June 12, 2006


Hatched by Sachi

[Dafydd also contributed extensively to this article.]

We often describe a situation where different parties are saying completely different things, and there is no way to tell which is right, as a case of "he said, she said."

But to the antique media, when the "he" in this equation is a Moslem jihadi, then "he said, she said" usually turns into "he said, and that's good enough for us!"

Take the recent attack at the beach in Gaza, where seven (or eight) Palestinian civilians, including children, were killed by... by what? Palestinian spokesmen who were not present at the time insisted it was by an Israeli shell... and that's good enough for the UK Times online:

Israeli artillery fire killed a Palestinian family who were picnicking on the beach in Gaza yesterday, as the shoreline was packed with people on a Muslim holiday.

Body parts, bloodstained baby carriages and shredded holiday tents were left strewn on the sand near Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, after the late- afternoon strike that killed at least seven people, thought to include the parents and children of one family.

They seem awfully certain it was Israeli artillery fire, and not an errant Qassam rocket, that killed the civilians; but why? What is their source for saying so? They never say; in the entire article, not once does the UK Times online tell us how they know it was the Israelis and not Hamas that fired the deadly weapons.

The New York Times weighs in on the same story -- and takes the same line. After all, just because Hamas is a terrorist organization that specializes in killing innocent men, women, and children, wants to see Israelis all driven into the sea, believes Jews are responsible for all the ills afflicting the Palestinian and Arab peoples, and which has lied many times in the past, doesn't mean we can't take their word when they say that they know for certain that the family was killed by Israeli shelling (that's what the Ouija Board said):

Hamas fired at least 15 Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel on Saturday, ending a tattered 16-month truce with Israel, a day after eight Palestinians were killed on a Gaza beach, apparently by an errant Israeli shell.

"Apparently?" What does that mean? Apparent to whom?

Israeli officials said they regretted any casualties among the innocent as Israel tried to stop the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel by shelling the areas from which they were launched. Defense Minister Amir Peretz sent a message expressing regret to Mr. Abbas, who called the incident "a bloody massacre" and declared three days of mourning.

On Friday, the Israeli Army was shelling a target area popular with rocket launchers 400 yards from the beach. The army believes that a shell fell short or that a dud, previously fired, exploded.

The "army" believes? I guess they mean the Israeli Defense Force... but who exactly within the IDF told them that? Where did they get such information? The New York Times is no more willing to reveal a source for unraveling this mystery than their namesake in London was.

Here is a very interesting pair of sentences from the NYT story. Maybe somebody can figure out "what is wrong with this picture":

Hamas fired at least 15 Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel on Saturday, ending a tattered 16-month truce with Israel....

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinians have fired hundreds of largely inaccurate missiles toward Israel, while Israel has fired more than 5,000 shells into Gaza.

That's a very interesting "truce" Hamas has been observing! What did they do, promise to limit the number of missiles fired at Israel to only "dozens of the inaccurate but potentially deadly Qassam rockets each month," as the UK Times put it?

And if the Qassam is so "inaccurate but potentially deadly" -- it has no guidance system at all -- then isn't it at least equally likely that the explosive thing that killed those eight (or seven) Palestinians on the beach was a Qassam, not an Israeli artilly shell gone awry? How do the two Timeses know to such certainty that the family were accidentally killed by Israelis (a "war crime"), rather than accidentally killed by Hamas militants (a tragic error?)

Associate Press has its own version of the story (this is starting to sound like the movie Rashomon), but it adds an interesting twist:

Pounding on the sand, Houda Ghalia shrieked for her father after he was killed with five of her siblings at a seaside picnic by what Palestinians said was an Israeli shell.

Footage of the 10-year-old screaming "Father! Father!" has played over and over again on television, driving home the devastating impact of what Palestinian leaders are calling "genocidal" and "a war crime...."

Israel expressed regret Saturday for the killing of eight civilians, but stopped short of taking responsibility, saying an investigation was under way.

Israel's military chief said the killings may have resulted from a misfired Palestinian rocket. Palestinians insisted they were caused by an Israeli artillery shell.

