Fauxtography in the Service of Hezbollah Propaganda:

Over the past two weeks, David Bernstein has been bringing VC readers some of the story about the staging and posing of photos of supposed "civil defense workers" and dead children at Qana, Lebanon. My media column today for the Rocky Mountain News/Denver Post also looks at the issue, and reports some of the evidence, brought forward by the blogosphere in the last two weeks, about the many faked, dishonest, or staged photos from the war in Lebanon.

Conclusion: "Notwithstanding the media critics, Hezbollah has, in the war for Western public opinion, sometimes succeeded in subverting Western news organizations into organs of its own propaganda. At Qana at least, it appears that the media may have been complicit in the production of controlled, staged images using dead children as props, which were falsely presented to the public as authentic, spontaneous photos of a rescue operation."

Some commenters on Prof. Bernstein's posts have raised the argument "who cares about staging; all the matter is that the Israelis killed the children." That argument is wrong on two levels: first it is a gross violation of journalistic ethics to present a posed/staged photo as if it represented spontaneous activity; there is little doubt, at this point, that the media at Qana perpetrated this violation, and have been attempting to cover it up ever since.

Second, we don't really know how/why the children died. Some bloggers have suggested that they were hauled into the scene for the rescue. The Lebanese newsmagazine Libanoscopie quotes a source that Hezbollah placed handicapped children and a rocket launcher in the same building, hoping that the children would be killed, and that the media would use the incident against Israel.

We do know, as my article details, that the media were forbidden to examine or inspect the building where the children were allegedly killed; A.P. spokeswoman Linda Wagner, in response to a question from me, did not deny this fact, but instead sidestepped the question.

The question of why the western media at Qana are passing off Hezbollah propaganda as the truth is a question which I leave to other analysts; I suspect that there are several answers, not just one explanation.

Human, not just Jewish, rights (mail):
I don't really think there is anything wrong with trying to get sympathy for civilians killed by Zionist terrorists.

I do think there is something wrong with Zionist terrorist pilots who intentionally kill innocent civilians.
8.12.2006 1:38pm
David, note that your complaints are about the photography, not the textual reporting. I think this reveals something important. Photography appeals to the emotions, text to the mind. This dispute is really about the emotional impressions that the press is communicating. My own preference is for a strictly logical treatment of the problem; I reject the touchy-feely style of journalism. But the fact is that almost everybody reacts to current events with their guts, not their brains; surely the rabid nature of commentary on this blog demonstrates just how much emotionalism dominates politics.

So what are we to do? Sigh at the hopelessly Pliestocene nature of our fellow citizens? My tack is to do my bit for rationalism, constantly poking at irrationalism and emotionalism on both sides, hoping to shame people into taking a more mature approach to these problems. It's the best that can be done, I fear. I would suggest that you could help by rising above the emotionalism and concentrating on the facts rather than the emotions.
8.12.2006 2:12pm
Evan H (mail) (www):
Sigh, I was really hoping the VC would avoid giving credence to the Qana deniers. What's next a serious discussion about how the WTC was brought down by demolitions?
8.12.2006 2:25pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I agree with you that news media should reveal if they used "staged" photos, and that legitimate photo-journalists should not do so.

I disagree with you that the staging is somehow more important than the deaths depicted by the photos, which is the point of the criticism "the child is still dead." I think some posters are reacting to Professor Bernstein's posts by noting that he is more outraged by "staging" of photos than by the deaths depicted therein. I hope we can all agree that one child's death is a worse tragedy than a photographer's breach of his ethics, or the Western media's use of such photos.
8.12.2006 2:26pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

Try being skeptical of Hezbollah claims and the journalists that get used by them and maybe people will take you seriously. You claim impartiality - but you only express skepticism against claims by Israel and its supporters... strange.

Just a point, let me refer you again to that article someone else posted that you parroted around as fact (I believe it was the one in teh Irish Times) - depite the fact that two seconds of analysis and criticism exposed it as ignorant at best. The second something was presented that was anti-Israel your "strong" sense of analysis and criticism went AWOL, how very strange.
8.12.2006 2:31pm
frankcross (mail):
Well, I think a great virtue of the blogosphere is doing exactly this -- checking the mass media's actions. Now, the blogs that do this checking are typically carrying their own ideological bias, but that's ok, that makes them better watchdogs. I find it hard to criticize coverage of media manipulation.

