Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Allyn Fisher-Ilan, the accidental comedien

In a story about imminent national primaries in Israel, Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan suggests Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favors early elections to "strengthen his hand with Washington":
Many Israelis worry that Obama, in a second term, may exert greater pressure on Israel to yield land for peace with the Palestinians, which could upset Netanyahu's clout in his pro-settler party and its core conservative electorate.
Er, no Allyn.  Many Israelis worry that Obama, in a second term, may exert greater pressure on Israel to yield land for no peace with the Palestinians.

What an unmitigated dingbat.


From a Reuters story about the Palestinian Arabs blaming (who else?) Israel for their own refusal to continue with peace talks:
Palestinians blame Israel for exploratory talks' [sic]
Previous peace negotiations collapsed in late 2010 with the Palestinians demanding that Israel suspend settlement building in the occupied West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reuters finally admits everyone hates the Jews

After years of obfuscating and denying, Reuters is finally on-board the reality wagon that Iran has a long history of supporting Hamas with money and weapons:
Hamas, founded in 1987 and regarded by Israel and the West as a terrorist organization, has long been backed by Iran, a strong ally of Syria's Assad. But funding has apparently stalled in the past four months, the diplomat said.
"Iran used to give $250 million to $300 million to Hamas but there have been interruptions in the payments in past year. Our understanding is that there has been no payment since August 2011," he said.
The agency wasn't quite so forthcoming here, here, here, and here

In the topsy-turvy world of Middle Eastern religio-politics, we have the Shi'ite regime (Mullahs) in Iran supporting the Alawite regime (Assad) in Syria and the Sunni regime (Hamas) in Gaza, the latter of which is also supported by the Sunni regime (Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt, which is warming to the Shi'ite regime (Mullahs again) in Iran.

All of course, are united in their genocidal hatred of the Jews.

Well after all, "International Brotherhood Week" is coming in February.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Positioning propaganda

Reuters correspondents Ali Sawaftah and Sami Aboudi inform us that Israeli-Palestinian talks ended with no progress this week.  And the purported reason for that failure, according to the Palestinians, is positioned prominently in the third paragraph of the story:
"The Israelis brought nothing new in these meetings," said one Palestinian official familiar with the talks. "We are now going to assess our options and will consult our brothers in the Arab League on February 4."
As for the Israeli position on the stalemate... uh, well, readers have to wait until paragraphs 10 through 12 in the story to obtain that bit of information.  And when it is finally dosed by Reuters, it's laced with propaganda:
Peace talks foundered in late 2010 with Palestinians demanding that Israel suspend settlement building in the occupied West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem.
Abbas also demanded that Israel agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state on all lands occupied in the 1967 Middle East war before resuming negotiations.
Israel has rejected both demands and said it was ready to resume negotiations immediately with no preconditions.
So you see, the Palestinian Arabs are merely demanding that Israel suspend settlement building on their land, which is obviously their land because after all, it's "occupied" and includes "Arab East Jerusalem", the racist fiction perpetuated by Reuters in over 500 stories since 2007 and beyond.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dan Williams, ventriloquist

Deeply dishonest Reuters correspondent Dan "Willful" Williams continues to employ a propaganda technique for which he and his colleagues in Jerusalem are notorious: conflating a quote by an Israeli official with the journalist's own biased message so as to deceive readers into thinking that the official had conveyed and/or agreed with the journalist's message.

In a story on Israel offering, and the Palestinians rejecting, proposals for international borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state, note Williams' sly ventriloquist act to deceive and manipulate readers:
Israel's approach to territorial compromise in the occupied West Bank includes the principal that "most Israelis will be under Israeli sovereignty and obviously most Palestinians will be under Palestinian sovereignty," the official said.
Williams precedes a truncated quote by the Israeli official with his own biased rhetoric characterizing the territory in contention as "the occupied West Bank", a propaganda mantra appearing in thousands of Reuters stories on the Middle East conflict intended to assign, in the minds of readers, rightful ownership of the land to the Palestinian Arabs.  Of course, these are actually Williams' own words but a cursory read suggests the Israeli official had used the loaded term.

As we stated at the top, Williams is notorious for employing this propaganda technique.

Reuters: masters of Newspeak

In a story about the first ever public display of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia, Reuters correspondent Asma Alsharif characterizes Saudi society as "conservative" four times:
"Evolution not revolution" reads the sign he plans to place over the conservative Islamic kingdom, where an exhibition organisers call Saudi Arabia's first public show of contemporary art has opened this month, entitled "We need to talk." [...]
Saudi Arabia, a country ruled over by the al-Saud royal family in alliance with powerful conservative clerics, has no elected parliament or political parties and applies a rigid variation of Sharia law. [...]
Other taboos include anything seen as blasphemous, criticism of the conservative nature of Saudi society, and sex or nudity. [...]
Angawi said he accepted that he might not be able to play some of the comments people recorded, and that finding the right balance between freedom of expression and the demands of a conservative society would be difficult.
Recall, this is a country where the most draconian suppression of human rights and freedoms is institutionalized in the country's Sharia-based legal system; Islamic dress-code is enforced by religious police; women must be accompanied by a male guardian at all times; homosexuality is outlawed and punishable by imprisonment, lashings and death; and non-Muslims are persecuted and tortured for practicing their faith.

This is what Reuters characterizes as "conservative".

By contrast, journalists in Reuters Jerusalem Bureau refer to a spitting incident by a Haredi Jew in Israel as "violence by zealots".

