cj#1139> Middle East: matrix & reality


Richard Moore

Dear cj,

The first article below, "Media Ignores Broad Mideast
Consensus" (from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting),
illustrates how matrix reality is constructed, through a
combination of omission, spin, and repitition. The second
article, from MER, introduces a CIA angle, and quotes a
'UNPRECEDENTED'" which is also not likely to show up in the
US media matrix.  The third article is  from a 'Sam Kiley in
Ramallah', and is entitled "No bangs, no smoking guns:
victims just fell and bled", and talks about Israeli snipers
using silenced, high-powered rifles to pick off individual
protestors.  Meanwhile, in the matrix, we have:

    Israel's ambassador Yaakov Levy took the floor to defend the
    record of Israeli security forces in the occupied
    territories, who he said had ``returned fire only when
    absolutely necessary.''

I want to get on to other things, but it's difficult to ignore the 
Middle East at this time.


Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 23:09:03 -0500
To: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>
Subject: [FAIR-L] Media Advisory: Muffled Coverage of UN Vote
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                    Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
               Media analysis, critiques and news reports

Muffled Coverage of U.N. Vote:
Media Ignores Broad Mideast Consensus

October 16, 2000

U.S. media have been ignoring or downplaying an important
dimension of the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. On
October 7, the United Nations Security Council voted 14 to 0
for a resolution condemning Israel's "excessive use of force
against Palestinians" and deploring the "provocation" of
Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon's September 28 visit
to the Temple Mount.

The United States was the only Security Council member to
abstain from the vote, which it did after trying to soften
the language of the resolution. The outcome was generally
interpreted as assigning most of the responsibility for the
violence to Israel. The conservative Times of London
editorial page called it a "stinging rebuff" (10/9/00).

The Security Council members who voted in favor of the
unanimous measure included the United States' closest allies
in NATO--  Britain, Canada and the Netherlands. Britain,
America's closest ally, "in part brokered" the resolution,
according to foreign secretary Robin Cook, "and we certainly
stand by it" (Agence France Presse, 10/8/00).

NATO ally France also voted in favor, as did Argentina,
which generally votes with Washington. Permanent members
Russia and China voted in favor, as did several countries in
Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The Associated Press
(10/7/00) described the measure as "bitterly fought-over,"
but Argentina's U.N. delegate told Agence France Presse
(10/7/00): "Most members of the council have no problem with
the resolution. It is a problem for the American

Despite the broad global consensus-- minus the United States
and Israel-- highlighted by the resolution's passage,
coverage in the U.S. media was scant and indifferent. When
the media did report the vote, it was almost always treated
as a dilemma for U.S. policymakers rather than a statement
of world opinion. Virtually no news outlet reported which
countries voted for the measure. In a news cycle that has
focused overwhelmingly on the question of who is to blame
for the current violence, the media's indifference to an
international vote on the issue is striking.

As Britain's U.N. delegate noted during the debate over the
vote, the Security Council "does not have an army, but is a
judge of international affairs and is expected to pronounce
on such matters" (AFP, 10/7/00). Information about world
opinion is especially needed in the U.S., whose government
has long been internationally isolated in its staunch
support for Israeli military actions.

But important newspapers with substantial international
coverage relegated the U.N. vote to a few passing sentences
within other stories-- e.g., the Washington Post, Boston
Globe, Chicago Tribune (all 10/8/00) and USA Today
(10/9/00). Only three of the top 36 U.S. papers in the Nexis
database-- the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Long
Island Newsday-- devoted articles to the vote (all 10/8/00).
None of these papers' headlines mentioned Israel by name;
for example, Newsday's misleadingly vague "U.N. Measure
Condemns Violence." Although all three of these papers have
full-time U.N. correspondents, all used wire stories. None
of the 36 newspapers reported which Security Council members
voted for the resolution.

A week later (10/14/00), the New York Times' U.N.
correspondent, Barbara Crossette, mischaracterized what the
resolution said. She reported American U.N. Ambassador
Richard Holbrooke's vow to veto any further Security Council
resolutions after the U.S. "abstained on a resolution in the
Security Council last weekend broadly criticizing the
renewal of fighting." (The resolution actually singled out

On television, coverage was even thinner. The only chance
CBS Evening News viewers had to learn about the resolution
was from a story on the Hillary Clinton/Rick Lazio Senate
debate (10/8/00). Lazio said he was "gravely disappointed"
that the Clinton administration didn't veto the resolution.
"Mrs. Clinton agreed," added reporter Diana Olick.

NBC's Middle East coverage included some passing remarks by
White House correspondent Joe Johns (NBC Nightly News,
10/8/00) reporting that "the disagreement over which side
should bear the greatest blame spilled over to the United
Nations." Johns explained that the measure criticized Israel
and that the U.S. abstained-- but viewers were not told
whether the resolution passed, or what the vote was.

On ABC's World News Tonight (10/8/00), the vote didn't even
make it into State Department correspondent Martha Raddatz's
story, but had to be inserted by anchor Carol Simpson in a
three-sentence lead-in.

