Another crooked British "public service" broadcaster
TO LIVE up to his public image of a rugged, ex-SAS adventurer, it must have seemed essential for Bear Grylls to appear at ease sleeping rough and catching his own food in his television survival series. But it has emerged that Grylls, 33, was enjoying a far more conventional form of comfort, retreating some nights from filming in mountains and on desert islands to nearby lodges and hotels. Now Channel 4 has launched an investigation into whether Grylls, who has conquered Everest and the Arctic, deceived the public in his series Born Survivor.
The series, screened in March and April and watched by 1.4m viewers, built up Grylls's credentials as a tough outdoorsman. In a question and answer session on Channel 4's website, he recalls how station bosses pitched the venture to him stating: "We just drop you into a lot of different hellholes equipped with nothing, and you do what you have to do to survive."
But an adviser to Born Survivor has disclosed that at one location where the adventurer claimed to be a "real life Robin-son Crusoe" trapped on "a desert island", he was actually on an outlying part of the Hawaiian archipelago and spent nights at a motel. On another occasion in California's Sierra Nevada mountains where he was filmed biting off the head of a snake for breakfast and struggling for survival "with just a water bottle, a cup and a flint for making fire", he actually slept some nights with the crew in a lodge fitted with television and internet access. The Pines Resort at Bass Lake is advertised as "a cosy getaway for families" with blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
In one episode Grylls, son of the late Tory MP Sir Michael Grylls, was shown apparently building a Polynesian-style raft using only materials around him, including bamboo, hibiscus twine and palm leaves for a sail. But according to Mark Weinert, an Oregon-based survival consultant brought in for the job, it was he who led the team that built the raft. It was then dismantled so that Grylls could be shown building it on camera.
In another episode viewers watched as Grylls tried to coax an apparently wild mustang into a lasso in the Sierra Nevada. "I'm in luck," he told viewers, apparently coming across four wild horses grazing in a meadow. "A chance to use an old native American mode of transport comes my way. This is one of the few places in the whole of the US where horses still roam wild." In fact, Weinert said, the horses were not wild but were brought in by trailer from a nearby trekking station for the "choreographed" feature. "If you really believe everything happens the way it is shown on TV, you are being a little bit naive," he said.
Channel 4 confirmed that Grylls had used hotels during expeditions and has now asked Diverse, the Bristol-based production company that made the programme, to look into the other claims. "We take any allegations of misleading our audiences seriously," said a spokeswoman for the channel.
The latest suggestion that Channel 4 may have breached viewer trust comes as the broad-caster's supervisory board prepares to issue new editorial guidelines to suppliers in order to stamp out alleged sharp practices that mislead viewers. "Born Survivor is not an observational documentary series but a `how to' guide to basic survival techniques in extreme environments," the spokeswoman said. "The programme explicitly does not claim that presenter Bear Grylls's experience is one of unaided solo survival."
Nevertheless, the disclosure is likely to disappoint fans of the Eton-educated adventurer, who at the age of 23 became the youngest Briton to scale Everest. Just two years before that he had broken his back in three places after his parachute ripped during a military exercise. On screen he has emerged as a natural performer, with stunts such as squeezing water from animal dung and sucking the fluid from fish eyeballs. Grylls could not be contacted for comment this weekend as he was trekking in the Brecon Beacons with his four-year-old son.
Preventing the West from Understanding Jihad
In the years that followed 9/11, two phenomena characterized the Western public's understanding of the terrorists' ideology. The first characteristic stemmed from the statements made by the Jihadists themselves. More than ever, Islamist militants and Jihadi cadres didn't waste any opportunity to declare, clarify, explain, and detail the meaning of their aqida (doctrine) and their intentions to apply Jihadism by all means possible. Unfortunately for them, though, those extremely violent means changed international public opinion: the public now was convinced that there was an ideology of Jihadism, and that its adherents meant business worldwide.
From Ayman al Zawahiri in Arabic to Azzam al Amriki in American English, via all of the videotapes made by "martyrs" in Britain, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the public obtained all the evidence necessary. Against all the faulty academic literature of the 1990's, the statements by the Jihadists themselves were very convincing.