What do they teach these guys at Reuters school?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reuters wants us to know that Iran will not seek the bomb in 2012

Reuters correspondents Tabassum Zakaria and Mark Hosenball trumpet:
Iran won't move toward nuclear weapon in 2012: ISIS report
In the proud Reuters tradition of manipulating reader perceptions by packaging propaganda as news, note the declarative assertion (stated as fact), trailed by the modifier that the assertion is drawn from a report by an NGO.

A report yet to be published, and therefore unavailable to be vetted for accuracy, validity, or conformity with what Reuters is reporting.

A report produced by an organization funded in large part by the Ploughshares Fund, a left-wing lobbying group that advocates for U.S. nuclear disarmament.

A report which, as summarized by Reuters, is largely contradicted by another ISIS report appearing on the organization's website just a week ago.

A report where the conclusion asserted in the headline is premised entirely on the dubious notion that:
"Iran is unlikely to decide to dash toward making nuclear weapons as long as its uranium enrichment capability remains as limited as it is today."
Which in itself, is premised on this sterling piece of logic: 
But according to the institute's report: "Although Iran is engaged in nuclear hedging, no evidence has emerged that the regime has decided to build nuclear weapons."
"Such a decision may be unlikely to occur until Iran is first able to augment its enrichment capability to a point where it would have the ability to make weapon-grade uranium quickly and secretly," the report obtained by Reuters said.
Did you catch that?  There is no evidence that the Iranian regime has decided to build nuclear weapons, which is unlikely to occur until Iran has the ability to make weapon-grade uranium quickly and secretly.

And of course, ISIS and Reuters will know when Iran has obtained that secret enrichment capability 

Because undoubtedly, the Iranians will tell them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Palestinians and their acolytes at Reuters are, in a word, insane

According to the Handbook of Self and Identity, edited by Mark Leary, a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, compartmentalization is "a psychological defense mechanism used consciously or unconsciously to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc within themselves. Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct and/or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states."

We think compartmentalization is nothing less than a form of insanity.

Take for example, the reaction by Reuters to the recent arrest by Israel of several senior Hamas leaders, particularly Aziz Dweik.  In a 369-word story about the detentions, Reuters correspondents Jihan Abdalla, Nidal al-Mughrabi, and Ori Lewis deferentially characterize the Hamasniks as "lawmakers" or "legislators" no fewer than six times.

Remember, members of Hamas are religious fanatics, driven by their totalitarian belief system to annihilate a country and murder every last Jew in the world.

In an interview with the Australian newspaper The Age in 2006, here's how Dweik responded to a question about the Palestinian terror war ("intifada") against the Jews of Israel during which over 1,000 people were savagely murdered:
"OK, yes, it happened, we did suicide attacks — but now there is a truce. We deplore any action where civilians are killed — yes, including Israeli civilians. We are a moderate Islamic movement. We are not terrorists. We are freedom seekers. Please, tell your readers, please help us secure this goal."
Even the sympathetic interviewer for the newspaper noted the compartmentalization:
In a conflict suffused with such great hatred, language can quickly lose meaning. There is a disconnect between the words and the deeds.
Dr Dweik is charming, articulate and passionate in a very non-threatening way. However, he can also countenance sending boys to their death in order to kill the innocent and can justify it with a cliched equation empty of any real meaning or insight.
As we stated at the top, the Palestinians and their acolytes at Reuters are, in a word, insane.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dan Williams conceals Fatah's reason for the season

Nearly two weeks after the event, Reuters finally got around to reporting on the call to kill Jews by the Palestinian Authority's most senior cleric, Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein.

But note how Reuters correspondent, Dan "Willful" Williams, deliberately misrepresents the occasion on which the Mufti made his comments:
Preaching on January 9 at a rally marking the 47th anniversary of Fatah's founding, Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein read out a Hadith, or traditional text attributed to the Prophet Mohammad.
"The hour of judgment will not come until you fight the Jews," he said. "The Jew will hide behind the stone and behind the tree. The stone and the tree will cry, 'Oh Muslim, Oh Servant of God, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him'."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' political party, Fatah, was founded in 1959.

Actually, the Palestinian rally two weeks ago where the Mufti incited for Muslims to murder Jews marked the 47th anniversary of Fatah's first attempted bombing attack, the inaugurating event in the group's continuing terror campaign designed to destroy Israel.

A celebratory Arab raison d'etre Williams would clearly rather his audience not know.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Framing is the process by which the factual record is packaged and presented in such a way so as to emphasize and focus audience attention on certain information while filtering and de-emphasizing or concealing other information.  An audience subjected to framing is compelled to come away with an interpretation of events the framer wishes to see adopted.

When applied systematically, framing is a form of propaganda.

In this Reuters story, written by Arshad Mohammed, Ramin Mostafavi, and Alastair Macdonald, note how framing is used to direct and manipulate audience perception:
(Reuters) - Major powers signaled on Friday their willingness to reopen talks about curbing Iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons but said Tehran must show it is serious about any negotiations.
The focus on diplomacy follows weeks of rising tensions between the West, which is seeking to cut Iran's oil sales, and Tehran, which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz through which almost one-fifth of oil traded worldwide flows.
Alarmed Arab neighbors made a plea to avoid escalating the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, while an ally of Iran's supreme leader called for Israel to be "punished" for allegedly killing an Iranian nuclear scientist.
The West suspects Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons and has pursued a two-track approach of sanctions and diplomacy to try to rein it in. Iran says its nuclear program is solely to produce electricity.
Reuters asserts that "alarmed Arab neighbors" have "made a plea to avoid escalating the dispute over Iran's nuclear program", so as to suggest the Arab states are opposed to additional sanctions or military action intended to prevent Iran from consummating its nuclear weapons program.

