Friday, July 02, 2010
ANALYSIS: WHO HAS WHAT TO HIDE?
You know the Age is really struggling when it asks its Middle East correspondent Jason Koutsoukis to provide "analysis" on matters pertaining to the region he is supposed to cover. I use the word "supposed" because I can't bring myself to believe he covers all of the Middle East anyway. Gaza and the West Bank are particular areas in relation to which we only receive part of the news i.e. the part that doesn't cover many of the excesses of Hamas and the PA including calls to genocide, murder, mysogyny, corruption and fraud. You know, the stuff about which readers of the Age would most likely have no interest in knowing about.
Koutsoukis is a reasonably competent reporter but as an analyst, he is chopped liver. You can see that from his last effort which concerns the judicial inquiry investigating Israel's raid on the Gaza aid flotilla last month - Israeli Gaza probe omits key evidence. The inquiry is charged with investigating the legality under international law of the Gaza blockade and of actions taken to enforce the blockade.
The probe has barely started but Koutsoukis has already determined that it "omits key evidence". I find that strange because surely he's not privy at this stage to all of the evidence planned to be called at the hearing? We know that soldiers and military personnel involved might not be called in open hearings for security reasons but does this mean their evidence will not be produced to the inquiry? Does it mean that the number of relevant issues to be dealt with during the course of the hearing will not be adequately covered?
Koutsoukis calls into question some of the claims made by Israeli officials about what happened when its naval commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara and states that "passengers were alleged to have al-Qaeda ties, were planning terrorist acts and were trying to lynch commandos: the evidence of this needs to be properly investigated."
He throws in the line that another "claim that passengers fired at the commandos has since been shown to be untrue," and that really interests me because he doesn't tell his readers which committee of inquiry "properly investigated" that one and found it to be untrue. The way I see it, he's telling us that Israel needs a committee of inquiry to show that something's true or untrue but anyone else can simply make the point and the case is closed.
Koutsoukis concludes that Israel's refusal to accede to an open inquiry (Goldstein anyone?) only suggests it has something to hide. The reality is that Israel, as a sovereign state is entitled to investigate the matter as it sees proper without outside interference and bias. As an aside, I'm still searching for an analysis in the Age accusing North Korea of having something to hide after it killed 50 South Korean sailors recently. Is there an international committee looking into recent deaths in rioting in Thailand, the genocides in Darfur and the Congo, the every day bombing murders in Irak, Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Only Israel and Israel alone is held up to a totally different standard even when only Israel is conducting an investigation in the presence of independent observers and everyone else does nada. Israel has nothing to hide but I suspect that much of the rest of the world is in hiding when the brutality of Darfur and the Congo are shrugged off as nothing but the deaths of activists who violently attack commandos with iron bars, slingshots and knives demand high level scrutiny.
Perhaps, Koutsoukis and the Age also have something to hide? They certainly have a major problem with the violence of many who travelled on the Mavi Marmara. The Fairfax Middle East correspondent has his name attached to a report in the Age which accepted Israeli claims that some of the passengers were in fact trying to lynch commandos. It was a grudgingly concession of the veracity of the Israeli version of the events that the bloodshed occurred as a result of the actions of provocateurs who prepared an ambush for the boarding party:
"Among the scores of people wounded on Monday were several Israeli soldiers whom the military said had been beaten with sticks and stabbed as soon as they landed on the deck. Video footage released by Israel appeared to back up its claim."
Then Paul McGeough who travelled with the so-called "peace activists" rode into town with some dirty allegations against the Israelis but no evidence to back up his claims. His supposed "eyewitness" accounts from the flotilla carried zero credibility because they flew totally in the face of visual evidence. It was bad enough for McGeough's case that his eyewitness fables were contradicted by IDF footage. What made it worse for him was that photographs taken by the IHH terrorists who organised and financed the flotilla and then attacked the Israelis when they boarded the Mavi Marmara were published in the Turkish press along with boasts about their exploits (the joke is that a month later these thugs are fabricating allegations of torture against the Israelis). McGeough was left with little room to move but you have to give him credit. To this very day, he continues to try to wriggle out of his dilemma.
Ironically, the photographs (see one above) published by the IHH and which the Age dares not mention demonstrably tell us that the Israeli commandos were not dealing with your usual "peace activists" at all when they boarded the Mavi Marmara. Along with a substantial body of material left behind by the provocateurs, they may well prove to be among the most compelling pieces of evidence put to the Terkel inquiry.
And in the meantime, the continuing saga of the blank pages leaves open the question of what Fairfax is hiding by airbrushing Palestinian terrorist excesses out of its newspapers.
Posted by Wilbur Post at 12:36 pm