Monday, August 11, 2014

Matt 24 watch, 250: Video confirmation on Gaza rocket launches from civilian areas -- and of Hamas censorship with media house complicity . . . bankruptcy!

An Indian journalist has now done a story on a rocket launch from across the road from his Hotel and next to Apartments etc; saving the release until he had left Gaza. 


Note too these twelve examples courtesy IDF footage:

 This, too [Yes, from Israel's Foreign Ministry, they here speak the obvious truth], on Hamas' use of human shields -- a patent war crime:

And, this is what happened in a Gaza Mosque . . . carefully observe the concrete-lined tunnel entrance built into its basement:

(The abuse of a religious centre or the like as a military post turns it into a legitimate military target, for obvious reasons. I suspect, most people don't know that or understand why this is a principle in the laws of war -- for good reason. The same holds for the UN schools used to store weapons and the like.)

Ynet news summarises:

The report by Indian journalist Sreenivasan Jain for Hindi language news channel NDTV went as follows:  "It began with a mysterious tent with a blue canopy that bobbed up yesterday (August 4) at 6:30 am in an open patch of land next to our window. We saw three men making a multitude of journeys in and out of the tent, sometimes with wires.

"An hour later, they emerged, dismantled the tent, changed their clothes and walked away."

The journalist stressed that it is "important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones."
This is a smoking gun on what we were consistently not being told (notice the forty questions for journalists in Gaza here), and it reveals the utter bankruptcy of and complicity in spreading propagandistic censorship and smears on the part of major media houses. 

It is quite clear from this and other cases that have begun to trickle out, that Israel did target primarily militants, and that the Israeli statements that Hamas was attacking civilian centres in Israel with altogether over 3,000 rockets, from behind the shield of civilians in Gaza, is substantially true. So is the point that it is because of extraordinary protective measures that Israel's civilians did not pay a horrific toll -- even as they paid an awful toll in the face of the suicide bombing campaigns from 2000 on.

So, while deaths of civilians on any side are awful, and unfortunately inevitable in war in a built up area (and there is evidence of people being forced back into such areas when they tried to evacuate), the colour painted on that, that Israel primarily targetted civilians in Gaza, is patently not true. Those reporters, editors and news organisations who contributed to that false impression have some serious questions to answer.

The Ynet article also notes:
A day after Operation Protective Edge ended, a truer picture slowly began emerging: foreign reporters leaving the Gaza Strip revealed what Israel has claimed all along – that Hamas is firing out of population hubs and near UN facilities. 

Why didn't they report those facts during the ongoing fighting? According to the reporters, they feared for their lives. "We saw the Hamas men," a Spanish reporter admitted. "But had we dared point the cameras at them, they would have opened fire at us and killed us."

Now that they're out of the Gaza Strip, the reporters are revealing what Hamas tried to prevent the world from seeing. An Indian reporter, for example, documented how Hamas militants launched rockets from a post right outside the window of the hotel where he was staying in the Gaza Strip, shortly before the ceasefire came into effect. The video aired only after the reporter left Gaza. When asked about it, he replied: "There's a conspiracy of silence rooted in fear – no one want to report in real-time" . . . . 

Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati also told the truth about Hamas once he left the Strip, no longer under their threat. In a tweet, Barbati said: “Out of #Gaza far from #Hamasretaliation: misfired rocket killed children yday (yesterday) in Shati. Witness: militants rushed and cleared debris.” He added: “@IDFSpokesperson said truth in communique released yesterday about Shati camp massacre. It was not #Israel behind it.”

Another foreign reporter said that it is an open secret that Hamas uses Al-Shifa hospital as its command center, but that reporters in Gaza would not report that out of fear that it would endanger them.
However, not only foreign reporters were afraid of Hamas' potential revenge. Palestinian reporters also suffered threats when they attempted to criticize the terrorist organization and give truthful reports.
Local Palestinian reporter Radjaa Abu Dagga, for example, reported that he was summoned for questioning at Al-Shifa hospital, where armed Hamas militants attempted to determine whether he writes for an Israeli newspaper. Abu Dagga said that his passport was taken from him, and he was prohibited from leaving the Gaza Strip. Later he published an article in French newspaper Libération, but was forced to remove it after receiving threats.

