A rightwing thinktank which claimed to have uncovered extremist
literature on sale at dozens of British mosques was last night accused
of basing a report on fabricated evidence.
The report by Policy
Exchange alleged that books condoning violent jihad and encouraging
hatred of Christians, Jews and gays were being sold in a quarter of the
100 mosques visited.
But BBC2’s Newsnight said examination of
receipts provided by the researchers to verify their purchases showed
some had been written by the same person – even though they purported
to come from different mosques. (Guardian)
It’s a great piece of investigative journalism, and all the more interesting when considered in the light of Godson’s background in ‘political warfare’, something I’ve written about extensively at the links below:
The Green Ribbon:
It is worth noting that Dean Godson’s brother Roy has written about forgery in his book on US covert action and counterintelligence:
Good Research is not enough; good tradecraft is essential. Black radio broadcasts, leaflets and forgeries need to disguise their sponsor or the fact that the information they are conveying is false. In the 1980s the Soviets, neglecting their tradecraft, often made stupid mistakes in forgeries, so that the United States could easily prove to target governments that they were forgeries perpetrated by Moscow. By contrast, in Word War II the Western Allies took pains to ensure that black broadcasters had the right regional accents and that the German they used reflected the class and personality of internal leaders likely to oppose the Nazis. (Dirty Tricks or Trump Cards)
Apparently, one of the discrepancies that Newsnight found in Policy Exchange’s receipts was that Islamic Centre was misspelled as ‘center.’ Doh!
Update: Newsnight’s Peter Barron has a post on the report on the BBC’s The Editors blog.
Update 2: Policy Exchange has a statement on the controversy on its website.
Update 3, 16 Dec: Newsnight reporter Richard Watson has responded to Policy Exchange’s comments on the row.