So maybe the IDF doesn't think that "a shell fell short or that a dud, previously fired, exploded." At least, the part of the IDF that spoke to AP doesn't agree with the part (if any) that spoke to the New York Times. Never let your AP hand know what your Times hand is doing.

And everybody ignores the undisputed fact that previously, someone from Gaza was shooting Qassam rockets into Israel, despite a supposed "cease fire." Isn't that significant in deciding whether something was a "war crime," let alone "genocide?" (Do Palestinians even know what the word "genocide" means? Palestinians, other Arabs, and most Israelis are actually the same "race": Semites.)

As in Rashomon, we can never know for sure whose errant whatever actually fell on the beach and killed those seven or eight civilians. Even if the Israeli investigation shows that whatever fell left Qassam pieces, not artillery pieces, behind, who will believe them? The world would rather believe Hamas terrorists than Jews.

The same thing can be said about the Haditha "massacre." All we have are the words of anti-American "civilians" who may be in cahoots with the terrorists themselves... and a questionable videotape that only proves that somebody died violently somewhere in Iraq more or less around the time of the claimed "massacre." We don't even know whether those bodies in the video go with that incident or some other incident days earlier or later.

The MSM ignores the not so hidden agenda of the "witnesses" and "reporters;" after all, why bother investigating when you have handy Marines to blame?

This battle is being waged with very sophisticated propaganda tools: on Special Report with Brit Hume Friday night, during the "Grapevine" segment, Jim Angle showed a photograph that was run by the London Times, and later picked up by the Chicago Sun-Times. It showed a number of dead Iraqis stacked up against a wall; the victims' hands were all bound behind their backs, and the wall was riddled with machine-gun bullet holes.

The London Times claimed that the photo showed Iraqis murdered by the US Marines in Haditha. Days later (maybe weeks), it was evidently pointed out to them that the photo did not match any of the witness statements about what supposedly had happened -- even from the Iraqis' point of view. The magazine investigated and discovered that the picture they'd run was actually of a group of Shia who were murdered by Sunni terrorists; it had nothing to do with Haditha or with the Marines.

The London Times (and the Chicago Sun-Times) eventually ran a correction and apologized. But that begs the question: how could a supposedly respectable newspaper editor and publisher look at such a photograph and say, "oh yes, that jolly well looks like just the thing the American Marines would do." What would make them think such a thing?

They might say "where there's smoke, there must be fire." But they, themselves are the ones who put all the "smoke" there in the first place. The only reason people keep thinking that US forces engage in massacres is that the elite media keeps saying so; they say so because it's so obvious to them, everyone knows it; and it's so obvious because, after all, look at all those other unsubstantiated stories of massacres in other newspapers.

It's the most circular of all circular arguments.

But finally, our side is speaking up.

A sergeant who led a squad of U.S. Marines accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha told his lawyer the unit did not intentionally target civilians, followed rules of engagement and did not try to cover up the incident, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The newspaper said Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 26, told his lawyer several civilians were killed in November when the squad went after insurgents firing on them from a house. But Wuterich said there was no vengeful massacre and described a house-to-house hunt that went awry in a chaotic battlefield, his lawyer said.

"It will forever be his position that everything they did that day was following their rules of engagement and to protect the lives of Marines," said Neal Puckett, who represents Wuterich in the investigations of the deaths.

"He's really upset that people believe that he and his Marines are even capable of intentionally killing innocent civilians," he said.

I am not saying we should blindly believe what SSGT Frank Wuterich says. But we should understand it is still "he said, he said" -- not "he said, and that's good enough for the Times."

I will refrain from expressing my own opinion as to whom I would believe. We should wait for the investigation to be completed... in both incidents.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, June 12, 2006, at the time of 3:19 AM

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Provenance:

» Gaza Beach Bingo: the Rest of the Story from Big Lizards
In our post Provenance, we noted that there was a great deal of question whether the civilians killed on the Gaza beach were hit with an Israeli artillery shell, as the Palestinians and the world elite media all declared. Rather,... [Read More]

Tracked on June 13, 2006 4:47 PM

» She sells artillery shells by the sea shore from Wizbang
The recent explosion on a Gaza beach, where eight Palestinians were killed, is proving to be a far more convoluted incident than anyone could have imagined. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis have offered explanations for what happened. According t... [Read More]

