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« November 2004 | Main | January 2005 »

Thursday, December 30 2004

Seattle Times Rewrites History

Continuing the latest media trend to revise Mideast history, columnist Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times argues that Israel’s security fence is part of a systematic land-grabbing effort.

Israel's original land grant, made by the United Nations in 1947, was for 55 percent of Palestine. After the 1948 war, Israel held 78 percent. The wall is an attempt to annex some of the choicest bits of the other 22 percent.

Actually, Israel offered to return the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for peace immediately after the Six Day War. But the Arab response was the famous “Three No’s.” Does Ramsey plan to rewrite that too?

Disengagement 2 Unveiled

Ehudolmert_bDeputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (pictured left) told the Jerusalem Post that Israel may need to disengage from many areas of the West Bank. The Post quotes Olmert saying, “There is no option of sitting and doing nothing. Israel's interest requires a disengagement on a wider scale than what will happen as part of the current disengagement plan.” Olmert floated the government's original Gaza disengagement plan as a trial balloon last year. Developing…


Wednesday, December 29 2004

Terrorism? In Israel?

A St. Petersburg Times article looks back at Islamic terror in 2004. The good news: they actually use the word 'terror.' The bad news: they don't acknowledge terror in Israel.

Islamic terrorists struck in the Philippines, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt and, most effectively, in Spain.

If its any consolation, the SP Times omitted Beslan too.


Tuesday, December 28 2004

Israeli disaster aid

Here's a nice animated GIF from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on what happened in the Indian Ocean:

The IDF and Israeli agencies have sent numerous aid missions to the region, but except for UPI, none of the major news outlets seems interested in covering this. Instead, AP is preoccupied with IDF painting in the West Bank.

UPDATE: See our communique on this topic. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Vatican newspaper is actually blaming Israel for not doing anything about the disaster!


Monday, December 27 2004

LA Times photo essay

CafehillelThe LA Times has begun a five-part photo essay by photographer Rick Loomis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A Camera's View of the Mideast Conflict

So far, it seems fair and balanced, with captions providing appropriate context.

Part 1: Security


Sunday, December 26 2004

AP in Iraq - ethics of photojournalism

A whole lot of recent criticism has come AP's way regarding their coverage of Iraq, with accusations of AP complicity with terrorists there.

See Powerline for a wrapup, as well as LGF and Roger Simon.

Powerline summarizes:

The issue relates to the shocking photo, recently published by the AP, showing three terrorists in the act of murdering two Iraqi election workers on a street during daylight. The photographer was obviously within a few yards of the scene of the murder, which raises obvious questions, such as 1) what was the photographer doing there; did he have advance knowledge of the crime, or was he even accompanying the terrorists? and 2) why did the photographer apparently have no fear of the terrorists, or conversely, why were the terrorists evidently unconcerned about being photographed in the commission of a murder?

Here's the AP photo of the incident, which occurred on Haifa Street (!) in Baghdad:


AP's response to the criticism:

Several brave Iraqi photographers work for The Associated Press in places that only Iraqis can cover. Many are covering the communities they live in where family and tribal relations give them access that would not be available to Western photographers, or even Iraqi photographers who are not from the area.

Insurgents want their stories told as much as other people and some are willing to let Iraqi photographers take their pictures. It's important to note, though, that the photographers are not "embedded" with the insurgents. They do not have to swear allegiance or otherwise join up philosophically with them just to take their pictures.

The whole incident reminds us of cases like this in the Palestinian territories.


Thursday, December 23 2004

Post-Oslo Myths

The latest HR communique has been released: 'Post-Oslo Myths'

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'How-to' video for suicide terror

SuicidevestNBC News found a chilling video with step-by-step instructions how to make a suicide vest:

Posted in a militant Islamic chat room three days ago, a stunningly detailed 26-minute video on how to make a sophisticated suicide bomb vest, along with a demonstration of its kill range, using a mannequin. Titled "The Explosive Belt for Martyrdom Operations," the video obtained by NBC News demonstrates how to make an explosive vest that would be tough to detect, mostly from common off-the-shelf materials.

