Thursday, April 13, 2006

Discrediting the Source

 
Dymphna's post last night about the London tube bombings (and the possibility of a failed fifth bomb) gave several commenters indigestion because of her citation of the BNP as a source.

The BNP (British Nationalist Party) is a white supremacist group that ought to give anyone pause. Browse the websites that link to it for a while, and you get the idea that they’re the “political wing” of the skinheads and Paki-bashers.

But does that mean that their information is no good, and should be disregarded?

Consider the following:

  • Hitler said that the Communists were a threat. Was he wrong?
  • George Wallace said, “There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.” Well, is there?
  • Joe McCarthy was an alcoholic and a demagogue who used false evidence to discredit someone. Does that mean that the US government was not infiltrated at all levels by Communists?
  • Enoch Powell was a racist and a white supremacist. In his famous 1968 speech, he said:

    In 15 or 20 years, on present trends, there will be in this country three and a half million Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants… Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population… Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population.
    Was he wrong?
  • Bill Clinton wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and considered Iraq to be a threat to the national security of the United States. Was that true?

Discrediting the source of an assertion is a way to dismiss the assertion with arguing its substance.

In this particular case, I have no opinion. I’m not well-versed in current domestic counterintelligence in the UK, and thus am not qualified to offer one.

It’s true that the BNP has a vested interest in promoting this particular meme, since it dovetails nicely with their cause. But a lot of organizations – from the British government through all the major media – have a vested interest in promoting the opposite meme. “There are no grand Al Qaeda conspiracies; nothing to see here; everyone go back to sleep.”

In fact, it’s a good thing that different groups have a vested interest in promoting various pieces of information; that’s what provides the energy and resources to make the information available.

This blog has a vested interest in finding and displaying evidence for the danger of radical Islam. The MSM, various government agencies, the Democratic Party, CAIR, the ACLU, and a large cohort of leftist NGOs all have a vested interest in showing that there is no such danger.

Obviously, it’s not an even match.

The important thing about any item of information is whether it is credible. Multiple independent sources which confirm it would help make it credible – so can any of our British readers offer alternative sources for the “fifth bomb” meme?

This is a blog, not a newspaper, and it will occasionally present material which is thinly sourced. But a blog’s advantage is the distributed intelligence that goes along with it. If commenters supply further credible material to support or discredit this story, we will post it.

Even if Ramsey Clark is the source.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

This blog has a vested interest in finding and displaying evidence for the danger of radical Islam.

Why do you write "radical Islam", instead of just "Islam"?

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

I'd take issue with the description of the BNP as a white supremacist group - it puts them in the same basket as the KKK or David Duke. Thats not quite true. True, in the past they were somewhat shady and anti-semitic (the "skinhead political wing" would be applied more correctly to Combat 18 or the National Front), but they have gone a long way to becoming legitimate with Nick Griffith leading - no more pernicious than the Freedom Partys of Jorg Haider. And despite the abuse heaped on the Freedom Party, Austria has hardly descended into fascism.

Baron Bodissey said...

fellow peacekeeper --

You're right; compared with the National Front they're mild. And they're not raving lunatics.

But is it still true that only white people are allowed to join the BNP? That's what made me use the term "white supremacist".

El Jefe Maximo said...

I'd probably disagree with Governor Wallace's characterization of Democrats and Republicans...true then, perhaps, but assuredly, no longer.

I wonder, also, if you are being quite fair to Enoch Powell. Arguibly, Mr. Powell can be (and has been) characterized as "racist" ...but this would apply to many or most pre-modern era politicans, who were all products of their background, their education, their times. Makes me wonder if tagging them with the modern term is quite cricket.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Point taken Baron, you are right :

Membership of the British National Party http://www.bnp.org.uk/shopping/membership.htm :

Party is open to those of British or kindred European ethnic descent. While we welcome contact and co-operation with nationalists and patriots of other races, and with the many non-whites who also oppose enforced multi-racialism, we ask them to respect our right to an organisation of our own, for our own, as we respect and applaud their measures to organise themselves in like fashion.

However, white supremacism is a rather negatively charged term, and IMHO a still shade or two too extreme in portraying the BNP, thats all.

Baron Bodissey said...

Jefe,

I lived in England during Powell's heyday, and I've read up on his speeches and writings recently. You can find quotes from him about "the danger of the Negro" or somesuch in quite a few places, including the "rivers of blood" speech.

Strangely enough, it was the blacks (African and Caribbean) he was worried about, and not the Pakistanis and Arabs. He really did seem to have a special obsession with blacks.