The second phenomenon of help to the public was the surfacing of a new literature produced by alternative scholars, analysts, journalists, experts, and researchers who, from different backgrounds and countries, filled in some of the gaps is "Jihadi studies." Producing books, articles, and blogs from Europe, India, the Middle East, and North America, a combination of Third World-born and Western-issued scholarship began to provide the "missing link" as to what Jihadism is all about. These factors came together to shift the debate from "Jihad is spiritual yoga" to "Why didn't we know it was something else as well?" And this movement triggered, in response, one of the last attempts to prevent Jihad from being fully understood.
In the 1990's, apologist literature attempted to convince readers and audiences in the West that Jihad was a "spiritual experience only, and not a menace."  That explanation has now been shattered by Bin Laden and Ahmedinijad. So in the post-9/11 age, a second strategy to delay public understanding of Jihadism and thereby gain time for its adherents to achieve their goals has evolved. It might be called the "good cop, bad cop" strategy. Over the past few years, a new story began to make inroads in Washington and the rest of the national defense apparatus. A group of academics and interest groups are circulating the idea that in reality Jihad can develop in two forms: good Jihad and bad Jihad.
The practice of not using "Jihad" and "Jihadism" was lately defended by two academics at the National Defense University  who based their arguments on a study published by a Washington lobbyist, Jim Guirard. On June 22, 2006, Jim Garamone, writing for the American Forces Press Service, published the study of Douglas Streusand and Harry Tunnel under the title "Loosely Interpreted Arabic terms can promote enemy ideology." Streusand told CNN that "Jihad is a term of great and positive import in Islam. It is commonly defined as striving or struggle, and can mean an internal or external struggle for faith." 
The article was posted under the title "Cultural Ignorance Leads to Misuse of Islamic Terms" by the US-based Islamist organization CAIR.  Since then the concept of deflecting attention away from the study of Jihadism has penetrated large segments of defense newsletters and is omnipresent in Academia. More troubling though, is the fact that scholars who have seen the strategic threat of al Qaeda and Hezbollah have unfortunately fallen for the fallacy of the Hiraba. Professor Michael Waller of the Institute of World Politics in Washington wrote recently that "Jihad has been hijacked" as he bases his argument on Jim Guirard's lobbying pieces. Satisfied with this trend taking root in the Defense intelligentsia of America, Islamist intellectuals and activists are hurrying to support this new tactic.
The good holy war is when the right religious and political authorities declare it against the correct enemy and at the right time. The bad Jihad, called also Hiraba, is the wrong war, declared by bad (and irresponsible) people against the wrong enemy (for the moment), and without an appropriate authorization by the "real" Muslim leadership. According to this thesis, those Muslims who wage a Hiraba, a wrong war, are called Mufsidoon, from the Arabic word for "spoilers." The advocates of this ruse recommend that the United States and its allies stop calling the Jihadists by that name and identifying the concept of Jihadism as the problem. In short, they argue that "Jihad is good, but the Mufsidoon, the bad guys and the terrorists, spoiled the original legitimate sense."
When researched, it turns out that this theory was produced by clerics of the Wahhabi regime in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood, as a plan to prevent Jihad and Jihadism from being depicted by the West and the international community as an illegal and therefore sanctioned activity. It was then forwarded to American- and Western-based interest groups to be spread within the Untied States, particularly within the defense and security apparatus. Such a deception further confuses U.S. national security perception of the enemy and plunges democracies back into the "black hole" of the 1990's. This last attempt to blur the vision of democracies can be exposed with knowledge of the Jihadi terror strategies and tactics, one of which is known as Taqiya, the doctrine on deception and deflection.
First, the argument of "good Jihad" raises the question of how there can be a legitimate concept of religious war in the twenty-first century to start with. Jihad historically was as "good" as any other religious war over the last 2,000 years. If a "good Jihad" is the one authorized by a caliph and directed under his auspices, then other world leaders also can wage a "good crusade" at will, as long as it is licensed by the proper authority. But in fact, all religious wars are proscribed by international law, period.
