* Hamas, the Palestinian governing party, continue to kidnap, beat up moderate Palestinian journalists. International journalists organizations strangely silent
1. “How the Guardian lied about me and refused to print a correction”
2. Al-Jazeera praised “for helping the fight against U.S.”
3. “The propagandists have taken over AP”
4. Foreign reporters’ vehicles “may be used by terrorists”
5. Gunmen kidnap Palestinian journalist
6. Terrorists attack Palestinian news agency in Gaza
7. Palestinians plan and train for more kidnappings
8. Daily Telegraph: Palestinians arming to copy “Hizbullah’s success”
9. “Does AP stand for al-Qaeda Propaganda?” (Boston Herald, Sept. 24, 2006)
10. “The Guardian at the crossroads” (By Alan Dershowitz, J. Post, Sept. 27, 2006)
This dispatch concerns allegations that the relationship between some western journalists, and Palestinian and Iraqi terrorist groups is much too close for comfort. Before that, I attach an extract from an article about The Guardian by Alan Dershowitz, who is a subscriber to this list.
“HOW THE GUARDIAN LIED ABOUT ME AND REFUSED TO PRINT A CORRECTION”
The following are extracts from Alan Dershowitz’s op-ed in the Jerusalem Post titled “‘The Guardian’ at the crossroads.”
“… Recently, The Guardian published an op-ed devoted to an article I had written. The writer (Henry Porter) turned virtually everything I had argued on its head… I was compelled to write a letter to the editor correcting the many inaccuracies and pointing out the inappropriate ad hominem attack on my appearance [The Guardian had also attacked the way Dershowitz looks.] The Guardian refused to print my letter.
[Turning to another article written about him in The Guardian, Dershowitz continues] the reviewer (Louise Christian) simply lied about what was in my book. She made things up. She said the book was about something it wasn’t about. She said I took positions when I explicitly wrote the opposite in my book. Why would a book reviewer go to such great lengths to defame me and to falsify what I wrote? After all, I am a liberal Democrat and have spent my career as a law professor, author, and defense lawyer fighting for civil liberties and the rights of the accused… One would think that these credentials and this topic would endear me to the Guardian.
… had Christian read the book, she would know that I opposed the war in Iraq. She apparently assumed that because I support Israel’s right to exist, I also supported America’s war in Iraq. It’s a telling assumption.
[On another issue] How on Earth could Christian transform my strong opposition to using chromosomes as criminal predictors to support? She simply reversed my position. This cannot be a simple mistake. It is plainly a willful deception of her readers.
… When I wrote a letter to the editor refuting Christian’s blatant lies, Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, responded that he could not publish my letter… It would be unthinkable for an American or Israeli newspaper to publish a full-blown attack on an individual without at least extending the right to reply in the letters page. The Guardian did precisely that to me, and twice in a single summer…”
The full article, which I recommend you to read if you have time, is attached at the end of this dispatch.
AL-JAZEERA PRAISED “FOR HELPING THE FIGHT AGAINST U.S.”
In an audio-message posted on the Internet on Sunday, the leader of one of Iraq’s major insurgent groups, the “Islamic Army in Iraq,” has praised the Qatar-based TV channel al-Jazeera for playing what he calls “an important and positive role in the fight against the U.S.”
The Islamic Army in Iraq consists of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, as well as intelligence and army officers from Saddam’s regime. It is believed to be responsible for several murderous attacks against Iraqi Shi’ites and for the kidnapping in 2005 of Italian journalist Giulian Sgrena. (Sgrena, the correspondent for the Italian communist daily Il Manifesto, was freed after a month with the help and mediation of two Italian intelligence officers. After her release, as you may recall, on their way to Baghdad’s airport Sgrena and the officers came under fire from U.S. forces which failed to identify their car. One of the Italian officers was killed and the incident caused an international outcry.)
The audio message by The Islamic Army also accused the Iraqi government’s al-Iraqiya TV of having the “worst” news coverage about Iraq. It said its broadcasts were “lies and sheer delusion,” and that government officials interviewed on it were “agents and stooges” of the United States who had “sold their religion and honor to the infidels.”
