TALKING TERROR

Wonder what you make of this?

A LEGAL battle by the BBC to interview a terror suspect has cost the taxpayer about £100,000 and angered public-spending campaigners. Babar Ahmad, 38, was shown yesterday in prison being questioned by the corporation’s journalists over his fight against extradition to the US. The Ministry of Justice originally rejected an application to interview the British Muslim, who has been detained for nearly eight years. But a High Court judge ruled in favour of the BBC after their lawyers argued the matter was of significant public interest.

The Right Threat

So the BBC is focusing on right-wing terrorism Today. That’s nice. ( link )

Dr. Matthew Goodwin has created a nice politically correct name for Islamic inspired terrorism. “A.Q. terrorism.” Doesn’t that sound nice and respectful? A.Q. stands for Al Qaeda, the distorted version of Islam.
In the unfortunate event that we must mention such a thing on the BBC, say, when a bomb goes off somewhere, for balance we must also mention its equivalent. Right wing terrorism. We haven’t created a cute name for that yet.

We know there are:
47 international (Islamic inspired) terrorist organisations are proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Of these, two organisations are proscribed under powers introduced in
the Terrorism Act 2006, as glorifying terrorism.

14 organisations in Northern Ireland are proscribed under previous
legislation.”

Typical of the right wing are….. Anders Breivik, Oslo and Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma?
Oh well. There’s the EDL. And the BNP. We realise they’re not proscribed (yet) but we’re working on it.
We insist that the underpants bomber wasn’t influenced at UCL,(very much) but people are being radicalised by right wing websites.

“Large numbers of citizens remain deeply concerned about immigration, feel anxious about the cultural compatibility of Muslims, and are threatened by rising diversity. In fact, in recent years the Brits have become equally if not more concerned about these issues than many of their European neighbours. These voters are also extremely dissatisfied with the response of the main parties to such trends”

So, because immigration is the game and multiculturalism is the aim, we must find a way of dealing with these pesky citizens who are ‘more concerned’.

“The key issue is how to respond to voters’ profound anxiety about this issue.”

We’ll ban the lot of it! Shut down The Gates of Vienna! Internet Service Providers must consider removing right wing websites!!

We must make sure that people don’t “get their news from JUST ONE source.” No, not the BBC. We meant the internet.

HALF THE STORY….

When you look at this video and then you read this BBC story, you wonder if we are living on the same planet. BBC staff should don Keffiyehs when reading out every story on Israel as the visual cue for what is a patently underlying contempt for Israel and a cloying support for whatever trash the Palestinians put out.

Re Motives

Further to Natalie’s post, and with a tip of the hat to Deegee in the comments there, I think it’s worth having a couple of screen grabs to compare the subtle difference in the headlines, and the way concerns over political correctness suddenly vanish where a Jewish American immigrant is concerned (click pic to view) :

(Update – they’ve removed the quotes from the headline. Comparing the two I see the first draft was “US media report… not confirmed.” Fair enough in that case – my fault for not understanding the BBC’s often confusing conventions where quotes are concerned.)

Matt Frei has offered his take on the execution of John Allen Muhammad:

Despite the older man’s conversion to Islam, no-one really thought that the motive was religious, let alone that it was linked to the grievances of Islamic extremists…

When John Allen Muhammad died at 2111 on Tuesday evening, so did any chance of finding out what had really motivated him.

Frei doesn’t mention the decision by Muhammad’s family to suppress the release of his final letter:

In a statement read by the attorney representing the family of Muhammad, Charlene Paterson said, ‘this morning, the family would like to express remorse.”
She confirmed that the family is in possession of a letter, presumably from Muhammad, but said the contents of that letter would not be released.
“We have a letter. Right now we’re not prepared to disclose anything in that letter because it would be extremely inappropriate at this time.”
Paterson continued that, “the family is not comfortable disclosing any of the details in the letter at this time.”

There are of course a number of reasons why this letter could be “extremely inappropriate at this time”, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Muhammad shared certain, ahem, ideological views similar to those of the Fort Hood killer.

Frei’s observations could turn out to be a tad Mardellesque in their presumption. Indeed, as Laban pointed out, there’s more than a little evidence to suggest Frei could be wrong already.

Here’s one terrorist whose motives are not a mystery to the BBC

Following on from Laban’s post below concerning the BBC’s claim that the motives of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo are a mystery, it is only fair to point out that for some religiously-motivated terrorists the BBC does feel able to pass on the statements of the perpetrators as to their own motives:

Murder charges for Jewish settler

A Jewish settler has been charged in Israel with murdering two Palestinians and attacking left-wing Israeli, gay and messianic Jewish targets.

Yaakov Teitel, an American immigrant who lives in the West Bank, faces 14 charges, including two counts of murder and three of attempted murder.

“God is proud of what I have done,” Mr Teitel said in court.

