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.
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.