Monday, September 04, 2006

Green Helmet Guy

The Green Helmet Guy is following the war in the media: lies, fake photography, staged photographs, etc. A typical story:

Here is a stunning article on the betrayal of the Western media. The conclusions drawn from the ongoing media lies are shocking in their threat to the world as we know it! This article will soon have a permanent link at the top of the page because of it’s incredible insights into the media’s betrayal. Wake up now or buy a burqa!

=============================================

*****
Melanie Phillips
August 30, 2006

*****
The media war against Israel

Early in the recent Lebanon war, the blogosphere revealed the fabrication of images by Reuters, whose reputation is now in shreds among those dwindling numbers in the western mainstream media who still acknowledge there is such a thing as the truth. Since then, the nature and scale of the various frauds perpetrated by the media during that war put those doctored Reuters pictures into the shade. The western media are no longer merely producing questionable professional practices in reporting a war. They are now active participants in it — and on the wrong side of history.

……..

To date, as far as I can determine, not one mainstream editor or proprietor has acknowledged this corruption of the western media. The scale of this corruption now threatens to have a lethal impact on the course of human history. Hatred now drives not just the jihadists but their western dupes, too. Truth and freedom are indivisible. The deconstruction of the former inevitably presages the destruction of the latter. This is the way a civilisation dies.
He has lots more.

Citizens seem to be taking the war into their own hands in more and more cases.

See also: The Vigilantes Arrive

and

A Return to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear....

19 comments:

Chas said...

M,
I am not sure I really want to get into this because it seems to me it has all the makings of a sterile debate. However, I am a blog-addict and can't help myself.

1) Doctoring and/or posing of photos in war-time is not new. I guess the advent of photo-shop makes it easier, but even so most fakes are easy to spot (like the repeated smoke pattern over Bierut). I share your disappointment in Reuters for failing to do this.

2) I saw the ambulance that was used to stage the "rocket attack" picture. It was in a BBC report, the ambulance was not the subject of the report. It just happened to be caught in the video. It looked to me exactly like what it was .. a derilict vehicle that had been vandalized. So I paid little attention to the later stories.

3)The viewer should pay close attention to the sources. Some journalists and news orginizations are more reliable than others.

4)with ref to the Ambulance story. There was a report from John Simpson, a veteran and very reliable reporter, carried on the BBC world service. The report was from the main hospital in Tyre. During the report a nearby appartment building was bombed. Very quickly, two ambulances left to pick up casualties. A few minutes later the area was attacked again. There was a tense wait for the Ambulances' return.
One came back unscathed, the other had been damaged, but not seriously and there were no injuries to the crew. Niether was able to pick up wounded.
Apart from being a testament to the courage and humanity of the ambulance drivers and para-medics it does show that ambulances, while probably not targeted were also not immune.
The report was in "real time". Faking it would have required the co-operation of the Israeli airforce and very slick timing.

I guess my point is that, yes there were definetly fakes, staged incidents etc, but did they significantly effect the perception of the war?
As a proportion of total coverage, they were insignificant, but still regretable and a blot on any news orginizations that carried them without criticism.

Does the existance of a faked photograph of Bierut being bombed mean that Bierut was not being bombed?

Does the initial exageration of casualties from incidents like Qana mean there were no civilian casualties?

In other words, if the fakes are now being used in an attempt to deny or minimize the extent and violence of the Israeli actions and the impact on civilian populations, that use is no more valid than the original fake.
Fakes are fakes. They do not really merit discussion, and once exposed as such should play no further part in the debate. To do otherwise gives them a significance they do not deserve.

Peace, Chas

Anonymous said...

Chas,

nothing new about lying during war. everybody does it. that's not the point. Of course Arab countries have provided more than their share of hilarity on this front.

Interesting that you've gone out of your way to refute some the allegations of lying, but that's also besides the point.

What is the point?

> I guess my point is that, yes there were
> definetly fakes, staged incidents etc, but
> did they significantly effect the
> perception of the war?

Checking sources is pretty difficult for most people. Challenging news organizations to be on top of their game, because really they're the ones who are supposed to be checking sources, is a good civic minded sort of thing to do.

