Friday, October 20, 2006

Oct 18 Media Critique:“When Cameramen Attack”

A more stunning display of mendacity and partisanship by HonestReporting would be hard to find.

I’ll provide some context here, by starting at the bottom of this section and working up. HR provides some examples which purportedly demonstrate the anti-Israeli perfidy of the media.
The first one is, yet another, re-run of an old story. And I’m so glad they’ve dragged this one out. It’s a fine example of HRs appalling standards. The story is about what a Palestinian journalist working for the BBC, is alleged to have said at a Hamas rally in 2001. What HR didn’t tell its’ readers was that the original story appeared in the Jerusalem Post and the source of the statement was an unidentified ‘Hamas website’. Only a fragment of a statement appeared in the JPost. This is it,

despite the pace of current events and the sensitive circumstances applying to journalists and media organizations, which are waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people

As you can see, it’s a bit strange. My opinion is that given the nonsensical grammer, the first part of the statement has been conveniently edited out. Most likely that first missing part relates to the 2nd phrase, “which we are waging….”. This obviously concerned HR as well, so they decided to do a little editing to ….er…. clarify things for their readers. This is HRs version,

Journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people.

It really did help to remove that first fragment, get rid of the comma and add “[are]”. Now the meaning is just so clear.

Next HR refers to a YnetNews story on an incident in Gaza in August. A Reuters car came under missile attack from the IDF. HR invokes this absolutely fabulous piece of distortion by inference to smear Reuters,

Reuters itself was accused in September 2006 of misusing press vehicles to transport Hamas-linked Palestinians

Really? No, not really.

The car was carrying 2 journalists. YnetNews alleges that one was “Hamas-linked”, whatever that means. It was carrying 2 journalists to cover a breaking story, not to “transport a Hamas-linked Palestinian”. Isn’t that a lovely piece of negative suggestion?

And Hamas-linked – what, he lives in Gaza, or his cousin’s- wife’s- uncle is a member? An alternative to “Hamas-linked” is 'not actually a Hamas member'. But to 'transport a Palestinian who is not a member of Hamas' doesn’t have quite the same effect does it?

And by the way, the Reuters car, which was struck by the Israeli missile, was clearly marked on all sides and the roof, as a press car. Now that’s nothing to interest HR is it? –the targeting of the press by military forces. No, nothing to see here, move on please.

Which takes us to the point of this ‘Media Critique’, “When Cameramen Attack”. You know, if HR said that the sun rises in the east, I’d want independent verification.

Well, for a start how about HR indulge in just the slightest bit of journalistic fairness, and make that “When Cameramen Allegedly Attack”. But that would be delving in to the world of ‘fairness and accuracy’ to a degree that would impair HRs ability to lie and distort.

This is the story which HR gets from Arutz7,

On Tuesday, a Reuters cameraman [Imad Bornat] was remanded to prison until trial for his part in rock-throwing attacks on security forces in Bil'in, where the separation fence is a constant target of protesters.

So what we have is an allegation, made by the Israeli Border Police that is being heard in an Israeli Military Court. Excuse me if I’m not overwhelmed by the legal process here.
Before we go any further, let’s shine a little light onto the notorious Israeli Border Police.

Just a few weeks ago a similar case made it into the courts; the Border Police alleging violent behaviour at the regular Bil’in protests over the route of the Seperation Wall.

Tel Aviv Magistrate`s Court revealed Tuesday that police officers lied while testifying against 11 left-wing activists accused of violent acts during anti-fence demonstrations in the West Bank village of Bil`in. The court acquitted the activists.

Judge Muki Landman harshly criticized the police`s behaviour in his ruling.
`A feeling of serious discomfort has arisen from the mighty gap between the officers` testimony and what is seen in the video tapes,` Landman wrote. `I cannot rule out the possibility that had it not been for the videotapes, I would have reached a different result regarding the defendants.` – Haaretz, Oct 3, 2006.

Right, so the Border Police committed perjury in court in an attempt to have Bil’in protesters jailed. And there was this story on the same day demonstrating the tender mercies of the Israeli Border Police,

The officer shot my brother when he was laying on the floor, his head down,’ Murad Abu Aya said……..

The Justice Ministry's Police Investigative Unit (PID) has refuted the version of events given by the Border Police officer who killed the Palestinian.

