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    BBC Panorama responds to our criticism

    by Sunny on 10th August, 2006 at 5:56 pm    

    The BBC’s John Ware, not happy with criticism of the recent Panorama programme Faith, Hate & Charity, has responded to us with some points rebutting accusations.

    It is in response to comments by Sabina Ahmed on AIM magazine, me on Pickled Politics and the MCB’s own statement.

    The full statement is here. I’m just publishing the ones relating to PP. I will publish my own response a bit later.

    6) Sunny Hundal wrote in Pickled Politics: “We didn’t bring anything new to the table.

    We did - at least according to Kenneth Dibble, Executive Director of the Charity Commission’s legal services: what he himself defined as possible “collateral activities” - e.g. those promoting or glorifying terrorist activity - amongst the Islamic charities in the West Bank and Gaza to which Interpal distributes funds. For example, the video of children at the Al Khalil Al Rahman Young Girls’ Society being encouraged by adults to sing songs celebrating their deaths and the deaths of Israelis through suicide bombings. This was the same material Sunny himself later describes as “quite disturbing”.

    Mr Dibble accepted that this “collateral” conduct was not something the Charity Commission had previously taken a view about. But he also said it was “…an issue that you are raising now and if I may say so is quite a pertinent issue.”

    7) Sunny quoted approvingly [unusually for him] from MAB’s Osama Saeed who wrote: “Ware’s goading of young boys in an orphanage as to how many of them wanted to be fighters was sick beyond words.

    Actually, my question to those boys was: “Who would you like to be. Who is your big hero? It’s hard to see how that constitutes “goading.”

    8) Sunny also seems to have agreed with Osama when he said the Palestinian head teacher Fateheya Qawasmeh had “denied that her school had ever been raided by the Israeli army, but he maintained it had, and that a computer seized from there had pictures of violence on it. For Ware, she was lying, and the Israelis could do no wrong.”

    This misrepresents what we said. It also raises a disturbing question about Osama’s understanding of what exactly “objective” journalism is.

    The question I actually put to Mrs Qawasmeh was whether the orphanage adjoining her school had been raided - not the school. She denied this categorically. I then turned to the Israelis for their evidence, as you’d expect. They produced a lengthy IDF report dealing with the raid on 12 August 2004, and a badged and labelled computer, which when connected up provided powerful evidence that it had been used by the orphanage, indeed it contained the names of all the children.

    9) Sunny wrote that the programme was “very agenda driven journalism.”

    Having asked the Israelis for their evidence, and having been persuaded by it, we could of course have come away and said: “These guys are Zionists. You can’t trust a single thing Zionists say because they’re, well, Zionists.”

    But surely that would have been “agenda journalism” because it demands that information from one side should never be believed [even if it survives scrutiny] whilst the benefit of the doubt should generally be given to another side.

    13) Osama Saeed has also said that the songs sung at the al Khalil al Rahman Girls’ Society - which Interpal helped fund - were invented before Hamas.

    Actually I doubt that, especially the suicide belt song: “Fasten your bomb belt oh would-be martyr and fill the square with blood so that we get back our homeland.” But that’s hardly the point, surely? It’s the content: “We all sacrifice ourselves for our country. We answer your call and make of our skulls a ladder to your glory, a ladder.”

    Like many of our critics, a one hour debate on the Islam channel about the programme last week failed to make any mention of the evidence we showed of incitement, the heart of our programme. Several of the contributors also misconstrued the programme’s meaning. Sir Iqbal Sacranie told Islam channel that we had alleged Interpal was a “front for a terrorist organisation.”

    We didn’t. Rather we showed that some of Interpal’s money had gone to charities like the al Khalil al Rahman Young Girls’ Society and that over the years this had helped build Hamas into the popular movement it is today. Nowhere did we suggest Interpal funds weren’t going to help pay for their education, or to provide other humanitarian assistance.

    What we invited viewers to consider was whether such charities were suitable organisations for British charitable funds to go to, given that violence directed at civilians has been a cornerstone of Hamas’s ideology.

