Posts Tagged ‘Media’


Jenin, Jenin….whose Jenin?

November 29, 2007

In April 2002, the Israeli Defence Forces mounted a major operation in the PA-administered West Bank town of Jenin, identified by the IDF as the major fountainhead of the wave of terrorist suicide bombers then infiltrating Israeli territory and killing scores of Israeli nationals. Before long, the western (and Middle Eastern) media were full of horror stories about the operation, including reports of hundreds of innocents deliberately killed by the IDF. “Genocide” was a term freely employed by local journalists (mainly Palestinian stringers), and repeated uncritically in the MSM.

What actually happened back then was hotly contested at the time, and has been ever since. Eventually, a report by a UN investigating team found that only 56 Palestinians had been killed in fierce street fighting, and 23 Israeli soldiers.

In this connection, there was an interesting report yesterday on YNet:

Reservists to receive compensation for ‘Jenin Jenin’ screening

Tel Aviv, Jerusalem cinematheques to pay NIS 40,000 to five IDF reservists who claimed screening of contentious documentary about Operation Defensive Shield in West Bank town offended them

Yoram Yarkoni

Published: 11.26.07, 10:11 / Israel Culture

Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv cinematheques will pay NIS 40,000 in restitution to five IDF reservists who were offended by the screening of the contentious film “Jenin Jenin”. The reservists maintained that the film, in which actor and director Mohammed Bakri depicts IDF excursions into Gaza during Operation Defensive Shield, is defamatory and slanderous.

First screened in 2002, the documentary “Jenin Jenin” asserts that the IDF committed atrocious war crimes and deliberately slaughtered innocent civilians during Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank town. Following the screening, the reservists filed suit for defamation against both Bakri and the cinematheques that screened his films to the tune of NIS 2.5 million.

CAMERA critiques the film here, and compares it with the counter-narrative described in The Road to Jenin.

Jenin, Jenin‘s maker, Mohammed Bakri, lauds his own film thus:

I’m proud that justice was done and the truth came to light,” filmmaker Mohamed Bakri exulted in November 2003 when the Israeli Supreme Court reversed a ban on his controversial documentary Jenin, Jenin. “Every truth has two sides–our side and your side–and the two truths are one big truth.”

Ah-ha — “the accidental post-modernist”.


Here are the “two truths”. You decide. I’ve already made up my mind, of course.

Jenin, Jenin

The Road to Jenin

And finally, a footnote from Richard Landes, of Augean Stables and Second Draft fame: The Living Dead — Resurrection in Palestine. This footage of a funeral in Jenin involving an over-active “corpse” was taken by an IDF surveillance drone.


There is much that needs to be said about the role of the media in situations such as at Jenin — and, even more crucially, Iraq. Fortunately, Yankee Wombat has said it far better than I could.

I think the intentional creation of footage – real or faked – by our enemies to sell to our media is possible only because our media is open to it. One vector is the endless appetite of TV for dramatic footage to maximize the emotional impact of their coverage. Another is the general disaffection of our press with the goals of our government and military.’


“Icon of Hatred”

November 18, 2007

Those who have been following the Mohammed al-Durah hoax will already have seen this film, Icon of Hatred, by Richard Landes of Augean Stables and The Second Draft.

It’s hard viewing, but necessary. Richard reminds us just how serious the al-Durah affair was. It was far from being just another instance of journalistic malfeasance of the kind with which we have become all too familiar. This was journalism with consequencesreal consequences, like the similarly false Gitmo-guard-flushes-Qu’ran-down-toilet story, which sparked riots across the Muslim world and claimed a dozen deaths.

It’s not easy to say how many people will have died as a result of this footage — on both sides during the Intifada, at the hands of Al Qaida in America, Afghanistan and Iraq, on the streets of the Middle East. Bin Laden gorged on it, as did the beheaders of Daniel Pearl, and the waves of suicide murderers destined for the clubs and bars of Israel’s cities. The tally may run into thousands.

Yet it was false, fraudulent, faked. And though so many people have lost their lives in consequence, not one journalist has lost even his livelihood.

Power without responsibility: the whore’s prerogative throughout the ages. And now it is the singular privilege of the journalist.


Iraq: the media, or Michael Yon?

October 23, 2007

Make up your own mind.

I’ve pretty much made up mine.



June 11, 2007

June 6th marked the anniversary of the 1944 invasion of Normandy, which paved the way for the ultimate victory of the Allies over the Axis powers in World War II.

