent position from the government very frequently face the wrath of local officials,” says Joel Campagna, senior program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. A free press, he argues, is a prerequisite for greater democracy throughout the Arab world. Media freedom, however, varies greatly across the region, say analysts.

Egypt, for example, is experiencing a more open, vibrant press, which has dared in recent months to criticize Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the extension of his 24-year rule, and the possible succession of his son. In fact, most subjects seem fair game these days.

“We are free to report on almost anything, except defense,” says Hisham Kassem, vice chairman and chief executive officer of the independent daily Al Masry Al Yom.

With a long history of freedom and openness, the Lebanese press, too, has been outspoken in its criticism of the government and its former occupier, Syria, especially since the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February and the massive demonstrations that followed.

Other Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia, which allowed journalists to address such taboo topics as religious militancy, government mismanagement, and terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001, have opened their press for short periods but then cracked down.

And in other countries, including Tunisia and Libya, press freedoms actually deteriorated in recent years, analysts say, despite the push for democratic reform.

Speaking out often carries a steep price. Earlier this month, Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir, a journalist with the daily Lebanese newspaper An Nahar, was killed by a car bomb in what was widely suspected to be an assassination backed by Syria. Syria denies the allegation.

After Mr. Kassir’s death, his columns were reprinted in An Nahar’s newspaper and on its website.

“Even if we assume that Syria has convinced the world it is innocent of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, the strong popular outcry surrounding the crime has raised the possibility of examining again the other crimes the Baathists [the ruling Syrian party] committed while suppressing Lebanon’s public freedoms,” reads a reprinted column by Kassir that ran after Hariri’s assassination.

Last month, supporters of Egypt’s governing party beat and sexually assaulted female journalists in Cairo at antigovernment rallies during a referendum on an amendment to allow multicandidate presidential elections in September.

The attack on women journalists in Cairo last month led to meetings and demonstrations denouncing the government and calling for the resignation of Egypt’s interior minister. Meanwhile, Al Masry Al Yom printed photos showing voter fraud during May’s referendum about direct presidential elections.

The growth of electronic and broadcast media in the Arab world, like the pioneering satellite television station and website Al Jazeera, has also had a tremendous effect on the region’s press. Besides being an important platform for political debate, they disseminate information the population cannot get from the local media.

“We discuss subjects that they [Arab governments] consider taboo,” says Ahmed Sheikh, editor in chief of Al Jazeera, the satellite station. “We cover reform, democracy, ... human rights.”

Just this Sunday, Mr. Sheikh says, Al Jazeera did a controversial program on torture in Arab jails, focusing mainly on Egypt, where there had been a protest Sunday outside the state security headquarters denouncing the widespread use of torture in the country’s prisons.

Still, supporters of more press freedom in the Arab world emphasize that what’s really needed for true reform is a complete change of attitude: Arab regimes must welcome the media as a pillar of democracy, instead of rejecting them as an enemy of the state.

“There needs to be a new mentality about the role of the free press in a democratic society," says Salama Ahmed Salama, a columnist at Cairo’s state-run daily Al Ahram, “and to truly believe that this is the way of good governance.”

 

NBC: MISJUDGING ALJAZEERA LED TO ALERT

NBC: Misjudging Aljazeera led to alert
Reuters
Al Jazeera
June 28, 2005

english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/5AFD91E7-361F-4067-8FFF-9A8E4D91703D.htm

A US terror alert in late 2003 that interrupted about 30 overseas flights was triggered by a CIA analysis of what were thought to be hidden messages broadcast on Aljazeera TV, NBC Nightly News has said.

CIA analysts mistakenly thought they had found secret al-Qaida messages embedded in the crawl on the news channel, but the analysis turned out to be wrong, NBC reported on Monday, citing senior US officials.

According to the report, CIA experts thought they found numbers signalling upcoming attacks hidden in the information that scrolled across the screen.
“Dates and flight numbers, geographic coordinates for targets, including the White House, Seattle’s Space Needle, even the tiny town of Tappahanock, Virginia,” the report said.

NBC said the CIA would neither confirm nor deny the report, but said it is the “agency’s job to run all plausible theories to the ground, especially when American lives could be at risk”.

NBC said the alleged threats were found through steganalysis, using sophisticated software to analyse images for hidden messages.

Former secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge was briefed on the analysis and was asked whether he considered it to be “a little bit bizarre”.

