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.