Monday, February 7, 2011

Spy Stories: Aftonbladet Reporters Attacked, Held as Mossad Agents

In a recent article in Aftonbladet a writer from the paper recounts the harrowing story of two correspondents from the paper who were attacked by a mob, held by Egyptian authorities, and released.  It seems that the correspondents were trying to get a story away from the action, but fell into it anyway. According to the report, they were rushed by a mob as they tried filming a woman scavenging for food in the garbage. 
Generally, it sounds like a number of the reports coming out of Cairo. The “would you believe…” moment comes when the mob accuses the Aftonbladet correspondents of being Israeli Mossad spies.
A dramatic sub-headline reads:
-“The military thought that Aftonbladet's team actually belonged to the Israeli security service that would topple President Mubarak.”
Readers, the scale of irony here is huge.  Aftonbladet  (a major government-backed Swedish daily) published a lurid and unfounded blood libel story accusing the Israeli Army of harvesting Palestinians for their body parts.  SIJ had cynical laugh over the idea of anyone associated with Aftonbladet being mistaken for anything even vaguely pro- Israeli. 
Notice that in true anti-Israeli fashion, the Egyptians and Aftonbladet—or maybe just Aftonbladet—make the Mossad responsible for toppling the Mubarak regime.  This is also a laughable bit of conjecture, as Israel’s main interest is in maintaining the status quo regarding the Egyptian peace treaty. Never mind. Aftonbladet is nothing if not sensationalist; when it comes to Israel, they write whatever drivel they want.
At any rate, the report claims that the Egyptian authorities drove them around and threatened to kill them, but luckily, since they spoke no Arabic, they weren’t frightened.  Yes, ignorance kept them cool and calm!  But it is unclear why their translator did not tell them this until later—perhaps when they had to write the story.  As far as one can tell from this rather garbled report, either the Egyptians were too stupid to interrogate suspected Mossad agents, or they realized that the Swedes were not clever secret agents after all, a more likely option. The correspondents were released unharmed, unlike other more serious journalists who have been both interrogated and beaten.
We can guess that the reason why they weren’t interrogated is that the Egyptians could care less about what’s reported in Sweden—there are bigger fish to fry. But this didn’t stop the writer of the article from saying that the fortunate release of the correspondents will allow them to “continue their important reporting”.  
Seems that Aftonbladet is so self-congratulating that it applauds its reporters, no matter what they write.

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