Second, the authors of this lobbyist-concocted theory claim that a wrong Jihad is called a Hiraba. But in Arab Muslim history, a Hiraba (unauthorized warring) was when a group of warriors launched itself against the enemy without orders from the real commander. Obviously, this implies that a "genuine" war against a real enemy does exist and that these hotheaded soldiers have simply acted without orders. Hence this cunning explanation puts "spin" on Jihad but leaves the core idea of Jihadism completely intact. The "spoilers" depart from the plan, attack prematurely, and cause damage to the caliphate's long-terms plans. These Mufsidoon "fail" their commanders by unleashing a war of their own, instead of waiting for orders.
This scenario fits the relations of the global Jihadists, who are the regimes and international groups slowly planning to gain power against the infidels and the "hotheaded" Osama bin Laden. Thus the promoters of this theory of Hiraba and Mufsidoon are representing the views of classical Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood in their criticism of the "great leap forward" made by bin Laden. But by convincing Westerners that al Qaeda and its allies are not the real Jihadists but some renegades, the advocates of this school would be causing the vision of Western defense to become blurred again so that more time could be gained by a larger, more powerful wave of Jihadism that is biding its time to strike when it chooses, under a coherent international leadership.
ISLAM IS BASICALLY IMMODERATE
By Amil Imani, an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America
Many people have asked me why I have put my life in harm's way by tangling with Islam and why I do what I do. Born in a Muslim family and having witnessed first-hand the horrors and indignity that Islamofascism visits on people it subjugates, I have taken it upon myself to do my part in defeating this ideology of oppression, hate and violence. Islam is wrapped in deception as a spiritual dogma or religion and is more dangerous than Nazism, Communism and Fascism.
My writings aim to help people decide if they want to rank with the Islamists or if they want to truly live as free men. The truth shall set you free, it is said, but first it will shatter the cozy, sweet world you live in.
Nowadays we hear from the non-Muslim world about the moderate version of Islam and moderate Muslims. In my view, being a Muslim and not being radical is simply not possible. Freedom lets a person make choices and be up-front about it. And that's where I part with those who would prefer to be sheep and have sheepdogs hem them in.
Many non-Muslims are obviously very well-meaning with regard to Islam, but they are also extremely naive and ignorant of the facts. They seem to think that Islam is just another religion of love and peace and Muslims should be given full freedom to practice their religion. Do they also believe that thieves, misogynists, rapists, child-molesters and any and all manner of practicing evils should be given complete carte blanche to carry on with what they value and believe? These well-meaning poeple are just as deluded as the fanatic jihadists by refusing to acknowledge the fact that one cannot be a Muslim and not abide by the dictates of the Quran.
There is no such thing as moderate Islam. There is no such thing as secular Islam or a secular Muslim. It's the nature of the faith to deny any separation of religion and the state or religion and society. There are numerous sects within Islam. One and all are extremes and not in the least amenable to change. Keep in mind that Islam claims that it is the perfect eternal faith for mankind. Splits have occurred and will continue to occur in Islam. Yet, reformation has not happened in nearly 1400 years and is not going to happen. Islam is carved in granite, just the way it is. No change. Allah's book is sealed.
There are indeed some Muslims who are moderate in the way they practice their religion. These people, for the most part, are culturally Muslims. They don't practice Islam the way it is mandated. They pick and choose. Therefore, "moderate Islam," is no Islam at all. It is not possible.
The Islamists have created fear not only in a non-Islamic world, but in the hearts and minds of those who consider themselves to be Muslims. The Islamists wage their war under the name of Islam. They receive immense direct and indirect support from the rank-and-file of ordinary Muslims. It is this passive support of so-called moderate Muslims that keeps the Islamists alive. And it is the Islamists who are intent on showing no mercy to any and all who do not share their ideology, be they Muslims or not. Millions of Iranians who were born into a faith they did not choose, a faith that was inflicted upon them by invaders of a foreign culture, a faith that forbids them to leave or revert to their pre-Islamic heritage and other Iraian religions, they remain Muslims in name only.