With no relevant quotations within the story to support Reuters' assertion, it's impossible to know from where the agency is obtaining this hearsay.  Perhaps Reuters is referring to a strikingly similar statement by Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal who, in response to Iranian threats to target the Gulf Arab states and close the Strait of Hormuz, said that "the increasing escalation and tension may lead to a misadventure or a military confrontation."

If this is the comment to which Reuters is referring, note how the agency takes a cold statement of fact directed primarily at Iran and distorts it into a "plea" not to escalate tensions, presumably directed to western powers.  Further, Reuters fails to mention that al-Faisal also stated that to defend its interests, Saudi Arabia "will use all options against Iran".  A very different message than that framed and suggested by Reuters.

Next, Reuters cites "an ally of Iran's supreme leader" who reportedly called for Israel to be punished for allegedly killing an Iranian scientist (note also the story photo of an Iranian stepping on an Israeli flag).  Yet, there is no mention that the Iranian government has blamed primarily the United States and Britain for the killing, even going so far as to present alleged evidence supporting the claim.

Finally, there is use of the ubiquitous "the West suspects Iran" (of developing nuclear weapons) to frame the conflict as merely a contention between Iran and the amorphous "West", with presumably no evidence, no scientific analysis, and no one other than western nations holding the same view.

What a narrow, distorted, and short-sighted frame is that provided to its audience by Reuters.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Military presence"

In yet another example of a propaganda mantra demonstrating Reuters transparent bias, correspondent Alistair Lyon characterizes the relationship between Syria and Lebanon between 1976 and 2005:
The turmoil in Syria has fuelled tensions in neighboring Lebanon where Syria has many allies, including the powerful Shi'ite group Hezbollah, as well as foes who resent the nearly three decades of Syrian military presence which ended in 2005.
That "military presence" involved the illegal stationing of thousands of Syrian troops, tanks, and warplanes in Lebanon for the explicit purpose of suppressing anti-Syrian sentiment, securing geopolitical leverage against Israel, and providing economic gains for the Syrian population.

Yet, Lyon willfully downplays it as a mere "military presence".

Apparently, "occupation", the agency's favorite word to employ when describing Israel's quite legal presence in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") doesn't apply when referring to illegal Arab control of the sovereign territory of other states.

"The West suspects"

A propaganda mantra is a false or deliberately misleading word or phrase published or broadcast repeatedly by the propagandist so as to drum the notion into the mind of the audience until they accept it as true, unquestioningly.

Reuters employs propaganda mantras in its Middle East coverage as a matter of policy.

Take this story, by Reuters correspondent William Maclean, about the alleged covert war being fought against Iran so as to purportedly impede its nuclear weapons program:
Analysis: Not-so-covert Iran war buys West time, raises tension
LONDON | Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:49am EST
(Reuters) - A backseat passenger on a motorcycle weaving through the crush of Tehran's morning traffic reaches out and places a small magnetic device on the door of a silver-grey Peugeot 405.
When the directional bomb explodes seconds later, blasting through the sedan's door and instantly killing nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a 32-year-old father of one, the motorcycle has already vanished, accelerating into the ranks of the Iranian capital's rush hour.
The proficiency of the latest assassination to deplete Iran's community of atom specialists suggests that violent actions by one or more of Iran's adversaries form an increasingly active - and public - element in a multifaceted international drive to impede Iran's nuclear program.
Some old espionage hands voice respect for the expert landing of clandestine, deniable blows against a program the West suspects is aimed at acquiring a nuclear bomb capability and Iran says is for civilian purposes.
The propaganda mantra here is, "the West suspects", an allusion to the notion that Iran's nuclear weapons program, a program confirmed by scientists at the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is still a matter of hearsay and dispute between Iran and the amorphous "West".

In an op-ed of over 2,100 words, misleadingly labeled as "Analysis" so Reuters can successfully place the propaganda with hundreds of other news outlets, Maclean never once mentions the IAEA or its many reports on Iran's steady progress toward a deliverable nuclear weapon.

Further, the Reuters correspondent attempts, via a combination of cherry-picked quotes and unsupported assertions, to pin blame for the "not-so-covert war" primarily on Israel.  Again, Maclean willfully withholds from readers essential information which would otherwise enable them to draw their own conclusions, untainted by Reuters propaganda, on the roles played by various parties to the conflict. 

For example, Maclean fails to report that Iran itself has most recently accused the United States, not Israel, of the subject killing of an Iranian scientist.  Moreover, there is no mention of the history of other countries, including several Arab states, who maintain their own espionage and assassination crews, coming out against Iran and urging the Obama administration to "cut off the head of the snake [Iran]".

As we frequently note, just another day at the office for Reuters stable of propagandists.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Israeli Arab argues Arabs responsible for "price tag" attack; his home then sprayed with gunfire

Remember Reuters correspondent Maayan Lubell's story in October about an alleged Jewish "price tag" attack on a mosque in the Israeli Arab village of Tuba Zangaria?

Well, Israel's Channel 2 traveled to Tuba Zangaria to investigate recent allegations that someone from within the village may have actually committed the crime and the station interviewed an Arab resident, Bassan Saweid, who indicated he was certain this was indeed the case.

Hours after the interview was broadcast, Saweid's home was sprayed with automatic gunfire.