“Bizarre, unique, unorthodox, unprecedented. Speaking for myself, I’ve got to admit to wondering whether or not it was credible,” Ridge told NBC.

Ridge said the possibility of hidden messages could not be discounted, given other intelligence chatter and an attack on Saudi Arabia.

Asked whether in retrospect it was a mistake to raise the alert level based on the analysis, Ridge said, “No.”

“We informed a lot of people and we acted accordingly based on our best information and best conclusions and the information that we had at the time.”

A CIA spokeswoman referred a call seeking comment to the National Counterterrorism Centre. Spokesmen for the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security could not be reached for comment.

 

AL ARABIYA SATELLITE TV STARTS REPORTING FROM GUSH KATIF

Al Arabiya satellite TV starts reporting from Gush Katif
By Nir Hassom
Ha’aretz
June 29, 2005

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/593534.html

The dozens of journalists who descended yesterday on the Al Ara house in Muassi, which settler youths had turned into a new stronghold called Tal Yam, included one surprise: For the first time, a television crew from the Arab satellite station Al Arabiya was also visiting the Gush Katif settlements in Gaza. The Dubai-based station had decided to cover the run-up to the disengagement for its viewers.

“The entire Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel,” one of the Tal Yam teens told Al Arabiya reporter Ziad Halaby. “If the Arabs want to live here, they can be foreigners, without rights. That can be considered. But no other nation has rights [here].”

“It’s very colorful here, very interesting,” commented Halaby afterward. “I understand the settlers and their feeling that they were betrayed by [Ariel] Sharon. I believe that the rift on the right is real, not feigned. But I don’t believe Sharon regarding the other settlements, and I fear that while the entire world is focusing on the disengagement, he will work to expand settlements in the West Bank.”

Halaby, who speaks excellent Hebrew, is perhaps the only journalist in Gush Katif who calls the Jewish inhabitants mityashvim rather than mitnahalim (both mean “settler,” but the latter, used by all the Hebrew media, is considered more derogatory). And contrary to his fears, he said, he encountered no hostility from the settlers, except for once when a few of them yelled “Shabbos!” (Shabbat) at him. “I didn’t understand what they wanted,” he admitted.

Even Eran Sternberg, spokesman for the Gush Katif Regional Council, agreed to let Halaby interview him. When Halaby asked whether he believed the disengagement could be stopped, Sternberg replied: “As a believer, I must make a 100-percent effort. As for the results - Allahu akhbar” (Arabic for “God is great”).

Al Arabiya, founded in 2003, broadcasts via satellite to all the Arab states. It has tens of millions of viewers and is considered Al Jazeera’s leading rival. When it broke the unwritten rules of the Arab media by interviewing Israeli politicians and army officers, “the other stations criticized us, and then followed suit,” said one of its local producers, who asked to remain anonymous. Al Arabiya is also the only station in the Arab world that does not call suicide bombers “martyrs.”

Its local crew is comprised of Israeli Arabs, most of whom had never been to Gush Katif before. From now on, however, they plan to visit every week to prepare a report. The next one, said the producer, will be about the signs in Gush Katif: “Why are signs in Gush Katif written in Arabic [as well as Hebrew]? Who does it serve?”

“The Arab public is longing to know what is happening here,” concluded Halaby. “Nothing more important than the disengagement will happen in 2005.”

 

ISRAELIS, ARABS SEE GROUNDBREAKING FILM

Israelis, Arabs See Groundbreaking Film
By Steve Weizman
The Associated Press
July 2, 2005

news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050702/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinian_simulcast

In a groundbreaking cooperative venture, Israeli and Arab TV stations on Saturday simultaneously broadcast the first part of a documentary exploring possible solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Program’s producer Search for Common Ground, a conflict resolution foundation, hopes that by presenting the dispute in graphic human terms and focusing on the need for territorial compromise by both sides, then the series could have a greater impact than previous documentaries, which centered on the conflict’s history.

The first two parts of the four-part series, titled “The Shape of the Future,” were aired in Hebrew on Israel’s Channel Eight cable channel and in Arabic on the public Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), on the privately-owned MAAN Palestinian channel. They were also aired throughout the Arabic-speaking world by the Abu Dhabi satellite channel.

Israeli and Arab viewers had mixed feelings about the impact the four-part series would have on the course of a conflict that has claimed the lives of 3,487 Palestinians and 1,042 Israelis in just the past five years.

