Anti-Israel feeling tips the reporting balance for what appear to be bogus claims

03.09.2014 - Silvia Swinden

Anti-Israel feeling tips the reporting balance for what appear to be bogus claims
(Image by Edward Snowden at TED, image Wikipedia)

The Israeli Government is in need of some “winning” electoral coup after a useless and heartless war with an equally heartless Hamas (that has managed to turn Gaza’s disaster, at least for some of its inhabitants, into some kind of “victory”), since nobody in Israel is in celebratory mood. Even for those who sincerely justify the need for the attacks as self-defence, killing children creates profound contradictions that cannot be brushed away with rational arguments.

Sadly, public opinion can play into the hands of those who advocate violence and obscure even more the work of the many nonviolent activists both sides of the conflict.

So, more settlements in the Palestinian territories have been announced, as if Natanyahu’s public image did not need a little more mud.

A small sample of how much the world public opinion has turned against Israel can be found in what appear to be bogus claims made by Iranian news media that ISIS, or IS (they keep changing their name, something probably learnt in some School of Business Management), the latest reviled monster with whom dialogue is not possible, is a Mossad/CIA concoction, deriving into more outlandish claims that the leader is in fact a Mossad Jew.

Global Research, usually well investigated lefty publication, taken as reputable source by millions but criticised for its pro-Russian bias, echoed the hoax:

“ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi Trained by Israeli Mossad, NSA Documents Reveal: by Gulf News. The former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest”.

The piece of “news” now denounced as a Hoax has been replicated by at least 24.000 media outlets and endless Facebook and Twitter no doubt well meaning and outraged users. Finding some attempts to investigate where the bogus? claims arise from shows a much more sluggish and miniscule network, but here it is.

The Snowden Hoax

“In mid-July 2014, Time attempted an antiviral intervention against the first Internet hoax involving NSA leaker Edward Snowden. “Why Iran Believes the Militant Group ISIS Is an American Plot” read the headline above a lead that began, “Conspiracy theories are nothing new in the Middle East….” This particular rumor, said Time, had “assumed truthlike proportions through multiple reposts and links.” It postulated a secret U.S., British and Israeli op—codenamed “Hornet’s Nest”—hatching the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) to attract terrorists worldwide to so vex the region that Israel’s enemies would be in Biblical disarray. Time traced the hoax to Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), which Time accused of “concocting an obviously fictional fake Snowden interview to bolster the narrative.” Six days later, IRNA reacted testily, complaining that Time (which it called “Times”) had smeared IRNA’s report as “fabricated” without once referring to its original source, The Intercept.”

“The problem is that journalist Glenn Greenwald’s online startup The Intercept, which since its February 2014 launch has posted 295 pages of NSA documents leaked by Snowden and numerous articles based on those leaks, hasn’t said a word about Israel’s national intelligence arm, the Mossad, grooming ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as chief stinger for the Hornet’s Nest…”

And another one…

“On this edition of Demanufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by Tom Secker, host of the ClandesTime podcast and author of the book Secret, Spies, and 7/7.

“We discuss the “Snowden-ISIS hoax,” the false “news” story that has been circulating through the internet over the past few weeks that claims former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released documents proving the CIA/MI6/Mossad are running the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its leader Al-Badhdadi. We explain the origins of this story, why it’s completely bogus, and who may have been responsible for its propagation. We also get into the “real story” of ISIS and the discuss the evidence that is actually available that suggests the CIA/NATO have been pulling the strings all along.”

Wikileaks denies it (perhaps)

“WikiLeaksVerified account @wikileaks 

“Ground zero for false “Snowden docs show ISIS leader trained by Mossad” story goes back to last month in Algeria …

The latest (from the sublime to the ridiculous?) is a claim that the Hoax itself is a Zionist plot!

No even Government officials are safe: Dutch Official: ISIS “A Zionist Plot

“Last week, Yasmina Haifi, an official at the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism in the Netherlands, stated that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, and that it is a Zionist plan to make Islam look bad.”…

“….The outcry from the general public that followed her remarks initially did little to make her take back her words. The next day, however, she deleted the tweet, saying: “Realise the political sensitivity in relation to my work. This was never my intention.” The same day, Haifi told national broadcast Radio 1 that she had no idea her comments would cause such an upheaval. “I assumed I was living in a democratic country,” she said. “Apparently freedom of speech in the Netherlands applies to particular groups and not to others.”

“Haifi said she had based the information on “multiple sources from the internet.” These consisted of a supposed statement by Edward Snowden, that the Mossad and the U.S. created ISIS. A simple background search would have shown this to be a firmly debunked hoax which was created by Iranian authorities. Even Snowden himself vehemently denies ever having said anything about ISIS….”

Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany famously said: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. … If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes truth. If you repeat a lie many times, people are bound to start believing it.” (24.000 times and counting…)

In today’s context of mounting anger against Israel I would add, if we want something to be the truth, then it becomes the truth. Unless there is a change of direction in the Israeli’s leadership that ends the Occupation and gives the Palestinians their rights as a people, the anger will grow and the truth will be nowhere to be found.

 The responsibility of Social Media

Who needs Conspiracy Theories when there are glaringly obvious reasons for some Islamists to feel at war with the West? Is Frankenstein’s monster coming back to bite the hand that arms it? Of course ISIS is a creation of the West. Of course the West is manufacturing extremism through the intervention and destruction of the infrastructure and civil life of Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Of course many of the weapons arriving in the Middle East to help “our moderate friends” end up in the hands of our “immoderate enemies”. Extreme views are always present, but for ordinary people to join in they have to be seriously indignant and seriously lacking in meaning.

The Corporate Media has been criticised for towing the “official” line, parroting the views of Governments married to arms dealers and Oil interests. That is why Social Media have become the source of news for millions who are tired of being kept in the dark. But the criticism raised against Social Media is that news is unreliable because sources are not checked and verified. How many of us copy and paste without making the most cursory background research? How many times we click on “share” or re-tweet just because what we see coincides with our own state of indignation? This is of course not exclusive to Social Media, but technology has multiplied our reach unimaginable times. Which is great if we check! Let us use this tool for the good and well being of humanity, all humanity.

Furthermore, Social Media has a responsibility for letting people know about the nonviolent efforts to end conflict, since violence sells papers and creates also a reporting bias.

Categories: Culture and Media, International, International issues, Middle East, Opinions
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