"The most disturbing thing about this video is that it exists," says NBC analyst and retired military intelligence officer Lt. Col. Rick Francona....

Experts believe the video was made by a Palestinian group.

"The video was accompanied by a note that explained it was there for the purposes of aiding the brothers, the fighting brothers, in cities in central Iraq," says NBC terror analyst Evan Kohlmann.

Be sure to see the video accompanying the report on the MSNBC site.


Wednesday, December 22 2004

One Man's Patriarch...

MichelsabbahMarking the end of the 40 days of mourning, AFP calls Yasser Arafat “the Palestinian patriarch":

PLO chairman Mahmud Abbas marked the end of 40 days of mourning with lavish praise for the "eternal" Yasser Arafat, vowing the Palestinian patriarch would one day be buried in his beloved Jerusalem.

Arafat shouldn’t be confused with another patriarch who made news today. Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah said Israel’s security fence “makes Bethlehem a big prison.” Should Sabbah worry about the media cheapening his title? After all, media officials might think one man's patriarch is another man's terrorist.

Terror Victims Sue Arab Bank

Haaretz reports that 117 American victims of Palestinian terror attacks have filed law suits against the Arab Bank. The Jordanian-based bank, which has an office in Manhattan, is accused of money-laundering and funneling funds to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the families of suicide bombers.


Tuesday, December 21 2004


Yasser Arafat's cabinet secretary, Ahmed Abdelrahman, claims the PA chairman was exposed to poison in 2003 during a meeting with supporters. AFP wrote:

Something strange happened to Arafat around a year ago. It was on September 25, 2003...," Ahmed Abdelrahman told the London-based Al-Hayat daily newspaper.

"The president shook hands with around 30 people before leaving to vomit. It was from that moment that the president's health started slowly deteriorating," he said.

And all this time, we were led to believe the Mossad killed him.


Monday, December 20 2004

Buffalo Bluff

In the Buffalo News, academic Jerome Slater posits that Sharon is -- and always has been -- the overriding obstacle to Mideast peace. Moreover, Slater presents himself as more knowlegable about what happened to undermine the historic Oslo peace efforts than those who were actually there:

Continue reading "Buffalo Bluff"

WPPH miscaptions

The World Press Photo (WPPH) awards are among the most prestigious international prizes for photojournalism. This year's WPPH Second Prize for 'News Stories' was granted to German Kai Wiedenhöfer (at right) for a series of 12 photographs entitled 'The Wall, Israel Occupied Territories'. The sole caption for the photo essay on the WPPH site:

In 2002 Israel began to construct a 700-kilometer-long security barrier in the West Bank saying that it was designed to stop suicide bombers. Palestinians complained that the barrier was illegal and that its route cut off hundreds of farmers and traders from their land and means of economic survival. [link]

Wiedenhöfer's entry rode this year's wave of international criticism of the West Bank security fence. Yet three of Wiedenhöfer's winning photos labeled as the 'West Bank barrier' are not, in fact, anywhere near the West Bank. These three shots were taken on the southern Gaza border with Egypt:


The corrugated metal fence in the top two photos identifies it as Rafah, and the bottom photo is alongside Gaza's Philadelphi corridor (where Palestinian arms smuggling has been rampant ― hence the destruction). Wiedenhöfer himself acknowledges the location of the top photo on his personal web page.

World Press Photo says its mission is '[t]o encourage high professional standards in photojournalism.' Wiedenhöfer's photo essay in its current state on the WPPH web site is inaccurately captioned, undermining that very goal.

HonestReporting encourages subscribers to write to World Press Photo, requesting an explanation for miscaptioning of these photos.

Comments to:

It should further be noted that one of Wiedenhöfer's photos that does portray the West Bank barrier is the site where, on June 17, 2003, Palestinian terrorists used drainage pipes to access the Israeli side, where they opened fire on the family car of 7-year old Noam Leibowitz (at right), killing her instantly:


No indication whatsoever of this fact appears alongside the photo of the barrier and the (now) highly-secured drainage pipes.


