It is Monday, Monday morning and I am in a stage of contemplation. There are all these events going on and for the most they are hollow, empty and merely the setting for the next stage for whatever the staging area needs to be. It is at this point that the Guardian gives us: ‘Two images that show we need to be sensitive about our photos‘, or perhaps the article started the contemplation I am in, it works either way!
The article was actually a quite excellent read, so well done Paul Chadwick!
Where’s Wally (Khlalid Masood)?
The article discusses Khalid Masood, who killed 5 people in March 2017 at Westminster. Now we get the goods. We are offered: “Over several days of covering the hearing, Guardian editors had access to a limited range of images of Masood. For one report they used a photo of him taken in the Great Mosque of Mecca, Islam’s holiest site“. We are then treated to: “From an editorial standards perspective, there was nothing wrong with the image. Legitimately obtained, it depicted a smiling Masood dressed in the traditional white, and behind him the Kaaba, the great cube, around which pilgrims walk seven times. Conscious that the Muslim community can suffer discrimination when terrorist acts are committed in the name of a political ideology that feigns religiosity“.
My thought becomes: “How many criminals and murderers were photographed in a church, or cathedral?” That does not seem to happen either does it? Of course in that specific example Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals were taken away from consideration in this case. I searched Google and a few other sources and I could not find an example. So when I see: “as a gesture of goodwill the editors replaced the photo for another image, a police mugshot. Muslims who had raised the issue were appreciative“, I do accept that the Muslims are appreciative of the gesture, yet the question remains how many criminals were photographed and observed in church? It also gives me the question on how they were able to identify Khalid Masood in that picture to begin with. I understand that the photograph exists; I reckon that the hearts of Muslims will flutter at the sight of being able to see the Grand Mosque of Mecca on the inside to begin with. I myself am struck with wonder, amazed to see this image. Not for the religious reason, but the fact that the original parts were build 1380 years ago is important. You see, it would take centuries until the Netherlands had decent housing (places not made from wood, or a mixture of shit and clay). The oldest house in the Netherlands is almost 500 years younger than this mosque and only parts of a wall in that Dutch building are that old, the rest of the house would not be build (or restored) until 230 years later. When we consider that, seeing the grand Mosque of Mecca should have an impact on anyone, Muslim or not. So as we realise that the building is not merely a beautiful building, it is a millennia old marvel for all the religious reasons, we understand that anyone would want to be photographed in that place and be recognised, but as you take a look at the inserted photograph (click on it to see the full version), finding that person, considering the resolution of the film remains a slight miracle at best. So what would have been the value of showing thousands of Muslims in that one place whilst we cannot tell with any certainty who exactly Khalid Masood is there. Yet, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/14/sensitive-images-upsetting-photos-essential-truthful-account), is still important. We see that with: “Coverage can justifiably include images of perpetrators but should take care not to glorify them. Had the photo related directly to evidence given in the inquest it might have been necessary to retain it“. I personally do not completely agree. If we accept that a picture is 1,000 words, which photograph ads a 1,000 words or more to the story? Is it the one in Mecca, or the photograph of the scene (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/12/westminster-bridge-attack-khalid-masood-lawfully-killed-inquest-concludes). I like it that Paul Chadwick makes us consider the use of a photograph and when not to do it. It gets us to the linking of another event. You might have heard of a disagreement between the elected government of Yemen and Houthi’s which has since spilled over into a much larger disagreement. the amount of times where the western world trivialised the attacks on Saudi Arabia whilst Iran backed Houthi’s were firing missiles into Saudi Arabia has been too large to ignore, In addition the Washington Post gave us a mere two days ago (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/foiled-paris-bomb-plot-raises-fears-that-iran-is-planning-attacks-in-europe/2018/10/11/2ccf8d0a-c8b9-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html). Here we see ‘Foiled Paris bomb plot raises fears that Iran is planning attacks in Europe‘. In this article, the use of the image of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) supporters makes perfect sense. In light of “The diplomat, based at Iran’s embassy in Vienna, had been under surveillance for