British Foreign Office Deals with the Devil Again

abu-qatada.jpgThe Bristish foreign office is again appealing to a radical Cleric aligned with Al Qaida, and wanted in Jordan to gain the release of a BBC reporter held hostage by terrorists in Palestine. If they didn’t learn from their last dealing with the devil, Abu Qatada, then I question their sanity.. From BreitBart:

 A radical cleric linked to al Qaida has been asked to appeal for the release of kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston, the Government revealed.
Foreign Office officials have held talks with lawyers for Abu Qatada, who is currently in custody in the UK fighting extradition.
The disclosure came as vigils around the world were held to mark Mr Johnston’s 45th birthday, more than two months after he was seized at gunpoint in Gaza City.
Numerous appeals have since been made for the Gaza correspondent’s safe return, and on Thursday his family issued birthday greetings and messages with several other high profile figures including Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter.
Qatada, who is described as a “key figure” in al Qaida, has reportedly offered to travel to Gaza with a BBC delegation in a bid to contact Mr Johnston’s captors.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We have been in discussions with Abu Qatada’s lawyer to see whether he would be willing to make a humanitarian appeal for Alan Johnston’s safe release.”
Qatada previously made an appeal for the release of British hostage Ken Bigley, who was subsequently murdered by his captors.

I feel for the family of Alan Johnston, and I pity the man.

Sometimes however I do question the value of journalists in the current war.  The well-known agit-prop pandering willfully eaten by the press over the years sometimes makes them a worse enemy than Al Qaida. The Palestinian fauxtography comes to mind, along with these incidents in Afghanistan. 

The second story is even more illustrative of the nearly impossible task faced by the Coalition — and the way the media make it even more difficult. In the last week of October, British and Canadian troops fighting the Taliban in Kandahar province were attacked near the Sperwan Ghar patrol base. As night fell on October 24, the NATO troops called in close air support against Taliban positions. According to local chiefs, a large number of civilians were killed in the bombing. Over the next couple of days the claims of civilian fatalities ranged from 20 to 200 — a telling discrepancy, and one that probably reflects the tendency of predominantly oral cultures like that of rural Afghanistan to foster rumor and exaggeration. ISAF spokesmen admitted that, of an estimated total 70 fatalities, some civilians might have been killed in the strike out (four wounded civilians were taken to Kandahar airbase for treatment). They doubted the “at least 89” number quoted by most media outlets, which was usually followed by the point that this was the largest number of civilian deaths in a single incident since 2002.As NATO officers privately complained, no one could be sure of the truth in the immediate aftermath of the air strike. Because of the Muslim practice of burying the dead within 24 hours, there are often no bodies to be found in incidents like this. Moreover it is the standard operating procedure of the Taliban to “sanitize” or remove weapons from the corpses of any slain or wounded members they don’t take away — so you can be sure that a civilian fatality really is a civilian only if the corpse is that of a small child or a woman.A knowledgeable, thoughtful, and clear-eyed reporter might also consider that local civilians in areas dominated by the Taliban almost always claim that there are no Taliban, and have never been any Taliban, in their area. They make this claim out of either fear or loyalty. During fierce fighting in September in the same Panjwayi area, the local elders also claimed, absurdly, that there were no Taliban around, even though more than 500 of them were killed in pitched battles there and the area is at the center of the movement’s heartland.

So should the UK foreign office deal with the devil for return of a journalist? All human life has value so I support them trying what they can. That doesn’t help me like the willful tools who call themselves journalists any better however.