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from the Islamic Society of Britain.....
In a typically forthright piece in today's edition
of the Guardian, Max Hastings - the former editor
of the Daily Telegraph (1986-1995) and London's Evening
Standard (1995-2002) - throws light on the
pro-Israeli influence that so blights coverage of the
Middle East in UK newspapers.
that aside from the Guardian and the Independent,
no other national UK paper covers the Middle East in a
balanced manner, is one that we have repeatedly stated at
the ISB Open Egroup.
For those of
you who want to obtain a detailed and frank insight into
how national newspapers operate and the influence
proprietors often bring to bear on their newspapers, we
would strongly recommend Max Hastings' splendid book, Editor: An Inside Story of Newspapers,
published in 2003.
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A grotesque choice
repression of the Palestinian people is fuelling a
resurgence of anti-semitism.....
Thursday March 11, 2004
Regret this is only an excerpt of Max Hasting's
I feel a commitment to the
Jewish people, founded on awareness partly of their
history, partly of their genius. Yet I see no reason why
this should prevent me from asserting that the policies
of Sharon and Netanyahu bring shame upon Israel.
ironic that Israel's domestic critics - former
intelligence chiefs and serving fighter pilots - have
shown themselves much braver than overseas Jews. If
Israel persists with its current policies, and Jewish
lobbies around the world continue to express solidarity
with repression of the Palestinians, then genuine
anti-semitism is bound to increase. Herein lies the
lobbyists' recklessness. By insisting that those who
denounce the Israeli state's behaviour are enemies of the
Jewish people, they seek to impose a grotesque choice.
Israeli government's behaviour to the Palestinians breeds
a despair that finds its only outlet in terrorism. No one
can ever criticise the Jewish diaspora for asserting
Israel's right to exist. But the most important service
the world's Jews can render to Israel today is to
persuade its people that the only plausible result of
their government's behaviour is a terrible loneliness in
Hastings is a former editor of the Daily Telegraph and
the London Evening Standard
The Murder of a
Journalist in Iraq
Robert Fisk - The Independent April 3, 2004
Yesterday morning, I sat down in a Baghdad home with a
poor old man and his daughter who were mourning their
adored son and brother who was killed by American
soldiers. Now, you may ask why I do not write about
Fallujah and the atrocities which occurred there three
days ago: the cruel and atrocious murder of four
Americans who were hauled, begging for their lives, from
their two sports utility vehicles, burned, mutilated,
dragged through the streets and then hanged naked - what
was left of their bodies - from a decaying British
railway bridge over the Euphrates river. The answer is
simple. US proconsul Paul Bremer called their deaths
"barbaric and inexcusable". Paul Bremer was
right. But their deaths were not inexplicable.
The old man was Abdul-Aziz al-Amairi - his daughter's
name is Sundus - and their son and brother was a
journalist, a news cameraman whose brains I saw lying on
the back seat of the car in which he, Ali Abdul Aziz, and
his reporter colleague, Ali al-Khatib, were shot dead by
US troops just over two weeks ago. Because I almost lost
my own life on the Afghan border in December 2001, I take
a special interest in such people - and their fate. They
So here are a few facts. Two Thursdays ago, a rocket
smashed into a hotel in southern Baghdad. The spanking
new Arab news channel Arabia sent its crew to cover the
story. The two Alis arrived with their driver, Abu
Mariam, at the scene of the attack, parked their car 250m
away and went up to speak to the US troops guarding the
road. They were told they could film, but could do no
"stand-uppers" - face-to-camera shots in front
of the building. They completed their report, returned to
their car and prepared to leave.
But as they did so, a 67-year-old man called Tariq
Abdul-Ghani drove his Volvo down the road towards the US
checkpoint, unaware that anything was amiss. He drove
into a hail of American gunfire. His family - to whom I
also spoke at length - says he received 36 bullets to his
body. The Volvo crashed into one of the US vehicles.
