Thursday, 15 May 2008

Undercover Mosque vindicated

An update on these stories:

West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have apologised for accusing the makers of a Channel 4 documentary of distortion.

The apology and the promise of £100,000 were made at the High Court on Thursday.

It follows comments made about a Dispatches programme, Undercover Mosque, which tackled claims of Islamic extremism in the West Midlands.

The police statement said the force was wrong to make the allegations.

[...]

The statement, released to the media after the High Court hearing by West Midlands Police, said they accepted there had been no evidence that Channel 4 or the documentary makers had "misled the audience or that the programme was likely to encourage or incite criminal activity".

It added that the Ofcom report showed the documentary had "accurately represented the material it had gathered and dealt with the subject matter responsibly and in context".

The police statement concluded: "We accept, without reservation, the conclusions of Ofcom and apologise to the programme makers for the damage and distress caused by our original press release."

So, if the police now accept that the programme was wholly accurate, what are we to make of the force's earlier claim that the programme makers - Hardcash Productions - were guilty of "completely distorting" what was said? Or, indeed, of their long-running vendetta against Hardcash, which included attempting to have them prosecuted for "inciting racial hatred", and, when this plan was frustrated, making an official complaint about the documentary to the communications regulator?
Presumably the police have not seen any new footage which might have explained their change of heart. As such, their original claim that the programme distorted what was said must surely be no more or less tenable than it was when they first made it. Why, then, have they now performed a complete U-turn, and accepted that it was untenable? I suspect that it is because they always knew that the accusations they were making were utterly unfounded, but that they hoped that, by making them, they could intimidate the programme makers, and anyone else who might be tempted to criticise Islam (or, indeed, any Muslims), into silence. As with so much else that the police do these days, their conduct in this matter really does beg the question, whose side are they on?

5 comments:

staybryte said...

What troubles me most here FR, is the entirely fictional offence dreamed up by West Midlands Police (my local force, for my sins), of: "disturbing community cohesion."

How Stalinist is that?

Anonymous said...

Fulham

I think you are giving senior police “managers” too much credit. When the storm broke and West Mids police were tasked to look at this uncomfortable truth they would have seen right away that were they to uphold the law (as is their purpose) it would cause friction/conflict with the criminals in the film. So they simply “shot the messenger” in full knowledge and expectation that following the Ofcom report, years later, they would be a few hundred grand down but also knowing that the original fuss would have died down (for now) and they could let the sleeping dog lie i.e. not have to investigate the offences disclosed in the documentary. They’re hoping no one will notice (as are the government).

This would mean no large disturbances as firebrand imams are arrested and the police managers CV would remain intact and full of community issues and self aggrandizement ready for the next round of promotions.

Most rank and file coppers will have the same bad taste in their mouths as you…

Most above the rank of Sergeant are spineless wimps pandering to their political masters for their next promotion. How do I know? I see it every day at work. It sickens me but I have a family to feed and house…….

Homophobic Horse said...

Freedom of speech either means that or it doesn't mean anything at all. We should not hope for prosecution against these "firebrand" Imams, no, we should respond with speech of our own. I any case a prosecution isn't going to stop the Koran from telling Muslims to behave in an Islamic manner.

Immigration restriction now.

Homophobic Horse said...

Another question to ask is this: why are they doing what they're doing?

According to a hugely interesting article:

"the condition sometimes called postmodernism. To this frame of mind, there is no objective truth: all so-called truth springs from experience, and is relative. There is thus no valid basis for judging others: to each their own. To judge other's actions is, well, to become an authority figure, and this is forbidden. The parallels with narcisstic thinking should be apparent here.

The godlike Ken Wilber, author of Boomeritis, makes an interesting point. (He defines Boomeritis, incidentally, as pluralism infected with narcissism -- that is, an attempt to posture as all-tolerant and totally non-judgmental, while at the same time remaining totally selfish and self-absorbed.).

First, he notes that terrorists, and always their leaders, are quite well-educated men, usually with a college degree (I believe bin Laden held a degree in engineering, and most of the 9/11 hijackers had at least some years of college.). These are not actually Taliban in caves, but people with an education, often a Western education. Second, what we might call the theorists of terror (Fannon, etc., who taught that the act of violent "liberation" itself gave meaning to life, regardless of whether it had any political effect) drew heavily upon the postmodernist view, and the university set lapped this up and made it "the one true style;" any other view was Neanderthal, or at least politically naiive. Finally :

[F]or the last several decades, the various Third World groups, factions, insurrectionists, and even terrorists have actually adopted the postmodernist lingo coming out of American universities in order to justify their actions. [This argues], in its extreme--and most common--forms, that culturally there is no good or bad, no better or worse: there are no universal standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. In short , we cannot say anything about an Other that the Other would not say about itself. Period. . . . .

It used to be that insurrectionists mouthed the Marxist lingo, or the anti-capitalist lingo, or sometimes they used a contorted religious lingo--and they still use all of those on occasion. But the most eloquent--the Michel de Certeaus and Edward Saids and Slavoj Zizeks of this world--now rely heavily on the language of postmodern poststructuralism, the language of pluralistic relativism--the language, that is, of boomeritis. . . . .

From that particular angle, you are quite right: boomeritis was deeply complicit in the deconstruction of the World Trade Center.. . . .When the net result of your academic musing comes down to: there are no universal standards by which any culture may be judged inferior to another; the West under sway of the Enlightenment is merely a hegemonic imperial imposition of universal absolutist standards on the innocent world; therefore anything Western is bad, anything non Western is good; therefore deconstructing the West and the Enlightenment is the noble thing to do--well, when your thought is shot through with pre/post fallacies of such magnitude, when it thus provides an intellectual atmosphere in which deconstructive terrorism anywhere is implicitly applauded--well, of course that entire academic atmosphere is deeply complicit in such terrorist acts. The extreme postmodernists are not the actual cause of any of this crime, but they are complicit, they are deeply complicit."

Cross-polination, as it were, between anti-Western thinkers and anti-Western terrorists is not mere speculation. It is significant that when Imam Samudra was convicted of the 2002 Bali nightclubs bombing, which killed 202, "His lawyer, Qaidar Faisal, later delivered an official defence submission. It argued about the real meaning of the jihad struggle, how Afghanistan under Taliban rule had been a pure nation, as its laws had been crafted by God and not humans. Mr Faisal also quoted from American satirist Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men and other anti-western texts."

MrSmith said...

Who's side? You really need to ask?