A man waves goodbye to a passenger on a bus heading into Egypt at the Rafah crossing (28 May 2011)
The BBC seem pretty euphoric about the decision by the Egyptian military to open the Rafah crossing into Gaza. Naturally this is presented as the most benign and enlightened decision one could imagine. Israeli concerns are mentioned but presented as more begrudgery, in true BBC fashion. The fact that Hamas can now get much needed armaments more easily is dismissed as a mere detail as we are all asked to join in BBC praise for the alleged Arab Spring. I heard James Naughtie on Today this morning waxing lyrical about the new Egypt. No mentions of the gang rape of Lara Logan in Freedom Square, no mention of the emerging Nazi Party, no mention of the looming triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood. A secular-ish Egypt is morphing into a new Iran and the BBC can see nothing wrong in that – after all – if you hate Israel you can’t be all that bad, right?


Still electioneering but wanted to highlight this story for you! Does Al Queda have sympathisers in the BBC?

The files, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph, disclose that a phone number of someone at the BBC was found in the phone books and phones of a number of extremists seized by US forces.  

A detainee assessment, dated 21 April 2007, states: “The London, United Kingdom (UK), phone number 0044 207 XXX XXXX was discovered in numerous seized phone books and phones associated with extremist-linked individuals. The number is associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).” Analysis by The Daily Telegraph suggests the number is one for Bush House, home of the BBC World Service.

The assessment continues that US forces uncovered many “extremist links” to this number, suggesting that extremists could have made contact with BBC employees who were sympathetic to extremists or had information on “ACM [anti-Coalition Militia] operations…”

I’m surprised that Bin Laden doesn’t have the State Broadcaster on speed dial…… 

Reflections on the Theme of Time Management. or: Me Me Me.

I’ve been writing on this website for a couple of years or more
and it don’t seem a day too much,
but there aint a broadcasting corporation livin’ in the land
as I wouldn’t “swop” for a bit of honest reporting.

However for all my efforts, and those of David Vance and the others, nothing changes at the BBC. In fact, things have taken a turn for the worse now that the chair of the BBC Trust happens to be a known pro Palestinian advocate.
The situation seems to be this. The BBC, and therefore the liberal unintelligentsia, have given special status to Islam by conferring a unique religious diplomatic immunity upon it. By qualifying as a religion, Islam as a whole is awarded sanctity which exempts it from being criticised. This applies in varying degrees to other religions and holy things. For example, in order to give vent to one’s antisemitic urges, one must stick to Israel-themed criticism. You’re not supposed to admit that this has anything to do with your distaste for Jews.
Christianity is an open target, and Catholic misdemeanours have made it acceptable to condemn the entire religion, whereas similar unmentionable Islamic practises are given a free pass or regarded as unrepresentative.
However, desecrating something holy is still thought not nice, particularly setting fire to it. So if Nazi ideology were elevated to the status of a religion with Herr Hitler as its prophet peace be upon him, it would immediately be distasteful to point out the racist, supremacist and murderous proclivities therein, and Mein Kampf would be a holy book, the fire-resistant immutable word of God speaking through the prophet. Can you imagine, post WWll – “It’s their culture, innit” ”Only an extremist minority” “Not inherent to the ideology”
and it would then have to be “ because of the Jews” rather than “because of Israel”

Being an atheist, I don’t see why anything should be given a free pass, or absolved from accountability, yet, perhaps inexplicably for some, I still have values which encompass what is loosely called right and wrong, and I don’t ask for God’s backing to justify them.

The BBC is a crazy mixed up place. In a good way, viz: On one hand it is all patriotic, with the most unlikely celebrities performing Royal Wedding-themed antics, and talking about ‘the big day’ as if the ordinary viewer regards it as such, and on the other, it’s giving air space to staunch republicans. I like that in principle, although I am more than indifferent about the topic. Or should that be less than indifferent. (Meaning I couldn’t care less) like when people mistakenly say something can never be underestimated when they mean overestimated.
But crazy mixed up in a bad way is when they eulogise about the uprisings in the Arab World without a care or a thought about the rise of Islam, and what this will mean for Israel, and the Jews and others who are trying to live there.