some time and was suspected of involvement in a plot to bomb a rally of Iranian dissidents in Paris. Despite his diplomatic status, he was arrested and extradited to Belgium, where two others, suspected of planning to carry out the attack in France, were detained”, yet would the image of the ‘Iranian diplomat’ not have made more sense? The fact that he is not mentioned anywhere by name is also a consideration in all this. The fact that this indirectly links to the proxy war that Iran is having with Saudi Arabia is linked in all this. So when we consider these elements. So as we get back to the Diplomat named Assadollah Assadi, we need to some degree also look at Jamal Khashoggi. You see, you cannot turn a page in any paper and Jamal Khashoggi shows up. Probably best known as a contributor to the Washington Post, we wonder why he ended up MAAC (Missing as a contributor). ABC gives us: “But his troubles began later, when he was fired from his post as an editor at the Al-Watan newspaper just two months after he took the job in 2003. The country’s ultra-conservative clerics had pushed back against his criticism of the powerful religious police and a medieval cleric viewed as the spiritual forefather of Wahhabism, the conservative interpretation of Islam that is the founding tenant of the kingdom“, and the question becomes not merely did he vanish because he was a critic of ruling Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. I reckon that the Crown Prince has been surrounded with people disagreeing with him, as such Khashoggi might not have been a blip on his radar. Yet, when we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/10/06/read-jamal-khashoggis-columns-for-the-washington-post) we see a different story, one that opposes mine and I am fine with that. Yet consider that the people in charge in Riyadh are actually decently intelligent (compared to me) and the entire event in the embassy does not make sense. Lt. Gen. Khalid bin Ali Al Humaidan is not stupid, he is a general and he has been around the war time sandbox long enough, to just let a person vanish in an embassy, whilst there are dozens of cameras pointed at it is not seemingly the brightest act. This leaves me with the setting that there is either orchestration, or someone not as bright listened to the wrong person and acted individually. The quote in the Post, which was “Dozens of Saudi intellectuals, clerics, journalists, and social media stars have been arrested in the past 2 months — the majority of whom, at worst, are mildly critical of the government. Meanwhile, many members of the Council of Senior Scholars (“Ulema”) have extremist ideas“. So here we have a setting that certain people are seemingly opposing the forward drive that HRH Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is trying to move towards. The post mentions both Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan and Sheikh Saleh Al-Lohaidan and also we see “protected by royal decree from counter argument or criticism“. Yet when I search for these two men, I find close to nothing at all in the present media. Now, that is not an essential part, but in light of the Washington Post articles, I wondered what would drive an implied assassination this short sighted. Whether you agree or not, targeted killing is both an art and a skill and in the digital age, the skill outguns the art by a lot. There are additional parts that do not make sense, yet when you look at the larger picture, there is (highly speculative by me mind you) an active stage of attacking Saudi Arabia any way possible. the overly leftish liberal side to break up US sales to Saudi Arabia, the UK is on a partial similar setting, yet they trivialise any attack on Saudi Arabia (I did filter for the fake news from places like PressTV and a few other sources), yet the attacks are quite clear and even as I understand that the press at large (in more than one way) would want to be protective of fellow journalist Jamal Khashoggi and I get that, yet the absence of critical questions is also a larger issue. When you see this, does the openly defensive stance of Saudi Arabia not make sense?
So how does this get us from where we started?
There are two parts here. The first is the image of the Grand Mosque, whilst we know that Saudi Arabia is its protector, and the view from Paul Chadwick makes perfect sense. Yet, here too we should take caution on certain notions. Mind you, I am asking the question, I am not implying that there is more. that part is seen when we look deeper into the ‘Cricklewood mosque’ event of September 19th and when we search the international news bringers, the shiploads of newspapers that would strike out against Saudi Arabia and others in what I perceive to be non-hatred stories, yet they are certainly not pro Saudi Arabia, or pro Muslim, they did not show up in any google search when I look for the ‘Cricklewood mosque’ event, not at all. That too is important, whilst some are taking down the steam a notch, the opposition events are also ignored to a much larger degree. It leads us to the question, was the mosque image not added as it made for an overly clear anti-Muslim article?