However, someone like the fanatic Ahmadinejad is a true Muslim who was instilled from his upbringing with Islamic superstitions, prejudices and hatreds. He was indoctrinated, from the moment of his birth, by an extensive ruthless in-power cadre of self-serving mullahs and imams who intended to maintain their stranglehold on the rank and file of the faithful-their very source of support and livelihood.
The fanatic Ahmadinejad is every bit as bloodthirsty as Hitler. Every jihadist is. But, he is not a Hitler. Not yet. He is far from having control of the Iranian State, including its armed forces. Even his popularity among the very poor is sinking for not being able to deliver what he had promised. Hence, the thing to do is to increase greatly any and all non-violent pressures on the present Islamic regime in Iran. Despite the current tug-of-war in Washington, we hope to believe people in U.S. government have studied all the possible effective actions and now it is time to put them into full effect without any delay. It is also time for the rabid self-serving Bush-bashers to start fighting the real enemy.
The majority of Iranians are against the mullahs' rule and many are staunchly pro-West and pro-America. However, a minority supports the mullahs for a variety of reasons, such as jobs, influence and simply for money. And a much smaller minority composed of the people we call the 3Fs -- fools, fanatics and frauds, do support the Mullahs. Further, the mullahs have severely dis-empowered the opposition by systematic harassing, jailing and killing.
The mullahs' days are, however, numbered and we will witness the rule of the true Iranians, the majority of whom are worthy human beings. No totalitarian rule can survive without a segment of the population, for one reason or another, supporting it. Yet, time is not on the side of the mullahs. By their mismanagement, thievery and oppression of the masses, they have created explosive internal conditions. Any significant support of the presently splintered Iranian opposition will be the tipping point-a tipping point that would assuredly topple the mullahs.
In conclusion, our best hope for humanity and civilization to survive is to firmly resist Islamofascism in all its forms. As an Iranian-American, I have experienced first-hand the Islamic tyranny as well as the blessings of liberty. I find it my solemn duty to do all I can to battle Islamofascism, the most dehumanizing active threat of our time.
Michael Winner salutes a brilliant, politically incorrect, British comedian
Bernard Manning died recently. Michael Winner is an English film director and producer
To say I was fan of Bernard Manning is a gross understatement. If a stand-up comedian could be a genius, then Manning was a genius. He may have offended people, but since when has that been a crime? Comics have caused offence since the dawn of time. And not only did he offend with brilliant gags, he did it to anyone. No one was safe from his jokes - they always cut close to the bone and that is why the audiences loved him.
In my opinion, he died twice. Not just this week, but also on that day many years ago when those crackpot, sourfaced, people known as The Politically-Correct Brigade forced him off television because they considered his jokes to be racist. He wasn't racist. If Bernard wanted to make fun of any race, he did so without discrimination. And why shouldn't he? His job was to make us laugh, and that he did brilliantly.
I met Bernard a few years ago, when, with a friend, I paid for him to come from his beloved Manchester and do a cabaret in a private banqueting room for Marco Pierre White's 40th birthday. He sat like an out-of-breath walrus - even then his skin colour was a shade of grey, indicating severe heart problems. But when he took the microphone, everything changed. He was alert, sharp, his delivery and nuances were impeccable, his timing perfection. I introduced him to the distinguished dinner crowd, which included Madonna, with the usual words - "Ladies and gentlemen ... Bernard Manning".
Bernard took the microphone, his pause was perfect, then in that marvellous, gravelly voice he said: "Michael Winner, the most hated Jew in Europe." That was funny. That, as the old saying goes "brought the house down". None of us considered that racist. Least of all me, the one who should have been most insulted.
Some years ago, I remember one of those undercover TV programmes secretly filmed a private dinner. Manning was speaking. He came out with another of his great jokes: "I lost a relation in Auschwitz. Fell off the guard tower." There was indignant uproar from the chattering classes. The politically correct brigade said it was just disgraceful. I remember thinking: "What are they going on about? That was funny. It made me laugh." And I actually lost relatives in Auschwitz.