If you look back at my incontinent output, just click on the anti Israel tag in the label cloud, you’ll see that I’ve covered a myriad of variations on the theme, and not made one iota of an impression on the BBC.
Call me an idiot and knock me down with Louise Bagshawe, but how’s that for a waste of time?

“An Israeli teenager wounded when a Palestinian rocket hit a bus has died of his injuries.
Daniel Viflic, 16, was on a school bus in southern Israel on 7 April when it was hit by an anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip.
The driver was slightly hurt in the attack, which happened just after the other children had been dropped off.

Nineteen Palestinians died in the ensuing wave of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian counter-attacks.
It was the most serious violence since Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.
About 1,400 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, and 13 Israelis, including 10 soldiers, were killed.”

This hideous example shows that the BBC cannot report the death of a boy at the hands of terrorists without adding gratuitous references to previous unverified and disputed death-toll statistics; and by various weasely words, making light of the attack itself.

Them and Us

The way the recent upheavals in the Middle East have been reported by the BBC show clearly that it’s beyond their collective imagination to wonder whether the Arab/Islamic population is really and truly full of ordinary people just like us.

Even though Jon Donnison and Jeremy Bowen have spent considerable time in the Arab world, they still can’t grasp the concept that there is a “them and us” and that *their* worldview is antithetical to *ours* . Would Jeremy Bowen send his young relatives off to prosecute holy jihad wearing a suicide belt? Would Jon Donnison support the stoning of an adulteress or the limb amputation of a thief? Would he expect to enter Paradise if he copped it in the fog of struggle? Probably not. But they must know that these beliefs exist and can’t be shrugged off with a casual “I’m sure they don’t really mean it.”
The BBC’s reporting on the escalation of attacks from Gaza is an example of this moral equivalence. Towards the end, the BBC’s report demonstrates how the writer identifies with Hamas, “Last month saw some of the worst violence since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison in Gaza.” reminding us as usual, of Cast Lead.
“In one week in March, at least 10 Palestinians – including several civilians and children – were killed by Israeli attacks” Donnison begins, adding:
“In the same period, militants in Gaza fired more than 80 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel.”
This implies that Israel killed “several” (how many?) innocents, then Hamas responded, pitifully, killing no-one.
“Hamas had pledged to try to restore a ceasefire that ended on 16 March when an Israeli air strike killed two of its militants in the Palestinian territory.”
This makes no sense. Would or could Hamas ‘try to restore’ a ceasefire that was allegedly broken by Israel?
“However, Israel said it had suffered “bouts of terror and rocket attacks.”
Israel said? Hamas has pledged? Which is more reliable, a *say* or a *pledge*?
“Despite recent calls for calm, neither side seems to be able to stop firing, our correspondent says. Both say the other started it. Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for all attacks coming out of Palestinian territory, even if it is other militant groups carrying them out”
Read Melanie Phillips and Honest Reporting on that kind of remark.

While I’m at it – “Attack on Bus” Why does Hamas attack just *a bus?* Is ‘damaging a bus’ their intention? When rockets land without killing any Israelis, is that intentional?
Also, when is a teenaged boy a child? When he’s a Palestinian, of course. Israeli children are ‘people’ or teenagers, young Palestinian resistance fighters are counted as children till they get the key of the door.
The invariable chronological inversion of attack and retaliation and the habitual emphasis on the retaliation and downplaying of the provocation is automatic for the BBC. Not many people used to know that, but thankfully more and more people are starting to notice.
Even Sky has:
“The violence began when Gazan militants launched an anti tank-missile at a school bus in an apparently deliberate escalation.”

The BBC prefers to begin their article by concentrating on Israel’s military might, emoting a disproportionate response to a damaged bus.
“Israeli tanks, helicopters and planes have struck Gaza after an anti-tank missile fired from the Palestinian territory hit a bus in southern Israel.”
If the BBC understood what is happening it could have speculated that the escalation in hostilities might be related to the “Arab Spring.” It might have occurred to someone that Hamas has been emboldened by the the Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood’s prospective rise to prominence throughout the Arab world.
Here’s a quote from a thought-provoking article everyone should read.