We're certain Lubell and Reuters will find someone to suggest that a Jewish settler did the shooting.

hat tip: EoZ

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Iran says U.S. & U.K. responsible for assassination of scientist

(Reuters) - Iranian state television said on Saturday Tehran had evidence Washington was behind the latest assassination of one of its nuclear scientists. [...]
"We have reliable documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA," the Iranian foreign ministry said in a letter handed to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, state TV reported.
"The documents clearly show that this terrorist act was carried out with the direct involvement of CIA-linked agents." [...]
State TV said a "letter of condemnation" had also been sent to the British government, saying the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists had "started exactly after the British official John Sawers declared the beginning of intelligence operations against Iran."
Apparently, the Iranian regime didn't coordinate their investigation with Reuters correspondent Dan Williams, who would have set them straight on the real culprit.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reporter who called for ethnic cleansing of Jews, still working for Reuters

Reuters correspondent Maayan Lubell, whose name appears on a petition calling for Jews to be ethnically cleansed from the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), is still working for Reuters and still reporting from the agency's Jerusalem Bureau.

In a story about Israel and the Palestinians meeting again on Saturday in an effort to move ahead on peace talks, Lubell, in violation of Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism, cites only the Palestinian perspective:
The exploratory discussions began on January 3 and followed a long break in negotiations after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended talks 15 months ago over Israel's expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Abbas on Thursday played down prospects of any breakthrough, telling members of his Fatah party that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not put forward any new proposals.
"The words that we heard in Netanyahu's residence (in 2010) are the same words he is repeating now, nothing new," Abbas said, adding that he had told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the apparent lack of progress.
Shabbat shalom, Maayan.

Reuters, unable to conceal its institutionalized antisemitism

Our focus here at RMEW is on Reuters endemic anti-Israel bias and the agency's use of propaganda to manipulate audience perception and mobilize public opinion against the Jewish state.

Occasionally however, Reuters correspondents let their masks slip, revealing that their animus for Israel goes much deeper than international politics.

In a story on Mitt Romney campaigning in Palm Beach Florida, Reuters correspondent Jane Sutton performs an interesting Freudian slip:
(Reuters) - Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama for his stance on Israel on Thursday, telling a Florida crowd that if elected he would "stand with our friends."
"This president has found it pretty sensible to be critical of our friends," Romney told a Palm Beach County crowd that included many Jewish voters.
"He went to the United Nations and criticized Israel for building settlements. He had nothing to say about Hamas' 20,000 rockets into Israel," Romney said. "We will stand with our friends."
Obama has insisted his administration has done more than any other to protect Israel and called his commitment "unshakeable."
The Democratic president won nearly eight of every 10 Jewish voters in 2008 but a slip would jeopardize his 2012 re-election drive in battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania, where Jews are an important swing bloc.
Romney's message, delivered ahead of Florida's January 31 primary, resonated with Sholom Ciment, a rabbi from Boca Raton, another wealthy Florida enclave.
Huh?  Note that Sutton's story is about Romney making a bid for voters, it is suggested are mainly Jews, in an important swing state based on his support for Israel.  There is no mention of fund raising, average income levels, or anything related to economics for that matter, until Sutton lets slip a non sequitur about Boca Raton being, "another wealthy Florida enclave".

So what does Sutton's (irrelevant) observation have to do with her ostensible storyline, i.e., the 80 percent of the American Jewish electorate that voted for Obama in 2008 being courted by Romney?  Actually nothing.  Except that, like fellow Reuters correspondent Crispian Balmer, Sutton apparently has money on the mind when she's writing about Jews.

Incidentally, of a total population of over 1,300,000 people in Palm Beach County, there are about 250,000 Jews, 15 percent of whom live below the poverty line.

Not that facts matter to Reuters.

Reuters quotes former KGB-head: no proof Iran near nuclear weapons

Filed under, "Well Then It Must Be True", Reuters uses an interview with former KGB-head and Putin buddy Nikolai Patrushev to peddle the fatuous notion that there is no independent evidence of Iran being close to acquiring nuclear weapons:
Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful while Western powers believe it has military aims. Israel, which sees an Iranian atom bomb as a threat to its existence, is willing to attack Iranian nuclear sites with or without U.S. backing.
However, Patrushev said there was still no proof that Iran was on the brink of creating nuclear weapons.
"Talk about Iran creating an atomic bomb by next week we have heard for many years," he said, adding that the United States was trying to topple the Iran's leadership using "all available means" to make the country into "a loyal partner".
Russia, the world's biggest energy producer, opposes further U.N. Security Council sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme and has sharply criticised U.S. and European Union sanctions.
Again, note how Reuters disappears any trace of the United Nations IAEA reports on Iran's nuclear weapons program, framing the situation as merely a he said/she said between Iran and "Western powers" with Israel as the spoiler.

What do they teach these guys at Reuters School?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reuters still covering for Iran

What's wrong with this paragraph?
Iran has said it is only developing nuclear capabilities for energy and other peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies accuse it of wanting to create a nuclear weapon.
Reuters correspondent Jeff Frank makes no mention here or anywhere in his story, of the independent report produced by scientists at the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, evidencing and concluding that Iran has been engaged in all phases of developing a deliverable nuclear bomb:
• Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2);
• Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3);
• The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and
• Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5–C.12).
After all, that is merely hard evidence of international renegade behavior; Reuters only draws robust conclusions when its information is based solely on the personal animus of its reporters.

Dan Williams demonstrates Reuters brand of "investigative journalism"

Reuters correspondent Dan Williams, who never lets the facts get in the way of a good anti-Israel story, also writes anti-Israel stories when he has no facts.