Tracked on June 15, 2006 11:00 AM

» Untrustworthy Narrator from Big Lizards
Dafydd's post below about the "treasure trove" of information we seized from al-Qaeda In Mesopotamia before Zarqawi's death missed one interesting point: AP, which reports on the document, doesn't seem to be sure it's really authentic: The language con... [Read More]

Tracked on June 15, 2006 4:43 PM


The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Excellent post. I linked from "Haditha: Signal to Noise" (Updated & bumped)

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 12, 2006 4:11 AM

The following hissed in response by: TS Alfabet

check out www.americanthinker.com

there is an article there that seems to indicate that, in fact, the Palestinians had a huge quantity of rockets, grenades and assorted ordnance that they had moved near the beach area (in their typical, cynical disregard of their own civilans' lives). Based on the indentation and other physical evidence, as well as the fact that the Palestinians have been scurrying since the incident to hide the stockpile of ordnance, the civilian deaths were not caused by an Israeli shell but by the Palestinian ordnance.

A good rule of thumb in these cases is to approach all such stories, whether Haditha, Gaza, Gitmo, etc... based on the parties involved: if the side pointing the accusatory finger has a track record of lies, terror tactics and wanton press manipulation, they bear a heavy burden of proof. If the side being accused, furthermore, has a history of open and thorough investigations, democratic institutions, respect for civilan lives and property, we must doubly assume their innocence until conclusively shown otherwise. It is too easy for modern drive-by media to be used for crass political purposes, particularly when the accusations always seem to point in one political direction.

The above hissed in response by: TS Alfabet [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 12, 2006 1:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


I have an idea, why don't we give the US Marines the same benefit of a doubt and right to the presumption of innocence that we might a serial killing child molestor?

I remember Viet nam and the Left's love affiar with trashing the soldiers. I was around for it and little has changed including the poor personal hygeine. As far as they are concerned the victims are the nice people with the road side bombs who probably tied up and executed the Iraqis in the picture sachi referred to. Poor widdle tewwowists, those mean old Marines picking on you.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 12, 2006 2:14 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles

monkyboy, poor left wingnut troll banned at CQ:

Yawn, so utterly predictable you left wingnuts are. Saddam got way too much benefit of the doubt as well as billions in pilfered funds. The WMD's you refer to were (and are) very much existent. We have found dual use agents near empty shells, 400,000 sq. ft. underground bunkers, and tons of paper documenting both the WMD and the programs. Just what was Salman Pak anyway? Saddam did have ties to al Queda. We are going through the treasure trove of documents that corroborate other evidence that you and your buddies in the drive by media refuse to report accurately. Here's a clue for you. Go troll elsewhere.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 12, 2006 8:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

As a heads up on Haditha to you folks (and assuming you didn't already see this!) Sweetness and Light has continued to follow the Haditha story with some interesting stuff. You noticed no doubt that Time has issued a number of "corrections" that undermined virtually all of the sourcing they used, but never have backtracked from one of their mantras: the military has tried to "cover up" the story. Facts or no facts to back the whole thing up aside, what would a Military Massacre story be without the cover-up?

In their latest, S&W quotes Tim McGirk of Time talking about the timeline of his reporting, and saying a couple of interesting things. One is the first reporting on the story came after the now infamous propaganda video given to him by the "Hammurabi Human Rights Group" (now known to be two people, one of whom was recently released from several months in prison, the other is apparantly an anti-American web poster and university lecturer) was first shown to the U.S. military. McGirk, in pursuit of the cover-up story asked the military to organize an embed expedition for him to visit Haditha, so he could interview witnesses. They promptly complied: a special trip was organized for him, risking the lives of US troops, just so he could go out and "prove" his cover-up story. He didn't go, because HQ decided the trip was too dangerous (and he agreed).

Not much of a cover-up, is it, when the military tries to organize his protection so he can have the opportunity to investigate. And then for him to choose not to go because of the elevated danger of traveling to Haditha sort of undermines the "village innocents" thesis too, don't you think?

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 19, 2006 6:28 AM

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