But he was an educated, cultured, and humane man, too. A very odd mixture.

Baron Bodissey said...

As for George Wallace -- if you exclude national security issues (a big "if", I admit), he was right then, and he's right now.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Baron...

Okay, you've some experience with Powell, so I'll defer to your opinion on that subject.

As for Governor Wallace and dimes, the national security thing is indeed a big "if" and what I had in mind.

Baron Bodissey said...

Jefe --

Yes, you're right. That's why I won't vote for a Democrat for national office if my life depends on it, because my life does depend on it.

And you're also correct that Wallace was right in 1968 even if he wouldn't be now. Back then most Democrats still believed in a strong defense, even if they did like the UN more than the Republicans did. But now... they're like a combination of the Wobblies and America First when it comes to international affairs.

Zwergele said...

Back to the issue of the credibility of sources: even a clock that is not running is right twice a day. That's not what I call good performance.

I automatically discount and usually ignore information that comes from racists and nutcases. Lyndon La Rouche, Debka, the Kos Kids, Ted Rall, Chomsky...not reliable. Loons.

Yes, in the final analysis, an argument should be judged only on its merit. So you are right. But....I don't plan to give up my habit of considering the source! When CBS's Mad Mary Mapes tells me that Bush is AWOL, or CNN tells me that the US military assassinates journalists, I don't forget those transgressions, and they do affect my future behavior. "Fool me once, shame on you...." I don't stick around to be fooled a second time. That may not be fastidiously logical of me, but it's human nature to trust those who have a good track record and avoid those who have a record of deceit.

There IS another side to the coin. I would not quote racists who agree with some of what you say, if I were you. But it's your weblog, and your call!

Baron Bodissey said...

Zwergele --

Well... I didn't quote the BNP, Dymphna did. I might have been a little more hesitant to use them as a source.

But she's not as familiar with them as I am, and I wasn't at home to advise her! So it was her call.

That said, don't you think the story itself is interesting? I sure would like to find another source for it.

fluffy said...

I was reading "Was 7/7 a Dud?" last night at work. When I tried to follow the link to the BNP's site I was blocked by the proxy because it was "Hate Speech, Politics/Opinion".

When I got home, I went to their site and read about 4 articles. I got the impression that they certainly are hard right, but I didn't see any overt racism.

From an article titled "What About Our History?"

"Instead we are invited to click on links to Leicester Resource Centre for Multicultural Education; Ragamuffin books - books that present a positive cultural image and an awareness of different cultures' historical roots; SALIDAA – the South Asian literature, dance and arts group; The Islamic Foundation Online Bookshop and the Tutor-Direct website offering us “Provision of Black history workshops for teachers, resource boxes on literature and history and texts and art prints”."

This is the sharpest comment:

"This attempt to indoctrinate our children with multicultural nonsense is the work of an arch enemy of Britain and the British people, The Runnymede Trust. This insidious body of white leftist traitors and minority accusers acts to promote, direct and shape the future of “multi-ethnic” Britain."

I'm just not feeling the hate here

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

In any case its a damn good conspiracy theory - it explains things otherwise unexplicable without unduly straining credulity. Its credible, even if the messenger is deemed unworthy the story is indeed worth checking.

If the blogosphere starts self-censoring itself because of fear of being tangentially smeared by association with PC unapproved sources, then we really are f***ed. As fluffy points out, also on other issues the BNP makes more sense than mainstream political parties rather too much of the time.

jrdroll said...

John Derbyshire is not someone I agree with often but consider this:
"Same thing for my attraction to US populism. There are so many things the elites don't want us to know, don't want us to talk about. It's stifling. A lot of political conversation in the West resembles tea and cucumber sandwiches at the Vicarage. I chafe at that, and turn with relief to a Bill O'Reilly, a Lou Dobbs, a Michael Savage. (I've been on Michael's show.) And in the larger political realm, if we don't try to speak the truth to each other, and discuss everything openly and frankly, we end up with wrong policies and problems that could have been averted, as we now see with illegal immigration. Now the BNP's policies are wrong too; but at least they are talking about things that need talking about, things the big political parties would prefer swept under the carpet. There is more than one road to perdition.

