Sunday, 14 August 2016

A question of trust

In the light of Rod Liddle's latest Spectator piece - and the comments 'below the line' - I was particularly troubled by Friday night's Newsnight.

This made "the psychology of lone-wolf attackers" its main focus, and Kirsty Wark promised us "a real insight" into the mind of Mohammad Daleel, the Syrian "refugee" and Ansbach suicide bomber, from...
...the person who perhaps knew him best - the psychotherapist who had treated him over the period of a year.
That psychotherapist was Axel von Maltitz (and his wife Gisela), and Newsnight reporter Gabriel Gatehouse added to Kirsty's build-up by saying that Herr von Maltitz had a "deep insight" into the mind of the suicide bomber who blew himself up in the name of Islamic State. 

Herr von Maltitz said: (a) that "Mr Daleel" (as Gabriel also called him at one point) was "highly traumatised" by the Syrian conflict; (b) that he had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder "very severely"; (c) that the idea that Daleel blew himself up in the name of Islamic State "doesn't fit" for him; (d) that he believed "Mr Daleel" when he said he'd been tortured by Assad regime; and (e) that he believed the would-be mass killer did what he did because he'd just received news that he was going to the deported to Bulgaria, having failed in his asylum bid.

Gabriel Gatehouse, Newsnight and the BBC website then presented the story as being about the failure of the German authorities...Germany 'was warned about Ansbach suicide bomber'...given psychotherapist Herr von Maltitz's assessment (sent to the authorities a year or so before the bombing) that "Mr Daleel" had an "extreme personality", was suicidal, and might commit suicide in a dramatic, public way. 

Now, Gabriel Gatehouse did suggest that it was all very complicated, and noted Islamic State's claims and the suicide bomber's last-minute pledge to IS, but it was pretty obvious that Newsnight was proud of its "exclusive" - this interview with Herr von Maltitz - and was favouring the psychotherapist's sympathetic/empathetic take on Mohammad Daleel....

....especially as this interview was followed by an interview with two guests who took a similar line (i.e. {to put it crudely} that it has nothing to do with Islam). 

This may all be right, but please watch that report...and then read these extracts from Wikipedia which cast Newsnight's report - and Herr von Maltitz'z credentials - in a very different light:
According to Bild, he was a member of the Islamic State of Iraq many years ago.
Bild further says he told German officials that he was a Sunni Muslim and had come from Aleppo. He said he had studied law for half a year and worked at a soap factory owned by his father.“A missile had damaged our house, I was heavily injured and brought to Turkey,” he claimed in his asylum application....
On April 20, he applied for asylum in Austria but then decided to go to Munich on July 5, 2014, where he also applied for asylum in Germany. He stated to German authorities that he had been a victim of torture, a claim of which there is no record of him having previously made, and which the New York Times characterised as appearing to be "embellishments" he made...
Daleel had been treated around 6 months in an institution called "Exilio e.V." in Lindau by heilpraktikers which claims to offer holistic health treatment "for immigrants" under the leadership of Gisela von Maltitz and Axel von Maltitz. Purportedly, the institution does not include any qualified Doctor of Medicine, psychologist or psychiatrist. The institution has been criticized for using "dubious" practices such as rebirthing....
According to a biography in IS's weekly magazine al-Nabaa, he fought against the government of Bashar al-Assad since the very start of the Syrian Civil War, in a number of different rebel groups. He is said to have formed a cell specialized in grenade and molotov cocktail attacks on the regime. Around the time of the split between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State, he was wounded in or near Aleppo and was brought to Turkey for treatment. Afterwards he was located in Europe, where he tried to rejoin the Islamic State several times, but was unsuccessful. Due to his failure to travel back to Syria, he decided to carry out an attack in Germany. His original idea was to attack cars and he started to build his explosive device which took him three months. During his time building the bomb, the German police raided the building he was living in but failed to arrest him. He was in constant contact with "one of the soldiers" of IS.
Now, who to trust: Newsnight or Wikipedia? 

Seriously: Who to trust? One? The other? Neither?

If Wikipedia (and its links) are correct, then Newsnight is disturbingly guilty of failing to question Axel von Maltitz's credentials and of failing to investigate the claims of (a) faking mental illness and (b) heavy, ongoing jihadi involvement on the part of Ansbach suicide bomber Mohammad Daleel.

Who isn't telling us the truth?


  1. The safe bet is that the BBC isn't telling the truth. They're supportive of the mental health excuse now, but this is the exact opposite of how they treated Jared Loughner and the Breivik lunatic mass murdered. For Loughner, the BBC blamed Sarah Palin. Breivik was linked to Robert Spencer and the Tea Party movement, with John Sopel insisting to the Norwegian PM the day after the tragedy that Breivik was surely part of an international right-wing extremist cell. To this day, BBC reports refer to him as "right-wing", but there is no similar rule for always similarly referring to some Muslim terrorist.

    The BBC never fails in their hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty when it comes to this issue.

    1. The way they DIDN'T hold back on reporting the alleged "Britain First!" shouts of the suspect in the murder of Jo Cox and DIDN'T put claims about HIS mental health issues front-and-centre looks like another example of that hypocrisy to me.

    2. I actually think that the average BBC journalist suffers from confirmation bias. So when presented with something that fits the chosen narrative that's it, no more "cutting edge journalism" is required. I'm sure we could all find a few examples of this without much effort.

      It's funny really because the above is exactly what they accuse us of on the right.

    3. Agreed about the lunatic who murdered Jo Cox. They should have simply reported that he uttered "a Brexit benediction".

  2. Sadly, these days one's instinct is to say it's the BBC that's bending the truth or even telling outright lies.

    I often find UK reporters v. naive about how Jihadis operate. After 9-11 the US captured the AQ manual for operatives - it was full of stuff like "buy canned beer, drain the cans but leave out the empties so people seem them and believe you are not religious"...or "if arrested even if you are not tortured, try to injure yourself and claim you have been tortured"...