June 23, 2004


The BBC reports from within occupied America:

"I don't know what's happening to this country," said Ihab Tabir, a Brooklyn immigration lawyer who is originally from Jordan.

"If you say anything against what is happening in Iraq for example, you can be arrested.

"You can't speak openly on the street anymore. I tell you, everyone is afraid."

Foolishly, the BBC published this dissident’s name. His bones, bleached by the sun, were later discovered near the main Central Park killing pit.

UPDATE. Mick Fealty has more on the BBC, and The Guardian’s Martin Kettle calls the rest of the British media pots black:

If all you read is the Guardian, and if the only people you talk to are fellow Guardian readers, then you may have little idea of how relentless and widespread this kind of journalism-with-attitude has become.

No "attitude journalism" at The Guardian? It is to laugh.

UPDATE II. Plenty of attitude journalism at The Age. Check this headline:

Bakhtiari children give up fight for freedom

Posted by Tim Blair at June 23, 2004 10:51 PM

the climate of fear here in manhattan tim is, well, um, non-existant. but it did rain yesterday; i'm sure rumsfeld had something to do with that.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 23, 2004 at 11:07 PM

What is he talking about? The Pa--
(dial tone)

Posted by: Rob at June 23, 2004 at 11:20 PM

Now that we've stooped to the level of the average Muslim or African country, maybe the BBC will give the US some good press.

Posted by: Arty at June 23, 2004 at 11:24 PM

Isn't the Central Park killing pit just about full by now? I would think that, by now, Bushitler would have ordered the destruction of some low-income housing areas to create another mass grave.

Posted by: Dave T. at June 23, 2004 at 11:27 PM

i love how the beeb refer's to "George W Bush's Patriot Act." is this a different patriot act than the one the house passed 357-66 and the senate passed 98-1? life is so much simpler when we can blame bushhitlercheneyhalliburton for everything.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 23, 2004 at 11:29 PM

It's hard for me to believe that the BBC's Washington correspondent actually travelled to Alliance, Nebraska.

Also, this paragraph

Since 2001, the FBI has issued thousands of special warrants to carry out surveillance and get personal records from hospitals, libraries and other institutions.

would seem to be at odds with the Justice Department's claims to never have used Section 215, and the recent revelation that the FBI asked to use it once. Us the article spinning, and I'm not seeing it?

Posted by: MattJ at June 23, 2004 at 11:35 PM

Yes, he was silenced. But we did get some nice wallets out of the hide...waste not, want not!

Posted by: Parker at June 23, 2004 at 11:35 PM

For the people who think we're living in a climate of fear, let me share the following story. It is particularly relevant because these folks also tend to admire Cuba.

I once shared an office with an engineer who, together with the rest of his family, had escaped from Cuba. He came in one morning and said that when he got home the day before, he had found his father hiding under the bed in a state of panic. The old man had seen two men in uniform coming up the walk. It turned out that they were volunteer firemen, collecting donations for the purchase of rescue equipment. Bill shook his head and said, "Ernie, he won't tell me what they did to him in that jail in Havana."

Posted by: Ernie G at June 23, 2004 at 11:48 PM

This would be the BBC from the same country that sweeps, oh say, pesky 'suspected' IRA sympathisers off to some bog in Wales, who are then never heard from again? Those champions of human rights and due process...as long as it's not THEIR island? Oh, THAT BBC! Right!

Posted by: tree hugging sister at June 23, 2004 at 11:50 PM

Dave T.,

Note that I referred to the main killing pit. Supplementary killing pits 2, 2b, and 3 remain viable.

Posted by: tim at June 23, 2004 at 11:54 PM


You may have been inciting us to further hatred of America and all the Great Satan stands for (in strict accorcance with the BBC's foreign policy directives) but ...

you have unwittingly alerted us to the next threat to western civilisation - librarians.

Apparently they have a "code of practice" which permits them to choose to disobey laws passed by democratically elected governments.

Apparently they (like weasely BBC "so-called" journalists who decry the "so called Patriot Act") are above such proletarian constraints.

So look out for any one suspicious wearing either a burkha OR a twin-set and pearls - they may be with "Al-quieter".

And I tell you what - if someone tells me to SHHHHH in the Library and they are packin' a RPG or a Kaleshnakov, I'll be very very quiet indeed.

