Monday, March 17, 2008

Absolutist Propaganda

Image © QT Luong/

Can you guess which online news publication penned the following excerpt?

Hamas is once again offering Israel a cease-fire, but the language that the Islamic movement has chosen reveals a deep reluctance to talk about any real peace with the Jewish state. . . .

As long as Israelis and the Islamic militants are killing each other in Gaza and southern Israel, a U.S.-sponsored drive to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by year's end stands little chance.

Despite Israel's insistence on real peace rather than vague truces, there is a growing realization that the current policy of blockade and military action has failed to weaken Hamas, which has proven its ability to disrupt fledgling peace talks between Israel and the moderate West Bank-based government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. [Emphasis mine]

From the language used, you might think it came from an Op-Ed or editorial in an Israeli or U.S. publication, like Ynet or the New York Times or even the D.C. mouthpiece, the Washington Post. After all, it has the feel of an opinion piece, slanted so as to give benefit of the doubt to the Israeli side. It leads the reader to believe that what Israel has been seeking all this time is "real peace"; while the democratically-elected representatives of the Palestinian people—Hamas—have always "disrupt[ed] fledgling peace talks," and only offer "vague truces." And the Palestinian leader chosen by the U.S. State Department and Israeli Likud to be their puppet "peace partner"—Mahmoud Abbas—is the "moderate" one.

It portrays the United States government as an honest peace broker, while using the rejectionist, isolationist language of the more hawkish elements within the U.S. and Israeli governments; so you'd expect it to come from a source within those governments, or at least a pro-Israel pundit from one of the aforementioned periodicals and the like.

Nope. It comes from none other than the most trusted and objective source of world news: The Associated Press [Steven Gutkin: "Hamas Offering Israel, Truce, Not Peace": March 12, 2008:].

Surely, then, the author was paraphrasing the opinion of an Israeli or U.S. government official. Right?

Nope. It was stated as fact, independent of source input; they were the reporter and editor's words.

The sad and little-known reality here is this: The reputation of news agencies such as AP—as unbiased providers of uncolored, factual world news—is nothing but a masquerade. When AP reports on events unfolding in Israel and the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian Territories (IOPTs), it is zeroed out at hawkish U.S. and Israeli policy. Abbas and his neocon-Likudnik-favored political faction—Fatah—are always "moderate," and their attempts at unifying the Palestinian people are fragile, fledgling, and under attack from the more extreme, radical Islamist elements of Palestinian society (i.e., Hamas and the majority of Palestinians).

Image © Ben HeineHamas were elected to be the parliamentary majority in January 2006. Since then, Mahmoud Abbas and other entities within and around Fatah have colluded with criminal elements of the U.S., Israeli, Egyptian, and Jordanian governments to undermine Palestinian democracy, unity, self-determination—all those things the neocons feign promotion of. They have gone so far as to stage a military coup, attempting to overthrow the legitimate Hamas government. Meanwhile, Hamas has offered multiple times over the years to accept internationally-accepted terms toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

And while it is true that elements within and connected to Hamas have fired barrages of crude rockets into Israel, so have Fatah elements. And the ratio of Palestinian deaths resulting from Israel's military operations in Palestinian neighborhoods, compared to the Israeli death toll from Hamas-linked rocket fire, is off the charts. But neither side should be commended for indiscriminately firing upon the other side's civilian population centers. Still, the onus for resolving the conflict is on the state of Israel, as it is the occupying power (and the Middle East's only superpower).

They are literally waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against an army-less, stateless, defenseless population. The ongoing, forced mass-starvation imposed by Israel, the European Union, and the United States, upon all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip—a two-year collective punishment via intensified aid freezes, embargoes, and sanctions—is all in retaliation for voting the wrong party into power. By any objective account, one could refer to that as ethnic cleansing; the Palestinian "moderate" has. I would call it state terrorism and genocide; as would certain Israeli officials, who aren't beyond playing the führer in blaming the victims for their own Holocaust. Israel and the West are absolutely crushing the Palestinian people on the dime of U.S. and Israeli taxpayers.

But you wouldn't know these things by reading the most trusted and unbiased news reports from AP and others. Instead, it's the superpower military-state of Israel that is under the boot of Palestinian civilians in Gaza—all 1.4 million of whom, according to press accounts, can be considered militants because they were in the area of rocket launchers, or they had the audacity to publicly support their representative political faction.

AP, in effect, apologizes for Israeli and U.S. war crimes. Sometimes, they peddle their policies as beneficial to the efforts of peace and stability when in fact the opposite is obviously true when taking into account truly objective and authoritative accounts and contextual time-lines. But state-worshiping news agencies do not deal in truth-telling; their job is to conceal these facts—in effect, "covering" state crimes. The accounts of Israeli and U.S. officials are taken as fact without further questioning.

Q: But why would media operate in such a way?

A: The illicit nature of state policies—unconditional U.S. aid to Israel and other belligerent regimes in the Middle East and the world; aggressive U.S. and Israeli wars, war via sanctions, and belligerent occupations; corporatism, militarism, mercantilism (i.e., militant fascism)—must not be focused on.

Q: What do news agencies have to do with state crimes? What is their motivation?

A: Their motivation is the fear of self-incrimination.

Politicians plan and conduct wars. Corporations are contracted out to provide logistical and manufacturing support for those wars. Those same corporations own stakes in mainstream media via boards of directors (BODs), or simply via mass-scale advertising—in essence, buying influence in how news is reported. Mainstream media rely on news agencies to put out timely press reports from all over the world in order to suffice their production demands. News agencies rely on sources from the same governments that are conducting the wars. Government entities give exclusive access to news agencies for their reports. Agencies are contracted by corporate (or "mainstream") media for breaking news. Corporate media rely on corporate sponsors for income. Corporate sponsors receive exclusive contracts for government projects.

The reports are edited in such a way as to either conceal illicit state activity or make the factual account seem so controversial that readers can not draw a definite conclusion as to who is right and who is wrong. Mainstream media do not discuss government policies on legal and moral grounds; instead, they parrot all the superficial strategy-talk and vile lies uttered by the politicians they're covering. So when news agencies are "covering" the state, they are also "covering" themselves.

And there are constants, like:

Corporate-government-media incest. Politicians are also on the BOD of corporate entities. Corporate CEOs are also on the BOD of media outlets and conglomerates. CEOs and publishers of media outlets and conglomerates are also on the BODs of news agencies.

Media watchdogs and state "PR" entities make sure the news is edited using only approved language, at all levels of news dissemination.

That's why AP refers to Israeli aggressors as "Israelis," while their Palestinian counterparts are "Islamic militants." It's why the ethnic cleansing, genocides, extra-judicial executions (assassinations), and rejection of cease-fires and international consensuses by the Israeli and U.S. governments are ignored or labeled as necessary; while Hamas and the majority Palestinian resistance are framed as extremists, militants, or terrorists whose actions are unprecedented disruptions in the peace [sic] process.

Image © Terrence KellemanNews agency coverage of world events should not choose favorites like this; neither should the U.S. government. Such U.S. foreign intervention is unlawful and immoral: it has only made life worse for the peoples of Palestine, Israel, and the United States. Trillions in U.S. taxes have been, and still are, extorted from the people to support failed and illegal policies there and elsewhere in the Middle East and the world. And we just so happened to be trillions in debt and sinking. Do you think there needs to be a change in policy somewhere? Well, too bad. Critical discussion is not allowed in mainstream media and news agency coverage. Their job is to sell us on all those illicit, absolutist, genocidal, self-fulfilling, and exclusively lucrative state policies.

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