“It was a good program. It showed that both sides had concerns, both sides were human, both sides suffered similar troubles and have metaphorical hopes for the future,” said Marwan Awwad, a contractor, watching in Jordan.

Assad Azzouni, a Jordanian novelist of Palestinian origin, said the program was “awful.”

“Why are Arab countries so eager to normalize ties with Israel?” Azzouni asked.

Israeli analyst Hirsh Goodman, after watching the program at his Jerusalem home, said the content did not break new ground. “But I think it recorded very important voices and I think it laid out for the people who are going to have to conduct future policy the clay they’re working with,” Goodman said.

Palestinian journalist and author Daoud Kuttab praised the segment’s forward-looking emphasis.

“Contrary to other films dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this documentary did not stop in analyzing the problem, but rather tried to see possible solutions,” Kuttab said.

Producer John Marks said the documentary had been offered to larger networks but they had deemed it insufficiently commercial.

The first 30-minute segment shows that opinions within Palestinian and Israeli society are not monolithic, and can sometimes vary widely within the same family.

Benny Eilon is a right-wing settler and former Cabinet minister, who was fired from the Israeli government over his opposition to Prime Minister Ariel Sharons’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In the program he says Scripture gives Jews an inalienable right to settle anywhere in the Holy Land — by force if necessary.

“I am a sheriff with a tank and a rifle, who defends the right of the people of Israel the return to the Land of Israel,” he said. “I don’t have to be an underdog to be right.”

Eilon’s brother Ari, a teacher, says the Jews’ connection to the Bible does not confer upon them the right to seize Palestinian land.

“I think that oppressing another people and withholding their rights in order to keep hold of a larger piece of territory is a crime,” he said. “One of the clear symptoms of growing up is to realize that not everything can be mine.”

On the Palestinian side, journalist Nabil Khatib says there can be no peace while Jewish settlements remain, but he acknowledges that a final resolution will demand compromise from both sides.

“Each side was brought up on dreams,” Khatib said. “Both parties should perhaps reach a truce with their dreams.”

 

THE LOSER IN IRAN WAS THE WESTERN MEDIA

The loser in Iran was the Western media
By Gordon Robison
Daily Star Lebanon
June 28, 2005

www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=16288

So Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is not Iran’s new president. That result must come as a particular surprise to anyone who tried to follow the campaign by light of the Western media.

As recently as last Thursday - the day before the run-off vote between Rafsanjani and his rival, Tehran mayor Mahmood Ahmadinejad - reputable polls gave the latter a clear lead. Yet headlines in the International Herald Tribune continued to describe Rafsanjani as the “front-runner.” In the run-up to the first round of voting on June 17, his campaign was the focus of most election coverage in the Western media. CNN’s interview with Rafsanjani during the campaign treated him as a president-in-waiting.

So what happened, exactly? Was the election actually much freer than most Western observers were willing to credit? Or, on the other hand, if it was fixed from the beginning, then we of the Western media were obviously woefully ill-informed about Iranian politics, particularly with regards to exactly who fixes elections and to what end.

The answer may be much simpler, if no less embarrassing: Granted how little most of us outsiders know about the politics of the Islamic Republic, it was probably just easiest to focus on Rafsanjani because he, alone among the candidates, was a familiar figure to Western journalists.

That quality made him easy to write about, and easy to cover; it made it especially easy for us to assume that he would win. It was also relatively easy to assume that Rafsanjani’s candidacy represented a bid by conservatives to reclaim the presidency, which they lost eight years ago to the reform-minded Mohammad Khatami. Rafsanjani, after all, was Khatami’s predecessor.

Rafsanjani ran as a moderate reformer, a position that, granted his history, most in the West found difficult to credit. It was only in the final few days of the campaign that some reporters began noticing that Iranians, too, seemed to find his new-found liberalism a bit difficult to believe. With Rafsanjani the Iranian system’s consummate insider, it was easy to dismiss his moderate platform as a pose and to assume that the results had been fixed in his favor, particularly since he was standing against a field of candidates most outsiders had never heard of.

Yet, when the first round of voting produced no clear majority for a single candidate, thereby forcing a runoff, media coverage focused more on the fact that no previous Iranian campaign had gone to a second round. “Historic” and “unprecedented” were common terms used in the press. Rarely asked was how the Western pundits and reporters could have been so wrong. Rafsanjani did, indeed, top the first round of voting, but with barely 20 percent of the total in a seven-candidate field.

