FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

When the Press Comes Marching In

by WILLIAM A. COOK

For the past six weeks the American public has been treated to news reporting of two totally different kinds: five weeks of calculated, controlled lies wrapped in sympathy for modern day saintly “Settlers” being evicted from their homes in their land of Judea, and an open, honest, gut reactive reporting resulting from the uncontrolled mayhem wrought by Katrina. What’s to be learned from these events?

Simple enough. When the press reports the reality of events, unhindered by editorial control, fear of job loss, and predetermined political presentation, the public can respond in honesty and immediacy to the events visible before their eyes. The trauma of New Orleans bursts from the screen hour upon hour: the horror of wind and rain sweeping through the city of tin and glass casting about the detritus of civilization like leaves whipped by the fall wind; people scrambling for safety, innocent victims of a power over which they have no control; the fear of loss, of hunger, of destitution on every face; panic palpable before the cameras as mothers weep for lost children, parents cringe, unable to care for their families, police locked down in their stations watch thugs move about the streets with impunity; and the overbearing awareness that those in positions of responsibility have cared for their own and, with a mockery of awful magnitude, are oblivious to the devastation of the poor.

Even mainstream media could not hide the consequences of this administration’s incompetence as it belatedly roused itself from its golf game to attend to the worst natural disaster to hit the United States in its history. The full impact of its “war on terror” mentality that has resulted in a catastrophic depletion of our National Guard and Reserves became evident as looters and armed gangs took control of the streets, as the depleted reserves for relief became a national shame because this administration had cut taxes for the wealthy and services for the poor. Who could view this chaos through the camera’s eye and not realize that this administration’s priorities for human relief mock the poor and needy in this country while it extols the well to do and politically savvy in Israel?

Consider the media’s presentation of the pullout from Gaza, an event orchestrated by the IDF as reported in the Jerusalem Post just a week ago. Hundreds upon hundreds of reporters and their accompanying camera crews were allowed access to Gaza settlements by the IDF. Consultants were brought in to ensure gingerly treatment of the Settlers by the soldiers, treatment that recognized the “plight” of those being evicted from their homes even as their brothers and sisters in the military shared their grief. Old women and babies streamed before the cameras as busses hauled away the pioneers who were being taken from their homes. This parade of human loss repeated itself for weeks on end. Americans sympathized with these people presented as expendable humans in the political morass of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Never before in Sharon’s tenure as Prime Minister have we witnessed such free movement of the press inside Gaza. Strange that Americans have not witnessed the months of Israeli destruction wrought on the citizens of Rafah or the devastation inflicted on the residents of Jenin or even the wanton slaughter of an innocent Evergreen College student who stood tall before the American bulldozer and watched it crush her beneath its blade, and, then, in virtual slow motion, pull back without lifting the blade to sever her body as witnesses stood around in disbelief unable to comprehend such callousness. Where were the cameras during these episodes of Sharon brutality? Once again, Americans were used as pawns to push the Sharon agenda, the besieged Premier attempting to fulfill the “Road Map” requirements at great political expense.

But who are these “Settlers”? Why expend such media time on 8000 people being evicted from their homes? They are in truth “Squatters,” people who knowingly and willingly accept government financial support to move onto land illegally confiscated by the Sharon government under the pretext that it is “annexed” or “appropriated” land available because Israeli law has legalized its theft contrary to international law or the conventions of the United Nations. These people know that they live on Palestinian land the ownership of which can be traced back through centuries. They accept suburban town home housing provided by the Sharon government and military protection provided by the Sharon government and they, in turn, harass their Palestinian neighbors with impunity. None of this reality is presented to the American people. They are presented as citizens of America’s only friend in the mid-east, Israel, having to pullback from their rightful positions in order to accommodate the political process.

By contrast with the thousands left behind as Katrina and the broken levees pulled New Orleans into the mud hole of the lake that once made possible its existence, thousands left behind because they had no means of evacuation ­ no cars, no buses, no trains, no military transport, no helicopters ­ the Israeli squatters were provided free transportation, new housing within the state of Israel, grants of $30,000.00 each and, additionally for seniority, NIS 4,800 for each year they lived in Gaza for each family member, in addition to reimbursement of moving expenses to the tune of NIS 14,000-21,000.00 to the Negev, Galilee and Nitzanin. In short, Sharon made sure the settlers he had encouraged to settle on his illegally obtained land were well compensated for as he demanded that they leave.

Why mention these matters in conjunction with the events that have ravaged the Gulf Coast these past two weeks? Because the American taxpayer paid for the settlers to be moved and to cover the “disengagement plan” proposed by Sharon: U.S. aid for the pullout “was slated to offset the cost of implementing the disengagement plan.” (Ha’aretz 4/9/05, Yoar Stern). Israel asked for and received more than 2 billion, including the U.S. aid package (Ha’aretz, 24/8/05, Shamuel Rosner; Jerusalem Post 1.27/05, Janine Zacharia). In the CRS Report to Congress, “Israel’s Proposal to Withdraw from Gaza,” Clyde Mark notes “Israel will offer compensation to the settlers, but the amount and the source of the funds are uncertain. It is estimated that the 1,500 Israeli settler families in Gaza would receive between $200,000 and $750,000 each to move into Israel. The compensation would be for their homes and businesses, but also include additional funds for new housing allowances, business and household relocation, or other expenses.” The total cost of the disengagement is estimated “at about 8 billion schekels ($1.74 billion).” (Truth seeker,” 7/8/05). These pullout costs are “included in the new U.S. aid package” according to the Jerusalem Post (_7/05).

Quite a contrast: U.S. administration support of significant magnitude to citizens of a foreign country, citizens who illegally occupied another people’s land, while American citizens languished on rooftops or sweltered in makeshift shelters for days on end with no understanding of where they will go or how they will replace their lost homes. Can anyone doubt that this administration’s priorities favor those able to offer it political advantage at the expense of the average citizen stranded at the mercy of Nature’s might? How about a “disengagement plan” for New Orleans’ residents and those made homeless by Katrina? How about diverting the American/Israeli compensation package to Americans? After all, isn’t it questionable at best that our tax dollars support “Squatters”?

William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His book, Psalms for the 21st Century, was published by Mellen Press. His newest book, Tracking Depception, will be released next month. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

William A. Cook’s latest book is Decade of Deceit.

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail