The case of Muhyiddin Mire, the mentally ill knife attacker who tried to kill Lyle Zimmerman at Leytonstone tube station in December last year has been treated in a manner that would suggest Mire was a committed and hardened ‘extremist’. This demonstrates a worrying trend where the media all to readily classify acts of violence committed by Muslims as ‘Islamic extremism’. Not only does this add to the fear-charged climate of Islamophobia, but it also acts to further existing cycles of violence.
It has been well established that Mire had suffered from paranoid delusions and had missed an appointment with a community mental health team four days before the incident. Nonetheless, the Daily Mail recently led with the headline “Jihadi Attacker” and infused the headline with numerous Islamic references. Other papers lead with “ISIS attacker” and references to his apparent religiosity were made.
A series of blogs analysing the recent Channel 4 documentary titled, “What British Muslims Really Think”
Part 1: An Orchestrated Attack on Islam
In the previous article, we saw how the latest of phase of a neoconservative agenda to deconstruct Islam had resulted in a relentless assault in political and media circles on the faith.
This reach its zenith with the much discussed Channel 4 documentary hosted by Trevor Phillips.
In this article, we will focus on Phillips himself, and attempt to understand his peculiar set of statements made at the beginning of the documentary.
Crosspost: Ian Dunt
You couldn’t ask for a clearer tip-off. The Tories will launch a harsh new crackdown against citizen’s rights, non-violent free speech and privacy after the election.
You didn’t even need to read the small print of their manifesto. As long as you knew how to interpret the words, it was put front and centre of the prime minister’s proposals for the next five years.
In the opening moments of his speech launching his party’s manifesto, David Cameron said:
“Other parties might be wary of causing offence, or of being criticised by those who see every single measure as an affront to their civil liberties. I know the threats. I have to make the judgement calls needed to tackle them. And I know this above all: our generation must fight the threat of Islamist extremism with the same resolve and tenacity as any threat Britain has faced before. Because this is the Conservative party – and we will never take risks with our nation’s security.”
Cameron couldn’t be clearer. He doesn’t care about those who “take offence” about civil liberties. The use of the word offence is completely inappropriate in this context and serves to delegitimise those who believe in the rights of the citizen. This inappropriateness is actually useful because it gives a clear indication of Cameron’s sympathies.
The suggestion made by CAGE, that the security services may have contributed to the radicalisation of Mohammed Emwazi continues to be the subject of, well, not being the subject of mainstream corporate reporting. Instead, emotional questions are asked and statements are made: Our security services? Which protect us? They are just doing their job! The entire mood across the media spectrum seems to promulgate the view that the security services can do no wrong. This, despite the fact that just last month the discourse was critiquing the Intelligence and Security Committee for its toothless oversight of the security services. Clare Algar, executive director of legal charity Reprieve, said,
“From UK complicity in CIA torture to mass surveillance, the ISC has missed every major security-related scandal of the past 15 years”.
Incidentally, Reprieve’s Clive Stafford Smith in a statement of support said that CAGE’s work was “vital”, not that this would matter to papers hell-bent on deflecting from core issues.
Through the 90s, Gary Webb, an award winning journalist, experienced the wrath of the CIA through the corporate media for exposing CIA’s link with the Contras in Nicaragua and the cocaine epidemic in the US. There was a suggestion that the black communities were being targeted with these drugs. An internal CIA document authored by Nicholas Dujmovic, an employee of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence at the time of publication, noted the “already productive relations with journalists,” which allowed the CIA’s reputation to be left intact thanks to distractions by major newspapers. Webb’s career was destroyed and some years later, was ruled to have committed suicide with two bullets to his head. Much of his core findings however, were found to be accurate. As the Intercept spread articulates, the corporate media spent,
“ …far more time trying to poke holes in the series than in following up on the underreported scandal at its heart, the involvement of U.S.-backed proxy forces in international drug trafficking.”
More interestingly, Dujmovic wrote that the papers had deflected the core allegations, using stories which cited, “[r]espected columnists, including prominent blacks.” In other words, people “representing” the black communities, which were enraged by the allegations, had been abused to successfully shift opinion.
For some reason there is a perception in Britain and indeed, in the Western world that security services are a squeaky clean in their approach to protecting the citizens of this country. This, despite the fact that they have been exposed in violating the very principles, which are lauded for keeping the “civilised world”, civilised. In the damning judgment of Binyam Mohamed in 2010, it was found that the Mi5 did not respect human rights, nor renounced torture, misled MPs and operated in a “culture of suppression” in dealing with the court.
As the papers did what they do best – control+c and control+v reports, it seemed as though the corporate media suddenly had an epiphany: we are copying some real journalism here, this needs to be spun asap!
Reading the recent reports demonstrates evidence of media spin once again, where the (government) spin-doctors are in full-swing to skew the story of “Jihadi John”, or Mohammed Emwazi. The focus of the media rapidly shifted to the conveniently government-narrative-compliant “ideology” as a causal factor. The Daily Fail began its campaign against CAGE and Asim Qureshi who were cited in the original Washington Post article, after perhaps realising the implications of the initial report. CAGE became smeared across the papers for suggesting that a person as violent as Mohammed Emwazi could actually have been a normal human being. Media outlets usually pointing the finger at mental disorders in “white terrorism”, began pointing the finger at CAGE for attempting to “contextualise” the man’s actions, forgetting that the government has been imposing its own academically-wanting contextualisation of belligerent actions on the Muslims community for decades. The academically-wanting conveyor-belt theory to terrorism has been the go-to theory for the government, counter-extremism “experts” from the Quilliam Foundation and the bigoted Henry Jackson Society.