More surprisingly, the second-place candidate was not the reformer Mustafa Moin, who came in fifth, but Ahmadinejad, a candidate generally described as being so hard-line that, by comparison, Rafsanjani’s status as a reformer was hardly open to question.

Prior to the election Moin was often seen in the West as Rafsanjani’s main competition. The assumption in that narrative was that Rafsanjani represented the conservative old guard. Moin, a former cabinet minister who was initially barred from standing by Iran’s Council of Guardians (the body that approves potential candidates for Parliament and the presidency), was seen as the obvious successor to Khatami.

That might have been true, but it ignored the fact that there is more than one type of “reform.” Reform can mean loosening restrictions on how people dress and behave in public and private. But it can also mean tackling corruption and cronyism - which was the vein of popular anger into which Ahmadinejad tapped.

None of this is meant as commentary on the fairness or unfairness of the Iranian electoral system. Nor is this to pass judgment on the claims of electoral fraud made by some of the candidates defeated in the first round; or to debate the effect President George W. Bush’s criticism of the vote may have had on turnout (anecdotal evidence suggested it may have increased it).

The simple fact is that Iran is a society in transition - to what is not exactly clear, but in transition nonetheless. Eight years ago the unexpected election of Mohammed Khatami seemed to promise an era of reform. We in the West did not know exactly what to make of Khatami back then, and we seem equally unsure of Ahmadinejad today.

Perhaps, though, we have learned a lesson about not assuming that outcomes in certain situations are preordained.

(Gordon Robison is a senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication. He is based in Amman. He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star.)

Outspoken Arab commentators lament anti-Israel & anti-U.S. lies

July 04, 2005

* Even for those with limited time, I recommend reading the summaries of the second and third articles in this dispatch, which provide rare exposes by Arab commentators of the depth of Arab media lies

* Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari: “Iraqi women are murdered but this is not described as terrorism, the innocent Iraqi child is killed but this is not terrorism according to the media”

 

CONTENTS

1. “Iraqi PM slams Arab media” (Al Bawaba, June 29, 2005)
2. “Mideast: Where the media are the enemy” (By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2005)
3. “A childhood friend of Osama bin Laden laments Arab media lies” (By Dr. Khaled Batarfi, Arab News, June 12, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

“ARAB MEDIA ARE STILL HOSTILE AND BIASED”

In an accusation that could also be leveled against much of the mainstream western media in relation to reporting on Iraq and Israel, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari has publicly questioned why the Arab media do not refer to the crimes committed daily against the Iraqi people are as “terrorism”. Jaafari, a Shi’ite who became prime minister following January’s election, is one of the first high profile politicians in the Arab world to question the role of the Arab media.

KHALED ABU TOAMEH

In a dispatch last year titled How Arafat intimidates Palestinian journalists and deludes Western ones (June 11, 2004), I asked “When was the last time you saw Khaled Abu Toameh invited on BBC or CNN? He is a talented journalist who has an excellent understanding of the western media, the Arab media and the continual misreporting from the Middle East by the western media.”

Below, I attach a new article by Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli Palestinian journalist, who is also a subscriber to this email list. Abu Toameh outlines some of the misconceptions Palestinian journalists have of the Israeli press – such as the belief that Israeli journalists are linked to the Israeli security forces.

Abu Toameh also draws attention to the fact that last month Palestinian Authority Information Minister Nabil Sha’ath revealed that many Palestinian publishers, editors and journalists had for years received funds from Yasser Arafat and the PA.

Abu Toameh also looks in depth at the situation for journalists in Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Jordan.

“THE ARAB MEDIA KEPT TELLING US THAT ALL OUR TROUBLES ARE DUE TO ZIONIST CONSPIRACIES”

The third article below is by Dr. Khaled Batarfi, a childhood friend of Osama Bin Laden. Dr Batarfi, who is a columnist at the Saudi-based daily paper “Arab News,” criticizes the role of the Arab press, going back to the lies they spread about Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. He foresees a better situation in future, concluding that the “inevitable big bang will happen” as the citizens of Arab countries will demand an honest media.

Dr Batarfi says: “By most standards we are very much atop the list of the worst offenders together with the likes of North Korea and Zimbabwe.”

This article caused much debate among the readers of Arab News and Dr Batarfi published some of these responses a week later. Those can be seen at
www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=65623&d=19&m=6&y=2005

***

I attach three articles, with summaries of the two longer ones, for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

Tomorrow, I will send a dispatch which examines some more positive trends in the Arab media, and suggests that in some ways Arab journalists are growing bolder, and beginning to openly criticize the ruling Arab government authorities.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

(This is the full article.)

