Friday, November 11, 2005

When a journalist just cant help but lie

The Danish defense of freedom of speach has, for the time being, fended off the bickering babble of islamic ambassadors, whining that christians cant draw their alleged prophet.

Of course, such a state of affair cant be allowed to continue, so now a journalist is trying to add fuel to the fire. Thus, the correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor in Copenhagen, James Brandon, had an article entitled "Danish editor tests right to violate Muslim taboos" in yesterdays web edition of the paper. The title is bad enough in itself, but it gets worse. In a section where he cites Bjorn Moller, senior research fellow at the Danish Institute for International Studies, the following appears (Christian Science Monitor):

The party's provocative slogan "Dit Land, Dit Valg" (One land, one people) for many people conjures up unwelcome reminders of Denmark's ambiguous role in the Nazi occupation.

"A growing number of people see being a Dane and being a Muslim as incompatible," says Moller, adding that the Danish Peoples' Party, the country's third largest, is behind controversial government attempts to stabilize Denmark's growing Muslim community at no more than 10 percent of the total 5.5 million population. Right now, Muslims make up nearly 4 percent of the population.

There is one small problem with this:

James Brandon is lying.

For one, "Dit Land, Dit valg" does not mean "One Country, One People". It means "Your Country, Your Choice". So there goes the nazi analogy.

The bigger problem is that, reached by phone, Moller denies ever having said anything about any sinister "controversial government attempts" to cap the moslem population at any percentage. It would be weird, too, since no such attempts have been made.

It gets weirder, though.

James Brandon is not his real name:

Brandon attended Westminster School in London before taking up a career in journalism. A fluent Arabic speaker, he is thought to be of Egyptian descent and has used a series of names during recent years.

Friends say his British passport includes the names James Andrew Brandon Nassim and that he was known as either Andrew Nassim or James Brandon.

James Brandon is the name he took in 2002 to, supposedly, make it easier for him to report from arabic countries. How changing your name from an arab one to a British one is supposed to do that is beyond me. And it gets even murkier than that. Nassim/Brandon

.....has denied claims he had stolen the identity of a pupil at his former school.

James Brandon, who was called Andrew Nassim until two years ago, said he had changed his name by deed poll to make it easier for him to report from Arabic countries.

A pupil named James Brandon had attended Westminster public school in London, where the freelance reporter was educated.

Yesterday, the journalist denied he had appropriated his name from the former pupil and said the similarity was "entirely coincidental".

The whole case about his name and descent first came to the fore when Nassim was kidnapped by islamist militiamen in Iraq in 2004. He was intially beaten, but the hostage drama had a strange ending:

The Iraqi militants who took Brandon captive had threatened to kill him unless US forces pulled out of Najaf, the scene of bitter fighting for a week.

But hopes for his release rose when Sheikh Salah al Obeidi, a spokesman for Al-Sadr in Baghdad, condemned the kidnapping and said: "I will do my best to end this unacceptable problem."

He added: "We do not accept such actions. Journalists are our brothers, our friends, and they reflect our opinions and they convey our voices to all of the world."

Indeed, Nassim/Brandon had been reporting on how the jihadist militiatmen of Moqtada al-Sadr were being received favorably by the local population. Even weirder was his reaction once freed, after being shot at, subjected to beatings and mock executions:

Sporting a black eye, he said: "Initially I was treated roughly, but once they knew I was a journalist I was treated very well and I want to say thank you to the people who kidnapped me."

Stockholm syndrome? I dont know.

All I know is that James Brandon/Andrew Nassim is lying in his article, and that he has a very strange pre-history in reporting.

UPDATE:

More on Nassims background:

Brandon would have been an ideal recruit. London-born, and with a first class honours in history from the University of York, he also studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University.

At the SOAS he majored in "modern trends in political Islam" and wrote a dissertation on "Islamic fundamentalism and nationalism in the contemporary Middle East".

He spent four months between the universities working on a newspaper in Yemen. As both a reporter and a sub-editor on the Yemen Times, a weekly English language newspaper in Sana'a, he reported mainly on the oil industry, and used the time to master Arabic.

I havent been able to trace the source for this story posted on a discussion forum:

As the journalist was last night handed over to British diplomats, the unusual route he had taken to get to Iraq in the first place was becoming clear. The son of an Egyptian-born businessman, Mr Brandon has no formal training in journalism and until last summer was a student at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. He had graduated from York University with a first class history degree. His thesis for his master's degree was: "Islamic fundamentalism and nationalism in the contemporary Middle East."

