.

Monday, March 17, 2008

UK journalist shows her "objectivity"

A reporter named Louisa Waugh from the Sunday Herald managed to get into Gaza to report on the situation there, and she makes it very clear what her stories will be like:
Gaza is being dragged to its knees in the face of shameful silence from the international community, including the EU. I have no doubt that before I leave Gaza in a few weeks, there will be more power cuts, more pointless civilian deaths, and more deafening international silence.

This story doesn't even mention the word "rockets" - except when referring to Israeli rockets. It is as if jackbooted Israel just decided to enslave a population for no reason except, of course, Jewish racism. She admits that she can only speak to people that are being pre-arranged to speak to her - something any real journalist will chafe under - but since she knows that her stories will be in sync with what she is being fed, she can pretend to be brave by parroting Palestinian Arab talking points.

Even so, interesting facts emerge, despite her spin:
One of my PCHR colleagues estimates that only 3000-4000 Gazans are allowed by Israel to travel outside the Strip. This is around 3% of the population; the remaining 97% cannot get travel permits, so cannot go anywhere.
So thousands of Gazans can travel outside and return? That doesn't sound like a "siege" to me.

Waugh does manage in another story to speak to a rocket manufacturer, and she paints him in a very sympathetic light - and gives useful advice to terrorists:
THE POPULAR Resistance Committees is a close ally of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "Abed", a 28-year-old father of two, is one of the PRC's senior artificers, responsible for devising mines and designing and building rockets and mortars. It was with some surprise, therefore, that he started receiving phone calls from an Israeli spy.

"I was home two weeks ago, getting ready for evening prayers, sitting with my wife and child, and suddenly my mobile starting ringing. He said, I'm Rami, I'm from Shabak the Israeli security agency Shin Bet and I'm responsible for your area. What are you doing? I guess you're with your wife and your two children?' I said no, and he said Yes, your two children are with you, but now you've just moved out of the room'. I said, what do you want? He said If you don't stop your rockets it's only a matter of time before you are targeted'."

Anyone who has ever seen a modern spy movie knows what you're supposed to do next: hurl the phone as far as you can and then dive from the building before it or the telephone explodes. Next, go underground, and never use a phone or a computer again. Abed, on the other hand, merely hung up the phone. Half an hour later he was again nonplussed when Rami called back to continue the chat. "He threatened me again that we have our own ways to reach you, but the rockets we will use to assassinate you will be stronger than before.'"

Other members of the Popular Resistance Committee reported receiving threatening phone calls - an interesting insight into Israel's capacity to use mobile telephone networks to monitor and, in this case, harass its enemies. But the reaction of Abed and his comrades to their calls from Shin Bet illustrates another aspect of the conflict: the remarkable operational naivety which is often displayed by Palestinian militants, even after scores have already been assassinated by Israel.

"After that I realised that when talking on the phone that someone was listening to me," muses Abed.

"I changed the SIM card, but it seems like they were following the sound of my voice, because even after changing the SIM card I could hear someone was listening. My brother borrowed my mobile, and when he was talking to his friend someone else was talking to him on the same line."

It seems that Abed and his fellow militants do not know that when a mobile phone is connected to a network it identifies itself not only by its SIM card but also with the handset's own unique code. To foil detection it is necessary to change both SIM and telephone, not the SIM card alone.

Isn't it interesting that Israel knows where the rocket manufacturers live - and yet they don't kill them outright? Waugh "knows" that "Abed" should have jumped out of the house when the phone rang, because her knowledge of what Israel is likely to do comes from spy movies. But Abed knows quite well that he is safe as long as he is with his family, a fact that escapes Waugh.

She can't even get basic facts right:
Since the present uprising began more than seven years ago around 4000 Palestinian missiles, mostly Qassams and home-made mortars, have been fired into Israel or its former Gaza settlements and military bases, part of a cycle of bombardment, blockade and invasion which has proved far more injurious to Gaza than to Israel.
Actually, the number of Qassams and mortars to the Negev alone is more than double that number.

Such is the quality of UK journalism - advocating for terrorists and providing them with a willing platform.