The U.N. resolution got the most coverage on the Sunday
morning talk shows, where the pundits could barely contain
their dismay at the administration's failure to veto the
measure. On NBC's Meet the Press (10/8/00), Tim Russert
grilled Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the
abstention. When Albright said she "felt that it was
important that we abstain on this resolution because of the
kind of language that was in it," Russert prodded: "Well,
why not veto it?" After she responded, Russert persisted:
"But by abstaining and not vetoing, it did go into force, a
resolution which condemns in effect Israel for excessive use
of force."

Interviewing National Security Advisor Sandy Berger on ABC's
This Week (10/8/00), Sam Donaldson called the decision to
abstain "remarkable," adding that "perhaps not since the
Falklands War" had the U.S. failed to veto a resolution
condemning one of its allies.

For the pundits, the United States' isolation in abstaining
from a unanimous U.N. resolution never came up as an issue.

As New York Times reporter Barbara Crossette noted a week
after the vote (10/14/00), "the Clinton Administration came
under criticism from across the political spectrum for
abstaining, and not vetoing, the resolution last week."
Perhaps the media were hesitant to cover the unanimous U.N.
vote because it showed how isolated this domestic consensus
is from world opinion. The American public should hear from
all sides in the volatile debate over the Mideast conflict.


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X-Sent: 18 Oct 2000 00:38:00 GMT
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From: MER <•••@••.•••>
To: "MER" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 20:37:05 +0000
Subject: Killings of Palestinans "Unprecedented" Says U.N. Envoy
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MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington -
10/17: On this one, Arafat really has no excuse.  Why his
primary focus has been on an International Commission of
Inquiry for weeks now, rather than on a fully independent
Palestinian State minus the Israeli Army, is itself a bit
disconcerting. Maybe a diversion of attention?  But since he
has focused on it so much, then at least at the Sharm
el-Sheikh summit he should have held his ground firmly on
this one.  The notion that instead the U.S. can head up a
"fact-finding" committee, one whose members they couldn't
even decide on at the summit, is rather ludicrous in view of
the long U.S. record of standing with Israel against the
entire world, including at the recent Security Council

What was really decided at Sharm, we are told, were secret
protocols involving the CIA, the Israelis, and the
"Palestinian Authority" that will be used to "control" the
Palestinians...to "pacify the Palestinian Street" to quote
none other than Hosni Mubarak.  This is a continuation of
what was agreed at Wye River, when the role of the CIA was
made much more public than ever before, though of course
what actually goes on remains quite secret and covert.  Why
secret...precisely because Arafat's role as a kind of local
enforcer, a partial collaborator, remains in effect no
matter what the public posturing and pretense.  That is why
the Israelis agreed to bring Arafat and his troops on board
after the Gulf War and at Oslo.  And that is why Yasser
Arafat has been the foreign guest most frequently welcomed
at the White House during the Clinton years.

The fact that Arafat caved even on this International
Investigation he has been so insistent about is just more
proof, if any more is needed, of this sad and tragic reality
-- the "double occupation" we have spoken of for many years
now. Arafat had all the ammunition he needed -- a unanimous
Security Council resolution (but for the U.S. abstention),
the presence of the U.N. Secretary-General.  On this issue
he simply could have said: "While we continue to rely on the
U.S. to bring us together with the Israelis for
negotiations, the international community has voted and the
U.N. must be the body that establishes and legitimizes the
International Commission.  This is the minimum role for the
U.N. to put this small amount of action behind its words." 
But of course he did not.  In the end, he did as he was told
he must..."or else".

Meanwhile, a U.N. Commission on Human Rights envoy has in
fact been investigated, the result of a previous semi-secret
agreement.  And just today the following has become known:


                 By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters - 17 October 2000) - A U.N. investigator to
the Palestinian territories said Tuesday the scale of
Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli forces during a 
wave of violence over the past 20 days was

Giorgio Giacomelli, an independent rapporteur mandated by
the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to monitor the
territories, also expressed concern about what he called
Israeli settler  ''paramilitaries'' who he said were
responsible for at least five Palestinian deaths in the West

The former Italian diplomat, who has also headed the U.N.
refugee agency which cares for 3.7 million Palestine
refugees scattered in the Middle East, backed setting up a
``mechanism for a speedy and objective inquiry into the
ongoing crisis.''

The report on his Oct 11-15 mission, which said Israeli
killings of Palestinians exceeded the first four months of
the 1987-88 intifada, was issued to the U.N. human rights
commission Tuesday at a two-day special session in Geneva.

The forum's 53 member states began the session in Geneva on
the same day as a Middle East crisis summit in Egypt ended
with an Israeli-Palestinian agreement to halt the wave
violence that has claimed the lives of at least 105 people.
An overwhelming majority of those killed were Palestinians
or Israeli Arabs.

``In some sense the scale of this violation is
unprecedented.   It is worthy of note that the number of
deaths caused by Israeli forces so far approximate the
number killed in the first four months of the intifada, in
1987-88,'' Giacomelli said in his seven-page report issued
in Geneva.

