Today, another fresh death threat has been delivered to the address of the country’s one and only freedom fighter and fortune teller Geert Wilders. Dutch daily Telegraaf reported quoting Dutch Middle-East reporter Harald Doornbos that Wilders was found in fourth place on a death list discovered on “a web forum.” This important news spread like wildfire on social media and other news outlets. Excellent results for our political athlete who walked today on the Binnenhof [inner court of the Dutch parliament] with a sign stating that his party will lodge an objection [against EU membership], surrounded by an army of journalists and security guards. Such a heavy message board is hard to handle as the leader of a single member party and chairman of the Freedom Party’s fraction in the Dutch Commons, so the other party fraction chairman, Drs. M.J.R.L. de Graaff of the Freedom Party-group in the Senate, gave his boss a hand to carry this heavy burden.
After some research – you should know that I do not do this for pay or for pleasure – it became clear that the list was found in Inspire, the so-called Al-Qaeda Glossy. A few years ago, the first edition was in the news in the Netherlands. It soon became apparent after Wired Magazine and others revealed that the header of Inspire, a pdf-file, showed that the original file had been a cupcake recipe from Ellen DeGeneres. Inspire is probably a hoax. The SITE Intelgroup, distributor of this ‘news’ is an American private company that ‘examines’ terrorism. As an individual and for just a few hundred dollars a year you can subscribe to parts of media releases by Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations, of people who claim to be true Muslims. For companies and organizations there are different rates and for real creamy media and messages, please contact our sales department.
Geert Wilders is ranked high on the new hit list of al-Qaeda. The terror organisation has put the leader of the Freedom Party on the fourth position of a sinister list with international “infidels” who should be killed as soon as possible. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is also listed.
The list of names has been recently published in a magazine for jihadists, according to Dutch correspondent for the Middle-East, Harald Doornbos*. “Yes we Can. A bullet a day keep the infidels away” is the horrifying opening message of the list. (Telegraaf [in Dutch])
*In an earlier version of the article, Mr. Doornbos was cited referring to “a web forum”.
Islamophobia and hatred towards Muslims have become a serieus industry. SITE Intel Group is just one player in the game. Of course it is necessary to combat terrorism, but you do not achieve that by spreading terrorist propaganda and media. What is the intent of spreading these obscure messages through the media and not to the security services? Consequently, the security problem has not been solved, but rather has been increased. The problem in the Netherlands is that we regularly hear about unverifiable threats and that some transparency about the validity of these threats against mister Wilders is lacking, in the name of security. Threats made against him have thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Broadcaster RTL even had to tell us that this was not the first time that the name of Mr. Wilders appeared on a death list.
Wilders said to have taken notice of the message with disgust. “But whatever happens, I will always continue to speak truth about Islam.”
A spokesperson of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (In Dutch: Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid (NCTV) said that “it is not the first time that Mr. Wilders appears on such a list”. According to the spokesperson the intellligence and security services are “monitoring the situation.”. He did not want to confirm whether this list has any consequences for Wilders‘ security. (Telegraaf [in Dutch])
We are living in a country where a single, heavily guarded politician, who is constantly surrounded by the media, is threatened anywhere and anytime. Wilders has turned himself into the perfect makeup victim. He will always be under threat wherever he is, last week in Australia and previously in Germany. And he represents the growing group in Dutch society who like him see themselves as permanent victims, but who are no longer able to describe the actual problem. The result of the current news coverage is a mash of statements and media reports, that make things look really bad. Threats have become Wilders’ political mandate. There is, of course, nothing else with it, for there is absolutely nothing. The actual problem is that journalists and media broadcast anxiety and uncertainty through a daily stream of messages, whose reliability, let alone the truth, is at least very doubtful.
But why, ladies and gentlemen of the press? You’re still free to investigate and inform us?
@wltrrr has no money for such an expensive subscription, thus I am not knowledgeable. But if someone wants to donate a subscription, feel free to do so. Fortunately, there are journalists outside the Netherlands who treat such ‘news messages’ with a healthy dose of doubt and suspicion.
Updated March 2, 2013. Mr. Doornbos is not amused by criticism of his role in this story. BBC correspondent in the Netherlands Anna Holligan was told by Mr. Doornbos, who started his journalistic career at De Waarheid (The Truth, aka Pravda), that the author of the article above is “some obscure ultra loony leftie” and naming him a “ratty figure”. On the question to him whether Huffington Post, Wired and The Atlantic Also “obscure ultra loony left” we have received no reply to date. Doornbos is working for Geassocieerde Pers Diensten (Associated Press Services) in The Netherlands, who have no complaints procedure.
And another update. Meanwhile, other media report on the latest release of Inspire. German weekly Der Spiegel and Wired illustrate the advice for “Jihadi wannebees” how you can cause interrupt traffic, set fire to parked cars, and which nails are best for oncoming cars to blow out their tires, and all without leaving a trace. (“Let no schoolbooks behind!”) Mother Jones and Salon cite the article in Inspire where al-Qaeda is disappointed that Obama wants to allow gay marriages and mentions former Congressman homosexual Barney Frank as “symbol of the American dream”. That should be music to the ears of Christian fundamentalists and arch-conservatives. Only Der Spiegel mentions the death list. In the final sentence…
Updated March 3rd, 2013. Sunday, the day traditionally most Dutch people went to church. Doubts about the authenticity of an online glossy of a terrorist organization have been qualified by Mr. Doornbos as “conspiracy loony.” To substantiate his claims he points to an online magazine of the U.S. think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative club of lobbyists established in 2001 to win America’s sympathy for Israel’s response to the Palestinian intifada. Previously, if you were critical of conspiracy theories you were accused of being part of the conspiracy. Nowadays you are labelled as someone who believes in conspiracies when you look beyond the end of your nose and follow the media critically.
- Wired: Researcher’s Analysis of al Qaeda Images Reveals Surprises — UPDATED. By Kim Zetter, August 2nd, 2007
- Wired: Watch Out, Condé Nast: Al-Qaida Launches English-Language Lifestyle Mag. By Spencer Ackerman, July 1st, 2010
- Leesome: 5 Reasons to Doubt Al-Qaeda Magazine’s Authenticity, July 1st, 2010
- Public Intelligence: Media Uncritical of Al-Qaeda Magazine Story, July 1st, 2010
- The Atlantic: What Are Those Scrambled Pages of Al-Qaeda’s English Language Magazine? By Max Fisher, Jul 4th, 2010
- Public Intelligence: Al-Qaeda Magazine is Cupcake Recipe Book, July 12th, 2010
- Wired: Stop the Presses! Spooks Hacked al-Qaida Online Mag. By Adam Rawnsley, June 1st, 2011
- The Atlantic: It’s Not Just Newspapers: Circulation Tanks at Al-Qaeda’s Magazine, ‘Inspire’. By Max Fisher, June 18th, 2012
- Closer: Het Al Qaeda Spook – De Intieme Ideologische Relatie tussen Inspire en Wilders. (Dutch) By Martijn de Koning, March 1st, 2013
This article was originally written in Dutch and published earlier at Krapuul, ‘Geheel verzorgd aangetekend verzet, incl. doodsbedreiging’, March 1, 2013. You can read more Dutch articles by @Wltrrr here.