After spending a summer two years ago working for an English-language newspaper in Yemen, he decided to travel to Baghdad, where he worked on a magazine before joining a growing coterie of freelance reporters. The Briton specialised in business reporting but also wrote news stories for British papers including The Independent, The Scotsman and The Sunday Telegraph.

David Enders, Mr Brandon's former editor on the Baghdad Bulletin, a fortnightly magazine founded after the fall of Saddam Hussein, described him as a "very quiet" and private person with rudimentary spoken Arabic. But the rookie reporter, who attended a leading public school, Westminster, apparently coped well in the dangerous environment of post-war Iraq. While on the Bulletin, before it folded in September last year, he wrote articles from Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, and from the town of Hillah, at a time when foreigners were becoming targets for attack. ..

Friends described the journalist as being cagey about his private life. He did not speak much about his Arab heritage, although he told friends that his father, Ramsay Nassim, was Egyptian and lived in Dubai after divorcing his mother, Hilary. In 2002, he changed his name by deed poll from Andrew Nassim to his current name.

Henrik

18 Comments:

Blogger Heloise said...

Excellent intestigative reporting, Viking Observer! I've bookmarked this piece.

The Christian Science Monitor is just another msm tool for the jihad.

9:54 AM  
Blogger heather said...

The duplicity of the Islamists knows no end. In their worldview, the end always justifies any means. Thanks for an excellent, and very eye-opening post.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Henrik said...

@ Heloise:

Im not ready to write off the Christian Science Monitor - their web of correspondents often brings details to the fore that no other media get.

In this case, I think its a question of a correspondent gone bad. And, lets face it: how many media have editors who know anything about Denmark, its language and politics?

I have sent the paper a mail telling about the tainted article. We will see how they react. So far, all I have gotten is an out of office reply.

Henrik

12:21 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"taqiyya-r-us"

the joy of islam,
is that it on the search for Truth
(yes,with a capital T)
islam is not even a rest stop along the highway.

conscientious blogging
is like gold
in a world full of dis-information.

keep it up!

9:52 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Great work! We linked to it on The American Thinker.

7:52 AM  
Blogger floridacracker said...

I got a reply from CSM this morning:
We have printed a correction on the mistranslation of the DPP slogan in
the
Monday edition of the paper and on the Monitor web site.

Monitor editors have also spoken directly with Danish analyst Bjorn
Moller
about the claims made in the Viking-Observer blog you cited. Mr. Moller
has
read the Monitor story and agrees that he said that the Danish People's
Party is behind the government attempts to stabilize Denmark's growing
Muslim community. The quotes are accurate. But Mr. Moller says he was
not
the source of the 10 percent figure. It was mistakenly attributed it to
him.
It should have been credited to a government report: "Population
Development
2001-2021' issued in 2002 by the "Think Tank on Integration in Denmark"
which is part of the Danish Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and
Integration
Affairs.

Thanks for your interest,

David C Scott
World editor

6:36 AM  
Blogger aelfheld said...

I received the same response from Mr. Scott to a letter I wrote regarding the article. No mention of 'Brandon' though.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Henrik said...

@Donnah and aelfeld

1) Wierd, that they replied to your mails, and chose not to reply to mine. Maybe I should have thrown in a link to Viking Observer. Oh well.

2) Does anyone of you have a link to the correction (it its online, that is)?

3) As you say there is no mention of "Brandon". Then there is the report, that the CSM attributes the "10%-cap-on-moslems" figure.

That is an outright lie again.

The report is a simple population projection based on current trends, with 4 alternatives that play around with definitions as to what a "Dane", "Immigrant" and "Decendant" is.

There is absolutely nothing about capping any population group in it.

There is absolutely nothing about moslems in the report, either, and there is an easy explanation for that: the state is barred by law from registering people based on religion.

If you want to read the report and see for yourself, the English summary is here:
http://www.inm.dk/publikationer/engelske_publikationer/population/Befolkning.pdf

The full Danish report is here:
http://www.inm.dk/publikationer/Befolkningsudvikling/hele.pdf

Im blogging this later today.

Henrik

7:16 AM  
Blogger AlicetheCurious said...

I would not exactly call this "excellent investigative reporting" -- full of innuendo that Brandon is a secret jihadist, you (intentionally?) neglect a very important bit of information: James Brandon's Egyptian great-grandfather -- his only link to Egypt, was a member of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority. A group hardly likely to promote Islamic fundamentalism or "jihad".

Brandon's late grandfather, Alfred Nassim, happened to be a relative of mine. James' mother, grandmother and great-grandmother on his father's side were all British.

Maybe to those who don't know any better, your little smear piece is "excellent investigative reporting"; in view of your serious omissions and distortions, I would call it a biased and totally unprofessional piece of possibly racist hate-mongering.

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