Sunday, December 19 2004

PA Textbooks Inciteful or Insightful?

The International Herald-Tribune published a commentary by Roger Avenstrup, an international education consultant, who denies that there’s any incitement in PA textbooks, and even suggests that PA textbooks could serve as models for educational reform in Afghanistan and Iraq!

No country's textbooks have been subjected to as much close scrutiny as the Palestinian. The findings? It turns out that the original allegations were based on Egyptian or Jordanian textbooks and incorrect translations. Time and again, independently of each other, researchers find no incitement to hatred in the Palestinian textbooks….

If, as part of its policy of reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, the White House is looking for a modern education founded in positive Islamic values and which promotes peace and conflict resolution, it should look at Palestinian textbooks for a model.

The first editions are not perfect: There are gaps in the presentation of both Palestinian and Israeli history, but they are a good starting point nonetheless.

As usual in national curriculum processes, criticism from extremists on either side is a sign that the process is probably on the right track. The biggest constraint, in the words of a Palestinian parent, is that Israeli tanks and soldiers are shooting in the streets outside while teachers are trying to promote peace in the classroom.

The culture of brainwashing that has become Palestinian education is documented well enough. We invite Avenstrup and readers to read here and here and make their own judgements.

UPDATE: See Itamar Marcus' response to the Avenstrup article.

Reuters' Headline Fixation

_1374795_reuters300Thumbs down to Reuters' headline writers in the wire service's coverage of IDF operations in the Gaza Strip. After the Israeli town of Sderot came under heavy Qassam rocket fire, the IDF retaliated with an incursion into the Gaza Strip, where the rockets were launched from. Here are the Reuters headlines listed in chronological order. Notice a pattern and think about what key information might be missing.

* Israeli Army Raid Into Gaza Kills 5 Palestinians
* Israeli Army Raid Into Gaza Kills 6 Palestinians
* Israeli Army Raid Into Gaza Kills 8 Palestinians
* Israel Pulls Out of Gaza Camp After Killing 11

Reuters' headines (and the subsequent coverage) all omit an important piece of info: All 11 Palestinians killed were armed, which was noted by the Jerusalem Post.

In contrast, AP’s headline sent out to papers simply read
Israel Retaliates With Raid After Attack


Thursday, December 16 2004

Hamas preacher: BBC reporter is with us

Haaretz reports that Fathi Hamad, a top Gazan Hamas preacher, delivered a fiery talk a short while ago calling for a 'media jihad' that would include taking over the Arab press and infiltrating the western media. (This, in response to the increasing strength of the Islamic Jihad movement, a rival of Hamas.)

Hamad claims that effort's already begun. Haaretz reports:

Hamad says on tape that Hamas man Faiz Abu Smala works for the BBC, "and that way he writes the story in favor of the Islam and Muslims."

We're not familiar with an Abu Smala at the Beeb. Perhaps he was referring to Fayad Abu Shamala, who announced at a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001 that 'Journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people'?

Our sources inform us that Abu Shamala is still working at the BBC.

(Hat tip: R.C.)

Arafat's Last Days

Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian examined in depth Yasser Arafat’s last days in an effort to piece together the cause of his death. Goldenberg (who is no stranger to HonestReporting) acknowledges the bafflement of the doctors and the lack of evidence to conclusively support or refute the rumors that he was poisoned. According to The Guardian, the red flags of Arafat’s declining health began appearing as far back as September. Besides stubbornly keeping a demanding schedule, Arafat was deeply suspicious of his own doctors. Writes Goldenberg:

Arafat was also in regular communication with Ashraf Kurdi, a Jordanian neurologist who first treated him in 1992 after he survived a plane crash in the Libyan desert. But as even his doctors will admit, Arafat had a villager's suspicion of modern medicine and its practitioners, much as he liked the status of having doctors as friends. "Arafat didn't trust many people," Kurdi admits. "This was his nature. He didn't like to see doctors in general because each one tried to give him a different medicine, and he was afraid to take the wrong one, because of poisoning." He was even reluctant to take the medicine prescribed for his tremor, a condition that was often mistaken for Parkinson's disease.