IRAQI PM SLAMS ARAB MEDIA

Iraqi PM slams Arab media
Al Bawaba
June 29, 2005

www.albawaba.com/en/news/185623

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari criticized Arab media, accusing them of being biased and hostile to his country. In an interview published by the London-based Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, Jaafari said, “Arab media are still hostile and biased, especially the satellite Arab televisions.”

He stressed that crimes are committed in Iraq, but the Arab media don’t refer to them as acts of terrorism. “The brave Iraqi policeman and soldier are killed, but this is not called terrorism, pure Iraqi women are murdered but this is not described as terrorism, the innocent Iraqi child is killed but this is not terrorism according to the Arab media,” he added. The Iraqi leader conveyed that Arab channels ignore the fact that many Iraqi women are murdered after being raped by the “enemy of the Iraqi nation.”

[Tom Gross adds: The American press agency UPI also reported these comments but revealingly, UPI completely omitted from its report the Iraqi prime minister’s criticism of the media for avoiding the word terrorism.]

 

MIDEAST: WHERE THE MEDIA ARE THE ENEMY

“Mideast: Where the media are the enemy” (By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2005)

... Palestinian and Arab journalists are facing an unprecedented campaign of intimidation and murder.

The claim that Israeli journalists are linked, in one way or another, to the security forces, is not surprising. Many Palestinian journalists tend to think that the Israeli media is not different from their own media, which continues to serve as a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority. They believe that the Israeli government and security forces appoint editors and reporters in Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv and other media outlets, as is the case under the PA and most of the Arab governments.

PA Information Minister Nabil Sha’ath last month dropped a bombshell in the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah when he revealed that many Palestinian publishers, editors and journalists had for years received funds from Yasser Arafat and the PA.

The claim that Arab journalists working for the Israeli media had been executed as “collaborators” is completely untrue. In fact, almost all Israeli newspapers and radio and TV stations hire Arabs who serve as stringers, analysts, consultants and reporters. Some of these Arabs happen to be Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who feed the Israeli media with valuable information which would never be permitted to appear in the Palestinian media...

Hardly a day passes without a disturbing report from Arab capitals about the targeting of journalists...

Human rights activists in Lebanon say journalists have been suffering from horrific experiences of kidnapping, torture and murder for decades...

Egyptian journalists say Mubarak is preparing a clean sweep of all government-appointed editors ahead of this year’s controversial presidential election. Mubarak, they add, is planning to run for yet another term and wants to make sure that important editors support his move...

Earlier this month, Libyans were shocked by the gruesome murder of journalist Dhaif al-Ghazal. The journalist, who was an outspoken critic of corruption in Libya, was arrested by state security agents last month. His mutilated body was discovered at the beginning of this month...

A majority of Jordanian journalists are unhappy with their country’s protection of civil liberties and freedom of expression, according to a recent survey. The independent Center for Protection and Freedom of Journalists interviewed 100 Jordanian journalists in the poll...

 

A CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF OSAMA BIN LADEN LAMENTS ARAB MEDIA LIES

“A childhood friend of Osama bin Laden laments Arab media lies” (By Dr. Khaled Batarfi, Arab News, June 12, 2005)

... The Arab conscious is getting more and more sophisticated and wise. The state media is not. They still sell the same lies and try their best to make us believe them. They want us to believe that some Arab leaders are re-elected because their nations have no better men or women for the job. Arab governments are doing like no other for their people. Our education is the best. Our democratic system is the envy of the world. Security is great not because most Arabs live under police regimes and emergency laws, but because of our wise, strong and honest leaders...

Then came the Internet and Satellite TV. Then came CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera. Others followed and suddenly the truth can’t hide behind the smiley anchors’ faces anymore. The public eye and mind went past the newsroom curtain and the Dear Leader’s portraits to rich sources of information and explanations. So what the media answer would be?

Surprise, surprise! More lies, more going. No one believes? Who cares! There is a whole industry of perception manufacturing. Where would all these people go? How would this entire infrastructure be dismantled? Better leave things as they are, hoping somebody, somewhere still has faith… The inevitable big bang will happen... soon enough.

