When is a Terrorist not a Terrorist?

I was in town today doing some shopping and decided to have lunch at “Al’s Plaice” on the Korte Nieuwendijk as I had not done that for a while.
I saw a copy of “The Amsterdam Times”, and English language free-paper, and saw the disturbing headline “Terrorists arrested in Spain have Dutch ties”. What disturbed me the most though was that the “terrorists” had only been arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist acts not convicted and the article continued to label to them as “terrorists”.
There is a certain level of journalistic professionalism that requires the use of the word “suspected”.
When Tim McVeigh was arrested for the Oklahoma bombing the media was quite careful to respect this professional tradition. Now it does not. After all McVeigh was a Christian and these “terrorists” are not. If they are not Christian then they do not seem to qualify for the same professional courtesy.
Another disturbing thing about the article is that the main person being described as a “terrorist” by both the reporter and the Spanish authorities sold a forged passport to the people planning the attack. A crime yes, but hardly terrorism.
If everyone who sold anything that was then used by a terrorist is to be considered a terrorist then we should criminally prosecute the company that supplied the rental van to Tim McVeigh.
Now if the passport forger was aware of the plot and forged the passport to knowingly aid the attack, then he can be held to account.
In the same way as if the company that supplied that rental van back in Oklahoma could be if they actively supported Tim McVeighs sick plot to attack a federal building.
But while all this is pending a trial the reporter should have used the professional courtesy afforded all accused by using the important word “suspected”.
Regardless of their religion or nationality.
I feel that the term “terrorist” is insidiously being expanded to include common criminals that just happen to also be Muslim.

One thought on “When is a Terrorist not a Terrorist?

  1. Seb says:

    Another disturbing trend is the prisoners currently being held in Belmarsh prison on ‘suspicion of terrorism’ charges. These people have been held without charge, denied access to legal council or the right to a fair trail and are being threatened with deportation without being given the chance to prove their innocence (or for that matter the state to prove their guilt). The men, 17 in total and all Muslims are simply being kept prisoner. So here you have on one hand the UK government making a big fuss about freeing the people of iraq from oppression and dictatorship, introducing democracy, whilst on the other hand being guilty of exactly the same charges that they insisted they remove Hussein for. It smacks of hypocracy quite frankly.


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