But rumors and conspiracy theories take on a life of their own, as evidenced by the continued fascination with the death of King Tutankhamen 3,000 years ago. Or is the Mossad to be blamed for his death too?

The Dishonest Reporting 'Awards' 2004

The Dishonest Reporting 'Awards' for 2004 have been released! See them here.

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Please use the comments below for discussion of the 2004 Dishonest Reporting 'Awards'.

Reading Syria's Tea Leaves

We can’t read the Arabic parts of the Syrian parliament's web site, but it features a map of the Mideast that actually includes Israel by name.

(Hat tip: IMRA)

FBI Investigates Saudi Propaganda

PrinceabdullahNewsweek reports that the feds are investigating whether Qorvis deceptively financed an advertising campaign promoting a 2002 peace plan by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah (pictured left).

Federal prosecutors are seeking to determine whether the Saudi Embassy’s PR firm, Qorvis Communications, made false statements to the Justice Department and violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)—a 1938 law requiring full disclosure of foreign-sponsored propaganda in the United States, according to sources familiar with grand-jury subpoenas issued in the case.

The probe into the 2002 radio ad campaign supposedly paid for by an obscure group called the Alliance for Peace and Justice, explains last week’s startling raid by the FBI on the downtown Washington offices of Qorvis, a well-connected PR group that began representing the Saudis in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks.

Even as the ads were broadcasting, the Boston Phoenix connected the dots between the Alliance, Qorvis, and the Saudis:

Must be just another grassroots group fighting to get Israel out of the West Bank, right? Not exactly. The ads were placed by Sandler-Innocenzi, a political-advertising agency that has done spots for Republican House majority whip Tom DeLay and the Republican National Committee, among others. A Sandler-Innocenzi staffer contacted by the Phoenix acknowledged involvement with the ad and gave a phone number and address for the Alliance of Peace and Justice. The address — 8484 Westpark Drive in McLean, Virginia — is the home of media firm Qorvis Communications. Where does this complicated trail lead? To the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which, according to the federal government’s Foreign Agents Registration Act office, hired Qorvis on March 6. Qorvis did not respond to phone calls requesting comment on the ads.

Readers might recall the crown prince's plan got off to a rocky start because he used NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman to float the initiative.


Wednesday, December 15 2004

No Common Sense at the Tribune

ThomaspaineAttempts to portray Yasser Arafat as a freedom fighter would be laughable if the media didn’t take these claims so seriously. So we have to wonder what moved Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Grossman to compare Yasser Arafat to Thomas Paine, who was one of the intellectual leaders of the American Revolution and author of "Common Sense." Trying to understand Arafat's rejection of significant Israeli concessions at Camp David, Grossman writes:

Let me, then, offer this alternative scenario as possibly a key piece of the Arafat puzzle: If he had signed on the dotted line in 2000, he would have transformed himself from the leader of a popular uprising to a pillar of the establishment. Other revolutionary leaders have balked at just such a decision point or lived to regret having come out of the underground and into halls of power.

A rebel's life is the stuff of legend and literature….

Tom Paine was similarly a revolutionary wordsmith who couldn't stop the flow of his rhetoric. His pamphlet "Common Sense" inspired the British Colonies in North America to declare their independence.

Afterward, he moved to England, where he wrote in support of the French Revolution, provoking the authorities to consider him an enemy of the British throne. He escaped arrest by fleeing to France and was there imprisoned and nearly guillotined for opposing the execution of Louis XVI.

