Wednesday, March 26, 2008

AP vs. Reality & 'The Real Reason Why We are Antiwar'

Image © Ben Heine (Click on the image for more on the artist.)Editors at news agencies and corporate media outlets conceal vital context and facts from their readers. Sometimes, it seems, they just make things up.

Nowhere is their m.o. more evident than when they report on the ongoing, internal Palestinian struggle for power in the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian Territories (IOPTs).

The following is a list of AP excerpts, edited for reality. All excerpts are extracted from the report cited below. Each passage extracted will be followed by what a more truthful and contextual version might look like, or at least what would follow AP's standards (plus vital factual context).

Keep in mind that this is just one brief report, and every report from AP on Israeli-Palestinian issues contains varying amounts of the same state-worship.

Source: The Associated Press via MyWay News
Date: March 23, 2008
Location: San'a, Yemen
Headline: "Palestinian Sides Agree to Talk More"
Byline: Ahmed Al-Haj (but it may as well have been Brit Hume or the editorial staff of the Wall Street Journal)

Excerpt 1: After five days of talks using Yemeni officials as intermediaries, the West Bank-based Fatah government met face-to-face with representatives of the Hamas militants who seized control of the Gaza Strip in June. (2nd paragraph)

Reality: After five days of talks using Yemeni officials as intermediaries, officials from the US- and Israeli-backed Fatah party met face-to-face with representatives of the Palestinian Parliament's majority party, Hamas, who maintained control in the Gaza Strip in June in despite an attempted "hard coup" by US- and-Israeli-backed Fatah militants.

Excerpt 2: Fatah insists that Hamas must give up power in Gaza as part of any reconciliation deal. Hamas counters that Fatah must restore Hamas to a position of power in the West Bank as well as Gaza. (4th)

Reality: Fatah insists that Hamas must concede representation of Palestinians in Gaza to the US- and-Israeli-handled Fatah. Hamas counters that Fatah must respect the people's vote and Palestinian and international law by ceasing the kidnapping of Hamas supporters in the West Bank and respecting Hamas' majority representation in the IOPTs.

Excerpt 3: Disgruntled by years of inefficient and corrupt rule by Fatah, Palestinians handed a sweeping election victory to Hamas in early 2006. Hamas formed a government for the West Bank and Gaza, but the world boycotted it, labeling Hamas a terror group. (10th)

Reality: Disgruntled by years of inefficient and corrupt rule by Fatah, Palestinians handed a sweeping election victory to Hamas in early 2006. Hamas was elected the majority Parliament party for the IOPTs, but for political reasons, the United States, Israel, and some members of the European Union (EU) boycotted Hamas after earlier labeling it a terror group.

Excerpt 4: Facing bankruptcy, Hamas was forced to bring Fatah back into a national unity government, but even that did not satisfy the world. After the Gaza takeover, Abbas dismissed the unity government and its Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh from Gaza, and installed his own government in the West Bank. (11th)

Reality: Perhaps in light of the mass-starvation and rampant destitution of Gaza resulting from the US-Israel-EU blockade and sanctions, Hamas attempted to re-unify the government. But even that did not satisfy the US-Israel-EU powers. After Fatah's US- and-Israeli-planned, bloody, militant, hostile, illegal, terroristic, violent takeover of Gaza was prevented by military forces within Hamas, Abbas dismissed the unity government and its Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, and with the support of Israel and the United States, installed his own junta in the West Bank.

Excerpt 5: The West has embraced Abbas' new team while maintaining a boycott of Hamas in Gaza. The mediation efforts are meant to rescue Gaza from a severe economic crisis by getting Hamas to renounce its control of Gaza, hand back the control of the Mediterranean strip to the Palestinian Authority and restore a power sharing national unity government, ending the Western sanctions. (12th)

Reality: The pro-Fatah coalition has propped up Abbas' new team while maintaining sanctions and embargoes against Hamas and Gaza's 1.4 million Palestinians. The mediation efforts are meant to further shift the blame for the severe humanitarian crises off the "Western" coalition and squarely onto Hamas and its majority of supporters in the IOPTs. Hamas is expected to hand control of the Gaza Strip to the West Bank junta. After which, according to the pro-Abbas coalition, the people of Gaza will be rewarded for their brave rejection of democracy, self-determination, and, overall, "terrorism." A conditional lifting of the genocidal embargoes and sanctions would follow.

