January 7, 2009

Bombs, lies evasions, and videotape

Ever since the recent conflict between the Israeli government (and their military) and the Hamas organization in Gaza, I've come to realize that practically all the reports that have made it to U.S. radio and television outlets have favored the Israeli government's point–of–view. Unless you were to listen to Pacifica Radio (Democracy Now! e.g.) or read progressive news and opinion sites (AlterNet, Common Dreams, and BuzzFlash immediately come to mind), how else would you view the current horror?

But even the BBC's Paul Reynolds is questioning the way Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has handled the official line:

Israel released video of an air attack on 28 December, which appeared to show rockets being loaded onto a lorry. The truck and those close to it were then destroyed by a missile....A special unit it has set up to coordinate its informational plan put the video onto YouTube as part of its effort to use modern means of communications to get Israel's case across.

There's one problem with that viral video, though:

…a 55–year–old Gaza resident named Ahmed Sanur, or Samur, claimed that the truck was his and that he and members of his family and his workers were moving oxygen cylinders from his workshop....Mr Sanur said that eight people, one of them his son, had been killed. He subsequently told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: "These were not Hamas, they were our children... They were not Grad missiles."


(More about this faux pas awaits you over at B'Tselem.)

The Israeli forces were still defending the video at the time of Mr. Reynolds' report, now amended with personal comments. Plus a streaming capture of the suspect video. All of which go to show, as Mr. Reynolds wrote, "how an apparently definitive piece of video can turn into something much more doubtful."

Go to the BBC's site and read the whole piece, please. Also take special note of how much trouble the Israeli powers that be are going through to keep foreign journalists from reporting anything other than "the official story."

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera Television has questioned the Israeli forces' need to blast hell out of — of all places — a school operated in Gaza by the United Nations.

This is why you need actual journalists working in troubled places:

©2008 Al Jazeera.

H/T to the Center for Media and Democracy.

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