Atrocities vs. Israeli and U.S. Propaganda

One need not look far on most ‘news’ outlets to read stories of Hamas atrocities: torture, baby beheadings and every other imaginable horror. These are, indeed, horrible things, but before we start bombing the people accused of doing them, we need to ask: did they really happen? Let’s look at the people who are making these accusations: U.S. and Israeli government officials. We will look at some pertinent examples of blatant lies told by these governments.

Before the U.S. entered World War I, the U.S. press began its propaganda campaign. “One of the most brutal of the ‘official’ stories was that of a handless Belgian baby, the child deliberately mutilated by advancing German soldiers.” The press exclaimed that this showed the absolute brutality of German soldiers. “However, there has never been a shred of evidence that German soldiers cut off the hands of Belgian boys.”

We will skip over several more wars, not because there was no U.S. propaganda created in them, but because this writer is limited by time and space; if the readers require more detail, they can see his book on the topic.

We will move to a major lie told by the U.S. during the Vietnam War (1964 – 1975).

Off the coast of China and northern Vietnam is the Gulf of Tonkin, which was the staging area for the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the early 1960s. On the evening of Aug. 4, 1964, the U.S. destroyers Maddox and C. Turner Joy were in the gulf, when the Maddox’s instruments indicated that the ship was under attack or had been attacked. Both ships began firing into the darkness, with support from U.S. warplanes. However, they “later decided they had been shooting at ghost images on their radar. … The preponderance of the available evidence indicates there was no attack.”

But this non-event gave Congress the perfect ploy to escalate the war. This non-incident was presented to the world as an act of aggression against the U.S. Congress quickly passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, greatly escalating U.S. involvement in the war.

When the Navy notified Washington that some naval vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin were being attacked, “… the White House was ready and sprang immediately into action. Operation Pierce Arrow was the American response: sixty-four sorties from nearby aircraft carriers pounded North Vietnam that evening. Near midnight, when the retaliatory attack was concluded, President Johnson appeared on American television to announce that ‘gunboats and certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam’ had been attacked by American aircraft. A few days later a somber and better-informed Lyndon Johnson privately expressed disgust at the August 4 phantom attack: ‘Hell, those dumb, stupid sailors were just shooting at flying fish.’ But the deed had been done: the U.S. had attacked and killed North Vietnamese over a nonexistent attack on the Gulf of Tonkin. With that, the war began to escalate.”

We will now move to a major falsehood of the Gulf War (1990 – 1991)

In order to create support for this war, the U.S. utilized the services of the Kuwaiti government. “On October 10, 1990, a 15-year-old girl referred to only as ‘Nayirah,’ who claimed to have been a hospital volunteer, tearfully testified of seeing babies dumped by Iraqi soldiers from hospital incubators. She stated: ‘I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital with twelve other women who wanted to help as well. I was the youngest volunteer. The other women were from twenty to thirty years old. While I was there I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the children to die on the cold floor. It was horrifying.’”

This, in the eyes of Congress and the president, highlighted the monstrosity of Iraq and was widely used to gain support for the war. Five months after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and three months after the ‘Nayirah’ testimony, the U.S. entered the war.

However, like nearly all of the information the government feeds to the citizenry to start its wars, this testimony was all lies. ‘Nayirah’ was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. She later admitted that she had once visited the hospital in question, but only for a few minutes. She did see an infant removed from an incubator, but only very briefly.  A group called Citizens for a Free Kuwait had hired one of the world’s foremost public relations firms, Hill and Knowlton (H&K), to create the illusion of legitimacy for an invasion. And it should be noted that ‘Citizens for a Free Kuwait’ was an organization that gained most of its financing from the Kuwaiti government. H&K coached ‘Nayirah’ on what to say and how to say it when she appeared before Congress.”

We should also discuss Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction (2003 – 2011).

A year and a day after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., then President George Bush stood before the United Nations, and said this: “Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program – weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon.” Very frightening, indeed, but there was not a word of truth in it. No weapons of mass destruction were found.

We will look now at that other bastion of truth and decency, Israel. How often do we hear, from Israeli and U.S. politicians, that Israel has ‘the right to defend itself’? Some think that if a lie is told often enough, it will be believed. However, Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian politician, activist and scholar, deflated that myth with one simple sentence. Said she: “We (Palestinians) are the only people on Earth asked to guarantee the security of our occupier…while Israel is the only country that calls for defense from its victims.”

In May of 2022, journalist Sheeren Abu Akleh was shot and killed in Palestine. Israel denied that its soldiers had anything to do with this assassination, and said that she had been killed by an errant Palestinian bullet. However, video obtained from buildings in the exact area showed that there were no Palestinians there. Eye-witness accounts supported this. After some time, Israel admitted that yes, one of its soldiers had ‘accidentally’ killed the journalist. Now one must consider this ‘accident’. Ms. Akleh was wearing a vest clearly indicating that she was a member of the press. She wore a helmet, and bullet-proof vest. Somehow, this soldier ‘accidently’ shot her under her ear.

And now Israel, with U.S. backing, is claiming that the Al-Ahli Hospital bombing that killed 500 people, mostly women and children, was done by a misfired rocket from Hamas. Some points to consider:

+ MSNBC foreign correspondent Raf Sanchez quickly pointed out that Hamas rockets don’t tend to do that kind of damage, but Israeli missiles do. He also noted that Israel has an extensive history of lying about this sort of thing.

+ CNN’s Clarissa Ward said essentially the same thing. “I will say, just based on seeing these rocket attacks many times over the years, that they don’t usually have an impact like that in terms of the size of the blast, in terms of the scale of the death toll and the scale of the damage,” Ward said. “It’s also not the first time, it’s important to add, that we have seen the IDF categorically deny something before being forced to kind of do an about-face after an extensive investigation.”

+ BBC foreign correspondent Jon Donnison gave basically the same opinion. “It’s hard to see what else this could be, really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli air strike, or several air strikes.

+ And records show that Israel, as it is wont to do, warned the hospital that it was going to be bombed. This, apparently, was so the desperately ill patients could get up from their beds, grab the equipment they were hooked up to, and run to a non-existent safe site.

So, who to believe? The people who have long been oppressed by the U.S. and Israel, or those two rogue nations that each have a long and ugly history of lying to cover their war crimes and crimes against humanity? The readers can make their own decision, but this writer will always side with the evidence, which does not support the U.S.-Israel narrative.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Propaganda, Lies and False Flags: How the U.S. Justifies its Wars.