And, as in much other coverage of the Middle East, the journalists – take a bow, BBC – did not bother to exercise the elementary functions of their craft: to be inquisitive, to question assumptions, to look beyond the overheated excitement. Having written the script, they were determined to stick to it in breathless, eye-moistening interviews – “live and direct from Tahrir Square” – with self-selecting, highly educated, English-speaking protesters.

And just as the media made their bizarre extrapolations and re-wrote the script, they also changed their language. In less than a month, Mubarak had made the seamless transition from “moderate, pro-Western Egyptian president” to “corrupt, tyrannical dictator”.

I blogged something like this myself not so long ago.

Kites for Peace

In the last couple of days there has been an extraordinary mish-mash of television on the subject of Islam and Israel. All but one sanitising Islam and denigrating Israel.
For example, yesterday’s hostile portrait of Geert Wilders BBC2 seen through thick-lensed left-wing specs. The filmmaker’s agenda was showing – almost embarrassingly – so hopefully no-one will have been persuaded to change their minds on the issue from watching it. One thing that stood out was the way the filmmaker saw Israel. He assumed that just a slight association with it was enough to turn Wilders into a villain. And the bit where he approached Wilders with his furry microphone, feebly bleating something unintelligible while Wilders and entourage swept past, then “See! He wouldn’t speak to me!” I found that hilarious.
Straight away, most people will have switched on to Dispatches Channel 4 for the Islamic Schools programme. I thought they were trying to stretch a tiny bit of material too far – they kept repeating bits of it – they should have concentrated more on the Ofsted inspectors, and asked why nobody seemed to suspect anything or care. Melanie Phillips has this.
Nevertheless, these contrasting items provide a good example of the art of television, showing how it can make you think one thing one minute, and another, the next.
Which brings me to the major four-parter on Channel 4, The Promise. The director has a left wing agenda, and he tries to pretend he hasn’t. Take a look at the website, see Lindsay Hilsum’s potted history which leaves out the important bits, read some of the tweets and comments, and weep. The audience thinks they’re being educated.

Then for desert, last night’s Newsnight with Michael Morpurgo. He’s been to Gaza, and he’s got it into his head that Israelis target children. It’s so firmly embedded in his brain that even though Paxman says “the Israelis don’t go in to deliberately target children” , and he admits that “It’s not that they they’re targeted”, it still pops back in a few seconds later, when he says “You can’t achieve peace by targeting children.”
Call me cynical, but I think I know whose side he’s on. Even Paxo had a tiny go at him, reminding him of the traumas suffered by Sderot children. Louise Ellman did well, but she missed a few opportunities. Of the malnutrition he witnessed – not caused by the blockade of course – she should have pointed out the lorryloads of goods that go into Gaza every day, not to mention the international aid that pours in. Where is it all? She should have mentioned the hate that is taught to the children, not in Israel, but in Gaza.

I wondered why the donkey cart with the allegedly injured child rushed past at the exact moment they were filming. But Pallywood makes you cynical. I’d also like to know exactly what the Israelis had to say about targeting children. Of course, as Jeremy Bowen would say, they’d be partial, so we shouldn’t believe them, which makes rather a mockery out of all reporting. The BBC could just get ‘impartial’ people to speculate, and stop bothering to verify or investigate anything. That’s what they already do on the telly, some broadcasters more than others.

Middle Eastenders Like Us

The army of BBC reporters who’ve been plonked in Egypt have one thing in common – unalloyed joy at the people’s uprising.
We’ve heard people say, ‘Mubarak may be a monster, but he’s our monster,’ or, ‘ Careful what you wish for – some Iraqis long for the stability of Sadaam’ – but what we mainly hear is wholehearted enthusiasm for the ‘deposing of the tyrant’. They approve of Ben Ali’s removal from Tunisia, yet have little interest in what will follow.

Just because we all abhor torture and corruption, and applaud democracy and freedom, our enemy’s enemy is not necessarily our ally, and we should all be careful about expressing unreserved enthusiasm for what we know little about.

Even though the Muslim Brotherhood is not considered to be an immediate threat to Egypt’s future, none of the BBC interviews I’ve seen have questioned the bright-eyed protesters about their attitude to the West, and Israel in particular. Polls suggest that the majority of Egyptians sympathise with Sharia, which doesn’t auger well for an enlightened future. Remember Iran.

