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The Four Powers Behind The al-Qaeda Conspiracy

excerpts from a report by Matthew Parris. July 23, 2005

You have read much about the threat of one particular conspiracy. Here is another. There is an unwitting conspiracy between four separate powers to represent the worldwide al-Qaeda network as fiendishly clever, powerfully effective and deeply involved in the London bombings.

First, the news media. Al-Qaeda is a “narrative” and a gripping one. Everybody loves a mystery story. Everybody loves a thriller. Everybody needs a plot. All journalists have an in-built tendency to make links between things and find unifying forces at work.

Secondly, the Government. Leadership is made easier if there is a visible, tangible threat; and easier still if it can be represented as completely alien. Fear silences opposition, and governments walk tallest when an external threat can be identified and they can lead us against it. We hold our leaders’ hands a little more tightly in the dark.

Thirdly, the security services. The police, British Intelligence, and our counter-terrorism apparatus, are all flattered in their work by headlines that suggest that the enemy is formidable, incredibly sophisticated and hard to catch. Any failure on the part of our security services is easily explained if the terrorist movement is widely agreed to be fiendishly clever and well organised.

Finally, of course, the terrorist himself. A reputation for fearsomeness and sophistication is nothing but a boon not only to his self-esteem, but also to his efforts to recruit others to his cause. Speeches about the wickedness and cruelty of al-Qaeda burnish the legend.

From a certain point of view, the journalist, the politician, the police chief and the terrorist can be seen as locked in a macabre waltz of the mind. We should not join that dance.

You have been reading excerpts from "I name the four powers who are behind the al-Qaeda conspiracy" by Matthew Parris. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/det64. Thanks to timesonline.co.uk. Real journalism is still alive in Britain.

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