Tuesday, June 9, 2009

5/29/09: Using a biased Arabic "news" source to present a distorted account of a terror suspect killed by the IDF

Summary: A slightly snark-enhanced account of an episode that goes way beyond shoddy "journalism," and provides an indication as to why so many vicious Israel-hating, anti-Semitic user comments are submitted to HuffPost.

As to why HuffPost approves and publishes such comments, perhaps one day someone in a position of influence will ask it.

And as you read this, keep in mind that an estimated 135,000 of HuffPost's monthly visitors originate from Iran and Pakistan, two of the leading fermenters, exporters and supporters of global Islamist terror (see Section 4.3 here).

Also see: Archive of anti-Israel, ant-Semitic bias, libels and hate at HuffPost

* * *

At 9:58am EDT on May 29, 2009, HuffPost published the following original story, which was linked on its front page:
Abdul Majid Dudeen Killed By Israeli Forces

The first questions to ask are: (1) Who is "Abdul Majid Dudeen" --- and (2) Why was he killed by Israeli forces? HuffPost's story reads as follows:
Abdul Majid Dudeen, the leader of Hamas' Ezzidin Al-Qassam Brigades, has been shot and killed by Israeli forces in Skak, a town just west of Hebron in the West Bank, Albawaba reports.

Dudeen has been on Israel's wanted list for a few years now, due to his suspected involvement in at least two attacks on Israeli buses, according to the BBC. Dudeen had previously been detained by Palestinian authorities, but was later released. His killing is being referred to by Hamas as an Israeli terrorist attack that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank failed to prevent, the BBC report notes.

The Albawaba report cites eyewitnesses who describe an Israeli raid with 16 military vehicles storming Dudeen's hideout.
(Note: We find it interesting that HuffPost would choose too identify the focus of this story by name --- even though only about 99.99% of its readers have never heard of him. Yet when an axe-wielding Palestinian terrorist murdered a (truly) innocent 16 year old Israeli, it only referred to him in its headline as a "youth")

Goodness... the Israeli military essentially murdered this poor man? (Being that he was "shot and killed"...)

After all, he was only suspected of being involved in two "attacks on Israeli buses...", yet the IDF killed (murdered?) him? What did he do, take a tire iron to the windshields of those poor, defenseless buses? Or did he tag them with some spray-paint? Maybe he painted some doves on them, in a plea for peace? (as HuffPost featured in its January 2, 2009 front page splash headline re Israel's Operation Cast Lead, below):

"An Israeli raid with 16 military vehicles"... against one man? That indeed sounds like "an Israeli terrorist attack," which HuffPost quotes Hamas as saying!!! (Or at least a use of "disproportionate force," a term we heard used over and over to condemn Israel's actions during Operation Cast Lead.)

But wait... who/what is "Albawaba"? Only about 99.99% of Americans have never heard of it --- yet HuffPost chose to use it as the primary source for this "news" story.

Well, here's the headline and page that is linked in the HuffPost story. (Note that the story was published at 12:39 GMT on May 28 --- an entire day before HuffPost put up its story, based on this report --- meaning that there was plenty of opportunity to do just a little bit of background research.)

The story from this "news" source, Al Bawaba, reads as follows:
Israeli occupation troops on Thursday killed Abdul Majid Dudeen, a senior activist within Hamas’ military wing, Ezzidin Al-Qassam Brigades. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli troops, backed by some 16 military vehicles, stormed the village of Skak, near Dura, 30 kilometers west of al Hebron and killed Dudeen at his hideout.

Local sources said Dudeen was killed during a brief clash with the raiding Israeli forces.

Israel has been accusing Dudeen of having carried out or masterminded several attacks against Israeli targets both in the West Bank and inside Israel.

Well that sounds pretty much like the HuffPost story, with the notable exception that it turns out Dudeen was only "an activist" within Hamas's "military wing."

Most ordinary people would accept
this definition of an "activist":
"An especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, esp. a political cause."

Does that mean he held bake sales to raise funds to help Hamas buy special accessories for its civic youth brigade? Or maybe he owned one of Gaza's many acclaimed art galleries, and donated a percentage of his profits to Hamas's notable family counseling services? Or to Hamas's acclaimed educational video division? The article only says that Israel accused this poor man of "having carried out or masterminded several attacks against Israeli targets."

But as anyone who diligently reads the comments on HuffPost "news" threads knows, the Israelis are always accusing those poor Hamas "activists" of all sorts of shenanigans.

