BBC selected ‘expert opinions’ and transparency

As we know, the BBC claims that:

“A member of the audience who watches, listens and reads the full range of our output should be coherently and cogently informed about events in Israel and the occupied territories, and should better understand the complex forces that are at work.”

Of course the accuracy and impartiality of that output, including the material on the BBC website, depends to no small extent upon the BBC’s choice of sources – in particular when it quotes ‘expert opinions’. 

Many readers will probably have heard of the think tank ‘Conflicts Forum’ which was established in 2004 by Mark Perry (who later left) and Alistair Crooke – a former MI6 operative who reportedly got too close to Hamas for the comfort of his employers. 

Conflicts Forum’s Board of Advisors used to be graced by Hamas supporter and suicide bombing fan Azzam Tamimi and former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg. Currently on its board are, among others, former Mavi Marmara passenger Ismail Patel of Friends of Al Aqsa, Global March to Jerusalem and Airflotilla endorser Ronnie Kasrils and Hillary Mann-Leverett

Among the contributors to Conflicts Forum is Khaled Amayreh who – as the CST has pointed out – has a dismal record of antisemitism. Conflicts Forum has produced a periodical entitled Cultures of Resistancethe first volume of which at least was in part financed by the UK registered charity the JA Clark Charitable Trust, which made donations to Conflicts Forum in 20072008, 2009 and 2011 at least. A perhaps former trustee (the entries on the Charity Commission website are not up to date and the website of the charity itself is not public), chair and founder of that charity – Tom Clark – also sits on the Conflicts Forum board.  Writing in the first volume of that periodical (p. 26) – alongside Massoud Shadjareh and Arzu Merali of the IHRC  – Clark stated: 

“There is a wide constituency in the West who want to know more and are confused and angry about what is happening in the Middle East. But whilst US/Israel have a strangle-hold on international media, little is revealed.”

Conflicts Forum’s projects coordinator Aisling Byrne reflected the organisation’s approach when she wrote in January 2012 on the subject of the uprising in Syria that:

“What we are seeing in Syria is a deliberate and calculated campaign to bring down the Assad government so as to replace it with a regime ‘more compatible’ with US interests in the region.”

Broadly speaking, Conflicts Forum is a Western-sounding mouthpiece for the Iranian regime and its various client militias such as Hamas and Hizballah, as well as Iranian allies such as the Assad regime. 

In 2007, with EU funding, Conflicts Forum produced a report (now strangely absent from the internet) detailing strategies to rebrand the proscribed terrorist groups Hamas and Hizbollah in the West as proponents of “social justice” and specifically promoting “Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s values, philosophy and wider political and social programmes”. 

“We need to clarify and explain that Islamist movements are political and social movements working on social and political justice,” the report explains, “and are leading the resistance to the US/Western recolonisation project with its network of client states and so-called ‘moderates’.” It claims “the progressive space of social movements [in the West] is empty” and asks, “how the West can learn from the values and the notion of society that Hezbollah and Hamas have at the centre of their philosophy?”

Of course, access to the mainstream media dovetails with the Conflicts Forum strategy very well, but one would expect members of the media organisations themselves to be aware of the organisation’s background and aims before using quotes from its officials. 

An article going under the title “Hezbollah: Terrorist organisation or liberation movement?“, dated October 2011 and written by Owen Bennett-Jones (a version of which was also broadcast on BBC radio at the time), still comes up on the BBC website in a search there for information on the Iranian backed terror organization. Among others, that article features a quote from Conflicts Forum’s Alistair Crooke. 

“Others, such as Alistair Crooke, disagree. A former British intelligence agent, he now runs a think tank in Beirut through which he has frequent contact with Hezbollah. “They are a resistance movement,” he says. “They are a liberation movement.” “

Of course Bennett-Jones provides no information for his readers as to Crooke’s real background (or even the name of his organization) and he certainly does not inform them that the entire raison d’etre of Crooke’s think tank is to turn that terrorist organization into something more palatable to Western minds. 

Bennett-Jones also quotes Nicholas Noe, describing him as someone who “has compiled the collected speeches and interviews of the Hezbollah leader”.  An intermittent Guardian contributor and founder and editor-in-chief of Mideastwire (which includes Conflicts Forum on its sidebar), Noe is also renowned for his wrapping of the Hizballah message in a form more persuasive to Western audiences. 

What Bennett-Jones fails to inform his own readers is that Noe’s organization also runs Arabic language courses, a prime selling point of which is the opportunity to rub shoulders with Hamas and Hizballah. 

 “When Amtissal signed up to learn Arabic in Beirut, she was in for a bonus: class trips to the offices of Hezbollah and Hamas, both classified as terrorist organizations by her native America.

“It was an amazing experience,” the U.S. media studies graduate told AFP. “We saw the difference between television and reality.”

For 21-year-old Andrew Waller, the Beirut Exchange was a golden opportunity to hear the voices of groups he had only read about.

“Meeting Hezbollah was an experience I really treasure,” said Waller, an economics student at the University of Exeter in Britain.”