An Iranian chemical scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, was killed in a car bombing yesterday.  Though no one was arrested, no group claimed responsibility for the bombing, and the Iranian regime has numerous enemies, both foreign and domestic, who would like to see the country's weapons program set back, Iran immediately blamed the United States and Israel.  And that's good enough for Williams:
Israel uses risky "hits" in deadly shadow war
Without offering a shred of evidence, Williams employs a combination of innuendo, anonymous or decontextualized quotations from former Israeli officials, and wholly unrelated examples of past alleged assassinations by the Israeli espionage service to argue presumptively, that Israel was responsible for the killing.  To wit:
Cold-eyed calculus guides what Israeli officials call "precision thwarting", a euphemism that strives to focus blame on those marked for death while conveying reluctance to escalate the shadow war.
Critics condemn all such attacks on moral grounds, and also question the long-term efficiency of targeted killings, but Israeli officials, drawing on years of experience in the murky practice, believe they play a vital role in defending the state. [...]
As always, Israeli officials declined any comment on the death of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, who was blown up in his car, while Iran itself immediately pinned the blame on Israel. [...]
"They are not keeping to the schedules they would like to keep to," former Mossad spymaster Meir Dagan said in a recent television interview, smilingly crediting the apparent sabotage spree to "God, who controls everything". [...]
Happy to deflect the blame, Israeli officials say many people have an interest in sabotaging Iranian operations. [...]
another suspected Mossad team smothered Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his Dubai hotel in 2010.
Williams' reference to the killing of al-Mabhouh as being the work of a "suspected Mossad team" is particularly amusing as no Israeli has been arrested or formally implicated in that incident either, despite nearly two years of investigations and a great deal of similar innuendo produced by Williams and his colleagues at Reuters at the time.

Regrettably, we don't know who killed Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan.  But neither does Williams.  The difference between us is that we don't pretend to know something we don't and try to manipulate our audience, with nothing but smoke and mirrors, into buying our "investigative journalism".

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Following and notwithstanding the victory of the Union in the American Civil War and abolition of slavery, predominantly White cities in the United States sought to expel their African-American residents through the use of terror, i.e., physical threats and attacks, and legal and economic coercion, i.e., preventing Blacks from renting or buying homes in the area.  The result was what was known as Sundown Towns, cities that were ethnically cleansed of their African-American communities.  (The term refers to the openly expressed edict that no black people were allowed after dark).

For similar overtly racist reasons, Jews were expelled from the eastern part of Jerusalem by the Arabs following the invasion and occupation of the city by the Jordanian-led Arab Legion in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.  Thousands of Jewish families were driven out, their property confiscated, their homes and synagogues looted and torched.

A holy city, originally founded and built by the Jews and where a Jewish community had survived for centuries despite successive waves of conquest and colonization, Jerusalem had been ethnically cleansed of its Jewish population and culture within weeks.

It was at that point, that the Old City of Jerusalem and its surrounds first became known, cynically, as Arab East Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was liberated and reunified by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the 19 years of racial and religious exclusion at the hands of the Arabs came to an end.  Jews, and those of all religio-ethnic backgrounds, were able to once again live, work, and pray in any part of the city.  Today, Jews compose over 40 percent of the population of the eastern portion of Jerusalem.

For Reuters however, that cynical, ahistorical, and racist reference to Arab East Jerusalem persists:
(Reuters) - Israel's government broke all its settlement-building records in 2011, diminishing prospects for establishing a viable Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank, Israel's anti-settlement activist group "Peace Now" said Tuesday.
The group's annual report on building in Arab East Jerusalem and the West Bank - land the Palestinians want for a future state along with the Gaza Strip - showed that despite international calls to halt construction, thousands of new homes were being built.
The repeated use of the misnomer "Arab East Jerusalem" by Reuters correspondents is of course, quite deliberate, intended to dismiss over three-thousand years of Jewish life, history, religious connection and sovereignty over the city, and with the stroke of a pen (or the click of a keyboard), assign ownership of Jerusalem to the Arabs who have sworn to once again ethnically cleanse of Jews, any land they obtain through violence or negotiations.

This is not merely advocacy journalism, in and of itself a serious violation of the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism.  It is reprehensible and racist propaganda that reflects a deeply sick and twisted worldview and an epic failure of corporate governance at one of the largest news agencies in the world, which, by not correcting the failure, implicitly endorses it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reuters' broken record -- broken record -- broken record

For years, and across hundreds of stories, Reuters Middle East-based correspondents have been covering for Iran's drive to obtain the bomb, characterizing it innocuously as a "nuclear program" (no reference to weapons) and framing it merely as a he said/she said dispute between Iran and the amorphous "West".

That may have been a prudent and journalistically defensible approach to covering the story several years ago when much of the forensic evidence of Iran's covert nuclear enrichment, fission experiments, and weaponization efforts had yet to come to light.

With the November 2011 release of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency report documenting, in meticulous detail, Iran's advanced activities in these areas, Reuters obdurate editorial position on this issue is simply an embarrassment for the agency.  Yet, it persists:
TEHRAN, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Iran announced on Monday it had sentenced a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen to death for spying for the CIA, creating fresh grounds for hostility with Washington at a time when Tehran has responded to new U.S. sanctions with military threats.

The sentence comes at a time when tension between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear programme has reached a new high, rattling global oil markets. The West fears the work is a secret atomic weapons programme, while Iran says it is purely peaceful.
No mention of the UN report, no mention of the mountains of forensic evidence of Iran's covert nuclear weapons program, and no mention that it is not just the "West" that fears Iran's directive, but dozens of other countries in the Middle East and around the world that share the same concern.