The spokesperson for the Islamic Army is a frequent guest on al-Jazeera. On a number of occasions, the Qatar-based channel has been criticized by the U.S. for offering a podium to terrorists and fueling anti-American sentiment across the Middle East.
For examples of some of the untruths and conspiracy theories broadcast on al-Jazeera, please see the second note in the dispatch Al-Jazeera to be launched in English in America (March 23, 2005).
“THE PROPAGANDISTS HAVE TAKEN OVER AP”
The Associated Press no longer offers the balanced and non-partisan coverage it once pioneered, according to journalist Jules Crittenden, writing in The Boston Herald. Crittenden wonders whether “A.P.” stands for “Al-Qaeda Propaganda.” He notes that AP’s coverage from Iraq has been completely one-sided and its selection of stories tilted against America and the democratically-elected Iraqi government. The recent arrest of Bilal Hussein, an al-Qaeda activist who also worked as an AP photographer, only confirms the will of the Associated Press to present a biased version of reality, exalting the terrorists while harshly criticizing American and Iraqi attempts to bring democracy to Iraq, says Crittenden. (His full article is below).
For more on a different view of Iraq, please see Iraq 27: “Did any nation-state fall from the heavens wholly made?” (Aug. 2, 2006).
FOREIGN REPORTERS’ VEHICLES “MAY BE USED BY TERRORISTS”
The director of Israel’s Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, has warned that armored vehicles used by foreign reporters may be being utilized by hostile groups to try and carry out attacks against Israel.
Israel provides armored vehicles to foreign correspondents who travel to the West Bank and Gaza on journalistic assignments on condition that they are driven only by the foreign national who receives the vehicle. Seaman says that a significant portion of those journalists granted armored vehicles “have been violating this condition for some time now, despite our requests.”
A recent incident during which a vehicle assigned to Reuters was hit by an IDF helicopter exemplifies this misuse, the Israeli government says. The vehicle carried no foreign journalists; all the occupants were Palestinian, including one who was not a Reuters employee and had links with Hamas.
Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, is now examining the matter.
In the past, foreign reporters have inadvertently given rides to suicide bombers, thereby helping them enter Israel. A previous dispatch on this list reported that some journalists were suspected of transporting weapons for use by terrorists. For more, see Are Reuters journalists transporting grenades for Palestinian terrorists? (May 31, 2002).
There is also an article on Reuters here.
GUNMEN KIDNAP PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST
On Monday, a prominent Palestinian journalist was kidnapped from the Sawt Al-Hurriya (Voice of Freedom) radio station on the 13th floor of the Al-Shurouk Tower in the center of Gaza City by a group of at least 15 masked gunmen. Although no one claimed responsibility, Fatah officials suspect that Hamas was behind the kidnapping, as the reporter had openly criticized the Hamas-led government. The journalist, Abu Amr, is the host of a popular talk show broadcast every morning in Gaza. He has been critical of Hamas.
“The gunmen threatened him with their rifles and led him away,” said one eyewitness. “They took him in a van that was waiting outside the building. They did not give any reason for the kidnapping.”
Abu Amr was released later unharmed. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate strongly condemned the kidnapping, saying it was the latest in a series of assaults on Palestinian journalists and media outlets in the Palestinian territories, and said the perpetrators were “terrorists” – a term most western media refuse to use about these same Hamas gunmen.
TERRORISTS ATTACK PALESTINIAN NEWS AGENCY IN GAZA
Relations between Fatah and Hamas remain strained, complicating efforts by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to form a Palestinian national unity government. Reuters report that following last week’s murder of a senior intelligence official loyal to the president, several gunmen stormed the office of the WAFA news agency in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, severely beating up a reporter (who was then hospitalized), vandalizing equipment, and accusing the agency of biased media coverage. The WAFA news agency is controlled by Abbas.
Although Hamas denies any involvement in the murder, Abbas said that he would not agree to a unity government unless those responsible for the killing are arrested.
Two other Palestinian journalists were severely beaten last week during a demonstration in Gaza City against the Hamas-led government. Witnesses at the demonstration said assailants targeted a cameraman with Palestinian TV, and another journalist, Mwafaq Matar, known for his pro-Fatah stance. They both sustained serious injuries. On Sunday, masked gunmen in Nablus raided the offices of the al-Quds newspaper in the city and confiscated all the copies.