Why shouldn't we poke fun at Jews, Muslims, the Irish, Scotsmen, the French, the Italians, Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, blacks, Chinese... I could go on. Another saying, one of my favourites, goes: "If you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined."
I remember once attending a TV special, An Evening With Jackie Mason - the Jewish American comedian. The jokes he told were hysterical. Many of them deriding Jews in a dry, very funny, observational way. At the end of the evening, Pamela Stephenson came over to me, white with rage. "No wonder the Jews hate him," she said of Mason. "He's so anti-Semitic." Nonsense. Jackie was, and still is, extremely funny. And believe me, when Jews are talking among themselves, it's not at all uncommon for them to refer to "Yid" and "Yidden". Try that in a joke today and you wouldn't just be off television, you'd be banned from the planet!
When Lenny Henry, one of our wonderful black comics, started out, he had a terrific line in his act. He'd say: "If you don't laugh, I'll come and live next door to you." Funny, funny, funny. Later, I seem to remember Lenny apologising for that. Silly, silly, silly.
Where do these politically correct people live? Do they have their own special world. Do they not realise that in the real world people speak a different language to theirs? I was for many years on the Council of the Directors Guild Of Great Britain. Suddenly I saw on their notepaper the word "Chair" and then the name. "I never voted for James Cellan-Jones to be a chair," I protested. "I voted for him as our Chairman." "Can't use 'Chairman' any more," I was told. "It's not politically correct because it discriminates against women."
As far as I'm concerned, our world today is being controlled by this tiny group of out-of-touch loonies who'd prefer to see The Merchant Of Venice's finest lines disappear because a wonderfully written and beautifully spoken Jewish character is shown to be a greedy villain. And what about Othello, which might suggest that black soldiers are capable of strangling their wives in a fit of unfounded jealousy? Or Hamlet, which could offend Danes by suggesting that one of their countrymen could poison his brother in order to gain a throne?
These are the people who forced Benny Hill off TV and want topless girl pictures banned from newspapers. Don't they go to art galleries, these blinkered buffoons? There, they'd see picture after picture of topless (and some times bottomless) nymphs and ladies, many of them painted for their patrons' titillation - from Lucas Cranach in the 16th century, through Rubens and Goya, to Lucian Freud today.
Then Bernard Manning comes along, speaking the language of the British people, brilliantly phrased, exquisitely delivered, wittily composed, and above all unbelievably funny - and he's suddenly too rough for TV! Who do these idiots think watches TV? Bernard Manning spoke as his audience spoke. Except that he honed and perfected his jokes until they were gems. His humour came from the spirit of England. Brave, tolerant, welcoming to all races - a land that is rightly proud of Shakespeare, even though some of his writing is of such vulgarity that Bernard Manning is a churchwarden by comparison. Do these tight-bottomed idiots not realise laughter is a release? The day we cannot laugh at ourselves, and other people, without fear of censure is a sad day indeed.
Tragically, that day has come and it may get worse. I'm glad I'm old enough to have visited the music halls, still thriving in the Fifties and Sixties, and saw our great comics perform their art. And, yes, they made wonderfully ribald jokes about sex and gender and race and religion - all subjects that are taboo today. Now, the music halls are shopping malls and comedy has been replaced by smart, utterly unfunny political parody performed by nonentities who think the F-word is funny, while the old-timers who could stand up and enthral an audience for two hours single-handed are buried in English soil.
In a few days, Bernard Manning will join them. Make no mistake, he was a great and noble Englishman with a glorious sense of humour. I could, and should, have enjoyed him on TV for the last many years. But those arrogant enough to think they know better than everyone else decided he was not fit for mass consumption. This is not only a crazy world. It is a politically correct, tyrannical world where we let an intolerant minority tell us what to think. Goodbye Bernard. I salute you and I thank you. At least you'll be laughing at our lunatic world from on high.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.