All part and parcel of Reuters obfuscation efforts to conceal and cover for the Iranian regime.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reuters reporter who called for ethnic cleansing of Jews, still working for Reuters

Reuters correspondent Maayan Lubell, whose name appears on a petition calling for Jews to be ethnically cleansed from the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), is still working for Reuters and still reporting from the agency's Jerusalem Bureau.

In a story on the Israeli government filing charges against five persons for breaking into an army base and damaging property, Lubell assumes the role of arbiter in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the final status of the territories and awards them to... the Palestinians:
(Reuters) - Israel charged five Jewish settlers on Sunday with orchestrating a riot in an army base in the West Bank in a bid to foil plans to dismantle illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Quelle surprise!

"Pure facts are not enough"

The Baron is a website published and edited by former Reuters correspondent, editor and manager Barry May.  It serves as a kind of virtual watering hole for Reuters employees and provides company news, event information, directories, a library, videos featuring Reuters executives, and company trivia.

In a video posted on the site, former Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger, who has an amusing habit of publicly revealing too much information, speaks to the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong about coverage of the global financial crisis and its lessons for journalists as reflected by Reuters' philosophical approach to news reporting:
"If we have learned anything from these past two years, it has been that pure facts are not enough. The arguments about whether the factual seeds of the financial crisis have been adequately reported are ultimately meaningless.  The facts were there but they weren't put together in a way that was compelling enough or powerful enough to change the course of events.  Today, it's context, connectedness, and community that matter.  Context, connectedness, and community. [...]  It's the context and analysis around the news that helps people make better decisions, helps them to do their jobs better, and gives them an edge in making sense out of the confusion around us. [...] The more you abandon the faceless and the characterless, the more you can actually set the agenda.  The more you look beyond the story for connections, the more value you will have.  And if you have value and no one else does, you will get paid."
Although Schlesinger highlights coverage of the financial crisis to illustrate his point, it's clear he is generalizing his advice to all areas of news reporting.  And there, as they say, is the rub.  Schlesinger, Editor-in-Chief at the time for the largest multimedia news company in the world, one purportedly committed to a corporate governance charter and handbook of journalism which expressly forbid its correspondents from embellishing the facts or engaging in advocacy journalism, is openly encouraging ... advocacy journalism. 

You see, it's no longer sufficient to report the facts; they must be "put together" in a way that is "compelling" enough to "change the course of events".  This, so the correspondent can "set the agenda", add value, and "get paid".

Hmm, we think we're finally beginning to understand the Reuters approach to journalism.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reuters recognizes "Palestine"

Having failed to win recognition as a state at the United Nations, the Palestinians can still rely on Reuters to so anoint them:
Still, Iran has many ways it could provoke a Western response, from missiles within range of U.S. targets in the region, to small boats that could attack a ship near shore, to allied militia in Palestine and Lebanon that can strike Israel.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reuters forgets a little something

Well, the Israelis and Palestinians met in Jordan on Tuesday for pre-negotiations on the particulars of a Palestinian state but neither side is especially optimistic about the talks evolving into actual negotiations and Reuters tells us that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening suggesting the Palestinians might take unspecified "unilateral" steps if Israel doesn't surrender accept, in advance, certain conditions:
Abbas said before Tuesday's talks that Palestinians could take unilateral steps if Israel does not agree to halt settlement building in the occupied West Bank and recognize the borders of a future Palestinian state.
What Reuters doesn't tell us, is that the borders the Palestinians are demanding Israel recognize in advance of talks, are the 1967 "borders", also known as the 1949 Armistice Lines, i.e., the point where Israeli and Arab forces ceased fighting following Israel's War of Independence.  Colloquially referred to by Israelis as the Auschwitz borders due to their incarcerating and indefensible dimensions, there isn't a prayer in hell of Israel accepting a Palestinian state on lines that would once again invite and facilitate an Arab invasion of the country.

Abbas of course, knows this, but is making the demand because he is intractable and has nothing to lose in making the demand, particularly after US President Barack Obama suggested, in May of last year, the 1949 armistice lines would be a good point upon which to begin negotiations between the belligerent parties.

Reuters too, knows that the lines are a non-starter for Israel -- after all, the agency reported as much -- but deliberately conceals the dictate issued by Abbas because, well because it is Reuters after all, and sound business practice demands the agency provide cover for Arab intransigence.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reuters correspondents still peddling fiction to advance their ideology

A symbolic fiction is a propaganda technique whereby a false claim, endorsed by some reputedly respectable and disinterested party, is advanced by the propagandist (Smith, 1989).

Take for example the propaganda mantra peddled in over 200 Reuters stories within the last couple of years that Jewish settlements in the territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") are illegal -- because the World Court says so.

In a story on the Israeli government issuing restraining orders against 12 Jews barring them from the territories, Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan (yes, that Fisher-Ilan) repeats the mantra:
Israel has built more than 100 settlements in the territory, which the World Court has ruled are illegal.
As we've noted here, here, here, and here, Reuters' reference and deference to the World Court, on the question of the legality of Jewish settlements, is irrelevant and deluded.  The court's opinion, actually on the legality of the Israeli separation barrier rather than Jewish settlements, is entirely advisory and non-binding. Fisher-Ilan may as well cite the Organization of Islamic Conference in its opinion on Jewish settlements (this may be her next recourse).

