In-depth Report: PALESTINE Israeli oppression of Palestinians not suitable for broadcast by BBC. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler)
One of the most obvious examples of bias by the BBC is the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s habit of inviting Israeli politicians or the Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev, onto its programs to speak without challenge. Meanwhile, Palestinians and those who would convey a Palestinian perspective are not given the same opportunity.
Film director Ken Loach recently learned that for the BBC, Palestine remains a taboo.
On 23 July, Loach was at the Royal Albert Hall in London to listen to a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, performed by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The orchestra consists of Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians, and is conducted by Daniel Barenboim, who formed the orchestra in 1999 with the late Palestinian academic and activist Edward Said.
So when Loach was asked during the intermission for an interview by BBC Proms, which was recording the concert for later broadcast, he considered it reasonable to air his thoughts on the nature of the orchestra as well as the music.
Loach said that he spoke to the BBC journalist for five minutes, during which time he said: “Seeing Israelis and Arabs, including Palestinians, sitting side by side on the stage makes us confront the issue of the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, and I shall be thinking of them when I hear the music tonight.”
These were typically compassionate words from a director whose films, including Land and Freedom about the revolutionaries who fought in the Spanish Civil War, often reflect his keen sense of justice.
However, for the BBC, which in the last six months has alternately denied the existence of Palestine and then the fact of Israel’s occupation, the mere mention of the fact of the Palestinian people’s oppression was too controversial to broadcast.
BBC admits to censorship
Loach received a phone call from the program producers informing him that his interview would be cut “due to the music over-running.” He sent an email to the BBC, which has been seen by this writer, stating:
“Thank you for letting me know about the broadcast and the need to shorten the interview. Of course I understand about length. But I would ask you to include my brief remarks about the orchestra and the Palestinians. As an opponent of oppression and tyranny I think Ludwig [van Beethoven] would have approved. It was one of the reasons I agreed to take part. I’m happy if you need to reduce my thoughts on the music itself.”
His email was ignored and the interview was broadcast three days later on BBC Proms with his observation about the oppression of the Palestinian people removed. The rest of the interview remained intact.
Loach said: “I called the producer, Oliver MacFarlane, who admitted they had deliberately cut the line about Palestine. He said if they’d included it they would have had to have a balancing interview. I wasn’t pleased and I responded robustly.”
When asked to respond to this, a BBC spokesperson stated: “As part of the BBC’s comprehensive music television coverage of The Proms, esteemed filmmaker Ken Loach was invited to comment on his personal passion for Beethoven, given the time slot available and the fact that this was a music television programme, the most editorially relevant sections of Mr. Loach’s interview were used in the final edit.”
Israeli spokespersons unchallenged
But if it was the case that the BBC did feel the need to “balance” Loach’s simple words about the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians, it has absolutely no qualms about airing, totally unopposed, the wild, often lurid, mostly fact-free statements made by Israeli ministers and spokespeople.
Take, for example, James Naughtie’s interview with Danny Ayalon on Radio 4’s Today program on 16 January 2012. The interview was conducted the day after the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called on Israel to end its occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories and to end its violence against civilians.
This strong UN criticism of Israel was completely ignored by Naughtie, who focused on Iran with the unquestioned premise of the interview being that Iran is, without a doubt, developing nuclear weapons and consequently poses a grave threat to Israel.
Ayalon had been on air for less than a second when he said: “What we see here is a drive, a relentless push by Iran to illegally acquire and develop nuclear weapons and for them it’s not just a means, it’s a way to reach hegemony to continue with their very dangerous and radical approach.”
He went on to say: “Today Iran is the international hub of terror in the world.”
This was clearly Israeli propaganda; Ayalon used the BBC to loudly bang the drums of war against Iran. Yet Naughtie neither challenged his unfounded opinions, which were presented as facts, nor brought in someone to present an alternative viewpoint.
Ayalon’s wild accusations, so much more controversial than Loach’s mild remarks, were certainly not cut for lack of a “balancing interview.” Nor was Ayalon questioned about Israel’s widely suspected nuclear arsenal or about Israel’s staunch refusal to allow international weapons inspections.
BBC’s double standards
Arthur Neslen was a BBC journalist for four years, but this didn’t stop him falling foul of the BBC’s double standards on this issue.
In March this year, he wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper describing how he returned to Gaza to meet the man who had tried to kill him more than two years earlier (“Why I met the man who tried to kill me,” 2 March 2012).
This led to a phone call requesting an interview from the producers of Outlook, a BBC World Service program which is broadcast Monday through Thursday.