Not good when news gathering organizations become complacent. Very good when bloggers put their feet the flames. That makes bloggers a highly constructive addition to the democratic landscape.

Frankly I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that you would appose increased citizen activism in the interest of getting better and more truthful news.

Chas said...

Sharar,
I apologise if I gave any impression that I don't want to see fakes exposed. Or that I am critical of bloggers attempt to expose them. Though I can't really see how you got that impression.
I totally agree with you that most people do not have the time or insight or background knowledge to evaluate a story and that the role of blogs in this respect has been great.
I am completely in favour of citizen activism and involvment .. in fact, I would like to see lots more of it.
I don't understand where in my post you could have got any different idea. I mean, I wouldn't be blogging otherwise, would I?
Nowhere in my post did I attempt to refute any of the allegations of lying. Lying is lying is lying and fakes are fakes are fakes. I don't know how I could have been a lot clearer. Unless you need me to make a picture for you ;)

Peace, Chas

Anonymous said...

> Fakes are fakes. They do not really
> merit discussion, and once exposed
> as such should play no further part in
> the debate.

They merit wide discussion and outrage.

Look I understand the harm this does to your position. It's very difficult to promote peace at any cost when people start to figure out the extent to which their goodwill has been manipulated, and then begin to learn what that cost actually is.

You have an unenviable task.

Chas said...

Shahar
I thought when I started this it would be a sterile debate, and it is. Fakes are fakes. They should be exposed and acknowledged. But that is it .. they represent a tiny proportion of the information and reporting coming out of a conflict area. You are going to see them in any conflict, any time. To make them the main issue is at best a distraction from the main issues, at worst a conscious attempt to divert attention from real issues.
Thank you for understanding .. I know the task I have set myself is a tough one. If I was alone I would probably give it up. I am not btw a proponent of peace at any price. Peace can just mean one side has run out of ammo! I am a proponent of peaceful conflict resolution .. meaning that the issues have to be addressed. Some wars had to be fought .. like WW11 and Yom-Kippur but most do not.
It is just that the price of peace (ie conflict resolution) is usually quite low .. in fact it tends to be a nett benefit to both sides. The cost of war however is horrendous, in human and economic terms.
I have lived through both and maybe it is just that I am weird but I know which I preffered.

Peace, Chas

Anonymous said...

> Some wars [have] to be fought ..

.. and some don't. That's right.

Responsible nations fight the ones in the first category and figure out how to avoid the ones in the second category.

So, your assumption about Israel continues to be unyieldingly negative. I agree that does limit the usefulness of further conversation.

But let me make a last attempt. Let's assume I'm Israel, and you're trying to sell me peace as apposed to war in Lebanon. What's the price? How much do you want?

But don't try to hoodwink me. I want to know operating costs, and the cost of insurance on this peace deal. Plus I want to know the return policy.

Chas said...

Sharar,
again I am put in the position of negotiating for parties I have no mandate from .. but let me try.

From Israel:
1) An acknowledgement, without qualification, that the suffering inflicted on Lebanon was disproportionate. Cost=0

2) An offer (which would have to be thru a third party and not public) to pay some portion of the costs of de-mining in S.Leb. Cost=A lot! depending what portion

3) Release without preconditions of any remaining Lebanese detainees from the first occupation and last war. Cost = 0

4) An offer, again thru a third party, to pay some or all of the cost of oil slick clean up. cost = significant.

5) An indication, without preconditions, of a willingness to negotiate on disputed border areas

From Lebanon:

1) An acknowledgement, without qualification, that allowing Hez to flourish in S.Leb constituted a real and present danger to Israel.

2) An undertaking to renew and redouble efforts to disarm Hez and destroy rocket caches. That this commitment will be undertaken to the very limits of what is possible without creating civil war.

3) Release, without conditions of any Israeli hostages or prisoners.

4) An offer, thru a third party to pay some of the costs of rebuilding after rocket attacks in N. Israel. (this would be largely symbolic, since Leb is strapped for cash)

5) acceptance, without preconditions of (5) above.