Freedom fighters only target military and government institutions, never attacking civilians. When Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan compared Arafat to George Washington, Slate columnist Timothy Noah replied that there is no evidence George Washington or his Revolutionary Army targeted civilians during the American revolution, while evidence linking Arafat and his people to the killing of civilians abounds. As Noah so aptly states:

In the Americans' struggle for freedom, a radical was someone who dumped tea in Boston Harbor. In the Palestinians' struggle for freedom, a radical is someone who straps on a bomb and blows up Israeli children.

Arafat compared himself to Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson in his 1974 speech at the UN. But Washington, Lincoln, Wilson and Paine never advocated deliberate attacks on civilians or wars of terror to extract concessions from opponents. On this point, Grossman and the Trib lack a little common sense.


"Terrorist" a Perjorative Term

Alistair Cooke, a former British intelligence officer argues in The Guardian that the word “terrorist” is a perjorative term. While admitting that terrorism does occur, a lot of so-called terrorists are actually “guerillas” or insurgents. He concludes by calling for greater dialogue with the Islamic world because they only hate our policies, not our values.

The west uses the pejorative tag "terrorist" to close off critical thought. Terrorists are like a cancer, the argument goes: you don't over-analyse your disease, you just kill it. This "terrorist" label is key to the mindset that projects the mistaken view that "they hate our values". The threat, we are told, is existential - "they want to destroy us". Therefore our only response can be to destroy them. Anyone who disagrees is either naive, an enemy, or guilty of legitimising the use of violence.

]This is wrong. We do diverge on a few values, but the overwhelming bulk of Islamists and Muslims support elections, good governance and freedom (more so than in some European states, the polls show).

So why do Muslims looking for “elections, good governance and freedom” come to the West?

PA Cronyism Stalls Housing

St. Petersburg Times columnist Susan Taylor Martin reports on a Gaza housing complex donated by the United Arab Emirates, but is uninhabited because of a disagreement with the Palestinian Authority. Martin writes that the PA wants to put the apartments up for sale, feeling that people investing in their homes will take more responsibility, while the UAE insists that the apartments were a gift for poor Palestinians. But Martin overlooked a deeper problem. Last August, Knight-Ridder reported that the reason for the friction was because the UAE fears the apartments will be sold at cut-rate prices to PA cronies.


Sunday, December 12 2004

Any Questions?

New Scientist interviewed Michael Koubi, the Shin Bet’s chief interrogator. Koubi discussed issues of torture (he denies the charges) , his experience personally questioning Sheik Ahmed Yassin, his thoughts on the Abu Ghraib scandal and more. The British magazine also interviewed a Palestinian interrogated by Koubi, who admits that while the ordeal wasn’t pleasant, there was no torture.

Terror in Theory

The LA Times published an interesting commentary summarizing the main theories explaining the roots of terror. Without commenting on the various theories, we're pleased that the academic world is acknowledging the existence of terror. But we’re still waiting for a credible theory to explain why the media refrains from using the “t-word.”

Arafat's Award 10 Years Later

Ten years after Yasser Arafat received a Nobel Peace Prize, the Jerusalem Post contacted members of the Norwegian award committee and found them still defensive about the choice. The committee members continue to maintain that the primary reason for the collapse of the Oslo peace efforts was the Rabin assassination, and not Palestinian terror. But that argument doesn’t stand up, considering the various ways Israeli-Arab relations have thawed since Arafat’s death, as recently described in the San Francisco Chronicle, AP, Maariv, and Haaretz, as well these New York Times and Washington Post staff editorials. Even columnist Georgie Anne Geyer guardedly admits the Mideast is starting to look more hopeful.

Perhaps Nobel committee members will reconsider their defense of Arafat after reading this commentary by Natan Sharansky.


Thursday, December 9 2004

PLO vs. HR, and more

HonestReporting has just released our latest communique: Quick Alerts, Dec. 9

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Please use the comments below for discussion of this communique.

Lionizing Rachel

Actor Alan Rickman, who played the villain in Die Hard, has written and will direct a new play in London based on the diaries of Rachel Corrie, the International Solidarity Movement activist who was killed in an encounter with an IDF bulldozer: My Name is Rachel Corrie

(Hat tip: LGF, who reminds us what Rachel was doing when not occupied by her diary.)