The strongest political emotions I'm aware of in myself are (1) an aversion to being pushed around by wealthy, snobbish, entrenched elites, and (2) a detestation of cant, lying, and sentimentality (all the same thing, really). The whole PC/MultiCulti/"Compassionate conservatism" complex plays right into both emotions. One of the things I love about America (only one) is that there is much less of (1) over here -- I mean, it's harder for well-padded elites to push ordinary people around in the USA. There used to be more cant and public lying here, because of the race issue, but I think the US & UK are about equal there now. Anyway, both things need constant vigilance and periodic protesting. That's the job of populists: not to overthrow the Establishment -- I don't believe that can happen in an Anglo-Saxon country, and don't wish it to -- but to keep the Establishment on the strait & narrow. For that, I like them. Not celebrate, just like."
http://corner.nationalreview.com/06_04_09_corner-archive.asp#094949

ScottSA said...

Zwergele makes a couple of conceptual errors here. First, ad hominem is a fallacious argument style both the left and right use with abandon..."he beats his wife, therefore he knows nothing about [insert irrelevant topic]", or in this case: "BNP is white supremacist, therefore all its information is suspect."

Neither of course holds true, and both are nonsequitous. Zwergele seems to realize this halfway down his/her post when s/he cites previous misinformation from other sources as sufficient reason to disregard subsequent information. This is an entirely different argument. If BNP has been guilty in the past of falsifying hard data and presenting it as truth (as opposed to presenting unpalatable opinions), then that IS in fact a reason to tread warily with subsequent presentations of hard data.

Its valid to consider the source of hard data, but the source should be considered in relation to its hard data merit, not its opinion. If Hamas announces that all Jews are rodents, I will discount all further hard data it presents, because clearly Jews are not rodents. On the other hand, if Hamas announces that its opinion Jews are all rodents, I will discount its opinion, but I cannot reasonably use its opinion to discredit any facts it may present.

friendlysaviour said...

Here in Britain, there are no mainstream Parties that speak out for white people.
That means the few Europeans that reside here, the British, the Scottish, the Welsh and many Irish. As descendants of the longest settled folk that have come to live on this Island, our blood is a mix of Celtic, Roman, Saxon, other Germanic, Viking including Dane and other Scandinavians, Norman (latter day Viking once removed) with a large spattering of Jewish from various sources, many Europian, and re-immigrees returned from colonial lands such as Canada, and various small numbers of other people.
Along with these we have descendants of the Africas, some who have been here generations and many newer immigrants from African war zones.
Many of the Black folk are of Carribean origin.
Much of all this ""indigenous"" population is of Judeo-Christian background and carry the same basic principals of life and respect for others.
There are also very well integrated Sikhs and Hindus along with a few of other regions.
There are also just a few Moslems from earlier last Century.

Most of the Muslim population said to be about 2% ie; 3 or 4 million, arrived from Pakistan and Bangladesh over the last 30/40 years.
This figure has been swollen by an indeterminate number of un-checked and often illegal aliens of Muslim persuasion.
Some believe there are perhaps more than five million Muslims in Britain now.
For all but the last maybe 10 years, this Muslim population has been happy to enjoy the freedoms of work and opportunity offered by Britains open society. Many have become very rich and prosperous, holding vast quantities of property and inhabiting large parts of many Cities.
Enoch Powell was right in some of his predictions.

Before 9/11, it was very rare to see a muslim woman wearing even the scarf, let alone a hijab, and certainly not the burkah.
I recall on the days of 9/11, the Streets were empty of moslims. Only after the very few incidents of minor attacks on a few mosques, and after the politicians had come out and said that islam was "a religion of peace" and tried to seperate the "radicals" from the "moderate Moslims" did they start to reappear out of the woodwork.
They genuinely felt that they had been rumbled and expected the British to avenge the terrorism of 9/11.
When no such revenge took place and within a few months, it was obvious they had decided that we were "pussycats" and then the burkas and hijabs came out and Moslims started to "strut their stuff" and become demanding and aggressively anti- British, turning political correctness against us as a weapon. The PC brigades saw their chance and jumped on the bandwagon to voice ther anti-patriotic lies.
Islamophobia was conjured from nowhere as a desease with which to lable all those who may resist the tide of submission to the onslaught of islam.
The Chuch of England, fearful of it's stock of important properties, bent over further than it all ready had and produced a new breed of "inter-faithers" determined to prove the impossible and reconcile both the Gays and the Women-Clergy brigades of their ranks, whilst foisting the notion of islams' supposed compatibility with the modern Church.
Now the calls of the Moslims are growing louder by the day.
If there are only a few percent of Moslims, why do they get the lions share of publicity and special allowances?
The labour government plays a dangerous game of International oil politics whilst cosying up to the home-grown moslims.
The general population of Britain has been diverted from political ideas towards dreams of property ownership and the usual icons of a materialist society.
No real effort is underway to diminish our dependence on oil and so the government supplicates itself before islam at an alarming frequency.