The second part is the setting of events and more importantly how certain parties decided to illustrate them. Anything that is about Jamal Khashoggi carries his photograph and that makes perfect sense, no one debates that, yet when we seek Khalid Masood, we see no image of him in several Westminster attack articles, merely the stage and the victims. Now, here we see clearly that some will say that it might glorify him. There is equal voice not to give Islamic State any kind of visibility. I do not totally agree, but I understand the logic behind it. Yet the article I mentioned earlier, ‘Westminster attacker lawfully killed by minister’s bodyguard, jury finds‘ shows no mention of Islamic State at all, which is actually a little weird. all the other parts are there, the justification of the protective units, the victims, the stage as well as the attack on Sir Craig Mackey, which gets more light in another Guardian article with “The Express front page on Thursday read “Police hero who put his boss to shame”, comparing Mackey’s actions unfavourably with those of the armed protection officer who shot Masood dead, while an article on the Sun website was headlined “Mark of cowardice”“, the actions of Sir Craig make perfect sense and the Express, not the most intelligent player in the news world under the most optimal conditions was left in a clueless state aiming for (a speculated) increased circulation that day, whilst the actions of Sir Craig made tactical sense to say the least, cowardice was not a factor here as I see it. Mind you, getting fired at is unnerving under the best conditions, seeking out a hair storm of lead is just stupid to begin with and Sir Craig staying out of the way, especially as he had no useful gear makes sense. Yet the Independent gave us in March 2018: “A review by Mr Hill’s predecessor found that neither MI5 nor the police had any reason to anticipate the attack, concluding that Masood was “a long way from the top of anyone’s grid”“. From the little that I was able to access, all the elements make sense, the Guardian article leaving Islamic State mention out does not.
It is the illustration by the news that matters, because it causes a lack of illumination and more important we see the shifting balance of a seesaw in the direction of emotional acts, which has never been a good thing. There are questions regarding Jamal Khashoggi no one denies that, yet the stage we see ourselves in is expanding. We see this with: “The event is being hosted by the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda. Several sponsors and media groups have decided to withdraw“, as well as “US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might not attend an upcoming investment conference in Riyadh, but White House aide Larry Kudlow said Mr Mnuchin had not yet pulled out.” Now I understand that such a situation would not have been expected, or even anticipated. Not by me. Yet, do you think that this was not on the mind of Lt. Gen. Khalid bin Ali Al Humaidan? when we see settings that are adding up to half a trillion dollars, do you think that a Saudi event like the one we see now regarding Jamal Khashoggi would not have been looked at from every angle? And in light on how highly regarded journalists are in Turkey, the overreaction by turkey is equally unsettling (or let’s just call it suspicious). In the entire setting towards the consulate, we see that the one event now taking shape is a direct win for Saudi’s indirect enemy (Turkey as a supporter of Iran), no one seems to look too deeply there either. It does not mean that Turkey was involved, or that Turkey did anything. The mere absence of looking is an issue and that would drive the defence from the side of Saudi Arabia high up, all this in an action on Saudi soil (the embassy) where there would have been absolutely no tactical advantage for the Saudi government by acting in a building everyone is watching 24:7.
The elements do not add up and the photograph of the Grand mosque brought it to light (read: the forefront of my mind). You see, in opposition to the Christians and their bible (they have over 40 different versions), we see that there is ONE Quran, Sunni and Shia they all have the same Quran, exact to the letter, yet their split happened as you can see in the New York Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/04/world/middleeast/q-and-a-how-do-sunni-and-shia-islam-differ.html) through: “A schism emerged after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, and disputes arose over who should shepherd the new and rapidly growing faith. Some believed that a new leader should be chosen by consensus; others thought that only the prophet’s descendants should become caliph“, I am not wise enough to give any level of wisdom here.
