December 5, 2007

Paintballing With The Stars Of The Jihad

The BBC paid for a paintball trip that included men now accused of training Islamic extremists for terrorism. The British television network included the activity in its "Don't Panic, I'm Islamic" reality series that poked fun at Western Islamophobia. In this case, however, the "joke" is on the Beeb (via Memeorandum):

The BBC funded a paintballing trip for men later accused of Islamic terrorism and failed to pass on information about the 21/7 bombers to police, a court was told yesterday.

Mohammed Hamid, who is charged with overseeing a two-year radicalisation programme to prepare London-based Muslim youths for jihad, was described as a “cockney comic” by a BBC producer.

The BBC paid for Mr Hamid and fellow defendants Muhammad al-Figari and Mousa Brown to go on a paintballing trip at the Delta Force centre in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2005. The men, accused of terrorism training, were filmed for a BBC programme called Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic, screened in June 2005.

The BBC paid Mr Hamid, an Islamic preacher who denies recruiting and grooming the men behind the failed July 2005 attack, a £300 fee to take part in the programme, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

Paintballing hardly qualifies as a terrorist training activity. I've done it a couple of times myself, and it's at best a grown-up way to play war. It provides a huge adrenaline rush, but gives no insight into proper tactics in gunfights. In fact, terrorists would rarely use the kind of tactics employed in paintball, opting instead for suicide bombings and booby traps, neither of which appears in paintball.

The issue in this story has less to do with paintball and more to do with the BBC's credulity. They accepted at face value that Islamophobia represented more of a threat than terrorism, and blithely proved the opposite with this entry in their scolding to the West. Not only did they invite a terrorist planner onto the show, he invited two of the July 21 would-be suicide bombers to join him.

It gets worse for the BBC. After the bombing, the BBC didn't bother to go to the police with the information, even after Hamid confirmed his association with the two perpetrators. This decision got made at the highest levels of the BBC. The network management decided to withhold information from a national-security investigation because, and I quote, "“I got the sense that he was already talking to the police." One of the biggest news organizations in the world couldn't just ask whether Hamid had gone to the police, or advise him to do so? "I don’t think it’s my obligation to tell another adult that he should go to the police.”

The BBC exists through mandated license payments for all British television owners. Perhaps those owners may want to get their MPs to reconsider the national subsidy for an organization clearly not operating in any sort of national interest.


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» Un-BBC-lievable from Sister Toldjah
The BBC has stepped into it again. It appears that a paintball trip they funded for a few Islamists as part of a BBC “reality” series - a series that is supposed to make western “paranoia” over Islamists seem unfounded - has ba... [Read More]