Police called him a “Jewish terrorist” when he was arrested in October. His lawyer says he is mentally disturbed.

(For bonus points, the BBC even managed to mention that Mr Teitel was an immigrant and told us where he emigrated from! Compare this.)

More Mardell

Mark Mardell:

There has been a lot of debate, here and elsewhere, about whether politicians and the media have played down possible religious motives of the killer. The president did not: “No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favour. For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world, and the next.”

I think there’s a “(me included)” missing after the word “media”. As for Obama’s words, George Stephanopoulos thinks they signify the President’s acceptance that this was indeed an Islamic terrorist act, while Andy McCarthy takes issue with the statement that “no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts”.

PC PR

Mark Mardell:

The alleged murderer was clearly a Muslim, but there is very little to suggest that he adhered to a hard-line interpretation of his religion or that he had political or religious motives.

Really? How about this, Mark?

A US officer who killed 13 soldiers in a gun rampage at a Texas army base shouted a triumphant Islamic proclamation before opening fire, it was claimed today.
Army spokesman Lieutenant General Bob Cone said witnesses heard Major Nidal Malik Hasan cry “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great” – before opening fire at the Fort Hood complex.

And this?

He gave a Grand Rounds presentation. . . You take turns giving a lecture on, you know, the correct treatment of schizophrenia, the right drugs to prescribe for personality disorder, you know, that sort of thing. But instead of giving an academic paper, he gave a lecture on the Koran, and they said it didn’t seem to be just an informational lecture, but it seemed to be his own beliefs. That’s what a lot of people thought.

He talked about how if you’re a nonbeliever the Koran says you should have your head cut off, you should have oil poured down your throat, you should be set on fire. And I said well couldn’t this just be his educating you? And the psychiatrist said yes, but one of the Muslims in the audience, another psychiatrist, raised his hand and was quite disturbed and he said you know, a lot of us don’t believe these things you’re saying, and that there was no place where Hasan couched it as this is what the Koran teaches but you know I don’t believe it. And people actually talked in the hallway afterwards about ‘is he one of these people that’s going to freak out and shoot people someday?’

[snip]

“A source tells NPR’s Joseph Shapiro that Hasan was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He was disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues, according to the source, who worked with him at the time.”

It’s not as if Mark Mardell hasn’t had time to read the internet today:

But for some, nothing less than a conspiracy will do as an explanation. On the website of a respected newspaper, I see one poster has blamed Barack Obama, whom he calls “that Marxist thug”. It’s not that it’s hard to follow the logic; it’s that there isn’t any.

Mardell would rather recount the idiotic comments of one goofball he’s read on a website somewhere than concede that the motives of a Muslim mass murderer could be down to his religion. Never mind the killer, check out this fruitcake instead; right wing nutters are the real problem here in America, nudge nudge.

He concludes:

Still, searching for patterns and for answers is part of what it is to be human. I loathe cliche, but perhaps, for once, this is a “senseless tragedy”, devoid of deeper meaning.

Nothing to do with the Religion of Peace! Repeat – nothing to do with the Religion of Peace!

Here’s another cliché for you Mark – wake up and smell the coffee.

Update:

In the morning, neighbors said Hasan handed Qurans and donated his furniture to anyone who would take it.

Update:

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding 30 others at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas, regularly described the war on terror as “a war against Islam,” according to a doctor who was in a graduate program with him.

While studying for a masters degree in public health in 2007, Hasan used a presentation for an environmental health class to argue that Muslims were being targeted by the U.S. anti-terror campaign, said Val Finnell, a classmate.

I knew I would be writing this post.

Via Samizdata I found this post by Timothy Sandefur: They’re fanatics; we just have isolated incidents. Mr Sandefur writes:

This week a religious fanatic, driven by his ideological fixations, shot and killed a man that, for political and religious reasons, he considered a murderer. The fanatic drove off and was later caught by police. Of course, the killer himself harbored a idiosyncratic mix of toxic religious and political ideology that led him into violent hatred of the institutions of freedom and those who live in freedom. But was he also not encouraged by a background of more “mainstream” partisanship in which political spokesmen—television and radio talk show hosts, bloggers, and political leaders—speak in increasingly angry, bitter, and violent terms of their political opposition? The political atmosphere has seen more and more spokesmen speaking in anger, hostility, and disrespect about those they view as their enemies, and this breakdown in civility must have had some impact on this gunman.

By the way, I’m not speaking of the murder of George Tiller in Kansas.

Mr Sandefur was not writing about the BBC particularly. But I am, and the BBC provided at least four stories on the Tiller murder:

Man charged in US doctor killing

Man quizzed over US doctor death

Profile: George Tiller

US abortion doctor is shot dead.

