Israeli kidnapped on Lebanese border

Ok, so relax. It’s not true. I mean, if that had really happened, we would know about it, right? It would be all over the 24hr news, analysts would be wondering what it meant for the region, and whoever was responsible for snatching the civilian would be condemned as carrying out a gross provocation. In the event that the Israeli citizen was quickly released, we would all breathe a sigh of relief.

So let’s be glad that nothing like this has happened.

Israel allegedly snatched Rabih Zahra from an area along the Lebanese border with Israel on Sunday.

According to the source, Zahra’s arrest represents a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon…

A joint Lebanese army and UN team inspected the area from which Zahra was taken and announced he was arrested on Lebanese territory.

Zahra claimed that Israeli soldiers had beaten him and asked him about the activities of the Lebanese Shiite Movement, Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon.

The fog of media misinformation

The superb Nick Davies questions why the British press swallowed whole the police line that Ian Tomlinson died of a heart attack while their courageous officers attempted to revive him in the face of violent attacks by G20 protesters, only for citizen journalism to expose this falsehood a week later. In turn Davies examines the damning evidence that officers and the Metropolitan Police’s PR machine attempted to mislead the press and cover their own backs. One of the best voices around on the current state of the UK media.

The family of Ian Tomlinson, who died at the G20 protest this month, are planning to file a new complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). This will deal not with the events that led to his death but with the fog of media misinformation that followed it. It is a complaint that will go to the heart of the way in which the news media operate – to the frequently undeclared relationship between reporters and the press officers on whom they rely and, in turn, the officials on whom these spokesmen rely on for much of their raw material. And it will pose a question that both sides often prefer to ignore: can they trust each other?

The superb Nick Davies questions why the British press swallowed whole the police line that Ian Tomlinson died of a heart attack while their courageous officers attempted to revive him in the face of violent attacks by G20 protesters, only for citizen journalism to expose this falsehood a week later. In turn Davies examines the damning evidence that officers and the Metropolitan Police’s PR machine attempted to mislead the press and cover their own backs. One of the best voices around on the current state of the UK media.

The family of Ian Tomlinson, who died at the G20 protest this month, are planning to file a new complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). This will deal not with the events that led to his death but with the fog of media misinformation that followed it. It is a complaint that will go to the heart of the way in which the news media operate – to the frequently undeclared relationship between reporters and the press officers on whom they rely and, in turn, the officials on whom these spokesmen rely on for much of their raw material. And it will pose a question that both sides often prefer to ignore: can they trust each other?

There were six days of substantially false coverage about a man who apparently died of a heart attack as he walked home while a screaming mob of anarchists hurled missiles at the police officers who tried to help him. Any inquiry into this media misinformation will want to find out whether that was simply the hyperbole of ignorant reporters or the product of bad practice at the Metropolitan police, the City of London police or the IPCC.

Continue reading “The fog of media misinformation”

Israel’s garrison-like hilltop settlements

It is a mark of how the US media’s uncritical coverage of Israel is eroding when you see Roger Cohen in the New York Times consistently being allowed the space to describe the desolate scenes in the West Bank which are punctuated by “garrison-like settlements on hilltops”. In his latest article he writes of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit there, in which he states: “If you’re looking for a primer of colonialism, this is not a bad place to start.” This type of language represents a promising shift in the Times’ op-ed pages.

The sparring between the United States and Israel has begun, and that’s a good thing. Israel’s interests are not served by an uncritical American administration. The Jewish state emerged less secure and less loved from Washington’s post-9/11 Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy.

The criticism of the center-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come from an unlikely source: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She’s transitioned with aplomb from the calculation of her interests that she made as a senator from New York to a cool assessment of U.S. interests. These do not always coincide with Israel’s.

I hear that Clinton was shocked by what she saw on her visit last month to the West Bank. This is not surprising. The transition from Israel’s first-world hustle-bustle to the donkeys, carts and idle people beyond the separation wall is brutal. If Clinton cares about one thing, it’s human suffering.

Continue reading “Israel’s garrison-like hilltop settlements”

Ali The Don – Arab Blood

Ali’s The Don’s debut music video for his hard hitting single “Arab Blood”.  An inspiring track starting with a great Malcolm X quote: If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ”freedom” out of your vocabulary.  For more see Ali the Don’s Myspace or Facebook.

War Comes Home to Britain

John Pilger describes “the erosion of liberal freedoms” as “symptomatic of an evolved criminal state.”

Freedom is being lost in Britain. The land of Magna Carta is now the land of secret gagging orders, secret trials and imprisonment. The government will soon know about every phone call, every email, every text message. Police can willfully shoot to death an innocent man, lie and expect to get away with it. Whole communities now fear the state. The foreign secretary routinely covers up allegations of torture; the justice secretary routinely prevents the release of critical cabinet minutes taken when Iraq was illegally invaded. The litany is cursory; there is much more.

Continue reading “War Comes Home to Britain”

Israeli War Crimes on Channel 4

A number of people I’ve spoken to have said they think the media response to the Gaza massacre has been good, mainly due to the images of brutal destruction that could not been hidden.  However I disagree.  If we look at this news clip, one of the better ones, it is noticeable that the coverage is very superficial.

Continue reading “Israeli War Crimes on Channel 4”

Europe laughs while Palestinians mourn their dead

Robert Fisk in the Independent: “Mahmoud Abbas stepped further into humiliation by saying the only option for Arabs isto make peace with Israel.”

The front page of the Beirut daily As-Safir said it all yesterday. Across the top was a terrible photograph of the bloated body of a Palestinian man newly discovered in the ruins of his home while two male members of his family shrieked and roared their grief. Below, at half the size, was a photograph from Israel of Western leaders joking with Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister. Olmert was roaring with laughter. Silvio Berlusconi, arms on the back of Olmert’s shoulders, was also joshing and roaring – with laughter, not grief – and on Olmert’s right was Nicolas Sarkozy of France wearing his stupidest of smiles. Only Chancellor Merkel appeared to understand the moral collapse. No smiles from Germany. Continue reading “Europe laughs while Palestinians mourn their dead”