From both govs.

The setting up of a number of regional committees.
- A border affairs committee. to deal with day to day border and security problems. (not as in (5) above)

- A regional affairs committee. This would set up and oversee cross border co-operation projects

- An enviromnetal committee to deal with enviromental issues.

etc etc. the main point of these committees is to get people working together and to provide a forum for people to vent, express themselves and eventually co-operate. They would have equeal representation from both sides and alternating chairmanship.

How much power they would actually have would depend on their performance.

From both sides at a non-governmental level.

Cultural orginizations, trade, social, business and sport orginizations should be encouraged to form links and exchanges from the other side. cultural events, like the Byblos festival should be encouraged to include artists from the other side.

You'll notice that all but a few of these suggestions are cheap. They don't garantee peace, but if you remember my thing is peaceful conflict resolution. These are just mechanisms to promote dialogue but over time if they were built upon they would make war very unlikely.

I hope you take as much time reading and thinking about this as I did writing it!

Peace, Chas

Anonymous said...

> I hope you take as much time reading
> and thinking about this as I did writing it!


I promise.

Anonymous said...

Actually, before I comment let me give you a chance to revise your proposal to reflect the assumption that there has not yet been a war. The point,I thought, was to prevent one.

So it's the morning of July 12. Two Israeli solders have been taken captive and 8 have been killed. Rockets have been fired at Israeli cities. You (your avatar?) have the post of UN Peace Maker.

I'm Olmert. My defense minister is hiding under his desk, my army chief is selling his stock portfolio, and my president is putting away his toys away after a morning romp with his secretary. I feel defeated already. Talk me out of this war, please!

linearthinker said...

Mr. Olmert (aka Shahar)--it's the morning of July 12-- waiting for call from Mr. Chas, UN Peacekeeper:

Relax. Have a cookie. Have a second cookie. You deserve it.

Things up north are in good hands. Chas is on the phone with NY, Paris, Geneva, Beirut, and networking his UNIFIL outposts. Lots of committee meetings are contemplated, but coordinating everyone's schedule at the last moment is a bitch.

Schedule a press conference. Send an assistant to roust your President and Defense Minister, and tell one to change his pants, and the other to zip his, before they get back to work. Call Halutz and apologize for interrupting his transactions, but suggest an alert, just to have something to say at the presser.

Have another cookie. Tune into CNN for more ideas to outline at the press conference. Call Caroline Glick for suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Well lt, the current despair definately creates a window of opportunity for Mr. Chas and I hope he can take it before events overtake his efforts. we're all praying for him.

Unfortunately we were forced to arrest his driver this morning.

Chas said...

Sharar and LT
your reaction was as predictable as it was disappointing. Guess I should be used to that.

There are times when it is possible to make real progress for peace and other times when it isn't.

When this war started everyone wanted it. Israel wanted it, the US wanted it, Hezbollah wanted it, Syria sort of wanted it (sort of because Assad was shit scared it might spread and destabilise his nasty little regime) and Iran wanted it.
The only people who didn't want it were the people who were most hurt by it. The regular population of Lebanon. (ie the 75% or so who support democracy and progress).
So, could I envisage a plan that would have created peace on July the 13th or 14th or 20th for that matter? Probably not .. not without a lot of wishful thinking.

Like I said there are times when you can make progress, times when you can't. I think there were times .. like when Syria got kicked out (The Cedar revolution) when a lot more could have been done .. but that is in the past.

So I choose to look at the present and the future .. at what may be possible rather than indulge in a fruitless attempt to rewrite history.
Besides it really would not matter. If I came up with a totally foolproof way that peace could have been obtained on the 13th of July, now would it?
You guys would reject it anyway, just from force of habit, and since it is unproveable either way.... kinda pointless. You basically wished to set me up in order to knock me down.