 



FULL ARTICLES

MIDEAST: WHERE THE MEDIA ARE THE ENEMY

Mideast: Where the media are the enemy
By Khaled Abu Toameh
Jerusalem Post
June 24, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1119580298205&p=1074657885918

At a symposium entitled “The Military and the Media in Israel” held in the Gaza Strip last week, a number of Palestinian journalists and academics who regard themselves as experts on Israeli affairs talked about the role the Israeli media allegedly plays in “serving the occupation.” One of the “experts,” Adnan Abu Omar, told the audience that journalists working in the Israeli media had to have a security background. He said there were three types of Israeli journalists: Jews who had served in the security forces; Druse who belonged to elite IDF units and Arabs who needed special permission from the Shin Bet to work as journalists. Some of these Arabs, Abu Omar added, had been executed by Palestinians on charges of “collaboration” with Israel.

Another “expert,” Saleh al-Na’mani, claimed that Israel was the only country in the world where the media was subjected to military censorship. He further claimed that some newspapers in Israel had to appear with blank pages after the military censor banned most of their stories.

Notwithstanding the fact that most of the findings of the “experts” are simply unfounded, it’s worth noting that the symposium was held at a time when Palestinian and Arab journalists are facing an unprecedented campaign of intimidation and murder.

The claim that Israeli journalists are linked, in one way or another, to the security forces, is not surprising. Many Palestinian journalists tend to think that the Israeli media is not different from their own media, which continues to serve as a mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority. They believe that the Israeli government and security forces appoint editors and reporters in Haaretz, Maariv and other media outlets, as is the case under the PA and most of the Arab governments.

PA Information Minister Nabil Shaath last month dropped a bombshell in the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah when he revealed that many Palestinian publishers, editors and journalists had for years received funds from Yasser Arafat and the PA.

The claim that Arab journalists working for the Israeli media had been executed as “collaborators” is completely untrue. In fact, almost all Israeli newspapers and radio and TV stations hire Arabs who serve as stringers, analysts, consultants and reporters. Some of these Arabs happen to be Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who feed the Israeli media with valuable information which would never be permitted to appear in the Palestinian media.

The organizers of the symposium chose to ignore the plight of the majority of Palestinian journalists who are pressing for a free and independent media under the new regime of Mahmoud Abbas. True, the Palestinian media has made significant achievements towards independence and freedom in the post-Arafat era, but most Palestinian journalists agree that they still have a long way to go.

Sadly, the symposium also ignored repeated assaults on Palestinian journalists by armed thugs and members of the PA security forces. In recent years, two senior editors, Hisham Makiyyeh, director of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, and Khalil Zaban, publisher of a Gaza-based weekly, were gunned down in the streets of Gaza City. The assassins have never been caught.

Nor was there any mention of the campaign waged against editors and journalists throughout the Arab world.

Ironically, this campaign coincides with growing US pressure on Arab governments to implement reforms and democracy.

Hardly a day passes without a disturbing report from Arab capitals about the targeting of journalists.

Following are some examples that illustrate the dangers and challenges facing Arab newsmen.

**Lebanon**

Sameer Qaseer, an anti-Syrian columnist, was murdered when his booby-trapped car exploded in Beirut.

Human rights activists in Lebanon say journalists have been suffering from horrific experiences of kidnapping, torture and murder for decades.

In 1958, journalist Naseeb al-Matni was assassinated for his writings against the Lebanese president. Another victim was Salim al-Lowzi, who was kidnapped in 1980 on his way from the Beirut airport. His body was found inside the trunk of his car, and his fingers had been burnt by acid. In the same year, another two prominent journalists were assassinated: Riyad Taha and Yahya al-Hazoori.

In 1985, Samir Salaam, editor-in-chief of Al Fihris magazine, was killed along with his wife and his two sons in his home. The publisher of the daily al-Hayat newspaper, Kamel Marwa, was shot to death in his office in 1966.

And in a more recent case of harassment, Youssef al-Huweek, who is in charge of the Al-Diyar daily, was prosecuted for “insulting” the Lebanese president.

**Sudan**

Earlier this month, the English language daily Khartoum Monitor was served with a suspension order by the Sudanese government. In a letter to the acting editor of the Khartoum Monitor, the authorities ordered the withdrawal of the newspaper’s license for publishing an interview with an ex-minister who accused the government of practicing a form of slavery.

Since 2003, journalists writing for the Khartoum Monitor have been subjected to systematic and ongoing intimidation and arrests. One of them, Edward Ladu Terso, was detained and held without charge following an article he wrote about the history of Islam in Sudan.