Representatives of the BBC should engage their brains and stop assuming all Egyptians view everything through the eyes of the western liberal. That’s a common failing of all the BBC’s reporting. None of them seem to have the imagination to put themselves in any shoes other than their own. I think I’ve said this before. The Middle East isn’t like Islington, and Islam isn’t a religion of peace.
H/T True Too for Caroline Glick

A Smirk Too Far

I’m sure B-BBC regulars trawl roughly the same blogs, and I often recognise familiar monikers on comments pages.
Grant wonders about the BBC’s lack of interest in Tunisia now that their uprising is old hat. I’d say it was a bit premature to hold it up as some sort of role model for the rest of the Arab World, though. Elder of Ziyoners will know what I mean.
Hat Tip to Hippiepooter for linking to this interesting thread from Harry’s Place.
I actually saw Jeremy Bowen say those words, and he had a distinct smirk on his face as he said them.
The Muslim Brotherhood is certainly not moderate, and as we already know, the BBC interprets *conservative* in its own unique way, but non violent? Pull the other one.

“A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel.”

All BBC reporters seem to have taken to referring to Hezbollah and Hamas as “Regarded by Israel as a terrorist organisation.” (But not by anyone else, impliedly.) Soon they’ll be applying it to Al Qaeda. I think they would like to see the British people prepare, not only for a war against Israel, but also for a losing battle against Islam.

Toppling Tyrants

Throughout the uprisings in Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, and of course Egypt, the BBC has avoided raising the alarm over the danger, some say inevitability, that when repressive dictatorships topple, there’s a vacuum, and in Muslim lands, Islamists are waiting in the wings, poised and raring to go. The BBC aint bovvered.
Political turmoil in Lebanon poses a serious threat to the stability of the region, but in an erratic tribute to impartiality, the BBC reports the utterances of Hassan Nasrallah, being scrupulously careful to avoid taking sides.
Kevin Connolly thinks the appointment of a pro-Hezbollah PM is a way out of Lebanon’s immediate political crisis, with the caveat:

“It is an uncomfortable outcome for the US, which denounces Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and reflects the growing regional influence of the movement’s sponsors, Iran and Syria.”

The Syria/Iran infiltration of Lebanon may not worry the BBC, but then they wouldn’t be worried by the content of this article by Michael J Totten.

“Hezbollah had 10,000 rockets before the war in 2006. Now it has between 40,000 and 50,000. Some are stored in warehouses. Others are hidden away a few at a time in private homes.”

Hezbollah positions itself amongst houses and mosques because they know the Israelis cannot retaliate without killing civilians.

“Its fighters and officers wear no uniforms. Only rarely do they carry guns out in the open.”

The BBC should be very alarmed at what is happening in Lebanon, not complacently telling us that the political crisis is over.

The Foreign Office is reported as stating that they have no objection to dictators being overthrown, but they’d prefer it if they were replaced by secular rather than religious governments. For example, “democratically,” as in Lebanon. What? Are my ears deceiving me?

Does this mean that the Foreign Office thinks that Hezbollah, having murdered the Lebanese Prime Minister, refused to accept responsibility for the murder, promised to cut off the hand of any accuser, embedded a massive stockpile of arms within civilian areas and in mosques, not to mention being dedicated to the destruction of Israel – does the foreign office or a spokesperson thereof, really hold Hezbollah’s roughshod trampling over the Lebanese government as an example of democracy, desirable for Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen et al ? And to add insult to that salty wound William Hague has gone off to suck up to Syria.
I wrote here about the BBC’s decisive action over a film produced by Christopher Mitchell. They abandoned it.

Professor Paul Rogers, author of “Why We’re Losing the War on Terror” has been on BBC discussing Rachid Ghannouchi’s return to Tunisia. “He’s anti American, but a moderate.” he reassures us casually.
Rachid Ghannouchi a moderate?
Christopher Hitchins begs to differ. He visited Tunis University:

“to talk to a female professor of theology named Mongia Souahi. She is the author of a serious scholarly work explaining why the veil has no authority in the Quran. One response had come from an exiled Tunisian Islamist named Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who declared her to be a kuffar, or unbeliever. This, as everybody knows, is the prelude to declaring her life to be forfeit as an apostate. I was slightly alarmed to see Ghannouchi and his organization, Hizb al-Nahda, described in Sunday’s New York Times as “progressive,” and to learn that he is on his way home from London.”