I do feel I am wise enough to look into the matters we currently face. Until the press has a more balanced view of the matters in the Middle East, specifically the acts by Iran and the acts by Houthi’s in Yemen, we will see a prolonged level of distrust. Let’s not forget that the building of Neom in Saudi Arabia continues and that it is the utter need of American stability that requires cheap oil. In all this, merely going back to 2017 levels will drain the American economy to the levels if cannot sustain and its need to do business with Iran at that point will be the largest moral defeat the US has ever faced. In addition, the Saudi coffers are getting $73 per barrel against the optional setting that the prices return to $121 per barrel, as winter sets in the US (UK too) that impact will be felt by these populations to a much larger degree, so in all this an optional demand from Saudi Arabia to get the news more balanced is not the weirdest request. Yet the foundation of issues giving rise to the price of oil next month by a mere 2% is not out of the question, and that is not all. The overreaction by President Trump with: ““severe punishment” if Khashoggi, who has been critical of Bin Salman, has been killed“. Fair enough, yet in all this, he has been merely setting the stage where Russia comes for a visit and is the reason for cancelling orders, whilst Saudi pilots are suddenly optionally ‘retrenched’ to get better in using the Mikoyan MiG-35 (Fulcrum-F), and a few other alternatives. Shutting down options for American business seekers in Neom is not a good step to take either; no one can afford walking away from 1,000 billion dollars in projects in this day and age. In addition, for Saudi Arabia having a united technical air force corps with Egypt might not be the worst consideration either, and as ties with Egypt and Russia optionally strengthen in Saudi Arabia, the US will be finding itself on shallow ice with fewer options for their economy and even less possibilities over the next 10 years. All elements out in the open and it would be a strategy that Iran would love to see happen, whether it was to weaken Saudi Arabia or to kick the US where it really hurts, it would be an Iranian victory either way.
So when you consider these elements as well as the notion that for the most there is not a high regard for journalists in the first place (for a few years now), do any of the overreaching actions by certain players make any sense? It is there that we see the consideration for dinner.
Yet I could be wrong in all this. I openly admit that. I have had the longest issues with the entire Skripal setting, the Novichok debacle in Salisbury. Yet there is no denying the Reuters article that gave us ‘Russian website names third GRU officer involved in Salisbury poisoning‘ 4 days ago. With: “The Russian news website Fontanka named on Wednesday a third GRU military intelligence operative, Sergey Fedotov, as having been involved in trying to kill ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury“. You see, the facts did not add up, there was too much noise and too little reliability. I have no reason to doubt Reuters, yet I still have issues with this. I do acknowledge that they name a Russian site, yet I know next to nothing about the Fontanka online news agency. When I read (yet again) on this, and the fact that they all seem to know the staff directory of the GRU, as well as the setting of travel, there are things not adding up. Not the travel, that part can be verified in several ways. The fact that we now have a third player, one that apparently did not show up in all those CCTV stills, the fact that three people were involved in a failed attack does not speak highly of the abilities of the Russian GRU, is that not weird either? The fact that humidity decreases the potency of the Novichok, but the perfume was dumped in the trash, not merely ‘accidently’ dropped in a pond, where retrieval would have been unsuccessful and the lethality of the Novichok would have been close to nullified. So with Salisbury basically surrounded by the Avon, they did not consider dropping the ‘perfume’ in there? How badly are these ladies trained (me stating the need for a well-paid job and replacing Colonel general Igor Valentinovich Korobov), I mean, I could hardly do any worse, could I? Let’s face it, in Australia a general’s pay starts at $235,595 with 0 years of experience in that rank. I’d accept that as a starting wage (LOL), even if it turns out to be merely for a year.
Getting back to the Russian stage, Bellingcat gives us (at https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/26/skripal-suspect-boshirov-identified-gru-colonel-anatoliy-chepiga/) the goods which are hard to deny, but it is merely their word against others. Yet they also become the doubt in this. Even as we accept: “The suspect using the cover identity of “Ruslan Boshirov” is in fact Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated GRU officer bestowed with Russia’s highest state award, Hero of the Russian Federation. Following Bellingcat’s own identification, multiple sources familiar with the person and/or the investigation have confirmed the suspect’s identity“. When we add “Anatoliy Chepiga graduated the academy with honors in 2001. He was then assigned to serve in the 14th Spetsnaz Brigade in Russia’s farthest-eastern city of Khabarovsk, one of the elite Spetsnaz units under GRU command. Chepiga’s unit (74854, formerly 20662) played a key role in the second Chechen War, and was also observed near the Ukrainian border in late 2014“, we see an optional picture of a dedicated Russian officer, no one questions that, yet in that light, how come that he was involved in active failures of this degree and in the end a second event caused the death of an innocent bystander?