In the same year, Nhial Bol, the managing editor of Khartoum Monitor, was forced to flee from Sudan to Kenya after he was subjected to constant arrests and detentions. He was also the target of a failed assassination attempt following his reports about human rights abuses by the security forces and slavery.

The Committee to Protect Journalists lately expressed concern about official harassment and threats against Sudanese editor Mohammed Taha Ahmed, who is on trial on charges of running an article allegedly insulting the prophet Muhammad.

Newspapers and religious leaders have attacked the editor for publishing the article. The National Press Council, Sudan’s official press regulator, imposed a three-day suspension on the paper, and the state prosecutor brought charges against Ahmed, who could face the death penalty if found guilty of apostasy.

**Egypt**

During last month’s protests against a referendum providing limited democratic rights, Egyptian security officers helped a group of men who attacked and abused tens of women, mostly journalists. Some of the female journalists were robbed, stripped and sexually abused.

The protest took place in the center of Cairo. The demonstrators were protesting “democratic reforms” proposed by the government and seen as cementing President Hosni Mubarak’s hold on power.

Some of the female reporters had their clothes torn off, were groped or otherwise humiliated. Several were hospitalized, according to the press freedom group Reporters sans Fronti res. The women were being targeted “because they are both journalists and women in a country where their rights are far from guaranteed,” the group said in a statement. Pro-government journalists claimed the next day that the women had voluntarily taken off their clothes in public.

Ibrahim Seada, editor of a major state-owned newspaper, resigned earlier this month, accusing the government of undermining his position. Seada, editor-in-chief of the weekly Akhbar al-Yom for over 15 years, blamed the government for contributing to what he called the chaos threatening state newspapers.

Egyptian journalists say Mubarak is preparing a clean sweep of all government-appointed editors ahead of this year’s controversial presidential election. Mubarak, they add, is planning to run for yet another term and wants to make sure that important editors support his move.

In another recent case, journalist Ahmed Izzaddin was sentenced in absentia to two years of prison for defaming an Egyptian minister. The journalist is said to be in hiding until Egypt’s new criminal code – excluding prison terms for media offenses – is approved in parliament.

**Libya**

Earlier this month, Libyans were shocked by the gruesome murder of journalist Dhaif al-Ghazal. The journalist, who was an outspoken critic of corruption in Libya, was arrested by state security agents last month. His mutilated body was discovered at the beginning of this month.

Amnesty International said Ghazal’s hands had been tied behind his back, his fingers had been cut off, he had bruises and stab wounds to the body, and he had been shot in the head. Before his arrest, Ghazal had apparently received anonymous death threats which he believed were a result of his writings about corruption and the need for political reform.

**Morocco**

A leading Moroccan journalist and strong critic of the monarchy was fined and banned from journalism for 10 years recently for an article he wrote on the disputed Western Sahara territory. Ali Lmrabet was ordered to pay $5,800 by a Rabat court for defaming a little-known association based in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.

**Syria**

Earlier this week, the Syrian government ordered the closure of a daily newspaper for criticizing a senior Ba’ath official. According to The National Center for Defending Press Freedoms in Syria, the paper, Al-Mabki, was shut down for criticizing the governor of the city of Homs. The center said in a statement: “We received with big shock the news about canceling the license of Al-Mabki newspaper, which we regard as an arbitrary action. Such a move contradicts the principles of freedom and deals a blow to the small hope that Syrians have for a free press.” In recent months, Syrian authorities revoked licenses of five new private publications.

Amnesty International has also been calling for the release of human rights activist and writer Ali al-Abdullah, who is being held in solitary confinement following a talk he gave in an unauthorized discussion forum. Abdullah, a journalist and active member of the Committees for the Revival of Civil Society, the Human Rights Association of Syria, was arrested at his home in Qatana, near Damascus, last month.

**Tunisia**

The government-controlled media has been waging a smear campaign against prominent Tunisian journalist Sihem Bensedrine. According to a press release from the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia, the campaign was aimed at sullying the reputation of Bensedrine in response to a report she had written on “misinformation in the Tunisian media.” In addition to accusations of treason and allegiance to foreign powers, Bensedrine was referred to by government newspapers as a prostitute. One paper threatened that she would be “crushed under our heels.” The paper also accused the journalist of “selling her conscience and her behind and other things too – to foreigners in general and to Zionists in particular.” Scores of human rights activists, political activists and former high-ranking officials are being referred to in the state-run media as traitors and foreign and Israeli agents and sex maniacs.