Curses to you Humphrey (don't hurt me I'm a Librarian - look here's my card - and I never bend the corners - aaaarghhhhh) Hawksley.

The Elephant

Posted by: the_GOP_Elephant at June 23, 2004 at 11:55 PM

I listen to the Beeb every night while I'm working (graveyard shift) just cause I'm a news junkie, but this kind of thing has really begun to bug me. Do the correspondents at the BBC really think they are representing America accurately or are they really just a hard-left propaganda machine? I can't figure this out. I mean, Brits can visit the U.S. and see for themselves that there aren't any Arab death camps, isn't the Beeb worried about losing all credibility w/ their audience? WTF? Or are they really so stupid that they...what? They're blind, deaf, and dumb? They actually believe that Republicans are controlled by Neo-con overlords and that we're really Nazi's deep down? This just doesn't make any sense to me at all. Europe is so far gone I just don't know what to think anymore. I really feel sorry for them.

Posted by: Kerry Is Unelectable at June 23, 2004 at 11:56 PM

And what the fuck kind of journalist lets someone get away with saying something that is so patently untrue without ending the segment saying "This allegation of course is completely untrue. No such law or regulation exists"?

Posted by: Kerry Is Unelectable at June 24, 2004 at 12:03 AM

If he is so 'afraid' then:

a) Why did he give his name, and

b) Why is he speaking out if, that is what he was originally saying he could not do, and

c) How did the BBC 'smuggle' such a valuable report out of the repressive regime that is Amerikka?

Posted by: nic at June 24, 2004 at 12:05 AM

"If you say anything against what is happening in Iraq for example, you can be arrested."

A single example of an arrest, please?

Could anyone with an IQ above that of a turnip believe this for an instant?

Posted by: R C Dean at June 24, 2004 at 12:17 AM

Remember about 20 years ago when Woody Allen would say "life is a concentration camp" and people would point out, actually, in a concentration camp you don't have a nice apartment overlooking Central Park and a 20-year-old girlfriend and a three-picture deal and so on?

Clearly the same self-pitying attitude has seeped down to the entire Arab and liberal populaces, who don't feel their lives are worthy unless they can play-act oppression. Good thing there are still SOME grownups in this world, presently working in Washington, since the rest of the planet seems to be stuck in this kind of permanent adolescence.

Posted by: Mike G at June 24, 2004 at 12:29 AM

I suspect what Mr Ihab Tabir of Brooklyn is really afraid of now days is shouting “Jihad” and “Kill the Jews, Death to America”. Yep, America’s not the free country it was.

Posted by: Ringo the Dingo at June 24, 2004 at 12:33 AM

There's only one thing in Alliance, Nebraska. Maybe soon the reporter will do a write-up on the human sacrifices being performed at Carhenge.

Posted by: Donnah at June 24, 2004 at 01:02 AM

I think the Dingo is close to the mark. Once upon a time, if you were a Jordanian-born lawyer making a nice living getting dubious people into the US, and your clients or family or friends regularly talked loudly about jihad, well, then, no biggie. But now---now, man, the FBI might come around and have a nice chat with you. Oppression! The article also states that "young men [are] disappearing for weeks on end". Weren't there some nice young fellows from Portland who went on a religious retreat to Afghanistan? I'll bet they were away for weeks.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at June 24, 2004 at 01:05 AM

tree hugging sister (presumeably the one with a hairier mustache than I have...)

Which IRA sympathisers would those be? The ones who said not a word after Omagh/ Warrenpoint/ Enniskillen etc etc. The ones who said nowt when the IRA shot and killed a mother of ten and buried her in sand dune in Ireland and it was onyl recently she was found? Oh THOSE ones! The ones who used to report every 'victory' for the IRA as a terrible mistake - did not mean to kill civvies etc.....

I note you are still here and not sewing mail sacks in a 're-education' camp as you would be if the UK/US were remotely anything like your heros of the USSR etc....wow big difference in your idea of totalitarian governments.....

Posted by: Dave at June 24, 2004 at 01:13 AM

it's the same BBC that did a sob story about illegal pakistanis, living underground, in fear for their lives, afraid to be seem in daylight and hoping to be smuggled across border under cover of night. well, it wasn't afghanistan or any other obvious 3rd world locale.
the place was upstate NY and the safe place, across border was canada. at the same time local news NEVER reported any anti-pak activities...