Neslen agreed, but even before he visited BBC studios, the problems began. “The BBC kept delaying the interview,” he said in an interview. “Then they called two months later and said they were ready, so I went to do the interview which lasted 45 minutes.”
In his interview, Neslen described how a stranger called “Khalid” (not his real name) had attacked him randomly in a Gaza street in May 2009, pulling a knife on him as he came out of the offices of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA). In 2011, Neslen had returned to Gaza to meet the man who had tried to kill him and, in his BBC Outlook interview, he told Khalid’s story.
During Israel’s massacre in Gaza in 2008-2009, Khalid, a schizophrenic, had gone to the front line to ask the Israelis to stop killing civilians. He was captured at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers, handcuffed and blindfolded, taken to the doorway of a house the Israeli army had commandeered, and repeatedly beaten by soldiers on their way in or out.
He was then used as a human shield by Israeli snipers, who placed him in front of an open window and shot from behind him. Khalid was later taken to a detention center in Israel and put through the court system, regularly beaten, before being released back into Gaza two months later.
Before telling his story in the Guardian, Neslen spent a month trying to get an explanation from several Israeli authorities, finally obtaining a statement from the Israeli Ministry of Justice which confirmed the dates of Khalid’s arrest, court appearances and release.
BBC drops story
However, all this evidence proved insufficient for the BBC.
“The BBC called me after I’d left the interview, asking me to come back straight away. They wanted to know what the Israeli response was to Khalid’s story and I told them about the statement,” Neslen explained. “I was told the interview would go out the following week.”
However, ten minutes before the interview was due to be aired, he received a series of “desperate” emails and calls from a BBC journalist asking to see all his correspondence with the Israeli authorities on the matter, which he emailed over immediately.
“They told me I hadn’t provided them with proof that I had put the allegation to the Israeli army that they had used Khalid as a human shield,” said Neslen. “Then they dropped the story.”
“Why didn’t they put the allegations to the IDF [Israeli army] themselves?” he asked. “I was a BBC journalist for four years and they didn’t believe my story. But if Mark Regev goes on BBC News to say a hunger striker is a member of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, the BBC never tries to go to the family to get confirmation. It only seems to go in one direction.”
The UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign wrote to the BBC in May to ask why Regev had been allowed to make unchallenged and false comments on BBC1’s News at 10 and Radio 4’s six-o-clock news bulletin on 11 May. Regev claimed the Palestinian hunger strikers, who numbered more than 1,000, were motivated by an “Islamist cause” and wanted to “commit suicide.”
Last week, the group received this response from the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit:
“You have said that the report lacked the necessary due impartiality because it contained an interview with the Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, but did not include a similar interview with someone putting forward the view of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality make it clear that due impartiality does not necessarily require all views and opinions to be covered in equal proportions on all occasions.”
As Neslen says, it only seems to go one way with the BBC. Take this line from the Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality, which the BBC appeared to disregard when interviewing Loach: “… it is not usually required for an appearance by a politician, or other contributor with partial views, to be balanced on each occasion by those taking a contrary view.”
The BBC seems to interpret this as meaning that someone who openly lies about the political motivations of Palestinian hunger strikers can be heard unchallenged on its airwaves, while someone who dares to mention the oppression of the Palestinians must be silenced.
Bowing to Israeli pressure
Neslen has his own ideas, based on his time at the BBC, for the double standards.
“They’re running scared of the Israeli authorities,” he said. He gives an example, detailed in his book,In Your Eyes a Sandstorm: Ways of Being Palestinian, of the Israeli embassy calling the BBC radio newsroom where he then worked. The Israel government asked a news editor not to run the Palestinian side of a particular news story, implying that doing so could involve an accusation of “terror collusion.” The Palestinian statement, sent by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestineto the BBC, was dropped.
On another occasion, at the beginning of “Operation Defensive Shield,” Israel’s massive re-invasion of the West Bank during the second intifada, the Israeli government threatened to close down the BBC’s offices in West Jerusalem if it did not pull its correspondent Barbara Plett out of the West Bank. The next day she was withdrawn.
“These sorts of things happen every day,” Nelson said, “and some news editors will stand up for core journalistic values. But in general, Palestinian calls of complaints about news bulletins tended to be laughed off. I remember one acting editor on a BBC Radio 5 live bulletin slamming down the phone on a Palestinian caller and saying ‘If I get one more call from a moaning Arab…’”
He added: “If the Israeli embassy phones in, there’s a vast disparity of power [compared] to if a Palestinian activist calls in. They take Israeli calls very seriously, and critical stories about Israel get shot down through official pressure and the fear of official pressure. These are very powerful lobbyists — people know their careers can be broken.”