**Jordan**

A majority of Jordanian journalists are unhappy with their country’s protection of civil liberties and freedom of expression, according to a recent survey. The independent Center for Protection and Freedom of Journalists interviewed 100 Jordanian journalists in the poll.

Results showed that 62.5 percent of the journalists described press freedoms in the kingdom as “poor and barely acceptable,” while only 3.1 percent said they were “excellent.” Two years ago, three Jordanian journalists were sentenced by the kingdom’s State Security Court to prison terms ranging from two to six months. Their crime: defaming the prophet Muhammad.

 

A CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF OSAMA BIN LADEN LAMENTS ARAB MEDIA LIES

A childhood friend of Osama bin Laden laments Arab media lies.
Arab Media: Our Faith, Their Lies
By Dr. Khaled Batarfi
Arab News
June 12, 2005

www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=65244&d=12&m=6&y=2005

When the “Voice of Arabs” radio told us triumphantly in the 1960s that Nasser’s Egypt had the strongest army in the region and could throw Israel in the sea if they choose to, we believed. When young, revolutionary, the Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi promised to be the unifier of the Arab world after the death of Nasser, we believed. When Baathists and Arab nationalists carried the “One Arab nation with eternal message” slogan, we believed.

Then came “Al nakbah” (the disaster) of June 5, 1967, when the one army of Israel destroyed not only the “mighty” Egyptian Army but also the Jordanian and Syrian. The Egyptian radio went on with the lies for days. According to the famous anchor Ahmad Said and his colleagues, the Israeli Air Force was losing tens of aircraft daily. This was when most Egyptian jet fighters were destroyed on the ground as though they were sitting ducks. The Egyptian media also claimed that American and British aircraft had joined the Israelis. Needless to say, all were sheer lies.

Many of us knew better afterward. Still, too many continued to believe, even today.

The Arab media kept telling us that all our troubles are due to Zionist conspiracies. They explained to us that we had to prepare for the liberation of Arab occupied lands. Sacrifices had to be made. Freedom, democracy, economic prosperity, good education and all kind of luxuries had to wait. Many believed. Many were skeptical. And as the wait got longer, the prison larger, the civilization gap with the rest of the world wider, more started to get skeptical. Resentment followed.

The new generation, born in a different world, was the most restless. They want to live like their peers in other parts of the world. Satellite TV, the Internet and other modern communication tools gave them an open, unfiltered window. They could see that what they lack others take for granted: Market-oriented training, secured, rewarding jobs, a wife and a home. Some expects even more: Travel, entertainment and (why not?) a car. They resent the military draft. They hate having to serve years in draconic conditions with little or no pay. It feels worse when they see that the rich and powerful can evade it.

The Arab conscious is getting more and more sophisticated and wise. The state media is not. They still sell the same lies and try their best to make us believe them. They want us to believe that some Arab leaders are re-elected because their nations have no better men or women for the job. Arab governments are doing like no other for their people. Our education is the best. Our democratic system is the envy of the world. Security is great not because most Arabs live under police regimes and emergency laws, but because of our wise, strong and honest leaders.

Besides, who said we are poor? Look at Somalia and Liberia and see how lucky we are! Better times are coming. We only need to be patient and work with the government to fight corruption and build a better society. Praise our leaders and pray for them to survive the challenges and win over the enemies and live long enough to get us all into heaven on earth. So don’t listen to the lies our enemies are spreading. Accusation of corruption, lousy management and nepotism are all baseless. Let’s stand together united with our leadership to prove to the envious world that we are truly one, united, strong Arab family.

Then came the Internet and Satellite TV. Then came CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeerah.

Others followed and suddenly the truth can’t hide behind the smiley anchors’ faces anymore. The public eye and mind went past the newsroom curtain and the Dear Leader’s portraits to rich sources of information and explanations. So what the media answer would be?

Surprise, surprise! More lies, more going. No one believes? Who cares! There is a whole industry of perception manufacturing. Where would all these people go? How would this entire infrastructure be dismantled? Better leave things as they are, hoping somebody, somewhere still has faith.

Meanwhile, the elite will continue to benefit, the flaws will still be there, and the ship will go on sinking. The people’s knowledge of the truth will grow larger, their patience will get thinner, and the pot will be more and more boiling. The inevitable big bang will happen ... soon enough.