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Anorak | Liege: biased reporting and Benjamin Herman’s last words

Liege: biased reporting and Benjamin Herman’s last words

by | 30th, May 2018

liege

Two of the victims

 

How important is the fact that Benjamin Herman screamed “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered Soraya Belkacemi, Lucille Garcia and Cyril Vangriecken in the Belgian city of Liege? Jan Jambon, Belgium’s interior ministers says Herman had murdered a man the night before the attack. The BBC says “the authorities were working to establish a motive”. Herman, a 31-year-old drug dealer, had been in jail but was let out for two days on Monday to prepare for an eventual release in 2020.

According to RTBF, Herman had a history of violent behaviour and convictions for theft, vandalism and drugs offences.

Benjamin Herman is dead. Why he did it is something we might never know. But can the media present a narrative?

“There are signs he was radicalised in prison, but is it that radicalisation which drove him to commit these acts?” Mr Jambon told RTL radio. “It could have been because he had nothing to look forward to, because he also killed someone the night before, the guy’s psychology and the fact… he may have been on drugs.”

What Did The Killer Say?

Reuters notes in a story that includes the phrase “Jail to Jihad”:

A police source told Reuters that he had shouted “Allahu Akbar” — the Muslim affirmation of faith — during a gunbattle with officers at a school in downtown Liege on Tuesday after killing his three victims.

Or as the BBC puts it:

Police sources quoted in local media said the man was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic).

The Guardian adds (paragraph 7):

Witnesses said the attacker in Liège was dressed in black and was carrying a rucksack. Footage aired by the Belgian broadcaster RTBF showed him chanting “Allahu Akbar” – God is greatest, in Arabic – as he walked through the city.

In the Telegraph the story begins:

A suspected terrorist on day release from prison executed two female police officers with their own guns and shot dead a trainee teacher before he was killed in a shootout after taking two women hostage at a school in the centre of the Belgian city of Liege.

The bloody rampage on Tuesday morning, which left another four officers wounded, was captured on videos on social media, which showed the black clad man waving a pistol in each hand and shouting “Allahu Akbar” before he was gunned down by elite officers. Belgium’s federal prosecutors office has opened an terror investigation into the attack.

No “police sources” to claim the killer yelled “Allahu Akbar”. It was broadcast on social media.

The Sun makes the killer’s cry the main thrust. The headline declares: “BELGIUM BLOODBATH – Liege shooting – Terrorist on two-day jail release shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ is shot dead after killing two cops and a man.”

The New York Times doesn’t mention Herman’s cry at all, whether it be an Arabic phrase or a Muslim declaration. To omit the killer’s last known words is a remarkable oversight. Compare that blinkered approach to the monocular Breitbart and its report headlined: “Belgian Gunman Appeared on Multiple Reports on Radicalism, Killed 4th Person Before Attack.” It’s an eye-catching headline that the story below does not support.

The Guardian states in its more factual headline: “Belgium shooting: man kills passerby and two police officers in Liège.”

Best to stick to the facts. Via Sky News, we get this:

Media reported that the suspect had been radicalised in prison, and an AFP source close to the investigation said he had been reported as belonging to the “entourage of an Islamist recruiter”.

But justice minister Koen Geens said there was no consistent information for the claim, adding that the case was not “clear cut” and that Herman “certainly was not someone who could clearly be qualified as radicalised”.

Such are the facts.



Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink