Judge Judy Meets Fear Factor

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Reality TV has invaded Iraq, courtesy of the American taxpayer, in the form of the popular show Terror in the Hands of Justice. Doug Ireland writes:

One of the most hate-inducing aspects of this TV series: the confrontations between alleged victims of the "terrorists" or their families, and those who are supposed to have committed the crimes against them. The alleged victims cry for vengeance—"Do with him what you will, kill him, crush him," cries one hysterical woman into the camera. This highly manipulative (and manipulated) TV series is intended to whip up a lynch-mob mentality among viewers—and it does so to great effect….

The Financial Times…relates that the word mujahid—meaning "holy warrior"—has become street slang for homosexuals "after men claiming to be captured Islamist guerrillas confessed that they were holding gay orgies in the popular Iraqi TV programme."

Says the F.T., "The insurgents' confessions have become increasingly at odds with the movement's reputation for stringent Islamic austerity. Many Iraqis believe that the stern-faced officers of the 'Wolf Brigade', the Iraqi security unit that arrested most of the alleged terrorists, may have pushed the suspects—some of whom appear on the programme sporting bruises—to embellish their 'confessions'…"

UPI's Roland Flamini notes: "The fact that televised confessions are familiar to Iraqis from the Saddam Hussein regime makes some Iraqis uneasy, but also—ironically—makes the shows more plausible."

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  1. The gay orgies remarks remind me of the scene in Gulag Archipelago in which the court-appointed lawyer for the accused “white guards” (actually Communist Party members) stated that, even if his clients committed the deeds they were accused of, they deserve mercy, because they thought they were doing what was right, and best for the people.

    At which point the defendants, who spent a few weeks in the custody of the NKVD, jumped to their feet and furiously insisted that they were NOT doing what they thought was right, and best for the people, but were in fact motivated by a great evil, and were trying to hurt as many innocent people as possible just for the hell of it.

  2. joe,

    It reminds of early modern era witch trials; see Robin Briggs, Witches and Neighbors.

  3. Wolf Brigade? Wasn’t that the name of the Nazi orgaization that fought on during the Allied ocupation?

  4. saw-whet,

    No, those were the Werewolves, and most of the fighting done by the Werewolves happened prior to the end of the war.

  5. I don’t think Mark Burnett is worried

  6. The stories aren’t necessarily implausible, though. It would not be the first time discordant behavior emerged inside the hothouse atmosphere of religious fanaticism – televangelists seem to believe, that as special instruments of God, they are exempt from rules established for ordinary believers.

    One of the attractions of jihadism, in the repressive, traditional Islamic society, is the common notion that the jihadist is entitled to a “down-payment” on the dispensations of Paradise.

  7. Or, maybe, they beat the piss out of them until they agreed to read the cue cards.

  8. joe

    That doesn’t mean what is written on the cue-cards isn’t true. No doubt, a jihadist wouldn’t confess ANYTHING – like Zaquari’s location, or the name of his cell-leader, or even that he IS a jihadi – absent some kind of pressure. And I suppose the jihadis you see on the show have been interrogated for a variety of ordinary intelligence purposes. They may, or may not, have been mis-treated.

    But the “revelations” aren’t all that unbelievable, or lurid – this is not Zinoviev confessing to being a convinced Nazi, paid to betray the Worker’s Republic to the Imperialists. (A charade The Nation swallowed without difficulty, if I recall correctly.)

    Instead, it is a glimpse into the actual dynamics of terrorist groups, which is a lot less glamorous than the fables The Nation peddles about “root causes”.
    It may be, that this glimpse was pressured out of these guys – but what emerges may be a guilty secret, rather than a fabrication.

  9. joe

    Weren’t you big on that Yemeni judge “debating” the jihadis? What do you think the context surrounding that was – perfect due process in Yemen?

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