Friday, August 12, 2005


Harry's Place has some impressive investigative reporting on the Guardian and its antics. It seems that it has really been outdoing itself lately: they have published a column by a man linked to Al Qaeda, without mentioning this to its readers.
Last January, the Guardian published an edited version of a speech attributed to Osama Bin Laden in the form of an opinion piece in its Comments section. This article was the source of some hilarity, as wits started to describe Osama Bin Laden as a "Guardian columnist".
Slightly less amusing was last month's "
Aslam Affair", in which the Guardian published a series of articles by an activist in Hizb'ut Tahrir, a racist theocratic totalitarian political party. There were really two aspects to the Aslam Affair. The first was that Aslam's articles were in effect propaganda pieces for Hizb'ut Tahrir, but that the Guardian had not disclosed to their readership, Aslam's political activism. The second was that the Guardian clearly had little understanding of the nature of Hizb'ut Tahrir's politics.
Today's Comment piece by
Sa’ad al-Fagih [sic] is, I think, a somewhat more worrying example of the Guardian's naivity in the field of extremist Islamist politics. The essence of the article is that the United Kingdom government needs to change its policies as it is playing into the hands of al-Qaida.
What concerns me is this. Sa’ad al-Faqih [is] described in the footnote to the article as “a leading exiled Saudi dissident and director of the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia”.
In fact Sa’ad al-Faqih is a little bit more than that.
Read the whole thing. While my views are diametrically opposed to those often expressed in the Guardian, I am confident that most of their journalists and readers are in good faith, and will presumably not be happy about this. It is certainly possible that this was an oversight, but if the editors don't know these things then they shouldn't be editing a newspaper. As a commenter at Harry' Place says: "Has anyone at the Guardian heard of that new-fangled Google thingy?"

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