Posted by: niels at June 24, 2004 at 01:14 AM

You're all under arrest! Remove your hands from those keyboards! We can see you - all of you! Hands behind your heads!

Your cause is lost! Tim Blair has been arrested and, even now, is being fitted in Langley for an orange jumpsuit and white chair!

Your bottoms are miiine!!


Posted by: John Ashcroft at June 24, 2004 at 01:15 AM

Thank God for those killing pits and bleached bones -- they let me feed my Rottweiler very economically.

Posted by: Lewis at June 24, 2004 at 01:31 AM

I note you are still here and not sewing mail sacks in a 're-education' camp...

Well, I went to boot camp in Parris Island. Does that count?

And lemme find my sarcasm filters, Dave, 'cause the whooshing sound you heard was the point going over your head.

My bad again. WTFO, sheesh.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at June 24, 2004 at 01:35 AM

Today Jordanian immigration lawyers! Tomorrow BBC reporters!

I hear they're already doing that in Saudi Arabia, btw.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 24, 2004 at 01:41 AM

Did anyone else notice this. From the ABC, no

Last Update: Friday, June 18, 2004. 11:51pm (AEST)

Vladimir Putin (file photo). (AFP)

Russia 'warned US about Saddam'
By Moscow correspondent Emma Griffiths

It has been revealed that Russian intelligence agents received information that the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was planning to strike the United States.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has said the intelligence was passed on to American officials.

Mr Putin has confirmed that Russian special service agents discovered Iraqi plans to strike America after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He says in the time between the Al Qaeda attacks and the war in Iraq there was repeated intelligence that Saddam Hussein's regime was planning to attack US territory and American targets around the world.

But he said there was no information linking Saddam Hussein to any specific terrorist attack.

The Russian President says the information was given to American officials, stating that US President George W Bush personally thanked one of the Russian agents.

But Mr Putin says the intelligence does not justify America's invasion of Iraq.

He says that is a different issue that should have been resolved through the United Nations - maintaining Russia's opposition to the military action.

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Posted by: Sue at June 24, 2004 at 01:50 AM

And lemme find my sarcasm filters, Dave, 'cause the whooshing sound you heard was the point going over your head.

My bad again. WTFO, sheesh.

[rolleyes] If I told ya once, I told ya a hundred times sis, if it don't smack 'em in the face, it's over their head......

Posted by: Crusader at June 24, 2004 at 02:11 AM

[rolleyes] If I told ya once, I told ya a hundred times sis, if it don't smack 'em in the face, it's over their head......

must be that mustache interfering with her aim again...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 24, 2004 at 04:09 AM

It really is absolutely incredible. It's like the BBC has found an amazing device to peer into an alternate universe where the U.S. really is evil and Spock has a goatee. This universe bears only superficial resemblence to our own. But you see, the BBC knows more about my own FUCKING CITY, STATE, AND COUNTRY than I DO.

Posted by: Mark from Monroe at June 24, 2004 at 04:09 AM

unreal. that's public money over there at the bbc. i wonder if anyone cares.

Posted by: jason at June 24, 2004 at 04:57 AM

Ihab Tabir must be feeling right at home. I mean, in what Arab country does the average citizen have the right to speak as he pleases?

Self-pity didn't have to seep down into the Arab populace; it's genetic; it's part of the package.

Posted by: Helen at June 24, 2004 at 10:09 AM

As for myself, I get the feeling that this Ihab Tabir is either a) having the impressionable Beeb reporter on (revenge for all those years of British misrule?), b) trying to discourage his fat sister from bugging him to help her and her brood of twelve children get visas to live in the US (and in his house), or c) both.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 24, 2004 at 12:25 PM

Tree hugging sister:

I can only think that they knocked your brains out in boot camp. Can you name one single instance of an IRA sympathiser, let alone full-blown terrorist, being taken out and dumped in a bog in Wales? Whereas it is proven fact that the IRA murdered numerous civilians and dumped them in unmarked graves all over the countryside.

Posted by: Bill Jowitt at June 25, 2004 at 02:28 AM

Oh no! Another victim of the treehuggingsister Stealth Sarcasm Juggernaut!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 26, 2004 at 02:08 AM