American and European-based journalists’ organizations, so eager to issue statements when the slightest irritating incident is experienced by western journalists at Israel’s hands, for example having their bags searched at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, are strangely silent as Hamas (the party, in case we need reminding, in government) and other thugs hospitalize critical Palestinian journalists.
PALESTINIANS PLAN AND TRAIN FOR MORE KIDNAPPINGS
A senior member of the Popular Resistance Committees, a coalition of terror organizations in Gaza and the West Bank responsible along with Hamas and the Palestine Army of Islam for the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit last June, said that the group is planning and training to carry out more kidnappings of Israelis.
Egypt is currently trying to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas for the release of Shalit. Media reports state that a possible exchange deal would involve Israel releasing a number of prisoners to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for Shalit, and Hamas agreeing to stop its daily rocket attacks from Gaza in exchange for Israeli troops withdrawing from Gaza and ending the targeted killings of Hamas leaders.
On Sunday, to the exasperation and outrage of many Israelis, Palestinian President Abbas said Shalit should only be released if Marwan Barghouti, a convicted mass murderer who belongs to Abbas’s own Fatah party, and Ahmed Saadat, the mastermind of the assassination of Israel’s tourist minister, were also released.
In the past, Israel has released many convicted terrorists in exchange deals. Many of those released have carried out further terror attacks soon afterwards. Among many such examples, Israeli Eyal Yeverboim and his seven-month-old son were murdered last year by terrorists that had been released under international pressure two months earlier to “strengthen” Abbas’s government. For more on this, see item 16 in the dispatch titled Saudi police ban the sale of cats and dogs (& Gaddafi’s son: Pope must convert) (Sept. 21, 2006).
DAILY TELEGRAPH: PALESTINIANS ARMING TO COPY “HIZBULLAH’S SUCCESS”
The (London) Daily Telegraph, reports today in an article headed “Gaza militants ‘prepare for showdown’,” that Palestinian terrorists have smuggled 19 tons of explosives into Gaza during the past year, as well as more effective weapons and longer-range missiles, some supplied by Iran. What is perceived among Palestinian militants to be the weakness of the response by Israel to the Hizbullah attack from Lebanon has led them to plan for more sustained military action against Israel.
A new poll by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows a firm majority of Palestinians favoring the use of Hizbullah-type attacks against Israel; 63% of those polled supported the firing of rockets at Israeli cities. 57% said the attacks should be aimed at Israeli civilians, not military.
-- Tom Gross
“DOES AP STAND FOR AL-QAEDA PROPAGANDA?”
Does AP stand for al-Qaeda Propaganda?
By Jules Crittenden
The Boston Herald
September 24, 2006
The Associated Press, the reliable just-the-facts news agency you and I once knew, no longer exists. Amoral propagandists have taken over.
It is not only in the disturbing matter of Bilal Hussein, AP photographer and al-Qaeda associate, being held without charge in U.S. custody in Iraq that this is evident. But also in the departure from balanced, nonpartisan coverage that has always been the AP’s promise to us, its customers.
The AP was, in fact, a pioneer in balanced coverage. The concept was born with the AP in 1848 and tempered in the Civil War. The AP served newspapers of different stripes and had to keep politics out of it.
But for any news organization going into war, it’s hard not to have a side. In 1876, AP scribe Mark Kellogg was killed with Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. “I go with Custer and will be at the death,” he reported. Guess which side he was on. In 1941, the AP had to shut its Berlin bureau when its reporters were arrested. In 1945, AP correspondent Joe Morton was executed by the SS. AP correspondents were imprisoned by communists in North Korea, Romania and Czechoslovakia. The AP’s Terry Anderson was held captive by Islamic extremists in Beirut for six years. It is a brave and illustrious history.
The AP has had one or two exemplary war correspondents in Iraq. But this strange war has changed so many things. In late 2004, as the U.S. military was moving to rid Fallujah of the terrorists who controlled it, the AP wanted some eyes inside the city. It hired Bilal Hussein. He gave the AP photos of insurgents setting up ambushes and firing at Americans. He gave them photos of terrorists posing with their freshly slaughtered victims. His pictures helped the AP win a Pulitzer Prize.
