As Big as Terrorism 155

The BBC are breathlessly reporting this morning, as their lead news story, that antibiotics resistance is now so huge a threat, it is on a par with terrorism.

Let us consider that for one moment:

UK deaths last year from antibiotic resistance: 5,000
Uk deaths last year fron terrorisn: nil


UK deaths last decade from antibiotic resistance: 33,000
UK deaths last decade from all terrorism: 71

This insistence of the media in ramping the “terrorist threat”, even in completely unrelated stories, is farcical. Today they also have Abu Qatada to follow up as second news story and put terrifying images of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Abu Qatada – oh sorry, there aren’t any – err terrifying images of his obviously terrorist beard on our screens.

Sky News has been running the Qatada story for three days solid, every time introducing Qatada as “the man once called Osama Bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe”. Yet no serious claim has ever been made, anywhere, that Qatada ever met Osama Bun Laden. No evidence has ever been produced that he was in communication with him, and the intelligence services have nothing that indicates that either. I could call Teresa May a hysterical evil populist Muslim-hater, but my doing so would not make it true. However I look forward to hearing “Teresa May once called a …” next time she is mentioned on Sky.

Qatada has lived in this country now for nearly 20 years and there is no evidence he has ever committed any crime in all that time here, no evidence despite his being under intense surveillance. There is no credible, untainted evidence of his having done so in Jordan either. I am perfectly prepared to believe he is somebody who holds unpleasant views. He may well be very unpleasant. Terrorist mastermind he is not.

The actual terrorist threat is at such a low level – much less than so many of us lived through in the 70’s and 80’s – that it needs incarnation to work as a demon of the mind. If Abu Qatada does get deported, the media will have to find someone else with a scarey beard to terrify children into going to bed – sorry, us into giving up our liberties and cash to our “protectors”.

Muslims – more dangerous than E. coli. Give me a break.

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155 thoughts on “As Big as Terrorism

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  • Fiona

    Brilliant post. This insistence on terrorism as the worldwide bogeyman does nothing more than encourage us to fear and suspect those who look different and believe different things from us. I visited parliament as a teenager and on asking a security guard why the terrorist threat was displayed as “severe”, was told that it would be severe as long as Osama Bin Laden was alive. I’d put good money on it not having changed.

  • Summerhead

    I still have absolutely no idea what Abu Qatada is supposed to have done and yet most of my colleagues and acquaintances seem to start foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of his name while asking what he did wrong on the Guerrdian’s CIF drew a torrent of nasty abuse. I think for you to add that he may well be unpleasant is a bit unnecessary because it shows that you too Craig may have been influenced by this media hype. You might as well say that about David Attenborough, Caroline Lucas or anybody else in the public eye that you don’t know personally. He may even be a whistleblower (you never know).

    Sorry you are having such a horrible time with your health; look after yourself and hope you recover soon. You are doing a great job Craig, much appreciated

  • Craig Evans

    I noted Hauge and the BBC foaming at the mouth about this group in Nigeria that have possibly killed some hostages. They are ramping up the linke to al-Qaeda line again.

    Be afraid, be very afraid.

  • lauraannham

    Yeah, this anti-biotics thing is much worse! I live in Qatar and whenever I tell people where I live, all I get is stupid bigotry. “Do you go to work on a camel? Are you safe from terrorists?” The media has hyped it up. But WE ARE THE MEDIA as Amanda Palmer would say, so we can change things.

    Where are your statistics from? What’s the source?

  • Megz

    1984 isn’t supposed to be a guidebook….

    The media’s role here is quite sinister,’stepford-journalists’ peddling the government line to ‘harden’ public opinion on things like welfare, NHS, independence and now human rights. All done so that people will actually welcome these things being taken away from them.

  • Andy Pearce

    Couldn’t agree more re: media reporting of terrorism. Still, this is more or less what we’ve come to expect of the media, isn’t it? It hasn’t really changed since The Power of Nightmares.