Israel, which does not recognize his mandate, refused to
cooperate with the U.N. investigator, according to his

Israel's ambassador Yaakov Levy took the floor to defend the
record of Israeli security forces in the occupied
territories, who he said had ``returned fire only when
absolutely necessary.''

           ``Deadly Force Used Without Warning''

Giacomelli also supported establishing a permanent mechanism
to ensure that as an occupying power, Israel issues and
obeys orders which comply with international humanitarian

In case of violations, it would determine accountability,
assign punishment and redress violations, his report said.

Israeli forces ``appear to have indiscriminately used
excessive force in cases where there was no imminent threat
to their lives,'' according to Giacomelli, who met
Palestinian Authority representatives, Palestinian and
Israeli non-governmental organizations, international
organizations, human rights monitors, medical professionals,
and some wounded.

``Whether in cases of Israel Defense Forces or Israeli
police actions, deadly force is used without warning, and
without employing deterrence or gradual measures consistent
with the minimum standards and methods of crowd control or
management of civil unrest,'' Giacomelli's report said.

The report also said that about 40 percent of an estimated
2,000 to 3,700 Palestinians wounded by Israeli occupation
forces were under age 18 and that at least half of the
injuries resulted from the use of live ammunition.

Israeli settlers in the West Bank were ``responsible for at
least five of these Palestinian deaths over the past 18
days,'' the report said.

``Presently, the Israeli settler population has emerged as
an increasingly obvious source of paramilitary
activity...Numerous reports indicate that  Israeli
occupation forces have not acted to deter such paramilitary
activities,'' it said.

``Some Palestinians bearing arms'' had taken part in the
protests,'' the report said. ``These new factors, within a
context of escalating violence, form a particularly alarming
development that calls for urgent action.''


MER Note:  We made a little mistake in an earlier article
today.  President Clinton did actually mention U.N.
Resolution 242 when he spoke today.  We missed it at first
in the haste of the initial reports.  But even so, a
rhetorical mention -- one of the few little bones thrown out
to the Palestinians -- doesn't change the reality that U.S.
policy ever since the passage of 242 in 1967 has been to
make sure it never gets implimented.  That said, we stand
corrected...it was mentioned.


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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 11:42:47 EDT
Subject: No bangs,no smoke victims just fell and bled...
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 No bangs, no smoking guns: victims just fell and bled 
The Times
ISRAELI snipers using specialised rifles fitted with
silencers yesterday picked off high-profile Palestinian
rioters in Ramallah in an apparent bid to "take out"
ringleaders of the 19-day uprising. Stone-throwing youths
watched, stunned, as men and boys at the barricades
collapsed with small bullet holes in their chests,
testicles, arms and hips. Those wounded included the nephew
of Marwan Barghouti, the leader of the West Bank intifada
who has been using the uprising to position himself as a
potential successor to Yassir Arafat.

Coming soon after an Israeli armoured vehicle charge at
rioters, no one knew quite what to do about the new approach
to riot control. The Israelis hurled stun grenades, and
fired the occasional rubber bullet. The Palestinians were
used to that, ducking and diving and chucking stones back.
But the use of rounds which apparently came from nowhere
terrified the crowds. There were no bangs, no smoking guns.
The victims just flopped down and bled, sometimes unnoticed.

Tahir Afaneh, 18, was unmoved by the sight of two men who
fell close to him and were whisked away by ambulance. He
already had an arm and a knee bandaged from rubber bullet
wounds sustained earlier in the "al-Aqsa intifada".

Easily visible in a white T-shirt, Mr Afaneh stepped from
behind a car to whirr his slingshot and take aim at Israeli
soldiers 100 yards away. There was no sound of a shot, but
he spun around, falling on his back. "I didn't hear a thing.
I didn't feel much, I just fell over," he said in Ramallah's
central hospital where he was treated for a wound to his
pelvis, where the bullet lodged.

Hosni Atari, the doctor who treated him, said he had never
seen the results of the new Israeli weapon before.
Hollow-nosed bullets opened like an umbrella on impact, spun
about, chewing up internal organs, and seldom left an exit

The long-barrel 22mm rifle was deadly even at long range --
and had the advantage of never revealing the sniper's nest.
"These are intended to cause the maximum amount of damage to
a person," Dr Atari said. He treated seven such patients

As the Israeli and Palestinian leadership talked peace in
Sharm el-Sheik, another patient was rushed in. This time, it
was Tamir Barghouti, whose uncle had declared at the funeral
of a Palestinian gunman yesterday: "Our intifada is greater
than Sharm el Sheik".

Tamir Barghouti, 23, had been shot through the abdomen and
the bullet lodged in his hip. "He might make it," Dr Atari
told Marwan Barghouti, who took the opportunity to announce
to journalists outside the operating theatre: "The talks in
Egypt will fail. We support Mr Arafat, but we wish he had
not bothered to go. There is only one solution, and that is
to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine."

By sunset, the toll across the West Bank was two dead -- a
boy of 13 and a policeman -- a 14-year old boy described as
clinically dead, and 69 wounded.


Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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