Posts Tagged ‘AFP’

Daily Kos

(Follow-up to “The Politics of State Terror” posted yesterday.) – “Israel Military Declares Online Media ‘Another War Zone’”:

Across the world, mainstream journalists are expressing increasing disquiet at the way the Israeli government is trying to manage international coverage of its war on the Gaza Strip. Journalists have been barred not just from the strip itself, but the government is now prohibiting journalists from going to parts of Israel near the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Press Association is petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the ban, which is limiting the ability of media outlets to cover the attacks, and forces them to rely on second and third hand reports from Israeli military and Hamas spokesmen regarding the situation on the ground.

As the media struggles to get up-to-date information, television news coverage is narrow, and often relies on interviews with Israeli government officials explaining why the killings are righteous and legitimate expressions of democracy and freedom, more and more people are turning to online news sites (like for their war coverage.

The Israeli military has therefore announced that online media and the blogosphere are another warzone for the military to manage. To that end, the military is launching its own Youtube channel to bring the viewing public footage of “precision bombing operations” in the strip.

In ensuring that the only footage of their military operation is provided directly from them, the Israeli military is another step closer to completely managing public perception of the ongoing attacks. The military says the footage will allow the public to “know that people killed did not have peaceful intentions toward Israel,” which presumably means coverage of the killing of five children in their beds in a refugee camp last night, and the scores of other civilian deaths, will be carefully omitted from the official coverage.

To call Israel’s PR machine as exceedingly cynical isn’t irrational, as have those interpreting Israel’s actions as “electioneering with bombs.”

Even AP analysis says the attacks “seemed inevitable” and could “perhaps benefit leading politicians six weeks before a general election in Israel,” pro-Israel groups are lobbying the US Congress. More from Human Rights Watch via the AFP:

Human Rights Watch said that Israeli bombing of Gaza appeared to be “unlawful” and highlighted three incidents it said had resulted in the deaths of 18 civilians, including at least seven children.

“Additionally, Israel’s severe limitations on the movement of non-military goods and people into and out of Gaza, including fuel and medical supplies, constitutes collective punishment, also in violation of the laws of war,” the group said.

The fact is that people are dying and when people die, the first question should be concerning why they die on the simplest level followed by who caused their death and why their deaths were caused. This is a basic, conservative view of morality — conservative in the limited willingness to deviate from the standards presented. Amoral behavior can be argued as pragmatic in situations, but when human life is at stake, the utmost scrutiny is justified by people like us and crucial for institutions to legitimize their credibility. The moral relativism in foreign policy should be real and focused on holding yourself to the same standards to those you hold others and the Newspeak extends to the West in indoctrinating the American people every day to keep us in the ‘they have to follow the rules, but we don’t’ lock-step. In the effort to manipulate people, it should be no surprise that the State of Israel has resorted to bombing human rights offices.

As for the Newspeak mantra of ‘collateral damage’ and ‘these things happen in war’, Bibi Netanyahu actually does make an attempt at moral relativism with the “human shield” charge on Hamas — blaming Hamas for civilians being at Israel’s targets and that Hamas put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. Why is that supposed to be a valid argument, but once someone brings up the fact that Hamas rockets have killed 17 Israeli civilians in seven years and Israel has killed well over three times that number of Gazan civilians (not including police officers), the ‘these things happen in war’ crops up again and people presenting that statistic are clouded in ‘illegitmate arguments of proportionality’?

EXCERPT from ei – “Falling into the Moral Abyss” by Titus North – 30 Dec 08:

A state founded by Holocaust survivors should be a beacon of morality, not a black hole for it. Supporters of Israeli policy (and I distinguish between support for the Israeli people and support for its government’s policies) often justify their support by saying that Israel is the only democracy in the region. Leaving aside certain problematic aspects of that claim, I wonder if these people have ever thought of the implications of Israel, as a democracy, being engaged in continual violations of international law and human rights. Israelis, benefiting from a press that is far more open to the truth about government’s policies than the American media, know a great deal about what the leaders they elect are doing, yet they continue to elect them. Thus, the Israeli public has culpability for their government’s crimes that citizens under a dictatorship would not have.