A blogger named Darleen at www.darleenclick.com said it very well in December of 2004:
“I have trouble with how cozy this AP photographer is with the terrorists. I realize he’s a Hussein from Fallujah, so his own personal feelings and associations may be on display here, but did The Associated Press... employ Nazis to get photos showing attacks on the Allies and the execution of Jews?"
I wish it stopped with the AP’s effort to give the enemy in Iraq a fair shake, as if terrorists were freedom fighters. Then I look at the AP copy I see nightly. The president of the United States gives a speech. The AP grants him a couple of fragmentary quotes before allowing his failed 2004 challenger and other opponents several full paragraphs to denounce him.
There is the bizarre work of Charles J. Hanley, an AP apologist for Saddam Hussein. He dismisses evidence of weapons programs and reports on the deep frustration Saddam felt when he could not convince the world of his good intentions, in those years when he was murdering his own people and playing a hard-nosed game of cat-and-mouse with U.N. weapons inspectors that led to their removal.
Last week, the AP gave us a lengthy series on the U.S. detention of terrorism suspects. The AP’s opinion was evident. Bilal Hussein was the poster boy. The salient fact that Hussein was captured with an al-Qaeda leader was buried. Al-Qaeda has killed and abducted dozens of journalists, Iraqi, American and European. Mainly Iraqi. I wonder: What’s so special about this particular Iraqi journalist that he could associate freely with al-Qaeda?
I look at Hussein’s photos. Terrorists trying to kill Americans. Terrorists posing with dead civilians. Bilal Hussein knows things about these men, who they are, how they operate. I’m thinking, Bilal Hussein looks like an accessory to murder. I’m thinking, I hope the U.S. intelligence agents who have him are getting good information out of him. And I’m wondering, who does The Associated Press want to win this war?
“TOTAL DISTORTIONS” BY THE GUARDIAN
‘The Guardian’ at the crossroads
By Alan Dershowitz
The Jerusalem Post
September 27, 2006
The Guardian, which used to be a liberal British newspaper, has become the full-fledged Pravda of the British hard Left, especially when it comes to its one-sided bashing of Israel. Like Pravda, it will not publish alternative points of view, even when the alternative point of view seeks to correct willful mis-statements of fact. It’s gotten to the point where a reader simply cannot trust the credibility of the reporting.
Two recent incidents, in as many months, regarding total distortions of my own writing simply serve to illustrate a much larger problem. I have heard similar stories from others.
Most recently, The Guardian published an op-ed devoted to an article I had written. The writer turned virtually everything I had argued on its head. Before we get to the specifics, let’s get to the Der Stuermer-like characterization of my appearance that became a centerpoint of the articles. The author of the article, Henry Porter, claimed that he saw me on television in 2001 “looking like Animal, the wildman drummer from The Muppet Show.” What Porter did not know is that I have been clean-shaven with short hair for a decade, thus undermining Porter’s claim that he actually saw me on TV. But I suppose I’ll always be, to people like Porter, the stereotypical hairy, wild-eyed Jew.
Porter then writes that, although I say I am against torture, I really am all in favor of torture. Apparently, despite the hundreds of times that I’ve written and said publicly and clearly that I am against torture, Porter believes that he knows better – that he can read my mind or discern my views from my Animal-like face.
His third point was that “Dershowitz doesn’t understand that [i]f governments are given powers, they will almost always find a way to abuse them.” In fact, not only do I make this cautionary point, but it is a large part of my article. I write: It would also be relatively easy to combat terrorism if our government had earned more of our trust over the years. But most governments – even most liberal democracies – have tended to abuse extraordinary powers given to them during emergencies. And then I launch into a list of examples, with suggestions as to how to prevent them recurring.
Significantly, Porter manages to contradict himself in the span of less than half a page. First he takes me to task for setting up a straw argument against “liberal fundamentalists,” when he insists that he “cannot think of one who believes that all rights are unqualified, that all freedoms are absolute.” And then he concludes his rant by himself advocating the fundamentalist position that “[f]reedom is the thing which patrols and constrains government and that is why it is not amenable to compromise.”
I was compelled to write a letter to the editor correcting the many inaccuracies and pointing out the inappropriate ad hominem attack on my appearance (or rather, the appearance that the author assumed I have). The Guardian refused to print my letter.