After all, as neither HuffPost nor Al Bawaba said otherwise, Dudeen apparently had a clean record, and was only being "accused" of doing something bad.
In fact, the HuffPost article stated that "
Dudeen had previously been detained by Palestinian authorities, but was later released." See? He must have been innocent!!! Palestinian authorities wouldn't detain one of their own, then release him, if he'd done anything really bad, right?

But it still begs the question: Why couldn't those mean, vicious, unfair, bloodthirsty* Israelis just try to arrest this poor "activist," instead of "storming" the area in which he was hiding out, with "16 military vehicles," and killing him? Why must the Israelis always shoot first and ask questions later?

But WAIT... wasn't there another, slightly more detailed account of the killing of
Abdul Majid Dudeen published at about the same time?

Why yes, there was... from an obscure, little-known network called "CNN," at 10:05am EDT on May 28 --- a full 24 hours before HuffPost chose to base its original "story" on the Al Bawaba version (at 9:58am EDT on May 29).

So was the account of the Dudeen killing from this "CNN" any different than the HuffPost-Al Bawaba version? Let's take a look! According to the CNN version (photo added from IMFA here):
Israel accused Dudeen of involvement in attacks including suicide bombings on buses in Jerusalem and Ramat Gan. Four people were killed in the Jerusalem attack, and six died in the Ramat Gan bombing. He was also involved in a foiled 2004 plan to attack a train line, Israel said.

Israeli forces surrounded his house in the village of Deir El Assal a Tahta, south of Hebron, Thursday morning and ordered him to give himself up, the army statement said. The security forces then tried to force him out using "different methods," they said, without specifying what those methods were.

Dodeen opened fire on the Israelis, who shot back, killing him, they said.

Dodeen, from the village of El Bureij, had been wanted by Israel since 1995. They identified him as the head of the Hamas military wing in the Hebron area.

He was arrested by Palestinian security in 1995 and jailed in Jericho. He was released in 2000 when the second intifada broke out and returned to operate in the Hamas military wing, Israel said.

Wait ---- so it turns out that the IDF claims it attempted to take Dudeen alive --- but that he "opened fire" on them, and was killed in the return fire? And it turns out Israel accused him of cold-blooded murder of ten of its civilians in terrorist attacks --- and injuring and traumatizing untold more? And his "brothers," the Palestinians, jailed him for five years?

Where was all that in the HuffPost story? After all, HuffPost links to CNN right on its main page --- and regularly features stories that CNN develops, so one might assume that it has a constantly-updated newsfeed from this little-known source:

Notably, the above screen capture shows that HuffPost does not link to Al Bawaba. What could explain this discrepancy --- that HuffPost ignored (or didn't even seek out?) CNN's version of this story, which was published a day beforehand... and instead opted to go with a source that no one (of note) had ever heard of before?
Note also that the above screen indicates that HuffPost links to Al-Jazzera, the jihadist-friendly "news" network that threw a party for the terrorist who murdered a 4-year-old girl's father in front of her --- then crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle. Note further that Al-Jazeera began advertising on HuffPost in late 2008, and HuffPost used it as a source for another deceptive front- page splash, covered here.

So what could have gotten Al Bawaba onto HuffPost's "radar screen?"
And did HuffPost even do a basic vetting of what types of "news" and "content" are featured at Al Bawaba?

The answer to the first question is --- we have no idea.

The answer to the second question is, apparently not --- because had it done so, it would have discovered that Al Bawaba features extremely biased, Islamist terror-whitewashing stories and "commentaries" --- like this one, for instance. In fact, had HuffPost chosen to look, it would have learned that Al Bawaba features "commentaries" from the terrorist front group that Hamas set up in America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

For example, here is a January 4, 2009 commentary on Al Bawaba by Julia Shearson, the
Executive Director of the Cleveland Chapter of the CAIR, condeming the FBI's efforts to use informants within American mosques to detect and stop terrorist attacks on American soil. Had HuffPost did a little checking, it would have also discovered (or even covered!) the fact that also in January 2009, the FBI cut off all ties to CAIR after a growing number of its leaders, and the organization itself, had been implicated and/or prosecuted for aiding, funding or otherwise supporting the perpetration of terrorism.

Apparently, HuffPost did none of these things --- or it did, but chose to run with the Al Bawaba version of the killing of Dudeen anyway, regardless of the chance that someone who pays attention might document this entire, sordid incident.