    Where Abu Qatada is concerned, I don’t think his UK criminal record is relevant – the UK would expect to be able to extradite someone who’d committed a serious crime on UK soil even if they’d fled to a country where their record was clean. I’m not suggesting whether he should or shouldn’t be deported, simply that it’s not his UK criminal record which is relevant.

  • craig Post author


    Understood, but in this case he lived in the UK for nine years before anyone asked for his extradition. I think in that period of nine years his lack of criminal activity is relevant.

  • ian

    Once again the media pandering to the system putting forward false “truths”, the more I watch the news the more sceptical I become. This country has more cctv per head of population & wishes to adopt more draconian powers to invade upon more & more into peoples private\personal information. A lot of people quickly dismiss criticism of the government\system labelling those that do as lefties or conspiracy followers, its time those people wake up and see what’s happening, I don’t think even George Orwell would have believed some of the things that’s happening these days.

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    Top breaking news on the State Broadcaster’s channel

    BREAKING NEWS:The Queen pulls out of Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey as she continues to recover, Buckingham Palace says

    soon to be replaced by the Huhne/Pryce sentences no doubt. BBC speculating on the length of the sentences. Appalling stuff they churn out. Wonder if they ever look inside themselves and examine how they are spending their lives.

  • Boomtownchav

    Why is it that anything under the banner of Human rights bring out the deluge of self righteous smug buggers foaming at the mouth? 71 deaths from Terrorism? Over 400 British service men and women killed in the line of duty protecting YOUR freedom of speech, fighting in the country tat brought you the somewhat quaint idea of flying planes loaded with everyday people in to buildings full of everyday people. And Laura if people respond to the fact your work in Qatar with the responses you claim, your social set must be morons and the question is why surround yourself with such fuckwits is it to feel superior? Bottom line is antibiotics do not behead people on the Internet, and who ever said all Muslims are terrorists is a moron as well

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Spot on, Craig. I know it’s really hackneyed to invoke Orwell at such times but it really is spooky how prophetic he was in anticipating all this. Emmanuel Goldstein as universal bogeyman and the Two minute hate… all to justify the never-ending wars. The Ministry of Truth, total surveillance…

    The fact that the authorities are now having to big up Abu Qatada as the new bogeyman just shows how thin on the ground real bogeymen are. Pathetic. But an awful lot of people do seem to buy it uncritically. Especially if they are appearing on Question Time.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    KingofWelshNoir – I met Robin Cook after Question Time. Robin told me his wife had insisted he leave politics now for his own good. I am convinced he was a frightened man.

    Robin Cook revealed the falsehood Of Al Qaeda a month before he was assassinated – Robin Cook died shortly after revealing the truth about Al Qaeda. Heart attack.

    He was still alive when he was removed from his wife. She was not permitted to accompany him.

    Bin Laden Stuff and nonsense.

    Robin Cook RIP

  • Tom Welsh

    Antibiotic resistance is a BIG DEAL – only the elderly now even remember the days when you could scratch your hand on some rusty wire and die in agony from blood poisoning a couple of weeks later. When a simple ear infection could eat away until it drove you made with pain and eventually killed you. When women died of infections during and after childbirth… It’s too heart-redning even to think of those days coming back. And yet, the signs are they will.

    An even bigger problem – a tidal wave two miles high, if you will – is Peak Oil. The best data we have suggests that around 2003 the amount of oil extracted from the ground reached its maximum. From now on it will relentlessly drop year by year, while the number of people depending on continues to rise – and each of them, on average, confidently expects to use more convenient, flip-of-a-switch power every year. Good grief, we are doing that just reading and commenting on this blog!

    It’s over 60 years since John Kenneth Galbraith wrote “The Affluent Society”, predicated on the belief that the USA, at least, had reached a plateau of sustainable prosperity. Typically for an economist, Galbraith never once asked where that prosperity had come from or whether it would, in fact, last. Now it’s looking as if it won’t.