Excerpt 6: But Hamas is not willing to give up the power it wields. Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu called Sunday on Abbas to fire his current prime minister Salam Fayyad and his ministers, to pave the way for a "constructive and sincere dialogue." (13th)

Reality: But Hamas is not willing to give up the rights of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation, return to their land, and achieve statehood free of divisive foreign intervention. Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu called Sunday on Abbas to fire his current prime minister Salam Fayyad and his ministers, to pave the way for a constructive and sincere dialogue.


The most effective device in all this is the subtle omission of any or all U.S. and Israeli roots to the conflict.

A select few news agency and corporate media representatives are given exclusive access to the IOPTs and Iraq; with rare exceptions, all other international media are not allowed by the occupying states. In the United States, a select few are given exclusive access to presidential press conferences, presidential dinners, military conferences, and the like; all others must stay beyond everyone else's half-mile-radius "free speech zone." How's that for "prior restraint"? In each case, the state is the source, and the state will not incriminate itself, neither will any state-friendly corporate medium.

AP's Board of Directors is comprised of corporate media producers and CEOs. Corporate media water-down and recycle, as recorded history, the divise and misinforming language and time-lines used by the state entities they cover. The New York Times has a rich history of "covering" and even peddling state policies—especially war. The same can be said about the Washington Post and most other corporate media outlets.

But then, they are the state, via cronyism. War is their cash cow as much as it is for neocon officials or "defense" contractors like GE (which is the parent corporation of NBC, by the way). Sister and parent companies of media conglomerates receive no-bid manufacturing or logistics contracts from the government; the incentives and benefits of which are mutual. (Noteworthy here would be exclusive membership on corporate Boards of Directors and in private equity firms.)

There are several other names for all this "incestuous malfeasance": corporatism, militarism, statism, mercantilism, fascism, and many others. All are all ideologically and politically opposed to the U.S. Constitution, history, truth, justice, peace, and personal freedom from the oppressive state. They are are opposed to reality.

It's 1984, folks. Peace is not the state's goal; guess what is.

Back in the '80s and '90s Fatah's and Hamas' positions vis-a-vis U.S. and Israeli loyalties were the opposite of today. Back then, USrael supported—actually helped to create—Hamas in order to keep Arafat and his Fatah movement at bay, with the ultimate goal the same as it is today: perpetual Israeli expansion and dominance in the region and perpetual Palestinian infighting and statelessness. That has typically involved more non-Israelis than just the Palestinians, and more non-Palestinians than just the Israelis.

These U.S. interventions have not improved the lives of everyday Palestinians, Israelis, or Americans: they have done just the opposite. But U.S. and Israeli leaders have always lied, knowing fully that what they adopted as policy would entail constant state of war and martial policing of other peoples' lands—illegal acts with dangerous consequences for the people in all nations involved.

And consider this:

Hamas shoots rockets into an Israeli town; the U.S. and Israeli governments isolate them and every other word is "terrorist." Fatah shoots rockets into an Israeli town; the U.S. and Israeli governments finance them and gratuitously call them "peace partners." All the while, Israel is kidnapping, beating, imprisoning, and murdering Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza whether they support Fatah or Hamas or neither. All the while, Israel is stealing more land and demolishing more houses belonging to Palestinians who support either party or neither. Every once in a while, a Palestinian militia would claim a suicide mission attack in Israel, which is then used as an excuse to "suspend peace talks" and further collectively punish all Palestinians. And that's exactly how it's supposed to go, according to Israeli and U.S. "joint" policy.