At this point, the reader may want to check out this original item on HuffWatch:
Answering The Libels and "PallyWood" - An introduction, for a quick dose of the reality of the IDF and Hamas, amidst the other-worldly propaganda that we've uncovered to this point.

So, what kinds of submitted user comments did HuffPost review, and choose to approve and publish on
this "news" story that it created (with an assist from Al Bawaba)?

While there was a mix of viewpoints that appeared on the PDF of the thread that Huff-Watch captured at 12:26pm on May 29, the following is a sampling of the 40 comments that HuffPost reviewed, approved and published at this time:
omobob I'm a Fan of omobob permalink
Good thing the Israelis only suspected involvement of Abdul Majid Dudeen. Imagine if he was guilty? Sentence first, then the verdict. Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:35 AM on 05/28/2009

petera63 I'm a Fan of petera63 permalink
This guy was the mastermind behind two bus bombings in the mid-90s that killed 50 Israeli civilians.
Anybody still willing to defend him?
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 02:02 PM on 05/28/2009

(reply to above)
Manchurian I'm a Fan of Manchurian permalink
If he's been convicted in a true court of law for bus bombings, I'm totally with you, Peter. If he hasn't, he was simply murdered by people who don't adhere to the rule of law.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:46 PM on 05/28/2009

moflard I'm a Fan of moflard permalink
If Israel is so sure of that, why not bring him to trial?
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:53 AM on 05/29/2009

sheilaofmiami I'm a Fan of sheilaofmiami permalink
The closer we appear to be getting to peace, the closer we are to more war.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 01:00 PM on 05/28/2009

KCFreedom I'm a Fan of KCFreedom permalink
Wow, those extra-judicial killings of "suspects" work out so well.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 12:24 PM on 05/28/2009

Manchurian I'm a Fan of Manchurian permalink
The Israelis call Hamas terrorists; why can't Hamas call out Israeli terrorism?
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:42 PM on 05/28/2009

sarapy I'm a Fan of sarapy permalink
... arafat loved to say, shoot anyone... then we count the bodies !
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:02 PM on 05/28/2009

propaganda must die I'm a Fan of propaganda must die permalink
Hamas was democratically elected to lead the Palestinians. So if we suspect Israeli
leaders of wrong doing, then we can kill them too?
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:30 PM on 05/28/2009

(reply to above)
Manchurian I'm a Fan of Manchurian permalink
Get real. Israeli crimes are condemned by Jews as well as those of other religions, or those of no religion. Criticism of Israel's abuses of the Palestinians is not criticism of Jews any more than criticism of Iran is directed at Muslims.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:51 PM on 05/28/2009

Macready I'm a Fan of Macready permalink
I wonder just how long it will be before the israelis launch Operation Cast Lead II ... in part because they have been told to stop building illegal settlements. . . . and
guess who will pay for it . . the American tax payer unless Congress finally wakes up and pulls the plug
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:43 AM on 05/28/2009

hulka37 I'm a Fan of hulka37 permalink
The U.S. administration is ratcheting up pressure on Israel to do the obvious if it is
serious about peace: stop stealing land and building settlements. Israel's response from its well worn playbook: send assassination squads into the PT to foment anger and confusion in order to thwart the process from gaining momentum.
Launch Operation Stick In the Eye.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:13 PM on 05/28/2009

Macready I'm a Fan of Macready permalink
whatever the amount Johnny Lee it is money that is going to support this rogue state . . . and the US has provided an umbrella for israel . . .israel has a hot line to the Pentagon for arms, planes, etc etc . . . which they use to kill Palestinians . . to invade Lebanon . . . the list goes on . . . the plug has to pulled and UN sanctions must be put into effect that is the only way to get israel to the negotiating table
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:15 AM on 05/29/2009

Nyland8 I'm a Fan of Nyland8 permalink
"Local Hamas Leader Killed"
OK then. So it's all over, right? The end of Middle East struggles is at hand.
Hooray! The Israelis have finally solved the problem.
Or do you think there will just be a new local leader of Hamas? We wouldn't want the cycle of violence to end after everyone has gotten so good at it.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:17 AM on 05/28/2009


At a time like this, a few more questions seem to be in order:

  • Do HuffPost's advertisers know exactly what it is that they are supporting?

  • Does the venture capital group that recently invested $25 million in HuffPost know what is really going on with their equity?

  • Does The Atlantic Philanthropy know what it is facilitating, by recently helping to fund HuffPost's multi-million dollar effort to develop its own "investigative journalism" division(!) --- a story that also broke on HuffPost, eerily, on May 29?


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