    The important point, surely, is that these young girls were learning that death - not life - is a goal, and to believe in the illusion of total victory, namely the elimination of Israel. The Israeli occupation may well be the fat on the fire of violent fundamentalism. But isn’t it also true that those girls were being given the oxygen to help keep this conflict going for another 60 years?

    John Ware, Panorama, BBC

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    47 Comments below   |  

    1. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 10th August, 2006 at 7:45 pm  

      Well said John.


    2. Bert Preast — on 10th August, 2006 at 8:23 pm  


    3. Vikrant — on 10th August, 2006 at 8:57 pm  

      sorry Sunny… but they nailed ya…

    4. Vladimir — on 10th August, 2006 at 9:49 pm  

      thats far too long for me to read at this very moment (i’ll read it when I have sobered up) :) (dwunk bery puck’in dwunk at the moment)

      Lub Ju All

      Take Care


    5. peter — on 10th August, 2006 at 10:21 pm  

      Once again, John Ware has been forced to defend his excellent work because a few thin-skinned people have been forced to face up to unpalatable truths. Of course, it is entirely defensible, because he is a good journalist. You could learn a lot from him.

    6. JNF — on 10th August, 2006 at 10:40 pm  

      Would John do a similar investigation against JNF? Are they not planting tree on occupied land?

    7. Katy Newton — on 10th August, 2006 at 10:46 pm  

      I did read that having watched the Panorama programme, the Charities Commission had reopened their investigation into Interpal.

    8. Francis Sedgemore — on 10th August, 2006 at 11:35 pm  

      Given the sensitive nature of the material presented by John Ware, it was right to question his methods and evidence. But Ware’s defence is strong, and in my view he did a very good job with both documentaries. Let’s see what Sunny has to say in response.

    9. Osama Saeed — on 10th August, 2006 at 11:56 pm  

      I’ve some interesting info coming through. Will respond to this in the next day or two.

    10. Sunny — on 11th August, 2006 at 1:07 am  

      Just to clarify, I actually urged John to get the BBC to clear the response he sent to me, for publication, following the programme.

      If this blog cannot be used as a place for meaningful and constructive debate (even if it involves criticising me!) then it is useless. So in that sense I’m glad I could publish his response. That said, I am happy to respond to them and stand by Sabina Ahmed’s article. I’ll post something over the weekend, just busy with something. I enjoyed John Ware’s earlier documentary but did have something to say about that too at the time.

    11. bananabrain — on 11th August, 2006 at 10:57 am  


      i disagreed with a number of things you wrote, but then again, i didn’t see the programme, so you may choose to discount my opinion. however, it seems to me that john ware has covered himself pretty effectively. it is sabina ahmed’s article that comes across as partisan. more so than yours, incidentally. and the mcb’s response is of course totally predictable and straight off the FME (frequently made excuses) list.

      and to “jnf”, above, no, they’re not, although they have a lot of different forests. at least, not unless you consider, like a lot of people, the whole of israel to be “occupied land”.



    12. Old Pickler — on 11th August, 2006 at 11:44 am  

      Good stuff. I noticed John Ware made exactly the point I made, that the boys were not goaded into saying they wanted to be mujahidin; they were simply asked what they wanted to be.

      Fair play to Sunny, though, for putting this piece up.

    13. Old Pickler — on 11th August, 2006 at 11:45 am  

      Kenneth Dibble?

      Makes me think of Top Cat.

    14. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 11th August, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

      I’ve some interesting info coming through. Will respond to this in the next day or two.

      Why do you need extra information to respond? Surely you can engage with John’s response as it stands. He hasn’t introduced any new information, just a rebuttal to your points.


    15. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 14th August, 2006 at 10:00 am  

      Wow. Nothing happening over here. Just like last years Paranorma … insults and acquisations against the team, personal slurs against John … but when he responds and tries to engage in dialgoe … what happens?

      Sweet f**k all.

      Osama Saeed and the MCB “putting the c*unt in unacc*untable”.


    16. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 14th August, 2006 at 8:08 pm  

      waiting ….

    17. Osama Saeed — on 15th August, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

      Why do you need extra information to respond? Surely you can engage with John’s response as it stands.