If we had had then the media we have now, how would they have reported it?

Like this.

And yet you can no more blame them than a dog for having fleas.

(Hat tip: BlackFive.)


Finders, thinkers, linkers

January 3, 2007

Which are you, fellow bloggers?

Wretchard at The Belmont Club has a great post up discussing the way the blogosphere works. It’s largely drawn from the experiences of blogging during the summer war between Israel and Hizbollah, but extrapolates to the suggestion that blogging can be characterised by three sets of practitioners: finders, thinkers or linkers.


Interesting stuff. Lots of good ideas in the post and in comments.

Read the whole thing.


Soldiering in Iraq

January 3, 2007

One of the hardest things about forming a view of what’s “really” going on in Iraq is the nature of the information available to us. It’s not that there’s too little; if anything, there’s too much. Every journalist, commentator, pundit, politician and spin doctor wants to get his or her take in front of the public. Doesn’t really help by much. You know it’s just opinion, not fact or observation.

Now TIME has just published a fascinating email from an officer in the US Marine Corps — originally intended for family and friends only — which shows what it’s really, “really” like. It’s a tough, cynical, unvarnished, un-spun account that’s well worth a read.

This was good:

Most Surreal Moment — Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. We had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.

More of this, please, and less of the B/S.


The great Qana missile strike ambulance hoax

December 29, 2006

During the summer war in Lebanon various media outlets ran lead stories on charges that the Israeli Air Force had deliberately targeted two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances transporting wounded civilians near Qana, seriously wounding the occupants. US blogger zombietime led a series of exposes on the blogosphere that alleged the purported attacks had been faked. Australian FM Alexander Downer achieved one of his 15 minutes of fame by lambasting editors for falling for the hoax.

Now humanitarian NGO Human Rights Watch has delivered a 25-page report which attempts to refute those allegations. zombietime has already responded to the attempted refutation.

To my mind, the HRW report strains all credulity. Draw your own conclusions from the links provided, but, in summary, this is what HRW is asking us to believe.

An IAF drone (not an aircraft), which nobody saw, although they did see aircraft, intentionally fired two missiles at the ambulances. So far as is publicly known, the IAF uses drones primarily for surveillance and target identification and illumination, not for weapons delivery: but since it can’t have been a helicopter or aeroplane, it must have been a drone (even if nobody saw one). These missiles were the only munitions used, although the roofs of the ambulances show much more damage than just the missiles’ entry sites.

HRW does not know what kind of munitions were employed, but on the assumption that some must have been, because the witnesses said so, concludes a dense inert metal explosive (DIME) missile was most likely involved. These weapons have a highly localised detonation impact, which somehow accounts for the astonishing lack of damage or scorching within the ambulance cabins. Of course, you’d expect the Israelis to use hi-tech aerial platforms to deliver missiles with the approximate payload of a grenade. You can never tell with those guys.

So, then, the DIME missiles exploded, causing relatively minor casualties, including shrapnel wounds, without substantially damaging the paintwork or carpets. This was despite (a) DIME weapons being sheathed in carbon, not the conventional metal casing, specifically to prevent the usual spray of shrapnel, and (b) their demonstrated ability to vaporise anything within four metres. But they must have exploded, albeit with more limited effect than their manufacturers would have anticipated, because the witnesses said their eardrums were blown out by the detonations.

At the same time, despite having just exploded, the missiles followed the trajectories to be expected of unexploded kinetic ordnance. They passed right through the bodies of the vehicles, leaving them largely undamaged (despite having just exploded), punching neat exit holes in each chassis (or maybe only one of them), and penetrating the roadway beneath, leaving nice round holes in the road’s surface.

OK, Plan B: they didn’t explode on impact or on their way down after all. They exploded after they penetrated the tarmac, which is why they aren’t still there at the bottom of the holes — except, unfortunately, there are no detonation craters, and no evidence of detonation damage to the underside of the vehicles, nor shrapnel in the bodywork (but these were DIME weapons, remember, whose carbon casing disintegrates on detonation. [But wait a minute: they did dispense the shrapnel that wounded the witnesses. Oh well.]).

Back to Plan A, then. The missiles confidently exploded on their way down, and then, cleverly still intact (as witnessed by the circular puncture marks in the tarmac), plunged beneath the surface of the road, where all trace of them disappeared, because they had already exploded somewhere in the cabin above, and couldn’t have done the vampire bite trick in the first place …..

Come off it.

Update: See also some pretty crisp forensic analysis from Al Hamatzav here and here.