Tariq's widow and son say that he could not have seen the
US checkpoint. The two reporters and their driver, Abu
Mariam, were 120m from the scene. Ali al-Khatib, the
reporter, told Abu Mariam not to follow the Volvo, but to
turn the car across the low median and drive away in the
Abu Mariam obeyed the instruction. "We crossed the
median and began to drive away down the opposite side of
the road away from the Americans," he says. "We
had gone quite a way when bullets hit our car. The
bullets came through the back window. The cameraman was
hit in the head, then Ali al-Khatib, the reporter,
suddenly lay his head on my shoulder and said: 'Abu
Mariam.' I made a right turn. Our Arabia colleagues
called me on the phone and said, 'What is happening?' I
said: 'Fuck you, I've got to find a hospital - I don't
know where the nearest hospital is.' I took them to the
Ibn al-Nafis hospital. Ali al-Amairi was dead on arrival.
The other Ali died the next day."
Three more civilians had died in "liberated"
Iraq. The Arabia channel responded with fury. They
demanded an enquiry from the Americans and they decorated
their head office in Baghdad with mourning posters. At
first, the Americans announced that they could not have
killed the reporter and cameraman. Both were killed with
single shots to the head. How was it possible for US
troops so far away to have been so accurate in killing
two men with single shots to the head? Good point.
So with the son of the Volvo driver, Ali Tariq
al-Hashimi, I visited the police station where he wished
to register his father's death. The Iraqi police major at
the Mesbah police station was polite, sympathetic and
showed the documents on the case to the Volvo driver's
son - and to me. The son asked for the car and its
contents. You must ask the Americans for them, he was
"I went to the US base at the presidential
palace," he told me. "They said I could not
have the car back. I asked for my father's wallet and is
money and his wristwatch and his ring. The soldier was on
the phone and he said to me: 'You must forget the car -
why do you want it?' I said I wanted to put it in my
garden because this would be a symbol of my father's
death. He was kind. He lowered his head and shook my hand
and said how sorry he was."
Even more disturbing were the words of the major in the
Mesbah police station. He told me that, shortly after the
incident, American troops had come to the police station
and had smashed the back window of the Volvo so that no
traces remained of the bullet holes. Horrifically, the
brains of Ali al-Amairi still lay on the back seat. But I
climbed into the vehicle and counted nine rounds through
the vehicle - through the back seats and the front
A few days later, the Americans came up with a new
version of the killing. The Volvo had approached the
checkpoint at speed. The soldiers thought they were under
attack, fired at the vehicle and some of their bullets
must have hit the Arabia car as it sped away. The US
troops did not know they had hit the journalists. The
Americans admitted responsibility, but it was not
Hmmm. But there's a problem. The journalists crossed the
median because the Volvo was a target. They didn't turn
before the gunfire. So how could they have been hit by
the same rounds that killed 67-year-old Tariq Abdul-Ghani
when he was dead before they decided to leave? And why
did American troops smash the back window of the Arabia
car hours later when the bullet holes would have proved
how many rounds had been fired at the car?
Back to the family living room yesterday morning. Old
Abdul-Aziz was weeping and his daughter - Ali the
cameraman's sister, Sundus - was crying too. "The
Americans came to liberate us - and they killed our Ali.
The last time we saw him he said that he was fine, but
then he came back from the gate and asked his father to
embrace him, and he kissed our father three times. He
called us a few minutes before he went out on his last
story. He said he would be OK."
Three more families - good, decent, Iraqi people,
educated and believing in the same freedom and democracy
that we Westerners believe in - now rage at the American
occupation of Iraq. "I have only one brother and the
Americans took him from us. From where can I get another
brother?" she wept. Ali al-Amairi was married with
no children. His reporter colleague had been married only
four months. His wife was pregnant. The Volvo driver
Abdul-Ghani leaves a widow and a son and three daughters.
All gave me tea and assurances of their love of peace and
love. And all hate the occupation and the American
No, I don't think this excuses the barbarities in
Fallujah. But I do understand that insatiable anger that
these Iraqi relatives feel. The Americans, after all,
killed three Western journalists on 9 April last
year, and a cameraman outside the Abu Ghoreib prison a
few months later and then an ABC cameraman in Fallujah
last week. And the two Alis last month. "We regret
the accidental shooting of the Arabia employees,"
the US military said this week. And that's that.