So, I have jumped thru a lot of hoops for you guys just in the vain hope that it might elicit a response that involved more brain activity than a knee-jerk.
Jump thru just one hoop for me.
Pretend that you give a damn .. pretend that you have family who live in the region, children that you care about,a lot of them, cousins, nephews, nieces, whatever. They live all over the region, not in any one country. You care about them all, none more than others. They have all refused to leave the region or their homes. They are not political.
Now, give them hope. Tell them how there can be peace, because they are frightened, they need to hear a reassuring voice.
Are you up for that challenge?

Anonymous said...

> Besides it really would not matter
> if I came up with a totally foolproof
> way that peace could have been obtained
> on the 13th of July, now would it?

well, for the sake of the thought experiment, yes it would have.

I was having a little fun while sincerely waiting for your update.

and please stop crying. you're worse than siniora. the REAL parties have already signed a REAL deal at the REAL UN that is rapidly bringing about new and vastly better conditions on the ground in Lebanon. You didn't really think I was asking you to replace that deal did you?

ha! they're on the verge of being rid of that damned albatros around their collective democratic necks for the first time in decades and all you can see is that, since it took a war to achieve it, it must therefore be bad.

but ok. your crying got to me. I'll take your proposal as it stands and respond to it. But instead of just giving you what you want I'll take each point one at a time and tell you what I really think of it.

1) An acknowledgement, without qualification, that the suffering inflicted on Lebanon was disproportionate. Cost=0

hogwash. Proportional to what? Compared to the threat that Hizbollah posed to Israel, both strategically and in raw terms of its capability to cause mass death, this war was lenient. And by that I mean, first, that the numbers you're getting regarding civilian casualties are certainly bogus, and second, even if they're not Israels success in delivering a killing blow to an organization like Hizbollah with as few civilian casualties as were caused is unprecedented.

If you want real proportionality I'll make you the following deal. Lebanon should disarm Hizbollah. Until they do, for every Hizbollahi on the ground in Lebanon, I'll arm and train an English football hooligan, you know the kind who like to kill muslims for sport, and place them on the northern boder. They'll be an exact mirror image of Hizbollah and present the exact same threat to the Lebanese that Hizbollah present to Israelis. So there's your proportionality. Let them disarm their racist murderers and we'll disarm ours.
[the fact that israel would NEVER actually do such a thing is instructive, don't ya think?]

2) An offer (which would have to be thru a third party and not public) to pay some portion of the costs of de-mining in S.Leb. Cost=A lot! depending what portion

ok

3) Release without preconditions of any remaining Lebanese detainees from the first occupation and last war. Cost = 0

some of these "detainees" are murderers, hense prisoners, hense no. we can maybe talk about individuals on a case by case basis.

4) An offer, again thru a third party, to pay some or all of the cost of oil slick clean up. cost = significant.

ok

5) An indication, without preconditions, of a willingness to negotiate on disputed border areas

there are no disputed border areas. the UN signed off on that already.

On the "from lebanon" side, your 1) and 2) need to be merged into a single act: disarm Hizbollah. I'm not interested in words acknowledging the risk, or a redoubling of efforts, etc etc. Just get it done.

3) ...

Lebanon has no Israeli hostages, nor does lebanon have any influence with Hizbollah in that regard.

etc. on to the adendum

- border affairs committee

things like this only work when there's already peace. They're not able to create it.

- regional affairs committee

ditto

- an environmental committee

this was done between israel and the palestinians during OSLO. the problem was that there are so few environmentalists on their side that they just laughed at what Israel proposed. ("you want to do what? For the sake of rabbits?") Remember these are the people who strapped a bomb to a donkey (which btw was the only time PETA ever condemned terrorism). maybe with lebanon it would be different. so yes.

I understand that you don't think committees have to be able to acheive much to be worth doing, but you're wrong. If they can't acheive anything, they become a fig leaf and in that role end up doing harm.

- cultural ties.

Lebanese woman are HOT. who could say no to cultural ties.

overall, Chas, it looks to me like you never learned the lessons of OSLO. And the main lesson I'm talking about is that "process" in and of itself does not bring intent with it later on. You just can't "fake it till you make it" in the peace game. Tried it. Didn't work.

Anonymous said...