The only binding decision on the legality of Jewish settlements in the original territories of Palestine -- including the West Bank -- resides in the Mandate for Palestine, confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, grandfathered across to the United Nations in 1946, and still legally operative today.  Article VI of the Mandate stipulates:
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
Reuters Jerusalem Bureau has, to our knowledge, never cited this exclusively authoritative resolution granting Jews the right to settle anywhere in historic Palestine west of the Jordan River.

For Reuters, symbolic fiction trumps tangible truth every time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Israel is currently experiencing an ugly chasm between its strictly religious Orthodox Jews, Haredim, and its secular Jewish population.  Amongst other draconian practices, the Haredim believe in gender segregation in public spaces, including city buses.  This has led to a spate of clashes as well as dramatic demonstrations by partisans on both sides of the issue.

From a socio-political perspective, such a dispute, occurring in the national homeland of the Jewish people, involves complex issues of religion and governance and we will leave it to the citizenry and politicians in Israel to sort these out.

We will comment however, on the way Reuters Jerusalem Bureau has been covering this story.  In the last two weeks or so, correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan, whose writing interests and style strongly suggest she fancies herself a secular feminist, has written several stories on the dispute where she refers to the Haredim as "zealots".

Our desktop dictionary defines zealot as a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.  The term obviously carries a very powerful and for most readers, strongly negative, connotation.

However one may feel about Haredim, they are certainly no more extreme in their beliefs or religious practices than, for example, orthodox Muslims or Islamists.  Indeed, unlike women living in Saudi Arabia, Haredi women in Israel are able to drive cars, frequently work to support the family, and enjoy equality in matters of civil law including inheritance.

Yet, we've never seen a Reuters story where the agency's correspondents characterize Islamists as "zealots".  Rather, the adjectives employed in stories on Islamists in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, etc. run along polite lines like "strict", "conservative", and "austere".

Note for example, this story from 2010 (reported on by Fisher-Ilan), about the Pope calling on Islamic countries in the Middle East to guarantee freedom of worship to non-Muslims:
At least 3.5 million Christians of all denominations live in the Gulf Arab region, the birthplace of Islam and home to some of the most conservative Arab Muslim societies in the world.
The freedom to practise Christianity -- or any religion other than Islam -- is not always a given in the Gulf and varies from country to country. Saudi Arabia, which applies an austere form of Sunni Islam, has by far the tightest restrictions.
There are many ways we might describe a society that employs religious police to arrest and lash a woman who drives or is seen in the company of a man other than her husband, but austere is not one of them.

This asymmetric handling by Fisher-Ilan and her colleagues at Reuters clearly reflects bias as well as either the soft bigotry of low expectations (with respect to religious Muslims) or antisemitism (with respect to religious Jews), or both.

On the other hand, perhaps Fisher-Ilan is simply an anti-Israel zealot.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The death of Reuters

One can always tell when a creature is in its death throes.  It screams in agonizing rage, lashing out with its claws, snarling with its teeth bared; its body writhing up and down, left and right until... it collapses in exhaustion, its blood supply run dry, it's head a dead pulp.

That's where Reuters is today.  One can easily see this as the monster media company surrenders any last vestige of rational thought, respectable journalism, or integrity.

The one-sided reporting of Reuters crop of radical left-wingers

In a story on a bill passed by the Israeli Parliament yesterday which would give the legislative branch of government additional oversight associated with appointments to the Israeli Supreme Court, the radical leftist Editor-in-Charge of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau, Jeffrey Heller, offers an entirely one-sided view of the legislation and the stature of the Court:
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative government came under attack on Tuesday for promoting legislation critics said would weaken the independence of Israel's judiciary.
Parliament on Monday passed a government-backed amendment that paves the way for an ally of conservative lawmakers to be appointed chief of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is held in high public regard and, in a country that does not have a constitution, is seen as an independent-minded watchdog overseeing the legislature and guarantor of civil rights.
Separate legislation that would change the composition of a legal committee appointing Supreme Court judges also received preliminary approval on Monday. Critics say if the bill is finalised, the committee would be packed with more right wingers as a result.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, of the centrist Kadima party, accused Netanyahu of trying to "change the character of the nation" with the legislative moves.
Since Reuters fails, as always, to provide any balance in a story that might enlighten readers, in this case unfamiliar with the Israeli Supreme Court and its nearly unprecedented power to dictate and subvert laws passed by Parliament, we will apparently have to plug the gap.  Here's the rest of the story, courtesy of one of Israel's most eloquent writers, deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick:
Since [Supreme Court President Dorit] Beinisch's professional godfather, retired Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, enacted his "judicial revolution" in the 1990s, Israel's judicial system has been without parallel in the Western world. Under Israel's judicial selection system, judges effectively appoint themselves. And since Barak's presidency of the Supreme Court, justices have used this power to ensure ideological uniformity among their ranks. Jurists opposed to judicial activism have been largely blocked from serving on the High Court, as have jurists with non-leftist politics.

Not only do Israel's judges appoint themselves, they have empowered themselves to cancel laws of the Knesset.

Under Barak's dictatorial assertion that "everything is justiciable," the Court has given standing to parties that have no direct - and often no indirect - connections to the subjects of their petitions. In so doing, the Court has managed to place itself above the government and the Knesset.

In recent years, the Court has canceled duly legislated laws of the Knesset and lawful policies of the government and the IDF. Its decisions have involved everything from denying Jews the right to build Jewish communities on Jewish land, to requiring the state to compensate Palestinians for damages they incur while fighting Israel, to changing the route of the security barrier, to barring radio broadcasts by the right-wing Arutz Sheva station.