After 40¾ years since the occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank, and after 60 years of Israeli statehood—on the lands of indigenous people who were expelled through aggressive war and terror—the human toll in the wake of such policies has not let up.

This is neither a cheerleading for Hamas, nor a rally for Israeli losses. It's reality, and it's simply biased against the occupying power. To even begin to level the human impact and regularity of illegal and violent events from each side, corporate media have to flip the script drastically toward Israel and "U.S. coalition forces."

U.S. tax-payer dollars unlawfully subsidize the illicit and self-destructive policies' ends, which certainly haven't entailed a just peace—not by a stretch. But that is by design, and it's all implied and sometimes peddled by international news agencies and international corporate media outlets as being constructive or peace-inducing.

Reality is losing. Support independent media.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

'The Real Reason Why We are Antiwar'

By Burkeman1 ∙ TheDailyBurkeman ∙ March 22, 2008

The Daily Burkeman

I would like to say that what animates my antiwar sentiment is that I possess a heightened sense of the worth of Human life. That my Catholic upbringing has instilled in me an inherent moral code. I would like to say that my antiwar sentiment is purely motivated out of a deep abiding sense of empathy for my fellow man- no matter how far removed from my own traditions or alien the culture.

I would like to say all that but I can’t. For when I honestly look at why I am antiwar I have to admit that the overriding reason for such beliefs is that well . . . the pro war position is positively and absolutely stupid beyond measure and insulting to the intelligence of any marginally intelligent 8th grader.

The truth is that I am antiwar because I cannot abide the gaping obvious abjectly and transparently stupid arguments (all 4 dozen of them) used to justify the Iraq war and the War on Terror in general.

In fact, I think I am not alone in this. Take a look at who is opposed to these wars. They are all over the ideological and political map. Left to right, liberal and conservative, old rightist and new leftist, anarchist and monarchist, communitarians and centralizers . . . there is no political “ism” which defines those of us who are antiwar.

What unites us then? Why are we against these wars? Well- If I may- let me suggest that the one common thread that runs among all of these different outlooks and groups- what we share in common- is that we don’t subscribe to the ludicrous beyond silly fear that “Islam” is going to take us over- invade us- or bring us to our knees. We place our fear of “Islam The Horrible” taking us over to make us wear Burkas somewhere between our fear of liquid mercury bubbling up from the earth to flood our basements and the threat of being kidnapped by Sasquatch.

Yes. We abhor the loss of human life. Yes, we are ashamed of the killing being done in our name. Yes. The criminality of these wars concerns us greatly. But mostly? We are incredulous that these wars are even being fought at all and that any appreciable number of our fellow citizens buys any of the patently absurd justifications, many of them contradictory, for these wars.

In fact, the obvious insane stupidity of these wars- and the fears they are based on- is so clear- so starkly plain to us- that we actually have to stop reading the news for several weeks at a time because when we read three sentences into one of our surreal “news” stories on the war- our blood boils with anger- with the anger of someone who doesn’t like being treated like a retarded naïf- like a dimwitted slow child riding the short bus to “special person school”.

I for one cannot imagine any adult with any intelligence above idiot grade believing the string of lies and excuses and absurd stupid monster stories that pour forth from our government and the Reich Winging propaganda outlets of the MIC to explain why these wars are being fought. I literally don’t believe any pro war commentator believes a WORD of what they write or say. I think they are conscious liars. I refuse to grant to them sincerity in their beliefs. How can I? How could anyone given how preposterous, illogical, silly, and ignorant their “arguments.” I can’t even call what they babble and blurbble- “arguments”. Rather their words are just strings of verbal puke- that make no sense. Silly slogans and sound bites.

The arguments of Pro War pundits deserve no respectful airing. No respectful attention. They are false. They are lies. And they are obviously so.

Yes. I am disgusted by the bloodshed. Yes. I despise the carnage. But mostly? I don’t like being treated like a chump and sucker and rube. A trillion dollars a year to “defend” against “Terrorism”? My intelligence couldn’t be more insulted than if you tried to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge.

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