Reporters in Gaza were subject not only to threats but also to Hamas' manipulations. The Washington Post's Sudarsan Raghavan detailed how the organization's men staged the IDF attack scenes: he said that he was taken to photograph a mosque that had been bombed, and discovered that someone had "prepared" the scene and placed a prayer mat and burnt Quran pages.

He later reported that it was obvious that someone had put them there to create empathy for the Palestinian struggle.

The CBN news website said that apart from mosques, Hamas is also using church compounds to launch attacks. In his report, journalist George Thomas said that Gaza's most prominent Christian leader, Archbishop Alexios, "took CBN News to the roof terrace outside his office to show how Islamists used the church compound to launch rockets into Israel."
There is more, and the report goes on:

Hamas' control of the foreign journalists' coverage during the days of fighting in Gaza was not very sophisticated, but very effective.

First, Hamas determined that the organization's spokesmen could be interviewed only in the the courtyard of Al-Shifa hospital. As a result, long lines of reporters waiting for an interview were created, and during their wait, they witnessed wounded people who arrived to receive treatment. This created the impression Hamas was seeking to convey: a state of immediate emergency and humanitarian disaster.

Secondly, Hamas has never allowed foreign reporters access to military sites attacked by Israel, whether they are bases, rocket-launching sites or other Hamas targets. The dead and wounded of the organization were not captured on film as well, and hence from a media perspective they didn't even exist. All this served Hamas' purpose in creating an impression that all the victims were civilians.

Thirdly, it was clear that Hamas was launching rockets out of populated civilian areas, but the organization demanded that the press photographers not document that, so as to not expose their tactic, nor disclose the location of the launchers.
Now, this is not really new, Hamas has done much the same before. It is therefore irresponsible and complicit for news organisations to report from Gaza under such circumstances and to communicate knowingly false impressions of the course of events that hey knew or should have known would geed into anti-semitic feelings. (NB: As for the notion that Israel is an apartheid, colonialist imposition on the native Arab people of Palestine, and is the occupier of Gaza, it would be wise to read a 101 here -- note response to Mr Commissiong here -- and to peruse the Myths vs Facts documentation here -- note PDF book.)

Ynet news reader Isobel Phillips has it right:

No excuses for this! No one expects reporters to risk their lives for a story, but their publishers, studio anchors etc should have made it very clear that stories were being filed under restrictions imposed by Hamas. In not doing so, they lied to and deceived their audience into believing they were seeing a full and truthful record of events.
Robert Gard is also on target:
  Absolutely! Can't let the media (those who paid the reporters) off the hook. Hamas used the same media tactics during the last dust-up, and follow-up reports set forth the extensive media manipulation and staged photos. Yet these same media organizations returned for another round of manipulation this time. Only when all media, even Al Jazeera, refuse to cover Gaza at all, will the gross manipulation stop.
Aaron Zahavi, too:
 The problem here is that the damage has already been done. Everyone around the world took a massive bite into this terrorist propaganda, and now anti-Semitism/anti-Israel sentiment is insanely high. The media could have at least sent a disclaimer saying that these stories are biased/one sided. But now, everyone believes these false reports and they use it as an excuse to convey their anti-Semitism. I understand that the reporters feared for their lives, and rightfully so, but the media has not done enough to try and convey the truth.

All of this (and more) leads me to the conclusion that -- on fair and well warranted comment -- the integrity of the major media is blatantly fatally compromised and that it is therefore vital for us to assess reportage in accord with the straight vs spin grid . . . if, we have to resort to being informed on any matter of importance by such reportage by such now plainly dubious sources -- including, the once great BBC:

Obviously, good and fair reporting would score a consistent 12 - 16 [with 15 - 16 being expected almost all the time apart from occasional slip ups], and as the reportage falls below that, it is increasingly compromised. The challenge is hard, but once one stands up as an informer of the public influencing how we think, decide and act there is a much higher obligation than for someone not in such a position.

Reporters, editors and media houses, FYI, might and manipulation do not make truth or right

The truth says of what is, that it is and of what is not that it is not, and the right is what accords with our duties to others in light of God-given rights: life, liberty, fulfillment of purpose under God, innocent reputation, justice etc.

Yes, my concern is not just on this topic, but on any number of topics where the media are increasingly in violation of duties to truth, fairness and innocent reputation.

For shame!

Let us face the truth and let us -- struggle though we must -- persistently turn from wrong to right, falsity to truth, smearing to fairness. END