This level of coverage is reasonable in that it was not just a random killing or a murder motivated by gain or personal animosity. Rather, it was the first targeted assassination of an abortion provider for over ten years. (In fact, if I may digress, the length of time since the last such murder might surprise many, since the media usually give the impression that such killings are common in the US.) It is reasonable to fear that the murder of George Tiller might be followed by others. It might be part of a terrorist movement. But the same, surely, is true of the killing of William Long?

“William Long,” you say. “I haven’t heard about the killing of William Long.” No, you haven’t, not on the BBC at any rate. Nor have you heard about Quinton Ezeagwula who was wounded in the same crime. Nor have you heard from the BBC about the killer, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad.

UPDATE: Commenter DB points out that he mentioned this in the comments on June 2nd.

It’s not the jokes, it’s how you tell ’em

(NB: This post is not by Natalie, but by occasional B-BBC poster Niall Kilmartin.)

It’s not the jokes, it’s how you tell ’em: BBC red-button news this morning reported the arrests in the US. The final sentence of the report was:

New York has been on alert for a new terror assault since the 9/11 attack claimed by Al Quaida militants

(no emphasis in original) Al Quaida do indeed claim the attack and one would hardly accuse them of lacking militancy, so the sentence is not factually wrong. It seems an odd way to put it – except, I suppose, inside the BBC, where it presumably seems natural to phrase things to accommodate the ‘truther’ viewpoint. (As the post below suggests, some other viewpoints get less consideration.)

Similar ‘how you tell it’ thoughts occurred to me during last night’s 10 o’clock BBC news in a piece on the never-ending expenses scandals. As usual, numbers were balanced: they mentioned one Labour MP and one Tory MP (there are few LibDem MPs so I concede some difficulties in their mentioning a LibDem every time as well). The report on Hazel Blears consisted almost entirely of a summary of Labour MPs’ sympathy for her and criticism of Gordon’s criticism. It was all reportage of others’ views but it had a ‘sorry for her’ flavour and lacked balancing hostile remarks – except Gordon’s, and ‘her behaviour was unacceptable but she’s doing a great job’ (I paraphrase) is already balanced, whatever else you may say about it. No such considerate remarks were reported of the Tory MP whose ducks benefited from our taxes; no suggestion that spending public money on wildlife habitat was very much the norm these days. 🙂 To be sure, there were probably no sympathetic remarks to report: David Cameron’s statement about him was not as ‘balanced’ as Gordon’s about Hazel, and if any Tory felt otherwise, perhaps they (wisely) kept it to themselves.

Roundup

  • Bishop Hill on the close yet unclear relationship between the Cambridge Environment and Media Programme and the BBC.
  • Tom Gross of the WSJ writes, “If this isn’t terrorism, what is?”

    For much of the Mumbai siege, the BBC went out of its way to avoid reporting that the Jewish community center was one of the seven targets. At one point viewers were told that “an office building” had been targeted (referring to the Jewish center as such).

    Then on Friday morning, TV pictures of Indian commandos storming the besieged Jewish center were broadcast by networks around the world. Heavily armed commandos, their faces covered by balaclavas, rappelled from helicopters onto the roof while Indian sharpshooters in buildings opposite opened fire and a helicopter circled overhead. Huge crowds of onlookers could be seen looking aghast as they watched from nearby streets. While Sky News and other channels were gripped by these dramatic pictures, BBC World was not, almost pretending there was no siege at the Jewish center — even though by then it was one of only two sites that remained under attack in Mumbai. Had the terrorists chosen to besiege a church or mosque instead, can you imagine the BBC ignoring it this way?

  • You mean those scary statistics in the letters from TV Licensing weren’t true?
  • Following on from Laban’s post, I was listening to Radio 4 the day before yesterday at about 6.15pm. There was quite a lengthy discussion of Governor Rod Blagojevich’s corruption without, yet again, any mention of what party he represented. I expect this tactic works quite well. Anyone listening properly would have gathered Mr Blagojevich was of the same party as Mr Obama, but the many, many people who listen with half an ear while they get on with something else would never hear “blah blah corruption blah blah Democrat blah” whereas you can be sure that in a similar scandal involving a Republican they would get “blah corruption Republican blah THAT’S RIGHT, REPUBLICAN blah”.

I’m looking for something.

Can you guess what?

Israel buries Mumbai attack dead“Six Jews died at the centre, which was one of several places targeted in the attacks that left 188 people dead.”

“She [Sandra Samuel, Moshe Holtzberg’s nanny] hid in a cupboard when the centre was attacked, but emerged to rescue the child after his parents were killed.”

“The Chabad centre was stormed on Wednesday evening by armed militants who seized hostages and fought a gun battle with Indian commandos.

Indian forces eventually regained control of the centre, killing several gunmen, but six of the hostages were found dead.”

Officials quit over India attacks (An earlier headline, preserved in the header, was “Troops battle to end Mumbai seige.) “Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, had been killed alongside his wife, Rivka.”