The first incident, which took place in June, occurred when the Guardian published a review of my most recent book, Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways. I should say from the start that it was not the negative tone or conclusion of the review that bothered me. I write, on average, a book every year, and I have been an outspoken Jew and criminal defense lawyer for decades. Therefore, having a thick skin is a prerequisite of everything I do. What amazed me about this article, though, was the fact that the reviewer simply lied about what was in my book. She made things up. She said the book was about something it wasn’t about. She said I took positions when I explicitly wrote the opposite in my book.
Why would a book reviewer go to such great lengths to defame me and to falsify what I wrote? After all, I am a liberal Democrat and have spent my career as a law professor, author, and defense lawyer fighting for civil liberties and the rights of the accused. In fact, my book is precisely about how to take the lessons of liberal democracy marked by transparency and accountability and apply them in a world that increasingly relies on preventive and preemptive criminal justice procedures and international military interventions. One would think that these credentials and this topic would endear me to the Guardian.
But I am also, as I wrote above, an outspoken Jew and Zionist, and I wrote a section in my book about Israel. It was supportive of some, and critical of others of Israel’s preemptive military actions. And it is just this sort of balanced assessment of Israel’s behavior coupled with a refusal to demonize the Jewish state that sends Guardian writers into apoplectic fits. Liberalism and Zionism are not considered mutually exclusive in America. In fact, they are complementary. The prevailing view at the Guardian is to the contrary.
Lets look at what the Guardian actually said. The reviewer of my book, a woman named Louise Christian who claims to be a lawyer but who demonstrates none of the requisite analytical skills of the profession, immediately seized upon my section on Israel and focused on it for the majority of her article.
She characterizes the book as “an attempt to justify the Iraq war and even the actions of the state of Israel” (which the author, a Harvard law professor, obsessively admires) [emphasis added].
First, notice the “even” before Israel, showing that the author assumes the actions of Israel to be particularly indefensible. Second, I do not try to justify Israel’s actions. I analyze its actions, and I conclude that some of them were justified and beneficial, while others were wrongheaded and unnecessary.
Finally, had Christian read the book, she would know that I opposed the war in Iraq. She apparently assumed that because I support Israel’s right to exist, I also supported America’s war in Iraq. It’s a telling assumption.
Not only does Christian mischaracterize the topics of my book and my positions. She goes right ahead and lies about what I say. For example, she writes, “In its concluding chapter the book goes so far as to suggest that theories of chromosomal abnormality should be pursued as predictive of violent crime to justify long-term detention.”
In fact, I say just the opposite. Christian is referring to an appendix in which I reproduce an article I published in 1975. The whole thrust of the article is categorically against the use of the XYY chromosome to predict violence, since I demonstrate conclusively that the XYY karyotype is not predictive. Here is what I say: “Nor is it likely that the XYY karyotype, even in combination of other factors, could be used to predict violence. There is simply no hard evidence establishing that any combination of factors can accurately spot a large percentage of future violent criminals without also including an unsatisfactorily number and percentage of false positives.”
How on Earth could Christian transform my strong opposition to using chromosomes as criminal predictors to support? She simply reversed my position. This cannot be a simple mistake. It is plainly a willful deception of her readers.
A mendacious review is one thing, but what’s worse is that The Guardian refused to correct its mistake. When I wrote a letter to the editor refuting Christians’s blatant lies, Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, responded that he could not publish my letter. The reason he gave was that my letter was too long. And so I responded that I would cut my letter to any length he asked. But The Guardian persisted in refusing to let me set the record straight.
It would be unthinkable for an American or Israeli newspaper to publish a full-blown attack on an individual without at least extending the right to reply in the letters page. The Guardian did precisely that to me, and twice in a single summer.
Perspective is one thing, but there’s something very wrong with any paper that would publish and then stand behind factual inaccuracies in the service of a political agenda. That sort of cavalier attitude toward the truth is more fitting of a Stalinist newspaper than of Britain’s liberal newspaper of note. It’s discouraging to see such a prominent and previously honorable publication abandon its standards so readily.
I challenge The Guardian to defend or even explain its journalistic decision to stand by the demonstrable falsehoods and defamations of its writers.