Quite a lot is being made in the Australian media of the Oslo bomber’s manifesto and its mentions of Australian conservatives.
The story seemed almost too delicious to be true. Even though I’m a conservative, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if racists looked to Howard as one of their own. Alas, the journalists didn’t bother to dig much deeper, favouring the obvious linkbait: ‘Howard praised by bomber manifesto’.
The manifesto, ‘A European Declaration of Independence’ is 1,492 pages long as an Adobe file. The writing style varies rapidly: neither tone nor content is consistent. This shouldn’t surprise us: it’s not a manifesto. The author — ‘Andrew Berwick’ — states that it is a ‘compendium’.
There are two passages relating to John Howard. The first begins on page 519:
Federal Treasurer Peter Costello said Australian Muslim leaders need to stand up and publicly denounce terrorism in all its forms. Mr. Costello has also backed calls by Prime Minister John Howard for Islamic migrants to adopt Australian values. Mr. Howard caused outrage in Australia’s Islamic community when he said Muslims needed to speak English and show respect to women.
A tiny amount of Google-fu makes it clear that this passage comes from a 2006 article published to News.com.au.
The second is on page 675:
Luckily, not all Christian leaders are appeasers of Islam. One of the intelligent ones comes from Australia, a country that has been fairly resistant to Political Correctness. They have taken serious steps towards actually enforcing their own borders, despite the
predictable outcries from various NGOs and anti-racists, and Prime Minister John Howard has repeatedly proven to be one of the most sensible leaders in the Western world.
George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, tells of how September 11 was a wakeup call for him personally:
“I recognised that I had to know more about Islam.” “In my own reading of the Koran, I began to note down invocations to violence. There are so many of them, however, that I abandoned this exercise after 50 or 60 or 70 pages.” “The predominant grammatical form in which jihad is used in the Koran carries the sense of fighting or waging war.” “Considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for fear-reaching renovation is severely limited.” “I’d also say that Islam is a much more war-like culture than Christianity.” “I’ve had it asserted to me is that in the relationship between the Islamic
and non-Islamic world, the normal thing is a situation of tension if not war, or outright hostility.”
This comes, word for word, from a 2007 article published by the Assyrian International News Agency.
The ‘manifesto’ reads like chainmail. The penultimate section is about the best producers of sugar beets. The final section is a series of weird, weird pictures…
The question here is what is the relationship between the writer of the manifesto/compendium/copypasta and Howard? There doesn’t appear to be one. There’s no admiration expressed by the compiler because in compiling a document, you don’t express your own opinion.
Does the compiler agree with Howard’s position? It’s also hard to tell. Although they were distasteful and repugnant, almost none of Howard’s ‘multicultural’ policies are expressed in the collated news clippings.
If the media were being honest and balanced, the story would be: ‘Oslo bomber copy and pasted news clippings which praised Howard’s policies.’
But that story wouldn’t manufacture outrage or sell adverts, so we didn’t get to read it.