Israel awaits Mumbai attack dead “The organisation confirmed that Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, had been killed alongside his wife, Rivka. Their two-year-old son survived.”

Mumbai victims from all walks of life “Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife Rivkah, 28, were among six Jews killed in the Mumbai attacks. They were found dead at the Jewish cultural centre, known as Nariman House, which was one of the gunmen’s key targets.”

Officials quit over India attacks (Has the header “Police declare Mumbai seige over”, and seems to be a later version of the second story listed.) “The organisation confirmed that Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, had been killed alongside his wife, Rivka.”

Tense times for Mumbai’s Jews “Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, were among the six people who died in the attack at Nariman House. “

As it happened: Mumbai attacks 27 Nov – contains references to the Holtzbergs being held hostage.

As it happened: Mumbai attacks – 28 Nov “A Brooklyn-based rabbi and his wife were killed in the siege on the Nariman House Jewish centre, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement confirms. Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg were “the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai”, it says.”

Jewish centre seized in Mumbai – contains a reference to the status of Rabbi Holtzberg being unknown at that time.

(Emphasis added in all cases.)

The BBC is biased in India too…

“What is interesting is that the BBC is not reluctant to report an accusation — almost as if it were an established fact — but cannot bring itself to report an established fact that the torching of the train was a premeditated act of Islamic terrorism

Read about it here. I think someone pointed this one out in the comments on this site, too.

TRUE CONFESSIONS

. I was listening to the news headlines on BBC Radio 5 live this morning and caught the surreal headline that “Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness is visiting Iraq on a peace mission.” Three thoughts;

Why does the BBC not enquire when Mr McGuinness LEFT the IRA?

Why does the BBC not enquire what atrocities the IRA committed when McGuinness was directly involved in commanding terrorism?”

Why does the BBC choose at times to highlight the terrorist pedigree f McGuinness and then at other times to demurely cover this up?>

It seems to me that the BBC gets a kick out of fawning of terrorists, be they Islamic or Irish.

“POLITICAL LEADERS” AND TERRORISM

. I was intrigued by this BBC report which is entitled “ETA “Political Leader” arrested.” This is a very odd heading because the guy arrested in a joint Spanish-French operation Javier Lopez Pena is not in any way “a political leader” but rather a cold-blooded terrorist killer. Spanish police said Lopez Pena was one of the major movers behind the abandonment of Eta’s ceasefire last year. He is accused of being involved in the December 2006 car bombing at Madrid’s airport that killed two people, an attack that signalled the ending of the ceasefire. Eta is blamed for the deaths of more than 820 people in its 40-year campaign for an independent Basque nation. So, Lopez Pena is a TERRORIST, and there is not need to put any quotation marks around that. I wish the BBC did not have this constant problem in understanding the nature of a terrorist.

Gunnar comments,

“Seriously, can you please point to some sources were the people who detonated themselves in Pizza restaurants, or at wedding parties or on the London underground were called “militants” by the liberal media (your term) and not terrorist.”

OK, I will.

Pizza restaurants first. Here are are some BBC stories about the attack on the Sbarro pizza restaurant.

Link 1. “Hamas, the hard-line Palestinian militant group, said one of its members had been the bomber.

Link 2. It starts, “With Palestinian militants continuing to carry out suicide attacks in Israel…”

Later, happy Palestinians staged the Sbarro show – no mention of terrorists there in the BBC’s own voice either. Why don’t you google through bbc.co.uk for Sbarro and look for the word “terrorist” in the BBC’s own voice, rather than in quotes?

Incidentally, the father of a 15 year old girl murdered at Sbarro, commented on this blog here.

Now for a wedding party. Here are some BBC stories about the 2005 suicide bombing of a wedding in Amman, Jordan.

Link 1 – “At least several hundred people have marched through Amman to denounce the bombers and show loyalty to King Abdullah II. “Burn in hell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,” they chanted, referring to the Jordanian-born militant believed to lead al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

Link 2 It refers to “bombers”, but not terrorists. Again, why don’t you have a look through the BBC website for stories regarding this crime and see if you can find the bombers described as terrorists in the BBC’s own voice?

Finally, here’s something about the London Underground. In the immediate aftermath of the “7/7” London bombings of 2005 certain BBC staff did use the word terrorist several times. “Terrorist atrocity”, even. As in the case of Beslan, it looked for a moment like a change of heart. But this indelicacy contradicted policy. So the BBC went back through the stories and changed “terrorist” to “bomber”.

For proof, Harry’s Place got screenshots. This story was discussed in the Telegraph, which named the BBC official responsible as Helen Boaden. She was worried the word terrorist might offend the World Service customers.

(Links to old Biased BBC posts take you to the relevant month. You may have to scroll down to see the relevant post.)