The result of all this is obvious bias shown against the Palestinians in the BBC’s broadcasts, whether it is by the complete omission of their story, the editing of comments which dare to mention their oppression, or the constant, relentless foisting of the Israeli narrative onto the audience.
Is this really journalism? Those who pay their licence fee so that the BBC can broadcast all across the world — and those whose lives are affected by those broadcasts — deserve much better.
Amena Saleem is active with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK and keeps a close eye on the media’s coverage of Palestine as part of her brief. She has twice driven on convoys to Gaza for PSC. Follow the PSC on Twitter: @PSCupdates.
When 9/11 Truth Becomes a Criminal Offense : Marine Vet Arrested for 9/11 Facebook Posts
By Michael Kelley
Global Research, August 25, 2012
Business Insider August 25, 2012
Theme: 9/11 & 'War on Terrorism', Police State & Civil Rights YouTube/IamKristenMeghan
It is unknown if Brandon Raub was detained for anything more than questioning.
UPDATE: A previous version of this article said Raub was detained by the FBI. The FBI has told us their agents had ”nothing to do” with his detainment and placement in a psychiatric ward.
ORIGINAL: A former U.S. Marine who accused the government of lying about 9/11 and spoke of “The Revolution” on Facebook was detained on Thursday night, reports Renee Nal of Gather.
According to Brandon Raub’s mother, authorities from the FBI, Secret Service and Chesterfield County PD came to their door, questioned Raub about his Facebook posts – which are critical of the official story regarding 9/11 and refer to “starting a revolution” – then handcuffed him and placed him in a Chesterfield PD squad car before taking him to John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital in Hopewell, Va.
Raub’s mother said he returned about a year ago after serving in Afghanistan (after serving in Iraq) and did not suffer from PTSD.
The Chesterfield PD told us that the situation “was an FBI matter and we were just there to assist them” so it could not provide us with an official reason why Raub was detained.
Raub’s mother said that an FBI agent told her Raub was “arrested by the Chesterfield police department” because he “assaulted an officer and resisted arrest,” then asked her if Raub “was having any issues relating to people” and told her that “the threats he was making were terrorist in nature.”
When asked the Chesterfield PD said Raub has not been charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
The FBI and Secret Service will not be available for comment until Monday morning.
Here is the video of the arrest:
The most recent posts by Brandon J Raub – as opposed to Raub Brandon – include “AND THEY WILL SAY HE SAID IT TO THE NSA FIRST.” on August 16 and “Feelin like Pac all Eyes on me.” on August 15 and “The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it. ” on August 14.
7 - Stupid and mean and brutal : Israel’s settler-officers in the glare of publicity By Uri Avnery
20 April 2012
Uri Avnery examines the incident in which an Israeli skullcap-wearing officer, Lt-Col Shalom Eisner, launched an unprovoked and brutal attack on a young Danish peace activist, and argues that Eisner, a deputy brigade commander, is not just the quintessential army officer but the quintessential Israeli.
“In blood and sweat / A race will arise to us / Proud and generous and brutal…” Thus wrote Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, the founder of extreme right-wing Zionism, who was also a writer and a poet. Present-day Likud leaders see him as their forefather, much as Stalin saw Karl Marx.
The word “brutal” stands out, because it seems implausible that Jabotinsky really meant it. His Hebrew was not very good, and he probably meant something like “hard” or “tough”.
If Jabotinsky saw today’s Likud, he would shudder. His was a 19th century mixture of extreme nationalism, liberalism and humanism.
Paradoxically, brutality is the only one of the three traits that is prominent in our life today, especially in the occupied Palestinian territories. There is nothing there to be proud of, and generosity is something associated with the despised leftists.
The routine, everyday brutality that governs the occupied territories was caught on video this week. A searing flash in the darkness.
It happened on Route 90, a highway that connects Jericho with Beth She’an along the Jordan River. It is the main road of the Jordan valley, which our government aims to annex to Israel one way or another. It is reserved solely for Israeli traffic and closed to Palestinians…
Lt-Col Shalom Eisner launches an unprovoked and brutal attack against a Danish peace campaigner
A group of young international pro-Palestinian activists decided to demonstrate against the closure of the road. They invited their Palestinian friends to a jolly bicycle ride along it. They were stopped by a unit of the Israeli army. For some minutes they faced each other: the cyclists, some with Arab keffiyehs (headdresses) draping their shoulders, and the soldiers with their rifles…
What happened then was shown on a video clip taken by one of the protesters (see the video on the right). It is clear, unambiguous and unequivocal.