Actually Chas I'm more than a little dissapointed. Based on everything you've said up until now, I would have thought that the chance to step in a moment before the war begins, not a day later or two or five days later but before it begins, and present a viable alternative would be a chance you couldn't pass up.

I don't think I set you up at all. I thought I was giving you the platform of your dreams.

You passed it up.

Chas said...

My dreams are for the future not the past .. and thanks for the rest of your post ..still reading it , and awaiting your response to my challenge.

Peace, Chas

Chas said...

Sharar,
Just a few points really:
On acknowledgements,
This is an important point, you can modify the wording if you like, but not to the point of rendering it meaningless. (for instance Olmert himself said frequently that Israel regretted civilian casualties, something along those lines but a little more strongly worded and WITHOUT qualification would suffice, but not impress).
My reason for thinking this is important. I was blogging with a mixed group of Israelis and Lebs .. the talk was of civilian casualties .. it went pretty much as you might expect. Until, after a lot of prompting from someone one of the Israelis made some acknowledgment of the suffering of Leb civilians having been excessive. The result was amazing .. the acknowledgement was not that profound, but Leb posters were falling over themselves to thank him, salute him, etc. The whole tone of the blog changed!
I know this is a little touchy-feely for your liking, but it is important to people , and people are important to the success of any plan for peace.

On prisoners/detainees .. just return whoever you can, better than nothing.

I think there are disputed areas .. even if they have been previously dicussed. No committment here, just an offer, without preconditions.

The committees etc were not indended to start right away .. just whenever it seems workable.

I am glad you like rabbits.

Otherwise I could live with what you have said .. as far as the points go. Neither of us have any mandate though!

BUT
There is no credit for Israel in any developments current or future in Lebanon as a result of the war. The credit belongs entirely and properly with the Lebanese people, their courage and unity and their leadership. (yes I mean Senoria)I have never seen a politician play such a weak hand so well. Sure he cried. God bless him for being human.

Because OSLO did not work does not necessarily mean it was a wholly bad process. Would it not be possible to analyse it, improve it, modify it and try again? It could also have been that some of the personel involved in implementation were just not the right people?
I think there is a lot of work to do before that possibility is realistic.

I should cry more often .. so should you

Peace, Chas

linearthinker said...

Chas wants more negotiations, concessions, admissions, kumbayah, yada, yada, bringing to mind some lines by my favorite Dane:

To make a name for learning,
When other roads are barred,
Take something very easy,
And make it very hard.

Piet Hein


From my world view, following actions needed by respective players:

CAUTION: Suggestions are simplistic, lack nuance, and could be thought of by sophisticated pundits as emminations from a crude fundamentalist perspective made by someone who knows he's right and therefore refuses to sympathize with the others' plight and issues.

1. Lebanon disarms Hezbollah. Israel is grateful. Sends gift packages of symbolic peace cookies. Shaped like doves.

2. Territorial disputes between Israel and Lebanon are laid to rest, since they're engendered by Hez as an agitating 3rd party, and as Shahar has noted, have already been resolved once. Besides, Hez is a non-player. See 1. above. Israel develops a dynamite dairy industry centered on the Shebaa Farms; offers discounted butter and cheese to Lebanon as a good will gesture. An International Peace Park is developed next to the dairy farms, with petting zoo and amusement park rides fashioned out of surplus decommissioned Hezbollah missiles.

3. Palis acknowledge Israel's existence, once and for all time, and quit with the bull shit.

4. Palis grow up as a community, a wannabe nation-state that can't do better than elect a terrorist organization as their government. Along with this maturing process, Palis do all the other sensible things Chas has nicely summarized. Many details of course. Y'all know what I'm talkin' about. Bottom line is that it is, and has always been, a chore that Israel cannot do for them.

5. Re items 3. and 4. above, Israel's role and sole responsibility is to make very public statements that they know the Palis can do it because that's what any intelligent, resourceful, decent folks would do who want to get along in the neighborhood. Israel might offer a carrot at the same time in the sense that as peaceful coexistence became reality, a sharing of the economic benefits between free and democratic neighbors could be contemplated. Period. If the neighbors can't rise to the occasion, let them wallow in their own squalor until the cows come home.