Of course, the Israeli government could never have pursued these policies without the money, weapons, and diplomatic cover provided by the US, in particular the US Congress. After all, it is Congress’s powers over the “purse strings” rather than the President acting as commander-in-chief that has had a more direct bearing on the colonization of Palestinian territories by Jewish settlers. So many members of Congress have taken money from organizations effectively in exchange for supporting Israeli government interests. So many members of Congress have accepted all-expense paid junkets to Israel, ostensibly for educational purposes. With too few exceptions, they are fully complicit in Israeli government crimes, including war crimes.

What about the American public? I would say that the American public is largely in the dark about what is going on, thanks to a media which makes criticism of Israeli policy practically taboo. Of course, this gives the media a special culpability. Still, there are many Americans who do know the score and fail to speak out. This is particularly true with Gentiles. Let’s face it, although Jews make up only a few percent of the US population, the bulk of the outspoken critics of Israeli policy in this country seem to be Jewish-Americans. It may be that Gentiles are afraid to speak out for fear of being labeled “anti-Semitic,” but I say that as long as you are not anti-Semitic then you should not be afraid. In fact, if you are a true friend of the Israeli people then you should stand with those in their beleaguered peace movement. [read the full article]

Robert Fisk inspires the most valid argument against the Israeli Newspeak: let’s reverse the numbers and say Hamas dropped tons of bombs in extremely densely populated areas killing nearly 400 in Jerusalem in response to less than 20 civilians dead in Gaza. The West would condemn Hamas and call it for the terrorism it is.

Until then, Israel merely considers a cease-fire, which is a daily report that’s looking more like efforts to humor the global community calling for Israel to stop their attacks in Gaza.

Last week, the Newspeak was of a thwarted coup attempt in Iraq by Ba’athist resurgences, still loyal to Saddam Hussein. The report was that 35 officials were arrested over three days for to re-form the largely Sunni Ba’ath Party through an underground party, Al-Awda.

“Whoever talks about a coup in this country is imagining things. There are no coups in Iraq and there is no one who think about making a coup,” Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki said along with Iraq being a democracy and there was “absolutely no place for thinking of coups while there is freedom and the people have the ability to express themselves through the ballot.”

After The New York Times and The LA Times reported the number of those arrested at 24 and questions within the Kurdish, Sunni, and Shiite legal communities and among the lawmakers as to whether or not the arrests were politically motivated, those arrested were simply released.

23 (or 24) are reported to have been released from Iraq’s custody after the AFP quoted the spokesman for Iraq’s military command, General Qasem Atta, as saying the arrests followed “information that certain officers have aided terrorist activity, outlaws and henchmen from the former regime” and that senior interior ministry was reporting up to 50 arrested and one calling it an attempted coup. This is after a January decision by the Iraq Parliament to allow former Ba’athists to have government posts.

What the hell happened here? Was this a coup attempt? Was this resistance organization? Or was this that evil thing the world can never allow in a free country: democracy?

We don’t know how many have died as a result of the Iraq War, but we do know that 4,000+ Americans have and they were all told that they were fighting for democracy. How would their families like to know that in Iraq, you’re detained for forming a political party with a dissenting opinion?

While the West had a coup shoved down their throats, we had a chuckle over Pres. Bush getting shoes thrown at him. Conveniently, we missed that this yuck-yuck-ba-dum-ching moment for us was created as such by our media.

The alleged coup attempt and arrests and the eventual release of those arrested occured while Iraqi Parliament Speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, announced his resignation stating, “I have no honor leading this parliament and I announce my resignation.”

The Newspeak was a distraction from the uprise of non-militant, non-violent, non-fundamentalist, non-fascist Arabs hailing the shoe thrower.

The late night talk show jokes had us laughing while Muntazer al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his shoes at the president, was tortured.

I hope and pray that hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, lost the joy in ever seeing a sunrise again for this.

Think about it. After a week where millions demonstrated in support of Mr. al-Zaidi and his shoes, the people arrested for wanting to overthrow the Iraqi government are Ba’athist Saddam Hussein supporters.