The Independent has more.


Wednesday, December 8 2004

Goldsborough's controversial column

Columnist James Goldsborough quit the San Diego Union-Tribune after the paper's publisher 'pulled a column in which he sought to explain why Jewish voters overwhelmingly supported Democrat John Kerry over President Bush despite the administration's pro-Israel policies.'

Here's the column in question.


Tuesday, December 7 2004

Chronicle spelling bee stings Israel

SpellingbeesmThe San Francisco Chronicle is sponsoring a spelling bee, and encourages kids to prepare by taking its practice tests. Practice test #1 is on 'Chemistry Words', and includes this example for the word 'disproportionate' from the pages of the Chronicle:

Israel came under heavy international criticism for the Gaza offensive. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other questioned whether it had been a disproportionate response to the use of crude Qassam rockets by Palestinian militants.

BlueStarPR picked up on this, and note:

This fun quiz (printed on page 2 of the Business section in today's San Francisco Chronicle, 12/07/04) is also being distributed to classrooms free of charge!... The Speeling Bee feature was developed by Their work appears in more than 200 newspapers, so expect to see this quiz in your local newspaper, too!

See the full practice test/poster here.

Would 'disproportionate' be on your top-ten list of essential chemistry words?!

The Independent finds terrorism

After years of soft-peddling Islamists who blow up public buses as 'militants', The Independent finally found some Mideast 'terrorists' -- the Jewish 'Bat Ayin group', one of whom was convicted by an Israeli court. Here's the headline:

Israeli jailed for role in terror group that attacked Arab schools

Without minimizing this group's acts, how can The Independent call the small-time Bat Ayin gang's activities 'terror,' but not the more sophisticated, systematic anti-civilian murders of Hamas and Al- Qaida? In coverage of Al-Qaida's attack on the US consulate in Jeddah, the paper uses the words 'militants,' 'assailants,' and 'attackers.'

Comments to The Independent:

UPDATE: AP held off on the T-word for the Bat Ayin gang.

Florida papers omit child incitement

Both the St. Petersburg Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel recently ran articles on Palestinian children hurt or killed in the conflict. Both articles in the Florida papers lacked appropriate balance.

Continue reading "Florida papers omit child incitement"


Monday, December 6 2004

The mythical martyr

In the Wall Street Journal Europe on Nov. 26, Stephane Juffa brought additional evidence that the entire Mohammad al-Dura affair was a complete hoax.

To read the article, click below.

Continue reading "The mythical martyr"


Sunday, December 5 2004

MacDonald on 'T-word'

CBC's Neil MacDonald, who earlier this year suggested Israeli complicity in the Abu Ghraib tortures, now weighs in on the UN's long-awaited recognition that 'there is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the targeting and killing of [Israeli] civilians':

But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not as easy to characterize as the UN report might wish. The Israeli soldiers who enforce the occupation kill a great many Palestinian civilians. If Palestinians have committed terror, the Israelis have certainly committed war crimes.

There is also the question of whether the Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, thousands of whom are well armed and overtly bellicose, constitute civilians or combatants.

Worth reading today

* BBC News fell for a humdinger of an internet hoax -- NY Times and AFP coverage.

* Recommended for our collegiate readers: A case study published in the JCPA regarding the successes of campus hasbara efforts at Johns Hopkins University. Here is the campus group's web site.

* 'What if it's not Israel They Loathe?' -- Amir Taheri challenges the conventional wisdom that Israel lies at the heart of Arabs' grievences

* JNF trees that were cut down to thin out Israeli forests will again make their way to foreign journalists in Israel who celebrate Christmas.


Thursday, December 2 2004

Still Running for Israel

EricertelThe NY City Marathon may be over, but Rabbi Eric Ertel (pictured left) is still running. Running for Israel, that is. The rabbi, who sought to raise one million dollars for Israeli causes by running the Big Apple race, is already organizing teams to compete in other upcoming major marathons worldwide, including Miami, Tiberias, Berlin, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles and New Jersey. His 10-man team's efforts in New York raised funds for a number of causes that support Israel—including HonestReporting.

