Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Frontline: al Qaeda's New Front

If you didn't catch Frontline last night check your local listings. PBS will repeat it sooner or later. Or you can watch it online starting Friday. Titled 'Al Qaeda's New Front' it was 'an investigation into the threat radical jihadists pose to Western Europe and its allies - including the United States.'

It's worth watching even if only for the images, especially those from London and Paris. It ain't the pictures from a travel guide or from your vacation, unless you took a lot of photos of hundreds of bearded men praying in the middle of the street. It spends a lot of time on the Madrid bombing and the interlocking conspiracies behind it. There's also a disturbing interview with Abu Abdullah, leader of the notorious Finsbury mosque in London. He's not a moderate guy at all. The author of the show wrote a companion article for the NYT on Monday.

My one major criticism is that the show completely ignored the murder of Theo van Gogh and the subsequent bombings and arson attacks in Holland. As readers of Rant Wraith will know, I believe that van Gogh's murder and the events that followed were of historic importance. van Gogh was murder virtually on election day here in the U.S. In the future van Gogh's murder will be remembered as the important event of that day while the presidential election will be considered a detail.

My minor criticism involves the unquestioning acceptance of statements by CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, the Anonymous author of Imperial Hubris and Through Our Enemies Eyes. He repeated (yet again) his position that al-Qaeda is opposed to us because of our policies. I have criticized this position here and most recently here and, indirectly, here. I would have appreciated some, you know, journalistic skepticism of this position.

Still, catch the Frontline episode. You'll see just how wide and deep the jihadists movement in Europe really is. And you'll get a glimpse of Europe's frightening future.

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