The Knesset's efforts to pass laws that would curb the Court's now unlimited powers are simply attempts to place minimal legal checks on judicial power. One bill under discussion would require Supreme Court nominees to undergo hearings at the Knesset before their nominations are approved. Under the proposed law, the unelected Judicial Appointments Committee would remain responsible for nominating and approving justices. It's just that the public, through its representatives in the Knesset, would have the opportunity to find out a bit about who these people are before their appointments are voted on.

Another proposed law would seek to water down the legal fraternity's control over judicial appointments by making a slight change in the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee.

If both of these laws passed tomorrow, Israel's Supreme Court would still be more powerful than any other Supreme Court in the Western world. The government would still have nearly no say in who gets appointed to the bench.
Read it all.

Reuters' big problem

Over the last two and a half years and some 700 posts, we think we've done a reasonably convincing job of demonstrating Reuters' systematic (some might say axiomatic) pro-Arab and anti-Israel bias.  This leads to the next logical question:


Why are Reuters correspondents biased in this way?  How are their interests served by writing story after story which advocates for Arab national or religious interests and defecates on Jewish national and religious interests?

There are of course, many possible explanations, not all of which are mutually exclusive.

As a transnational corporation with a presence in over 200 cities globally (the largest multimedia news agency in the world according to its website), Thomson Reuters is always seeking to grow markets, profits, and shareholder returns.  Indeed, this is the raison d'etre of all corporations operating under an Anglo business model.

Thus, the agency is obviously keen to deliver a media product which feeds this growth.

Much of the developed world -- North America, Europe, Australia, and parts of Latin America -- are mature and competitive markets, already saturated by a host of media companies, including of course, Reuters.  There may be some opportunities for incremental growth here, but nothing that will support the kind of double-digit growth in audiences and profits corporations crave.

That type of growth can only be found in the emerging markets like, for example, the audience of 350 million Arabs in the Middle East.

Does such a market opportunity present any obvious conflicts with Thomson Reuters much ballyhooed Trust Principles?

Well, consider this video to which we linked last summer.  It documents a symposium at the 2009 World Economic Forum entitled "Race for an Audience; Media in the Middle East" and is hosted by Caroline Drees, formerly Reuters Middle East Editor and now Managing Editor for the Middle East and Africa.  (Yes, she was promoted).

The video is rather long so we'll draw your attention to 28:15 where Nakhle El Hage, Director of News and Current Affairs at Al Arabiya, admits that by and large, stories appearing in the Arab media are contrived so as to win audiences:
We tell people what they want to hear.  If they want to see pictures of massacres, we show them.  If they want us to tell them that any Arab or Muslim killed in any part of the world, even if he or she are terrorists, are martyrs, also we can win the people.
Later, at 40:53, El Hage goes on to acknowedge that Arab media has a "big problem" in that their audience is "very emotional" and has been "trained" since the time they were children to adopt a cause, to have an enemy and to believe that the media should be part of the political campaign against that enemy.

El Hage notes that Arab audiences watching conflicts like the 2006 war in Lebanon and the 2008 war in Gaza behave like spectators at a football match, cheering for the Arabs, who want to see more blood and more fighting and that media firms which offer this, like Al Arabiya, successfully increase the size of their audience.  To this, Reuters' Drees asks:
Why is it a problem?  Who are we to educate the audience of what they should want?
El Hage is compelled to explain to Drees that they are in the news industry and should give people the news, not football matches.

We think the mad scramble for audience share and profits in one of the fastest growing media markets in the world, along with the desire of that audience for a very specific type of news product, a fabricated news product where the media is part of the political campaign as described by El Hage, goes a long way in explaining Reuters' systematic bias in its reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

And for a corporation committed to a policy of accurate and unbiased reporting, this represents a big problem.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dementia is a terrible thing

Reuters correspondent Dan Williams is losing his mind.  But as in all cases of dementia, the disease proceeds selectively.  Some memories are lost while others remain.

In a story about Israelis and Palestinians agreeing to meet tomorrow in an effort to resume negotiations, Williams recalls Israel's treaty commitments, but not those of the Palestinians:
[Palestinian lead negotiator Saeb] Erekat said the meeting would be "part of ongoing Jordanian efforts to compel Israel to comply with its international legal obligations ... specifically its obligation to freeze all settlement construction."
Most countries deem the settlements illegal. Israel disputes this, and says it would keep settlement blocs under any peace deal in accordance with understandings reached in 2004 with then-U.S. president George W. Bush.
Actually of course, whether or not "most countries" now consider Jewish settlements illegal is irrelevant to whether or not they are in fact, illegal (per League of Nations and United Nations Security Council resolutions, Jewish settlements anywhere west of the Jordan River are entirely legal).  But we digress...

As above, Williams, with the able assistance of Erekat, recalls and reports the Israeli commitment, appearing in the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, to freeze settlement-building in the territories.  Yet, when it comes to reporting on Palestinian commitments in the same document, Williams is at a loss:
For its part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government criticizes Abbas for seeking a reconciliation with the Islamists of Hamas, who control Gaza and reject permanent coexistence with Israel. Abbas has also balked at Israel's demand that he recognize it as a Jewish state.
Other than the obvious fact that Hamas seeks the liquidation of Israel, Williams apparently cannot recall that, in its embrace and reconciliation with an internationally-recognized terrorist group, the Palestinian Authority is breaching its international legal obligations under the same Roadmap peace plan:
Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.

Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
At RMEW, we're always willing to assist the disabled.