    And Boomtownchav, don’t be silly. We’re not impressed.

  • Andy

    Great post Craig. Mr Qatada is perfectly entitled to his views without the apparent harassment of the UK police on behalf of Theresa May. If they want to discuss terrorism and terrorists maybe they should start with the ‘Syrian Free Army’ that kidnapped 21 UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights region. The day before they were seized , William Hague was announcing ‘none lethal’ support for these very people. Surely this is a much clearer example of ‘funding and supporting terrorism’ than anything Qatada can lay claim to.

  • Alan

    Have you got any figures on how many people were killed by the incompetence of our politicians?

    For example those killed after being given infected blood imported from the American prison service, something our politicans still refuse to accept responsibility for, and refuse to compensate the victims of.

  • Jay

    If nothing else Quatada is Like many people getting a giod deal out of the British taxpayer.

    He as with others should be allowed to earn his keep.

    I am sure given the right situation help society in one way or another.

    Maybe he does already, I imagine he has the ability to unite some of those dissaffected and raise thise cultural and ethical standards missing.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Interesting to see how the BBC have spun the terrorism angle out of rather less alarmist cloth. Just been listening to the government’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies on the Jeremy vine programme. She insisted she did not compare it to terrorism but said antibiotic resistance should be on the risk register and would probably kill us all before global warming (which is also on the register along with terrorism and goodness knows what else ).

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Mark Golding – yes I’m aware Robin Cook claimed Al Qaeda was the Farsi word for the database, or something similar. I’ve also noted that a meme is being disseminated on the web alleging that Al Qaeda is also slang for the toilet in Arabic or something. If true, of course, it would bolster the claim that they don’t really exist in the manner claimed. But is it true? Or is it a piece of disinfo? I’ve no idea.

  • November

    Qatada was made famous by none other than the other BBC (the private BBC/channel four). During the many various Muslim bashing programmes, Qatada was filmed pontificating that he will ban “the union Jack” and instead fly an Islamic flag over the Westminster. What more proof of evil deeds does anyone want??????

    As for any ziofuckwit on the pay of the AIPAC et al posting crap on this site and elsewhere; leave these alone, no one sane will ever get involved in a debate with a dog that had shit on the pavement. Dogs are animals, and ziofuckwits are worse.

    However scaremongering about antibiotics somehow never is going to give way to the whole solid science of phage therapy that will beat the pants of any antibiotics treatment. That will be a solution, and not have the desired effects of cutting the NHS drug bill by stopping the prescriptions of antibiotics, so that people will be dying of simpler infections too, a novel way of saving on the pensions and housing, prevention of global warming and generally the introduction of a more peaceful world.

    The current batch of carpetbaggers in charge are trying to save as much as they can so that the umpteen trillion debt of the bankers are paid without a great deal of taxation on the rich.

    Poor people can make their contribution by fucking off and dying somewhere so that the coalition can get on with: “carry on government”.

  • craig Post author


    yes, I have no doubt that Sally Davies finds the terrorism comparison stupid and distressing. It has Helen Boaden written all over it.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Agree Mary – “protecting our freedom of speech” – ??! My best friend died on HMS Sheffield protecting old-style gunboat diplomacy and certainly the last imperial war.

    RIP ‘Eggy’ – we love you buddy.

    HMS Coventry was purposely commanded into the line of fire as a decoy to draw Argentinian aircraft away from other ships at San Carlos Bay according to her Captain David Dyke.

    HMS Coventry had no certain defense against Argentine A-4 Skyhawks.

    Nineteen serviceman lost.

  • nevermind

    One of your former colleagues is due to address UEA, would he be worth challenging as to your past appalling treatment?

    “You are warmly invited to this Friday’s (15 March) European Forum guest lecture at 5pm, Arts 01.02 (please note that this room is on the Lower Ground Floor of the Arts building).