6. Israel's other responsibilities during implementation of 3., 4., and 5. above are to take care of her own people, including foremost assuring security from terrorist intrusions. Bigger, higher fences; mine fields with geophones installed to detect tunneling activities, improved and cleared fields of fire for welcoming bipedal nighttime intruders, counter-battery fire-controlled defensive field artillery to deliver timely and accurate response to incoming mortars and rockets targeted anywhere within Israel, improved and remodeled bomb shelters with air conditioning, the list goes on. A paramount tenet of this policy is the education of all concerned that a price must be paid for continuing terrorism. Consider it a learning experience. [Afterthought here, some suggested defensive activities may be adverse to the wildlife habitat. Tough. The rabbits will come back, I assure you, just as the forests in the north will return with time and some soothing rains. Better some rabbits and sand fleas be inconvenienced than some innocent children die on their playground.]

Shahar has responded well in the point-counterpoint tit-for-tat. I'll defer to his wisdom on those points of contention.

As a parting shot, Chas' following comment struck a chord with me, because I was thinking almost the same thing as an offering to him:

"Jump thru just one hoop for me.
Pretend that you give a damn .. pretend that you have family who live in the region, children that you care about,a lot of them, cousins, nephews, nieces, whatever. They live all over the region, not in any one country. You care about them all, none more than others. They have all refused to leave the region or their homes. They are not political.
Now, give them hope. Tell them how there can be peace, because they are frightened, they need to hear a reassuring voice.
Are you up for that challenge?"

I'd have to paraphrase just a few items: replacing "the region" with "Israel," and deleting "...not in any one country" should do it.

Chas, provide one example in the last 60 years of where a conciliatory approach by Israel to its Arab neighbors has resulted in any positive measure of security and peace for Israel that wasn't negated, resulting in ongoing terror and murder by the others, notwithstanding the Sadat-Begin accords (of which the merits are currently arguable).

I'm venturing a guess, at the risk of being accused of an ad hominum attack, that Chas is single, no children, under thirty-five, college educated, with an office job and sufficient perks to enable sufficient spare time to ponder the great challenges of our day from the safety of his keyboard. Chas is a warm and friendly and caring individual who loves dogs and other people's children. He bruises easily. I'm guessing he has never served in the armed forces. I don't think he's ever built anything with his own sweat and blisters. Nor do I think he's ever changed diapers or worried through the night with a sick infant. I'm reminded of Winston Churchill's observation that "...anyone under twenty-one who is not a liberal has no heart, and anyone over thirty who is not a conservative has no brain." I would like to respect Chas for his positive traits, but must strenuously disagree with his overweaning bleating about Israel's shortcomings in the present discussion. If I'm wrong on any of the above guesses, I'd be happy to reconsider.

LT

Anonymous said...

on acknowledgements, the question is highlighted in the current lead post on this blog, Israel Rejects Arab Initiative.

I do like rabbits, and donkeys. Here's a .

> There is no credit for Israel in any
> developments current or future in
> Lebanon as a result of the war

uhuh. except that siniorita was nasrallah's bitch before the war and now he's being called the lebanese shogun. I don't discount his political skills at all, but it seems to me the war made quite a difference.

> just not the right people?

yeah well. I'm sure you won't take this the wrong way. The palestinians have done such a bang up job of creating multiple generations of cannon fodder that it may be that they can no longer escape that as their destiny. Probably won't even be Israel that does them in.

LT:

I've always believed that what's missing is some real imagination on the Israeli side. Israel needs a PM who will talk directly to the Palestinian people, telling them the simple truths. "the arab countries don't care about you. They use you as pawns. Your future, if you have one, is with us, in peace. If you choose war with us you will only be crushed between us and our enemies." get on pal tv and tell them again and again and again, fireside chat style. Sadly Israel is pathetic in the PR dept. Then I think your 3 and 4 could happen.

linearthinker said...

Shahar,

Thank you for the nice donkey link. Cookies for Lucy!

I too like rabbits. They taste like chicken.

LT