The officer, a lieutenant-colonel, is standing opposite a fair-haired young man, a Dane, who was just looking on, neither saying nor doing anything. Nearby, protesters and soldiers are standing around. No sign of violence anywhere.
Suddenly the officer raises his rifle, holding it horizontally, one hand on the butt and one on the barrel, and then he drives the squared-off end of the magazine hard into the young Dane's face. The victim falls backward on the ground. The officer grins with satisfaction.
In the evening, Israeli TV showed the clip. By now, almost every Israeli has seen it a hundred of times. The more one sees it, the more one is shocked. The sheer brutality of this completely unprovoked act makes one flinch.
Offended by the publicity, not the brutality
To veterans of demonstrations in the occupied territories, there is nothing new in this incident. Many have suffered brutality in many different forms.
What was unusual in this case was that it was caught on camera. And not a hidden camera. There were quite a lot of cameras around. Not only those of the protesters, but those of army photographers, too.
The officer must have been aware of this. He just did not give a damn.
The undesired publicity caused a national uproar. Obviously, it was not the act itself that upset the military and political leadership, but the publicity it attracted. Coming at the same time as the glorious defence of Tel Aviv airport by 700 policemen and policewomen against the terrifying invasion of some 60 international human rights activists, such additional publicity was definitely unwanted.
The army chief of staff condemned the officer and promptly suspended him. All senior officers followed suit, and the prime minister himself spoke out. As is well known, our army is “the most moral in the world”, so what had happened was the unpardonable act of a single rogue officer. There will be a thorough investigation, etc, etc.
The hero of the affair is Lieutenant-Colonel Shalom Eisner (“Iron Man”, in German).
Far from being exceptional, he seems to be the quintessential army officer, indeed the quintessential Israeli.
Lt-Col Shalom Eisner, the military face of Jewish settlers
The first thing TV viewers noticed was the kippah [skullcap] on his head. “Well of course,” many murmured to themselves. For decades the national-religious movement has systematically infiltrated the officers’ corps of the armed forces, starting from officers’ induction courses and climbing up, with the aim of having one of their number end up as the army chief of staff. By now, kippah-ed lieutenant-colonels are common… At the time of the incident, Eisner was a deputy brigade commander.
The national-religious movement, to which the core of the settlers belong, was also the home of Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, and of Baruch Goldstein, the mass-murderer of the Muslims in the mosque in Hebron.
One of the pillars of this movement is the yeshiva Merkaz Harav (“Centre of the Rabbi”), where Eisner’s father was a prominent rabbi. During the evacuation of the Gaza Strip settlers by Ariel Sharon, Eisner junior was among the protesters. Last year Eisner was photographed on the very same spot on Road 90 fraternizing with extreme rightist demonstrators, who also protested on bicycles there.
He did not take the rebukes lying down. With unprecedented impertinence, he attacked the chief of staff, the commander of the Central Front and his division commander for suspending him. He waved his bandaged hand to prove that he was attacked first and acted in self-defence. He even produced confirmation from some doctor that one of his fingers was broken.
“The trouble is that Eisner is not an exception, but rather a representative of a norm… [He] typifies many officers who come out of the military melting pot.”
That is highly improbable. First of all, the way he holds his rifle in the video would have been impossible with a broken finger. Second, the video shows that his act was not in reaction to any violence. Third, there were several army photographers around, who shot every detail (to be used as evidence if protesters were brought to trial in a military court). If any act of violence had taken place, their videos would have been displayed by the army the same day. Fourth, Eisner similarly struck two women protesters in the face and one male protester on the back -- unfortunately off camera.
He fervently insists that he did the right thing. After all, he did break up the demonstration, right?
But he was not entirely without remorse. He publicly admitted that it “may have been a mistake to act this way in the presence of cameras”. With this the army and many commentators wholeheartedly agreed: they did not criticize his brutality, but his stupidity.
As an individual, Eisner is not very interesting. If armies refrained from enlisting stupid people, where would we be?
The trouble is that Eisner is not an exception, but rather a representative of a norm. There are some excellent people in the army, but Eisner typifies many officers who come out of the military melting pot.
And not only in the army. To paraphrase Jabotinsky: our educational system now produces “a race / stupid and mean and brutal”. How could it be otherwise after 60 years of relentless indoctrination and 45 years of occupation? Every occupation, every oppression of another people, corrupts the occupier and makes the oppressor stupid…
Two days ago, Israel observed the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. In this connection, I would like to quote Albert Einstein, a Jew and a Zionist:
“Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our two thousand years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us.”