He could have used a knife, a mere piece of thin nylon rope, all methods that optionally makes finding evidence a near impossibility. Then we get the doubt again with “The research team was able to find Anatoliy Chepiga in two locations and time periods in the database: in 2003, in Khabarovsk; and in 2012 in Moscow“, you see, even by their own admission, heroes of the Russian Federation tend to be really well documented, so why do we see awards, failures and almost no documented admissions (even less photographs, beside the point that most photo’s never made it into newspapers)? It makes no sense and that brings us back to the Saudi Arabian setting. Even now as we are treated to so called audio evidence, evidence that was debunked by the BBC on more than one level, yet in all this Al Jazeera gives us: “Technology experts are sceptical that Jamal Khashoggi was able to sync recordings from his Apple watch to a phone in his fiancée’s possession from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The claim, as reported in Turkey’s pro-government media, is that Turkish officials have audio recordings from Khashoggi’s smart watch that prove the Saudi journalist was tortured and killed while inside the embassy. Saudi Arabia has called the allegations “baseless lies” and it is still unclear how Turkey would have obtained the audio evidence“, I personally believe that Al Jazeera is wrong here. The BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45857777) debunks that story via Rory Cellan-Jones, the Technology correspondent. He does it point by point and does it with clarity, so in all this, why would the pro-Turkish government media blatantly lie about this? that and the other elements give doubt to all this and when we consider that it was optionally not a Saudi operation at all, we might be treated to a setting where the Turkish government is optionally involved in making the trade waters murky, optionally merely as a tool for Iran. What do you think is more likely and when we look at the photographs and the choices made, it is not merely contemplation for dinner, the entire setting of doing what is correct sheds a light on the media that is not as great as we hoped it would be.
Yet the BBC also gave us: “it seems far more likely that they have other means of detecting what foreign diplomats are up to and the Apple Watch story is just useful cover“, that we can agree on, both Iran and Turkey have every interest in keeping ears on every room in the Saudi Consulate and there we agree is the option that technical solutions are in abundance but without the proper vetting of sources, it remains speculation to some degree.
Still the actions in the consulate are a question mark, a person that is watched to this degree, acting in the consulate only seems to be the safer option, ‘seems’ being the operative word.
We need to take all these elements into consideration, whenever we ‘actively engage’ in settings of consideration, the larger picture matters, it matters a lot and even as I spoke out against the guilt of Russia as a state operator in Salisbury, the Bellingcat part is seemingly more persuasive in voicing that there is an issue, yet what I personally perceive to be the stupidity levels of the Skripal operation (for lack of a better description) is one that we should also consider in the Khashoggi events in Istanbul. So until the Turkish government gives public access to their audio files I remain in doubt. Clearly something happened, but what exactly and by whom are still elements that cannot be answered for now, and when we contemplate things that needs to be on the forefront of our minds.
When confirmed the implied image of Khalid Masood in the grand mosque of Mecca is merely the fact that he is Muslim, we already knew that, yet the Guardian also gave us the goods that he converted no earlier than 13 years before the attack, so after his prison sentence in 2000, so he was optionally a Christian for the longest time of his life, another part that few news media looked at to a better degree, the Guardian fortunately did. We are also given that around 12% of home grown terrorists were converts, considering that there are billions of Muslims, that number is interesting. It might not merely be about the conversion; it could be that those doing the conversion might have optionally left converts at the mercy of extreme imams, which is a debate for another day. It merely shows that there is a larger issue I all this and before we contemplate what is the right course of action, we need to realise that certain acts to stop intelligence gathering has been the shackles that prevent the intelligence community and the police to effectively act against lone wolves, moreover, there is less evidence that it can be stopped, for that you merely have to look at the picture of Masood in his football team when he was young, even as the one non-white individual he does not stand out, giving MI-5 a much larger headache then they needed in the first place.
Yes we need to be sensitive about photographs at times, yet when they also reveal that they basically reveal nothing, how would their use have value in the first place? Setting a stage, setting an emotional bias, or merely an illustration to make the article readable?