The BBC may be hoping Rachid Ghannouchi is a moderate, but didn’t blink an eye at his being “anti American.” To them that’s a trivial detail. The Ghannouchi daughter, or is that daughters, contribute to the Guardian and the BBC. Yusra Khreeji was on Broadcasting House a week ago, and Soumaya Ghannouchi is a regular contributor to the Guardian, and attends anti-Israel rallies, unleashing a mean impersonation of Lauren Booth.
Paul Rogers thinks we mishandle Islamists, driving them towards likes of Al Qaeda. Terrorism is our fault, we’re too hard line.

This morning we were treated to the oily reassurances of the odious Tariq Ramadan, another professor who has insinuated himself into the BBC’s speed dial directory.
We’ve seen John Kerry, he of the cylindrical head and massive chin, evidently fresh from overdosing on PaliLeaks, advising Israel to make concessions and stop oppressing the Palestinians.
“Israel is worried”, someone is saying now, on the BBC.
Abdul Bari Atwan, another speed dial buddy: “Illegal set-telments under internationallaw” he screeched, his eyes nearly popping out of his head. “Yes” said Polly Toynbee, also high on the Guardian’s deceitful spin on the PaliLeaks.“It’s all Israel’s fault.”

Everyone is rooting for the Egyptian protesters. “Look at the chaos! Whatever next?”
Whatever next indeed.

Fizzing, But Not Popping

I was going to post this morning on the topic D.B. refers to below, the stark contrast between the BBC’s treatment of two stories. Events overtook.
So belatedly here’s another post with the same starting point.(No Pasarani)

The left wing media’s laughably un-self-aware fantasy that violent metaphors are the prerogative of ‘the right’ is looking very ridiculous now. In their determination to blame the Tea Party for the Tucson shooting they ignored the facts and still went on contorting, finding ways to justify themselves rather than offering a simple retraction. It’s contortionism gawn mad.

Then the BBC’s bizarre reporting of religiously-motivated, Islamic-inspired violence in Egypt . As many of you have commented, they somehow manage to report a religiously-motivated Islamic-inspired shooting without blaming religion or Islam. In fact, like something straight out of the Basil Fawlty school of not mentioning the war, they go to the trouble of particularly mentioning that they haven’t allocated blame.

Robin Shepherd has written another superb article on what’s been happening in Egypt. It starts: “I had to rub my eyes a couple of times this morning as I opened the BBC website to find two more stories about the ongoing violence against Christians in Egypt.”
We’ve been rubbing our eyes over the BBC website for quite a while.
The contrast between the BBC’s anomalous positions over these stories clearly spotlights their hypocrisy, and begs the question, why?
What good does it do to suppress discussions about the rise of Islam? Will it make it go away?
The tendency of the left, even the moderate left, to side with Islam because of their hatred of Israel and America, and perhaps Britain, is beginning to look more and more irrational and less and less easy to explain or justify. No matter how many accusations of ‘incitement by gun-totin’ metaphor’ each side fires off against the other, the BBC’s Islamist heroes fire real bullets, and commit real violence. This ought to knock the left off any moral high ground they think they occupy.

Perhaps these verbal contortions are the last vestiges of the BBC’s institutional repression which will one day have to find an outlet. Perhaps all these suppressed inconvenient truths will suddenly burst forth like Jack Straw’s fizzing and popping testosterone, but the longer they put it off, the worse it will be.


Well, the New Year has truly begun with most of us now back at work. The BBC has also gone back to work this morning, with a vengeance. High up the list of priority news stories is the allegation that “increasing” numbers of White British people are converting to Islam. There is a report carried here on Today @ 8.41am by Catrin Nye of the BBC Asian network (natch) explaining why women in particular are so attracted to the Religion of Peace.  As a PR piece for Islam, it is sublime, with the remarkable statement by one convert that she felt “empowered” to be a Muslim. No tough questions asked, of course, but it’s nice to see the BBC setting off on 2011 with the usual pro-Islam agenda. I look forward to some of the BBC sisterhood doing the decent thing, converting to Islam, and thus removing themselves forever from our lives.