Rabbi Ertel said, “If we can have teams of runners at all of these major marathons, we can really raise awareness throughout the year.”

Click here if you’re interested in getting involved. Or write to


Wednesday, December 1 2004

Molly Moore's Narrow Turnstile

HonestReporting has just released its latest communique: 'Molly Moore's Narrow Turnstile'

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Please use the comments section below for discussion of this article.

UPDATE: Hillel Halkin has a very good article on the violin episode, in the New York Sun -- to read it, click 'Continue' below.

Continue reading "Molly Moore's Narrow Turnstile"

Road Side Service, Falujah Style

This LA Times report on the weapons seized by US forces in Falujah notes an ice cream truck with nary a popsicle aboard:

Among the most novel finds was an ice cream truck that had been converted into a mobile car-bomb factory, with all the parts and weaponry needed to turn any vehicle into a weapon on the spot.

"You got an ice cream truck, it's loaded with munitions, weapons, equipment to construct a car bomb," said a senior U.S. military official here, who declined to be identified. "It could potentially drive anywhere, stop, convert a car into a car bomb and drive away…. I don't think there was any ice cream."

(Hat tip: Daily Alert)

Traumatized Reporters

Here’s another reason to take war coverage with a grain of salt. Witnessing events on the frontlines makes journalists vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder. Although PTSD is usually associated with soldiers, the Christian Science Monitor highlights the fact that correspondents and photographers can leave war zones and other scenes of violence with emotional problems too.

One study of 140 war correspondents found that many showed symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, which frequently affects war veterans and survivors of violence. "There were high levels of broken relationships, alienation from others, drug and alcohol abuse," Mr. Simpson says.

But some journalists, perhaps influenced by a combination of machismo and denial, fail to heed warning signs or simply don't watch for them. "We never acknowledge the impact that operating in these combat zones has on us," said Newsweek chief of correspondents Marcus Mabry, who covered the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s. "Usually when you realize it is when you don't expect it: I was back in my home in Johannesburg, sitting in my living room with a 360-degree view, relaxing in a beautiful South African evening, and I'm looking down the hill, thinking this would be a great place to have a sniper's nest. It was a war flashback."

Some media organizations offer counseling to journalists after they cover violence or warfare; at The Christian Science Monitor, employees can seek assistance through their health insurance coverage. Across the news industry, however, it's almost always up to individual journalists to decide whether to seek help. Many reporters don't bother.

Of course, correspondents don’t stop reporting when their assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan or Bosnia come to an end. Some war correspondents come to Israel, where they cover the country's war against Palestinian terror. Perhaps someone will study how PTSD affects coverage too.

Venezuelan Media Rumors

Venezuelan authorities raided a Hebrew school after rumors appeared in the country’s media that Israeli intelligence was involved in the assassination of Danilo Anderson, a prominent federal prosecutor. The raid occurred in the morning as 1,500 students arrived for classes at the Colegio Hebraica.

Suha Unplugged

SuhaarafatMaariv picked up on Suha Arafat’s first interview in the Arab media since her husband died, including this fantastic snippet:

Suha also said that she was afraid for her life and the life of Zawa, and hinted that Israel might try and assassinate her. “All my life I have lived under occupation. I know that I, as Suha Arafat, am a target”, she concluded.

All her life 'under occupation'?! She's been primarily occupied by shopping, and in fact spent much of her youth in Paris, where she studied at the Sorbonne. In fact, Suha became controversial among Palestinians for giving birth to her daughter in Paris since Gaza wasn't sanitary enough.

So if Suha so much as stubs her toe on a gold-plated French doorstop, you can imagine how fast Israel will be blamed. Meanwhile, ChronWatch notes that email scammers are already using Suha’s name in their latest efforts to part fools from their money.


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