      Friendly Infidel, here’s why. My response to this can be read here

      Turns out that the charities Ware accuses of spreading hate have been funded by a number of charities from Europe and the US, and not just Islamic ones. Also, the scene with the kids in the class putting their hands up was mocked up.

    18. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 15th August, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

      The first bit about the charities is completely irrelavent, people with hatred are being fund by Western money to fuel this hatred - where or not that money comes from Interpal or not is neither here nor there.

      The second part of your comment, about the class room instance being mocked up, is highly contraversal. I’ll enjoy reading how you construct such an arguement.

      Meanwhile well done on responding to John’s letter rather than leaving it by the way side, these things need to be discussed and engaged so that reason and common sense can prevail.


    19. Osama Saeed — on 15th August, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

      TFI, the fact that the schools are funded by charities other than Interpal is highly relevent. It may not be to you, because you will just say that everyone should stop sending money there.

      However, Ware built a case against Interpal only. Why did he single them out from all the other charities for criticism? It lays open his film to extreme bias.

    20. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 15th August, 2006 at 2:53 pm  


      To you the programme is about being bias towards Islam. For me it is an interesting expose of the school, its teachings, and how the money gets there. Much like an expose on, say, Estate Agents. Not all estate agents are evil, but some have shady buisness practises.

      The fact is the money does get to these schools to teach a sylabus of hatred. Wether whether or not the collection of children were in the pressense of a teacher or a janitor and could be called a “class” at that moment in time is completely irrelavent compared to what the first child said when asked.

      It is my impression from the slow up take from the other pupils they they were less impressed, less eager to proclaim they desire to be fighters, but they did obviously feel it was the right answer to give. The same thing happened in my classes when a teacher asked if we were going to be smokers or not when we got older, we knew the answer was to put your hand up and say “I’ll never smoke cigarettes”.

      I’m really not sure what you are trying to achieve by sluring John and the Panorama team and by trying to spin this “everything in this programme is baised and should be ignored.

      There is valuable information there, a valuable insight into another culture. If we want to help resolve the issues out there, we don’t start by throwing evidence based on the flimsy reasons you have given.


    21. Osama Saeed — on 15th August, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

      TFI, the reasons you enjoyed the programme are all very interesting, but they are not the reasons John Ware said he made the documentary for.

      His case was simple - Interpal sent money over which helped build Hamas. I’ve made some points as to how he failed to do this. Now he and the BBC have got some explaining to do.

    22. Jackson Paul — on 15th August, 2006 at 4:36 pm  

      Osama Saeed

      Why don’t you organise some demonstrations against the BBC and John Ware? I’m sure you can rouse a mob of communalist thugs and bigots to do that as you did with the Israeli cricket team.

    23. Refresh — on 15th August, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

      Osama - good response to Ware on your site.

      Panorama had long lost its way - no longer the flagship it once was.

      Jackson Paul, if there was to be a demonstration against a visiting Israeli cricket team - surely now was it.

    24. Jackson Paul — on 15th August, 2006 at 4:55 pm  


      You could join in with the communalist mob. E-mail Osama and organise the thugs.

    25. Refresh — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

      Now don’t be silly.

      The demonstrations were not communalist as you well know. They drew wide support. You cannot pretend otherwise or be silly to think that having muslims present (participating in a demonstration as per a citizen’s democratic right) is the weak link to chip away. Pathetic.

      I guess you would not have supported any anti-apartheid demos (against South Africa to clarify) as a current Minister of state did - Peter Hain.

    26. Don — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:04 pm  


      Could you provide some concrete reasons for your claim that Ware works for Mossad?

    27. Refresh — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

      Don, not sure Osama says that. But makes the point that Ware presents ‘evidence’ provided by the Israelis without question.

    28. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

      … and Osama presents the ‘evidence’ provided by the orphanage without question.

      Besides I didn’t see him take it for granted, he said that it appeared to be so, based on what he found on it. Personal judgement made on the evidence supplied to him. Perphaps the Isreals planted the edvidence on the computer.

      Besides, do the Isreals really need to make up a story like this to tarnish a school? Is it beyond responsable doubt that this school with a headmisters directly linked to Hamas, from a school that has produced two sucide bombers may have been raided and lie about it?


