Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A "corrupt, sinister and dangerous" cult

"(it is) both immoral and socially obnoxious...it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has as its real objective money and power".
Mr Justice Latey on the cult of Scientology (hat tip, Stephen Pollard)

That's the best definition of neo-conservatism I've ever heard!

UPDATE: Vanessa Feltz has a wonderful line in today's Daily Express about the twerpishly self-important BBC reporter John Sweeney, lionised by the neo-cons for his biased reporting from Kosovo in 1999, and who blew his top on Panorama's 'expose' of Scientology last night:
"Sweeney proved one fact conclusively: when upper middle-class men lose it, they all sound like Basil Fawlty".

4 comments:

qaumnrii said...

Thanks to this "twerpishly self-important reporter", several people were freed from jail following their wrongful conviction over the unexplained deaths of their children.

By contrast, when challenged a few months ago on whether the Sally Clark case would make you reconsider your unstinting support for the death penalty (given that Clark would certainly have been hanged had it been in force), you replied that it wouldn't.

In fact, since you're in the same line of business as Sweeney, perhaps you could highlight a single example of your writing having a similarly life-changing impact?

qaumnrii said...

Several days and numerous posts later, and the silence is deafening - I'd have thought you'd jump at the chance to extol your achievements.

I guess that's neatly highlighted the difference between proper investigative journalists and armchair pundits with loads of opinions but a distinct reluctance to take actual risks.

Neil Clark said...

Re: John Sweeney's journalism, you've obviously never heard of the Trepca mine hoax, qaumnrii.
In June 1999, Sweeney alleged in The Observer that the Serbs had been burning "a hundred bodies a day for the past two months" in the incinerators at the Trepca mines.
Investigators for the ICTY have categorically denied
that there were any human remains either in the mine shafts or in the incinerators. Sweeney's article is, unsurprisingly, no longer available on the Observer archive. But Sweeney himself, has to my knowledge, not publicly apologised for the inaccuracy of his article.
Here's an extract from the late Daniel Pearl's WSJ piece about the hoax and how 'crusading' journalists like Sweeney helped reguritate it:

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/pearl123199.htm
The Mine-Shaft Story
Though brutal, these incidents don't have the impact of accounts of Serbs rounding up Albanian men and dumping their corpses down a mine shaft. The world may owe that image to Halit Berani, head of a branch of the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms in the city of Mitrovica. Mr. Berani is a former actor with a Karl Marx beard who summarizes Serb war crimes by showing a photo of a baby with a smashed skull.
Mr. Berani spent the war moving from village to village with his manual typewriter, calling in reports to foreign radio services and diplomats with his daily allotment of three minutes on a KLA satellite phone. He says he heard from villagers near Trepca that trucks were rolling in full and rolling out empty, and that a strange smell was coming from the mine complex. He phoned in a report in early April suggesting that the mines had become a body-disposal site, and Deutsche Welle, a Germany-based radio service, carried the report in Albanian.
The story spread. In June, Kosova Press's Internet site quoted a U.S. embassy official in Athens as saying there are "witnesses and still photos" of trucks carrying bodies. Western journalists phoned the embassy, but a spokeswoman said she couldn't find the supposed source.
LONDON'S OBSERVER ran a similar story, citing a KLA commander, a girl who got a call from an elderly resident, and a Kosovar who heard the story from refugees. A Pentagon spokesman, quizzed about Trepca at the time, said, "There have been several reports throughout the last 10 weeks of bodies being burned in former industrial sites in Kosovo." Some commentators stated the theory as fact.
When French troops took over the mines, they reported to the tribunal that they had found well-scrubbed vats and piles of clothing. Tribunal investigators weren't impressed: Clothes are found everywhere in trash-strewn Kosovo, and why would the Serbs clean vats but not burn clothes? After the fruitless search, "we don't see any need to do further investigation at this point," a tribunal official says.
Mr. Berani doesn't completely stand by his story. "I told everybody it was supposition, it was not confirmed information," he says. But he adds, "For the Serbs, everything is possible."

As to my writing achievements, that's really up to others to say. But I am proud to have been one of a very small band of journalists who endeavoured to expose the lies that led to both the illegal war on Yugoslavia in 1999 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I always maintained that the 'genocide' in Kosovo was a fabrication- and I have been proved right. I always maintained that Iraq had no WMD- and that Iraq was attacked, not because the US thought Iraq possessed WMD, but because it knew damn well that it didn't. I have been proved right on this too. As to having 'a life-changing impact', I will continue to do all I can to expose the lies behind the war machine. If more journalists had taken my line back in 2002/3,- and not regurgitated the official propaganda, then hundreds of thousands of people now dead, would still be alive.

DrD said...

I was delighted that the now 'discredited' BBC journalist John Sweeney had been hoist by his own petard although I would rather it were over something more substantial than the absurdities of the scientology cult and their extra planetary appendages. The release from prison of those unjustly accused and innocent would be commendable were it to be true but I know of no case where this has occured. Sweeney is a master of deceptive writing using the tools of the propagandist to make sure his story is told the way he wants it to be. He will transpose words to invert the meaning of a sentence as in, “the Appeal Court Judges considered the evidence of Professor Sir Roy Meadow in the Sally Cark case grossly misleading. The transcript says: “The argument before us would have addressed the question whether the 1 in 73 million figure was misleading. …… we think it grossly overstates (or did they mean understates?) the chance of two sudden deaths…” There is no evidence that the Judges thought Meadow’s evidence (in which statistics played a small part) grossly misleading but Sweeney will go further and say that his evidence was a ‘travesty’ using the techniques of the film poster writer. He believes that babies who are well and sitting in their bouncy chairs may succumb to the ravages of a slowly destructive staphyloccocus in the ten minutes a parent leaves the room with no evidence clinically or at post mortem of its presence in vivo. He relishes ad hominem attacks and mocks the distinguished for entertainment.He announces to the world that because he couldn’t drink salt water, babies are not killed by salt, a medically illiterate and dangerous supposition which along with his others in the field of child abuse has lead to a dearth of paediatricians willing to take on such work for fear of defamation by ill informed journalists. I call this the “Sweeney Effect”