The readers of this BBC article should surely be entitled to know that the ‘analysis’ they are reading is provided by someone with commercial interests which rely upon remaining in the good books of Iranian proxy terrorist organisations. 

When the BBC filters information and analysis for distribution to its audiences it is essentially shaping the subsequent opinions formed on the basis of that knowledge. When it decides to use sources commercially and/or ideologically linked to the very organization about which it is supposed to be providing information – especially when it does so without disclosing those relationships – it cannot be said to be providing objective, accurate and impartial information for the purpose of enhancing its audiences understanding of “complex issues”. Instead, the BBC becomes a partner in a PR campaign run by terrorist sympathisers. 

26 comments on “BBC selected ‘expert opinions’ and transparency

  1. Do you think it’s coincidence that Hezbellah, Hamas, the Iranian Revolutionary Gaurd as well a other Arab militaries march and salute like Nazis?

    • Yes interesting isn’t it?
      They must be a thoroughly bad bunch by all accounts.
      Of course what they all have in common is that they are not intimidated by the cowards and gangsters who direct affairs in Israel.
      Hizbollah has pride of place amongst them as being the only military organisation in the Middle east which has inflicted defeat on the bravest Defence force in the Universe. Quite an achievement!

      • Thankyou! The mask you claim, that of an objective protector of Palestinian rights has slipped. There is anger and bias in your reply.

        • EthanP
          You people are demented.
          The BBC is funded by the British people, we’ve been fed lie after lie and propaganda non stop in support of your cult, we no longer wished to be dictated to by a hostile alien element within our society, who seeks not to be our friend but our masters.

          History is repeating itself, in spite of the BBC’s bias toward the nation wrecking cult, all because you’ve never learnt a damn thing from it.

          • To all the loyal readers of BBC Watch. The pride I take in knowing I have angered the Mike Daniels of the world is something I hope you share with me. He is beneath comment.

          • …we no longer wished to be dictated to by a hostile alien element within our society, who seeks not to be our friend but our masters.
            Only a Muslim doing his bit for Taqiyya could come out with shit like that.

            We know EXACTLY who that real hostile element within our society who seek to be our masters are.

            Even sounds like he got it direct from his Imam.

          • You may well want to deflect the truth by claiming it is racism, but when people behave like shit, and it is identified as such, this is what we term

            The biggest racists on this planet are Muslims. Remind me again just who the pigs and apes are?

          • I suppose you can have some claim to being an “expert” on racism.One just has to look at the goings-on in South Tel Aviv and the welcome given to asylum -seekers there. As well as being expert in all things pertaining to racism you may also understand that any colonial enterprise is inherently racist but,I doubt it!


          • What Palestinian rights? You claim that there is no such thing as a Palestinian People. Their status is that of a captive cheap labour market (literally) and a captive market for Israeli goods.You treat them like cockroaches and drag their children to prison in chains. In fact cockroaches get a better deal.  Palestinian Rights? What a joke! Pure baloney!


        • I can’t protect Palestinian rights as you have the gun in your hand which denies their very existence as a people. You and your guns would like to drive them into the sea or across the Jordan.  And yet all we hear from the man with the gun is that nobody recognises his existence and he is the real victim of this sorry episode!


          • This will be my last response to you, ever. In order to have a conversation both parties must be willing to listen to what the other is saying. It’s obvious you and I cannot do this. I leave to other BBC Watch readers to decide which of us is at fault.
            Addressing you further is just a waste of my time. You display a hatred that cannot be reasoned with.

          • Ironic that all you can do is spew forth a stream of abuse without addressing the points I have raised and throw your hands in the air when it doesn’t seem to work!


      • No, what they have in common is that they are created by a God who has made them to hate everything else that he has created. Heaven is having virgins and serving boys so they can order them around in the hereafter.
        This is the best their ‘vision’ afford them.
        This is their reality and they know it’s true because their Imam told them so.
        God told them that the Imam’s words must be obeyed, because the Imam told them that too.

        Sprattyville = Sprout Evil?

  2. The BBC and transparency. Don’t make Duvidl laugh. The BBC is as opaque as an ocular cataract, as demonstrated today in the publication of 1,000 pages of BBC transcriptions relating to The Pollard Review. This review was internally commissioned by the BBC Trust to investigate the spiking of a BBC “Newsnight” programme last year about the child sexual abuse and rape activities of the late Sir Jimmy Savile. Naturally for the BBC, the crucial ninety one pages of these records were “redacted” i.e. blacked out with a felt tip pen.

    Meanwhile, nobody at the BBC has been fired in what clearly appears to be a monumental cover-up of the late Sir Jimmy’s 54 years of child abuse while at the BBC, some of it in his personal paedo caravan parked on BBC premises. Roger Alton of The Times has just commented on this fiasco by calling the BBC on Sky News a “secret society.”

    Duvidl’s only hope for any future transparency is if various alleged BBC paedophiles and sex criminals due for trial this year either spill or leak the beans about who knew what in the upper echelons of beeboid management over 54 years. But, judging by the confident smiles on the faces of the beeboids and retired beeboids interviewed on TV today, Duvidl’s hope might well be in vain.

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