November 22, 2004


David Aaronovitch considers the madness of Naomi Klein, John Pilger, and Robert Fisk:

Readers of the Independent last week were offered a front page article by that great figure of Middle Eastern reporting, Robert Fisk. In it he asked the question, not once but several times, who killed Margaret Hassan? Of course, the most obvious answer is that one of the Iraqi insurgent groups did it. Obvious and, apparently, probably wrong.

'If anyone doubted the murderous nature of the insurgents,' said Fisk, 'what better way to prove their viciousness than to produce evidence of Margaret Hassan's murder? What more ruthless way could there be of demonstrating to the world that America and Alawi's tinpot army was fighting "evil" in Fallujah?' True, Fisk then added the deliberately unconvincing coda that 'of course we cannot say that Alawi was involved in Margaret Hassan's death, even though he would have hated her political views', before reminding readers of the (unsubstantiated) rumours that Alawi had personally executed a number of Iraqi prisoners in a Baghdad jail.

Again, consider. The Iraqi government (or its shadowy agents) kidnapped Margaret Hassan, and got her to appeal to the beleaguered Tony Blair for the Black Watch not to be redeployed north of Basra so that US troops could be freed up to take Fallujah. How much sense does that make?

One of Fisk's bits of circumstantial evidence for his thesis was the difference between the way that Hassan was murdered and the release of two Italian aid workers freed 'when their captors recognised their innocence'. Fisk's 'innocence' in this instance meaning having nothing to do with voting, reconstruction, the police, the economy or any of the other various activities that those murdered by insurgents have been 'guilty' of.

(Via Clive Davis. Earlier item on Fisk's theory here.)

Posted by Tim Blair at November 22, 2004 12:37 PM

If Fisk could think, he'd be dangerous; since he can't, he isn't.

Is he still trying to pick up boys girls hookers dates by telling the story of his Afghanistan whuppin'?

Posted by: fooltomery at November 22, 2004 at 12:51 PM

one of those rocks must've scored a direct hit on his brain cell

Posted by: FusterCluck at November 22, 2004 at 12:58 PM

As usual, Mark Steyn says it best;

"If I were Robert Fisk, the famed foreign correspondent with decades of experience in the Muslim world, I’d be ashamed to leave the house. Sample Fisk headlines on the Afghan war: “Bush Is Walking Into A Trap”, “It Could Become More Costly Than Vietnam”. Sample insight on the Iraq war: when the Yanks announced they’d taken Baghdad International Airport, Fisky insisted they hadn’t and suggested they’d seized an abandoned RAF airfield from the Fifties by mistake."

'Nuff said.

Posted by: The Mongrel at November 22, 2004 at 12:59 PM

In this halcyon post election period with the forces of evil in retreat, where would we be without Fisk, Klein, the Independent, the SMH, CBS et al?

Surely bloggers are paying them to write/screen/publish this idiotic stuff? Or is this too a conspiracy theory?

Posted by: Allan at November 22, 2004 at 02:47 PM

No, you can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Mr. Blue at November 22, 2004 at 03:19 PM brain hurts after reading Fiskies article. how can anyone be that warped?

Posted by: Jewels (AKA Julian) at November 22, 2004 at 03:28 PM

I heard Fisk make these same claims a few nights ago on some nor cal public radio station, so he's got his script down pat, can't remember which one, but suffice to say that none of my shouts at the host prompted any rebuttal. Right on Aaronovich, who along with Hitchens (and myself, of course) is one of the few sensible liberals left in the world.

Posted by: Sean at November 22, 2004 at 04:12 PM

If there was a video tape of Hassan being murdered by the 'insurgents' he'd say it was a fake.

Fisk is entertaining, though. I wonder if he realizes how funny he is?

Posted by: Chris Josephson at November 22, 2004 at 09:03 PM

When I was at high school, a good friend of mine was a lefty until he had a sudden conversion aged about 17. Anyway, before his conversion, he'd spin all these ludicrous conspiracy theories, sometimes going on for hours, and another friend and I would have great fun drawing diagrams connecting the CIA with Greenpeace via Saddam, JFK, the Pope and the Masons. All his conspiracy theories were in the purest form, in which the total absence of evidence, or even plausibility, only shows the devilish cunning and power of the conspirators. Needless to say, if you challenged him, he'd only get very annoyed very quickly, like so many lefties when confronted with the facts.

If he hadn't had that conversion, he'd probably be a journalist for the Independent about now. This Fisk rubbish, though, would have been right up his street.

Posted by: PJ at November 22, 2004 at 11:00 PM

PJ, what converted your friend, if I may ask?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 23, 2004 at 01:52 AM

Suggested reading.

Posted by: ahem at November 23, 2004 at 02:12 AM

I was always too gentlemanly to ask - just glad to have him on board. But I imagine it was a number of things around that time, including the fall of the Berlin Wall/Soviet Union, the amazingly quick victory in Gulf War I (he still owes me £50 for betting that it would last 2 years) and a couple of more personal factors.

Posted by: PJ at November 23, 2004 at 06:11 AM