    Sir Stephen Wall GCMG, LVO, former diplomat and official historian of the UK and EU: ‘Britain and Europe’. In a distinguished career, Sir Stephen served as Private Secretary to five Foreign Secretaries and one Prime Minister, Ambassador to Portugal, UK Permanent Representative to the EU, and Head of the European Secretariat and Europe Adviser to the Prime Minister Tony Blair. He is the author of ‘A Stranger in Europe: Britain in the EU from Thatcher to Blair’ and ‘The Official History of Britain and the European Community, Vol II’. He is currently working on Volume III.

    As space is limited, we’d be grateful if you could register via email at [email protected]

  • November

    Al Qaeda is also slang for the toilet in Arabic or something. If true, of course, it would bolster the claim that they don’t really exist in the manner claimed. But is it true? Or is it a piece of disinfo?

    It is true, al qaeda can be a reference to bottom/arse and derivatives thereof also could denote anus/bumhole too, dependent on the region it could mean women’s menstruation, and or toilet too.

    The westerners whom choose the phrase were too busy scaremongering’ “Q” is a scary/sinister letter in English as in the name “Q” in the Bond movies. The script writers got to write for real life actors too.

  • Fred

    “Mark Golding – yes I’m aware Robin Cook claimed Al Qaeda was the Farsi word for the database, or something similar. I’ve also noted that a meme is being disseminated on the web alleging that Al Qaeda is also slang for the toilet in Arabic or something. If true, of course, it would bolster the claim that they don’t really exist in the manner claimed. But is it true? Or is it a piece of disinfo? I’ve no idea.”

    Nobody knows. I did look into it some time ago and concluded that Robin Cook hadn’t got it quite right. Al Qaeda does mean “the base” and there was a database of Mujahideen on a computer in the UAE during the Soviet occupation era but I don’t think the two are connected. The name seems to have been first used by America, the most probable explanation is that an Afghani who lived near to a training camp when asked by the Americans what they were called said “the base”, as in military base, because that is what the locals called it. America looking for a label to connect the unconnected weren’t much bothered what it meant or what the Muslims called each other.

    Having said that we only have to look at history to know nothing is ever as it seems. Many senior IRA officials turned out to be working for the British government, we know the security services and the police infiltrate radical groups as a matter of routine. I don’t think there can be any doubt that the security services of several countries all have senior Muslim extremists on their payroll. Abu Qatada probably is or has been working for MI6.

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    How about the new AofC? At least we knew the old one was basically a theologian but rather wet and ecumenical and rather too friendly with the C Rabbi.

    The St George’s in Baghdad referred to is administered by Canon Andrew White, also from the same reconciliation group at Coventry Cathedral where Welby comes from. White is Pentagon funded (on his own admission) and he makes visits back to this country and also to countries like Israel where he has connections.

    Welby is one to watch methinks.

    It stinks. These are definitely birds of a feather. Lay money on them being joned at the hip, with all the same aims, interests and of course also all the Israeli connections.

    I’m not an MI6 spy says Archbishop of Canterbury
    It is a scenario straight from the novels of John Le Carre: the head of the Church of England has a secret past smuggling in cold war Europe, briefing US state department officials on rebels in the Niger Delta and chatting to the future head of MI6 in Baghdad.

  • Michael Culver

    Hope that you are recovering Craig.I very much enjoyed your contribution to the debate at Oxford.Silly of me but I always thought it was spelled Al Ciadah not sure how I got that idea?
    Boaden’s a truly horrible person,watching her scurrying away from any connection with the Saville foulness demonstrates that.I wrote to her re: bliar’s war crimes and got a load of bollock’s back about how the B.B.C.had aired many programs examing those sort of claims! News to us all.Stay well and in good heart.

  • Alan

    The funniest thing about the BBC was the way they broadcast “The Power of Nightmares” during October/November 2004, but when the so-called War on Terror started you couldn’t find a mention of it anywhere on the BBC.

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