Tuesday, January 27, 2009
One of the givens over the past seven years is the absolute avoidance of the word terrorist by the major wire services when associated with anything Islamic. Generally the term militant, extremist, activist or some other mild euphemism is used. Yet in the past two days there have been two articles that break this rule. The first is an AP article that ran in over 600 papers over the weekend about a 70s terrorist Khalid al-Jawary who has now served his prison term, and is about to be released. NEW YORK (AP) — In 1973, a young terrorist named Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary entered the United States and quickly began plotting an audacious attack in New York City. He built three powerful bombs — bombs powerful enough to kill, maim and destroy — and put them in rental cars scattered around town, near Israeli targets. It traces his travels and possible association with Black September, Yasser Arafat’s notorious terrorist organization. It concludes with an ominous prediction that he will continue his tradecraft when freed. …Once he's released, Al-Jawary will be handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and held until his deportation.It remains unclear where he'll go, largely because Al-Jawary's true identity remains in question — even to this day.Those who helped put Al-Jawary behind bars believe he'll pick up where he left off. The second article by AFP ran on France’s Channel 24 on January 26. It is a major break with AFP’s policy in that it not only brands Hamas as a terrorist organization, but it quotes an EU official who puts at least a portion of the blame on Hamas. A senior EU official touring Gaza on Monday blasted the "abominable" destruction in the enclave and said its "terrorist" Hamas rulers bear overwhelming responsibility for the war. "It is abominable, indescribable," Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, told reporters in Gaza after touring some of the worst-hit places of Israel's deadly 22-day assault on the territory. "At this time we have to also recall the overwhelming responsibility of Hamas," he said. "I intentionally say this here -- Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such." Somehow it is hard to believe this change in their style books and attitudes coming so close to Obama’s inauguration is totally coincidental. Where the wire services scrupulously avoided giving Bush cover in his aggressive pursuit of terrorism, they seem more than willing to change the rules for Obama. It is to be expected.