A NEWS PEOPLE TELL WHAT THAY CAN FILM BY HIZBULLAH AUGUST.5.2006
The BBC, which courtesy of the British tax payer is the world's biggest and most lavishly funded news organization, would of course never reveal how selective their reports are, since such a disclosure might spoil their campaign to demonize Israel and those who support her. But one senior British journalist, working for another company, last week let slip how the news media allows its Mideast coverage to be distorted. "CNN senior international correspondent" Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon, was stage-managed from start to finish by Hizbullah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hizbullah's "press officer" and that Hizbullah have "very, very sophisticated and slick media operations. When pressed a few days later about his reporting on the CNN program "Reliable Sources," Robertson acknowledged that Hizbullah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hizbullah "had control of the situation," Robertson said. "They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn't have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath. Robertson added that Hizbullah has "very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas. You don't get in there without their permission. We didn't have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hizbullah fighter by night. Yet "Reliable Sources," presented by Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broadcast only on the American version of CNN. So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN's "Senior international correspondent" that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hizbullah. Another journalist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, Time magazine contributor Christopher Allbritton, casually mentioned in the middle of a posting: "To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I'm loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist's passport, and they've already hassled a number of us and threatened one. Robertson is not the only foreign journalist to have misled viewers with selected footage from Beirut. NBC's Richard Engel, CBS's Elizabeth Palmer, and a host of European and other networks, were also taken around the damaged areas by Hizbullah minders. Palmer commented on her report that "Hizbullah is also determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see. Palmer's honesty is helpful. But it doesn't prevent the damage being done by organizations such as the BBC. First the BBC gave the impression that Israel had flattened the greater part of Beirut. Then to follow up its lop-sided coverage, its website helpfully carried full details of the assembly points for an anti-Israel march due to take place in London, but did not give any details for a rally in support of Israel also held in London a short time later.
Israel renews barrage of Beirut AUGUST.4.2006
Israeli jets have renewed strikes on Beirut as the army has been told to prepare for a deeper push into Lebanon. A number of suburbs in the Hezbollah stronghold were struck, with local TV showing fires in the night sky. The Israeli defence minister has told the army to prepare for a push to the Litani river, up to 30km (19 miles) north of the border, officials said. The moves came as UN delegates in the US struggled to reach full agreement on the wording of a ceasefire resolution. Israel's campaign began three weeks ago after Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers. Lebanon says more than 900 people have died since then, most of them civilians. Israel has lost 27 civilians and 40 soldiers. 'Sign of weakness' Israel had dropped leaflets on Thursday in the Lebanese capital saying: "After the continued launching of Hezbollah terrorist rockets the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] intend to widen their offensive in Beirut.Early on Friday, local media reported strikes on the Ouzai neigh bourhood of southern Beirut. The media also said Israeli warships had shelled the suburbs of Haret Hreik and Roweiss. The Israeli military told Reuters news agency it had targeted Hezbollah offices and the home of a top Hezbollah official, along with a building operated by Palestinian group Hamas. Israeli jets also struck three bridges north of Beirut, killing at least one person. The attacks came as Israel's army was ordered to prepare for what could be its deepest push into Lebanon for more than 20 years. Three Israeli soldiers have been killed in southern Lebanon, according to Arabic TV channel al-Arabiya. The air strikes occurred despite a warning from Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who said in a televised speech: "If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb... Tel Aviv. Security sources in Israel told a BBC correspondent that "if Tel Aviv was hit by Hezbollah rockets, Israel would target infrastructure in Lebanon In his speech Sheikh Nasrallah also said that Hezbollah would end its rocket attacks if Israel stopped attacking what he called civilian areas in Lebanon. Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman said that suggestion was "a sign of weakness" and that Hezbollah might be "looking for a way out Although UN delegates remained optimistic of agreement on a ceasefire resolution soon, there remained differences on the wording. We're certainly getting close [to a resolution] within days," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said he believed a durable ceasefire would be in place soon. Landmines Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Thursday called for a lasting solution to the conflict. Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight programme, he said Israel had to withdraw from the disputed border territory known as the Shebaa Farms, which the UN says is part of Syria. Mr Siniora said he wanted international leaders to pressure Israel to return detainees, provide maps of landmines and withdraw from "occupied territory Then, he said, "we will arrange that they will get back the abducted soldiers" and ensure that "there won't be any weapons in Lebanon other than those of the Lebanese authorities In other developments The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) warned that fuel shortages were increasingly hampering humanitarian relief operations in Lebanon Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recalled his ambassador from Israel, calling the attacks on Lebanon "genocide" King Abdullah of Jordan publicly criticised the US and Israel over the fighting in Lebanon Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said there will be no ceasefire until an international force is deployed in southern Lebanon. A second UN resolution would probably be needed to authorise the international peacekeeping force. Since such a force could take weeks or months to arrive, a smaller force of French soldiers may be sent in first, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner notes.