Sunday, July 19, 2015

We have been discussing Amnesty International's "Gaza Platform," a slick online app that is meant to do only one thing: demonize Israel by using bad data.

Underlying the Gaza Platform is a database. Databases are great, because they allow one to slice and dice data in multiple ways and often reveal surprising patterns. But there is an old computer adage that is as true today as it was when it was coined in 1963: "Garbage in, garbage out."

We have already shown that Amnesty's Gaza Platform relies on the real-time reporting of PCHR and Al Mezan, and we have shown in many cases where people categorized as "civilian" by these biased organizations in the hours after an attack were later proven to be militants.

The Gaza Platform doesn't only use this flawed data as a basis for its individual reports of "civilians" who wear uniforms and shoot guns. It also uses this data to populate its database. Eventually, Amnesty will release reports using statistics that come from this database.

If you look at Amnesty's database fields describing attacks that even PCHR and Al Mezan could not deny were against militants, you find that the creators of this tool added entirely new layers of bias how they populate the database.

Here's an example. Event 3069 says:

At approximately 09:25 (August 2, 2014), an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a house in Jabalya, where members of a Palestinian armed groups were hiding. The house was destroyed and 2 members of the group were killed.

OK, seems a straightforward case of Israel attacking armed militants hiding in a house. But Amnesty has a series of database fields that they created to do further analysis on incidents. Here are the categories and how they are populated for this attack:

Air Strike

Amnesty's very choice of categories, and how they choose to fill them out, is biased.

The "Target type" is called "residential." The Structural Damage was called "destroyed." There was no "knock on roof" warning before Israel attacked the terrorists. But when Amnesty compiles the data for the inevitable report that this will create, this incident will be counted as an Israeli attack on a residential house with no warning.

Here's an even worse example, incident #2465:

At approximately 01:30 on Wednesday, 23 July 2014, Israeli warplanes bombarded the vicinity of al-Birk Mosque in Beit Lahia. As a result, 2 members of a Palestinian armed group were killed: Ussama Bahjat Mohammed Rajab, 22; and Mohammed Dawod ‘abdul Latif Hammouda, 23. A third one was also wounded.

How is it categorized?

Air Strike

By consciously categorizing even IDF attacks on known militants as attacks on houses and mosques, Amnesty is lying with statistics. 

Amnesty stacked the deck so that any research done using these figures cannot possibly determine how many IDF attacks were against legitimate targets, because only in rare cases will they admit that the "mosque" or "school" or "refugee camp" that the militants were hiding in was a military target!

The word "rare" is important here as well. On some occasions, Amnesty will admit that the target was "military." This way they are paving the way for how they will lie with statistics.

Since in a tiny minority of cases Amnesty will admit that the target of an airstrike was undoubtedly military, this will allow the forthcoming "research" to say, in a very definitive sounding way, what percentage of attacks were on schools, mosques, farms and, rarely, militant sites.

In fact, here is a detail of the Gaza Platform's chart on the subject of (what they pretend) the "targets" were:

Out of some 2700 attacks in this sham of a database, only about 200 are categorized as "military targets" by Amnesty. The rest are, by implication, attacks on civilians.

These are only some of the outrageous lies that populate the database that powers the "Gaza Platform."

Garbage in, garbage out - yet this garbage will be used as authoritative data since it came from a purportedly saintly human rights NGO.

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