* Melanie Philips exposes some of the worst Middle Eastern bullshit-artists, rumor and conspiracy mongers, among them the smarmy Robert Fisk and the totally corrupt ex-intelligence agent Alistair Crooke, who has a long history of selling his services to the highest bidders, in this case the Arabs.
An article in Ha’aretz furnishes a revealing insight into how the media’s finest fabricate fairy stories â€” sorry, fearlessly ferret out the facts about the Middle East. The New Yorker published an article three months ago dealing with the Bush administration’s attitude toward Sunnis and Shi’ites, written by investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh. This claimed that the US was siding with the Sunnis against the Shi’ites in Lebanon, even though this meant it was siding with groups linked to al Qaeda. When Lebanese reporters began investigating the story, however, this is what they found out about its genesis:
Hersh said he heard the story from Robert Fisk, the bureau chief of The Independent’s Beirut office. But Hersh did not check out the story himself. For his part, Fisk said he heard the unconfirmed report from Alastair Crooke, a former British intelligence agent and the founding director and Middle East representative of the Conflicts Forum, a non-profit organization that aims to build a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world. Crooke, who gained his reputation through his involvement in the conflict in Northern Ireland, does not know Arabic. When Lebanese journalists spoke to Crooke about the report, they said he told them only that he had heard it ‘from all kinds of people.’
Those who have read my previous post will doubtless be intrigued to note that yes, yet again all roads seem to lead back to Alastair Crooke and his Conflicts Forum. The more one delves, the more disturbing this becomes. Crooke’s attitude goes far beyond advocating ‘engagement’ with Hamas as a necessary evil, bad as that is in itself. He actually appears to endorse it.
Last year Dr Azzam Tamimi, Britain’s principal Hamas supporter, published a book entitled Hamas: The Unwritten Chapters. Here are a few facts about Dr Tamimi. In November 2004, he told the BBC that he was prepared to be a suicide bomber if the opportunity arose. He said that
sacrificing myself for Palestine was a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity.
He has repeatedly spoken out in support of Hamas and described its suicide-bomb tactics as ‘the courage of man’. In August 2006, he told the ExpoIslamia convention in Manchester:
Hamas is making sacrifices for you. We tell this government Hamas is not a terrorist group. It is elected by the people of Palestine. We are not terrorists. We are defenders of the truth. Fighting those who invade Muslims is a just cause. The Government is trying to turn the war on terror into the war on Islam.
The preface to Tamimi’s book is written by Alastair Crooke, whom Tamimi describes in the acknowledgments as ‘my dear friend’ and to whom he offers his ‘profound gratitude’. Tamimi is, as I report in the post below, a trustee of Crooke’s Conflicts Forum. So what does his ‘dear friend’ Crooke say in his preface?
He refers to
moderate Islamist movements such as Hamas
which he says
symbolise for many Muslims the hope for real reform and a better society…Hamas stands in the vanguard of movements reflecting a sense of deep Muslim discontent with the present world order as it impacts directly on their societies…Hamas of course also stands for armed resistance…
Alistair Crooke / Robert Fisk
Let us remind ourselves that what Crooke refers to as ‘armed resistance’ is the slaughter of Israeli innocents, the intended destruction of Israel and the religiously mandated instruction to kill every Jew (see the Hamas Charter in the post below). Crooke justifies this by claiming that, while the western world considers violence to be acceptable only when it is practised by nation states (he omits to mention the crucial fact that the west considers state violence acceptable only in just wars waged to defend itself against attack), Hamas cannot accept this template because it would mean
acquiescence in the prevailing world order that seeks to impose the terms for a Palestinian state on the basis that the Palestinians view to be manifestly unjust.