Police said the Palestinian, a 29-year old West Bank Palestinian from Tarqumiya who worked in a building site next to the Jaffa flea market, was shot after he tried to steal a rifle from one of the officers. During the struggle the gun went off, fatally wounding the Palestinian, a police spokesman said.

However, the PID investigation found that, contrary to the policeman's initial testimony the officer illegally used his weapon thus causing the death of the Palestinian.

Over the course of the investigation, the policeman changed his testimony, and stated that he fired his weapon without a struggle or any sort of provocation from the victim or his friends.
- Haaretz, Oct 3, 2006.

Back to the story . So we have allegations by the Border Police regarding Imad Bornat.
Curiously (or maybe not), Bornats' attorney is demanding that the video be shown as his defence.

Bornat's attorney has denied all charges waged against his client, and said the video footage the cameraman took will prove his innocence.

And remember, it was the video that cleared the 11 defendants in the previous court case. And most likely, it was video shot by Imad that cleared them. Imad and his brother have been videoing the Bil’in protests for the past 10 months.

Now let’s look at a very interesting timeline. On October 2, a court rules that video footage, probably shot by Imad Bornat, proves that Border Police were lying in their testimony against 11 protesters. Fours days later, the Border Police at the next Bil’in protest arrest Imad Bornat and allege that he was involved in throwing stones. He is then injured while in their custody.

Witnesses said that Border Police troops had beaten the cameraman, but the army says the man was hurt when a piece of communications equipment hit him in the back of the jeep he was being held in.

Director Pollack and artist David Reeb are set to submit letter to Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Wednesday, signed by dozens of artists, journalists and cultural figureheads protesting Bornat's arrest.
'Bornat's video footage shows the arbitrary and routine violence committed by Border Police and the army against the protesters, and especially against the residents of the village of Bil'in', they wrote.- Haaretz, Oct 10, 2006.

A radio “hit him”? Was someone was holding it at the time?

[Judge]Katz said the cameraman still appeared to be injured during the hearing, five days after he was arrested, raising doubts regarding the authenticity of the troops' version of the events. – Haaretz, Oct 10, 2006.

Imagine, the Judge in an Israeli military court doubts the veracity of the statements of Israeli Border Police. No chance of HR taking a hint from an Israeli military court judge I suppose?

But all HR wants is for the media to be “fair” and “accurate”. Nothing like leading by example is there?

Yet another ‘revisit’. And HR has backed a sure fire loser here. Some crazy Israel-right-or-wrong zealots are being sued by France-2 TV, for claiming the footage of Mohammad Al-Durah’s shooting was a hoax.

Well, the day after HR published this ‘Media Critique’, these 3 clowns lost the first part of their defamation case, and damages were awarded to France-2 TV.

And they are going to keep on losing. They produced 4 expert witnesses to support their conspiracy fantasies. One of them is a medieval historian. I kid you not.

Yes, HR please keep us informed, we all need the laughs.


Mistakes are thankfully rare…

Glad we’ve cleared that up. All the distortions, misrepresentations and lies by HR are deliberate.

This is an amazing effort, even for HR. Not once, not twice, but three times distorting and lying over a photo that appeared in the NYT. To cap off its’ deceit, HR claims this latest version of the lie over the Hicks photograph is, with amazing audacity, a “correction”!!

In our last communique, we should have mentioned that, irrespective of Tyler Hicks' explanation, the photo in question has previously been proven to be staged.

No. Totally untrue. Talk about ‘beyond chutzpuh’.

HR itself said about the photo, that the man photographed was “pretending to be dead”. All other claims about the photo being staged were, likewise, completely wrong. Let’s hear from the photographer again, who was there and witnessed the event,

I photographed the search effort, but otherwise there were no injured or dead visible. Soon there was a panic among the people that Israeli jets were coming overhead and would strike again. This sent the gathering crowd running away from the scene, which is a difficult task over the jagged cement and exposed rebar of a collapsed building.
In the commotion, one man fell from a considerable height onto his back and was seriously injured. He was then helped by others who rushed him to an ambulance.

Hicks gave some other fascinating insights into the Lebanon war that didn’t make it into HRs report,

Bombardments by the Israeli military were common in southern Lebanon, but often too far for us to reach with any level of safely. From the beginning of the conflict the Israeli military had been rocketing vehicles regularly, the roads were littered with the remains of civilian cars.

HonestReporting; dishonest, credulous and with no credibility.