    29. Refresh — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

      Tarnish Interpal perhaps.

    30. Refresh — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

      In any case do you believe there isn’t any organised entity within occupied territories that Israel won’t have raided. Forgetting any they may have demolished.

    31. sonia — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:50 pm  

      what do people mean when they say communalist anyways. a commune of hippies? where’s the boundary of the ‘commune’?

    32. John Ware — on 16th August, 2006 at 12:12 am  

      Osama Saeed and I may well look through the telescope from different ends. But the gap between those like us is always going to be unbridgeable if even the most basic facts can’t be agreed. Categorically we on Panorama did not “mock up” the classroom scene at the orphange. The class that we filmed was most emphatically not arranged at our request. We don’t do “mocking up” on Panorama. Neither I nor the producer Tristan Quinn would ever be party to that kind of stunt television. The relationship between Osama’s other “we-now-know” assertions about the programme and the facts is equally non existent.

    33. Jackson Paul — on 16th August, 2006 at 12:26 am  


      Make sure you sign up for the next pathetic Muslim Brotherhood/MAB rent-a-mob. It’s about your level.

    34. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 12:41 am  

      That’s highly unlikely Jackson Paul, I’m more likely to be found at anti-war demonstrations and protests against US arms flights through our airports. But such as it is - I can’t find the time and congratulate those that can.

    35. Don — on 16th August, 2006 at 12:47 am  


      I perhaps spoke casually with ‘works for’, but;

      ‘If Ware wishes to deny that his documentary would be nothing without assistance from Mossad, then let him do so properly. Until then, the charge that the BBC has been used for the Israeli secret service’s purposes stands.’

      remains a charge without evidence. Why the hell should he have to deny being the stooge of a foreign power? Pure smear.

    36. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 12:52 am  

      I guess in the sophisticated world of intelligence operations we would never know. Nor, I guess would John Ware or the BBC.

      Hell, it seems even the CIA didn’t know about the Niger connection (or lack of) vis-a-vis Iraq, when it was fed that line.

      Nevertheless, I responded casually to your casual use of the phrase. Not necessarily something we need a big debate on.

    37. leon — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:53 am  

      what do people mean when they say communalist anyways. a commune of hippies? where’s the boundary of the ‘commune’?

      com·mu·nal·ist Audio pronunciation of “communalist” ( P ) Pronunciation Key (k-myn-lst)

      1. An advocate of communal living.
      2. One who is more interested in one’s own minority or ethnic group than in society as a whole.
      3. One who is deeply concerned about the quality of community life.


    38. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th August, 2006 at 8:02 am  

      Good post John.

      Don, you are on the nail.


    39. Rolled-up Trousers — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:57 pm  

      Ware hits back?…

      John Ware has apprently replied to my criticisms of his Panorama film about Interpal. This was posted on the Pickled Politics thread on the topic:Osama Saeed and I may well look through the telescope from different ends. But the gap…

    40. Osama Saeed — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:01 pm  

      What a strange reply from John Ware. I’m tempted to dismiss it as something there’s no way he could write.

    41. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

      Sounded very sensible to me. What would you have expected him to say?


    42. Jackson Paul — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:48 pm  

      Refresh well done for congratulating them! You’re just a common little communalist thug like Osama Saeed, festering in your Islamist conspiracy theorising ooze.

    43. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

      As you wish.

    44. Jackson Paul — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

      Watch out for the Jews under your bed at night ;-)

    45. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:56 pm  

      Are you one?

    46. Jackson Paul — on 16th August, 2006 at 6:00 pm  

      Afraid not Refresh old chap!

      But they probably have a mind control trick they play on me forcing me to do all sorts of dastardly things, along with John Ware, Tony Blair, drinking Muslim children’s blood at passover, the 7/7 suicide bombing mossad double-agent conspiracy etc etc

      They control the whole world, dontcha know?

    47. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

      Well if you were I would have invited you to share my bed - you wouldn’t need to be under it.

      Or use any other of my beds if the need arose.

      But you cannot get away from dirty tricks of any intelligence service. Some just happen to be damn good at it.

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