What more can I say? Maybe, as I wrote after other
innocent deaths in Bosnia 12 years ago, I should end each
of my reports with the words: Watch Out!
Last updated 05/04/2004
Requiem For America On Line
Long before the Internet there was an America. Shortly
after the Internet began, as a global medium for
knowledge and information, as well as communication,
America On Line was born. Very soon it became a household
word that became simply AOL. It was one of many ISP's and
very soon it became one of the largest, and most
profitable in a large field of service oriented on-line
Then came the hijacking of the nation by the cabal of
Cheney-Bush. Shortly after that the disaster of 9-11
began to take us all into a completely other dimension.
In this New World Order, security became not just the
most important thing, but also the only thing that
seemingly anyone cared about. Fear had once again
triumphed over freedom and civil rights. That ushered in
TIA or Total Information Awareness, with its director
being a convicted felon, the former Admiral John
Poindexter. His idiocies were finally exposed and the
programs supposedly were killed, but they never died.
They just changed their name and are now not only
healthy, but the FBI has just instituted all of
Poindexter's wildest dreams on all this nation's ISP's:
"Carnivore" is alive and well and inside
whatever you send or receive.
AOL, despite all their success and their entire
marketing, advertising, and increasing subscriber base,
has decided to become an unofficial arm of HOMELAND
security and the Justice department. To that end they
have instituted new software that reads all messages that
pass through their ISP, and they have begun deciding who
will be allowed to read what. Hence America-On-Line has
now become ASHCROFT-on-line.
AOL currently hides behind "new software" which
is their excuse for every intrusion into the thoughts and
transmissions between private individuals. Whenever
anyone complains about these detected intrusions into
private communications between any number of people a
computer message handles all the dirty-little-details
and cannot be confronted about what is really going on.
So all attempts to discuss the reasons for any blocked
messages have no quarter to appeal to.
AOL is in effect hijacking what you can say, or what
those who are subscribers, are "allowed to
read." There does not seem to be a law against this
foul practice, but there damn well ought to be. The speed
and ease of communication, without censorship, by the
government was part of the original appeal behind the
Internet, and was one of the reasons that this medium has
become so popular among so many world-wide.
So when you see AOL in that address on your computer,
just beware that whatever or whoever you are sending to,
or receiving from, is being closely monitored by several
agencies of the government. There are those who are not
bothered by this 'added safeguard.' But for the rest of
us, please remember that AOL now stands for ASHCROFT
AOL is also deceptive in their privacy rules, hiding the
names of those who own it and direct it: Once the public
learns about their current real purposes, they may not
have a company to worry about much longer. There will be
an America long after AOL has spent their unearned
reputation, and gone the way of all despicable and
opportunistic endeavors: and that is as it should be.
Because if AOL cannot make it by being straight with its
customer base, then they should fail, after-all isn't
that the "American-way-of-Business"?
These are very difficult times in which we live. Everyone
needs to be able to depend on what they are able to
learn, about all the various explosive situations that
are unfolding on both the national and international
stages of our lives. Of course there's a lot of
disinformation out there on all sides. But no one needs
to have yet another false-flag institution in the middle
of these debates. And no one has asked for commercial
censorship, except John "J. Edgar" Ashcroft. If
Ashcroft-on-line wants to continue as the US Department
of Justice's ISP, then they should say so, proudly!
Otherwise they deserve to lose the support of all those
who disagree with their current policies.
Think about this. What's next from AOL? Will they now
begin to edit the messages sent, of course to better
protect their subscribers, from the big-bad wolf of world
affairs? It's not impossible: after all they are already
the uninvited censors in all that their subscribers now
say or send so why not just help them out a bit more,
by adding or subtracting just a word or two?
The decision is yours to make. Will you continue to use
AOL, or receive e-mail from AOL addresses? This is not
about preference it's about survival. This is not a
matter of commercial choice it's about your rights to
expected privacy, and the privacy that you are paying to
receive! Perhaps whether or not there will continue to be
an America, may also depend on the outting of
institutions, such as Ashcroft On Line. This is our
country, and we ought to be able to have some say about
what goes on inside it!
kirwan Forwarded by Peter McCallum
Feedback to Neil Baird email@example.com