Terror Camp Reports lack Credibility

Recent weekend media reports have once again raised the ugly specter of potential terror attacks during the 2010 World Cup.

And as usual, the culprits singled out as “terror threats” are Muslims. They are local and foreign from countries such as Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Sweeping allegations with no evidence of any “smoking guns” –” a routine familiar to the US and Europe –” seems to unfortunately beset some in the media fraternity as acceptable practise. With no regard to the despicable practise of stereotyping and the ugly consequences resulting thereby such as Xenophobia and Islamophobia.

Malicious generalizations that fail to investigate the possibility of politically motivated agendas by individuals and groups as “sources” allied to the Israeli cause, adds to the perception that some media resort to sloppy journalism.

Invariably our experience has been that the loudest and most irrational voices that constantly demand that media function as their tool in pursuing so-called “Islamic terrorists” are closely linked to Israel and the US State Department. Indeed, the proliferation of right-wing think tanks that operate with access to unlimited funds from US/Israeli foundations and endowments are committed to get a buy-in from the rest of the world to their deliberate propaganda.

Sunday Times in the last fortnight became a purveyor of such contrived material with large banner headlines screaming, “Terror camps in SA are gearing up for World Cup”. If the journalists concerned had undertaken elementary probes to establish the credibility of the source and his political bias based on his advocacy of the “war on terror”, they would have found that the only named source, Ronald Sandee of Nine Eleven Finding Answers [NEFA] Foundation is known for producing heaps of so-called intelligence that borders on Islamophobia in defence of Israel.

His recent briefing to the US Congress, which forms the basis of these intemperate reports, is the latest manifestation of his scare mongering whereby in the absence of any credible evidence, he sketched a scenario of willful mayhem during the World Cup.

The allegations he makes, especially about “the existence of terror training camps” without identifying any is an indication that his poor research may have relied too heavily on earlier discredited claims regarding “Greenbushes” in the Eastern Cape.

Reports that his information from faceless sources within “several intelligence agencies” further reveal how many of these agencies such as the CIA and Mossad constantly collude to sustain threats of “Islamic terror”.

Again, if the Sunday Times had resorted to basic ethics it would have recognized the need to locate Sandee within a particular political prism that reveals his association with some of the most notorious Islamophobes at Herzliya’s annual anti-Islam bashing counter-terror conference during 2009 in Israel.

And by the way if the report claims that the existence of “operational militant training camps in several provinces in South Africa” and of “established terror strike cells” was “confirmed” by three anonymous sources with “direct or indirect access to active intelligence operations”, it certainly does not authenticate it. Neither is the Sunday Times able to verify that its own independent investigation led it to uncover the actual physical locations with pictures to corroborate it simply because it did not do so. Yet the scenario sketched is one of impending horror based entirely on hearsay!

The other failure on the part of the Sunday Times is complete and utter silence on the matter of El Al’s Shin Bet operations at OR Tambo airport. Despite confirmation that these Israeli secret service agents masquerade illegally as security for a commercial airline, carry arms licensed to the Israeli embassy and enjoy full diplomatic immunity, why has the paper not extended its one dimensional report to include a probe into this? Surely the fact that foreign intelligence agents render a key access point’s security vulnerable must be of paramount national interest, yet we are faced with total silence!