The BNP are the only party in Britain with an overtly anti-moslim stance.
Not that they are anti-moslim in their own lands, more like anti-moslim supremacy within Britain.
The BNP have disposed of the anti-Semitism of the National Front, and now regard, generally, Israel as an allie in the fight against the rampant moslim jihad.
They are every bit as aware of the threat Mahammedenism is to the West, as any fellow blogger here or elsewhere. Furthermore, they are the only advocates of a policy that will reduce the impact of Islam on the British way of life.
There are among them, die-hards who may not respect any "foreigners" but as time has moved on and in the modern world of this century with it's Global entanglement of cultures, these people are of the minority, even in the BNP.
What the BNP represents to the Left, to Labour politicians, to the Liberal elites, to the Conservative party, trying to claw it's way back to power,...is this.
They are Patriots.
Patriotism has been branded as a dirty word, but Patriots are the only salvation for Europe in the fight for retention of It's identity.
An identity that the Euro-hierarchy are desperately trying to bury.
Long live the Patriot.
The BNP is a transforming Organisation, and may represent the only chance of keeping intact any remnant of our British values.
That is why the BNP is so reviled.
It is because they are so feared.
It is because they represent the only firm resistance to assimilation of the British into the mire of European MegaState that will inevitably fall in large measure to the Islamic threat.
Do not believe all you hear about the BNP.
For a Party to be so hated by Moslims, it must say something we should listen to.
For the leader of that Party to risk prison for saying that "Islam is a vile and hateful religion," must give hope that there are some out there willing to do more than just write about the problems we face.
(I in no way wish to demean the immense and liberating force of the writer and artist)
Even were the BNP to be all violent thugs, which they certainly are not, then just remember, when the moslim jihadist with weapons, wants to cut your throat, is it the Archbishop of Canterbury with his weasel-words and academic beard, that is going to defend you?
Or is it more likely a skinhead with a bit of muscle, who at least instinctively understands what must be done to resist the advance of that most hideous of futures,... the rise of Sharia and Dar al Islam on the shore of Britain and Europe?
Long live the true Patriots, I don't care if they are the BNP.

snowpea said...

This is an unpleasant dilemma that many of us may face at some point down the road: if the only serious political force advocating some vitally important measure, or offering us physical protection, also happens to be racist or otherwise fundamentally repugnant, at what point do we nevertheless support or cooperate with it as a lesser evil? (Trying to reform it from within, perhaps.)

I don't know whether the BNP is racist or not. One worrying thing about their website when I went there a while ago was its apparent preference for paganism over Christianity. Also, there was a BNP public Yahoo discussion group whose tone was rather less civilized than their website. On the other hand Nick Griffin seems to have considerable personal stature by comparison with the bunch of sleazy mediocrities who now seem to dominate mainstream British politics. I got the impression that some of their spokesmen may be not very well educated people who have rightly decided to cease deferring to the corrupted educated elites and so now have to come up with moral ideas of their own making.

ScottSA said...

snowpea said:
"This is an unpleasant dilemma that many of us may face at some point down the road: if the only serious political force advocating some vitally important measure, or offering us physical protection, also happens to be racist or otherwise fundamentally repugnant, at what point do we nevertheless support or cooperate with it as a lesser evil?"

I defer to Churchill and his oft quoted suggestion that he would, if Hitler invaded Hell, make at least a favorable mention of the Devil in the House of Commons.

ik said...

bld - awesome write up - I have no experience of Britain or BNP so no comment on that one - but every single word of what you wrote resonates.

ik said...

bld's write up is _THE_ most accurate description of muslim behaviour - you do not need a PhD - forget all the books by Spencer,Bostom et. al - if you understand this one point you can somehow manage to live with Islam in your society. - they have to be kept "in control". - and _YES_ you _WILL_ need a political party which is hostile to Muslims to achieve that. Sorry if I offended anyone but this is from experience.

Jason_Pappas said...

I don’t vet every site I link to—who has the time? Of course, I prefer to link to sites that have consistently high quality info or just an honest and decent attempt at furthering the debate. But every now and then I link to a site that is reasonable on one issue and then I discover down the line that they go off the deep end on another issue. That’s the internet. I link to them a little less and choose other sources if I can. Quite frankly, I don’t take links as the linkers endorsement of the other guy’s total position.

British National Party member said...

The BNP aint all that its cracked up to be.


Its much better than that.