But it does seem odd for a blog that is not directly devoted to analyzing the media to spend so much effort on this question, rather than other issues related to the fighting. Israeli civilians are being killed too, and they're not getting much play on this or other blogs I've read.

I wonder if it's really a sort of economic issue. The blogs are in a sort of competition with the mass media (and to some degree each other). Hence, there may be a structural internal incentive for blog journalists to attack their mass media competition (and vice versa, of course).
8.12.2006 2:37pm
Propaganda is just Propaganda. What one has to do is decide which side and whose side you are on. That is the problem with alot of people today in the West. They have been brainwashed with "I'm O:K Your O:K" pop psychology. I feel no sympathy in war. I feel a strong urge to WIN otherwise all the sympathy for dead children is for naught and useless. Plus the "For the children" mantra has lost its allure because it has been used so much it is worn and in shreds. If there is to be WAR then it should be foungt to the bloody end or all the lives lost were truly collateral damage and useless. Then the same cycle starts over again. "Human Rights" are a construct of mankind and are really just a propaganda tool.(they only mean what we decide they mean) Those who cry that mantra are the ones hiding evil behind a falsehood.
8.12.2006 2:38pm
douglas (mail):
Did someone here claim Qana wasn't bombed by Israeli jets? I don't think so. The questions are of the veracity of the MSM, particularly AP and Reuters, as they have vast influence as providers of news reports to news 'retailers' worldwide. It is in no way inconsistant to believe that civilians died in an Israeli bombing attack in Qana, AND that Hizb'Allah has turned much of the western media into their propaganda arm. If you want to be critical of VC, how about some substance- there's much evidence now piling up againt the MSM, what do you have?

I don't really think there is anything wrong with trying to get sympathy for civilians killed by Zionist terrorists.

You need to go read this, perhaps then you'll understand how it's people like you that get MORE civilians killed in the long run. Please do read it and give it some careful thought.
8.12.2006 2:41pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I'm a strong supporter of Israel and Zionism. Having said that, I think there's a pretty big difference between the two types of "staging" this and other posts have discussed.

If there is a bombing, and one side pretends -- through staged photos or otherwise -- that more people or different people (including but not limited to children) were killed or harmed than really were, that's an outrageous fraud. If the bodies shown were killed/injured somewhere else or by something else, that should be exposed and denounced.

If, on the other hand, a bombing (on either side) kills children, and somebody "stages" a photo by having an ambulance or other vehicle that really took the body away redo that action just a bit later, as if the reporter had been there the first time . . . That's not ideal but it doesn't strike me as a big deal because it's not creating a false impression of what happened in any significant way.

Now, folks supporting Israel can still (I believe rightly) argue that even if their attacks kill some innocents, there is a moral distinction between Israeli acts and those of Hezbollah. But the moral distinction is clearer if Israel and its supporters stress that such deaths were accidental and highly regrettable. The moral distinction is less clear, I believe, if our major reaction to pictures of dead children is to insist that it's outrageous that the photo showed what actually happened 10-20 minutes ago in a recreated scene.
8.12.2006 2:46pm
Humble Law Student, I do not understand your reference to "that article someone else posted that you parroted around as fact (I believe it was the one in teh Irish Times)". Please expand.
8.12.2006 2:52pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

Going off of memory, but I'm sure a few of the other battle hardened vets remember, it was the article by the self-described military expert at the Irish Times who claimed that rockets couldn't be fired from buildings.

Also, I seem to remember you parroting around the article from the former NYTimes writer who is now an anti-Isreali lunatic when he argued that Israel purposefully targets civilians and that Hezbollah doesn't hide within civilians. I could be wrong on this last one, but I'm pretty sure your "critical thinking" went out the window with this one as well.

I'm sure others can back me up on this as well.

The point is that criticial thinking and even cynicism can be good. However, when you apply them to the statement's of only one side, its not "rationalism", its complete bias.

I do by the way confess I am biased - but it irks others and myself when you claim the mantle of neutrality. Your statements and arguments betray you.
8.12.2006 3:07pm
Warsong (mail) (www):
Last night, I was startled to see Greenhat in a video montage 'lead in' for a CNN segment. I'm not unfamiliar with other men, exactly like him.

I've seen him in all the controversial images and videos revealed, thus far, and, I've stood toe-to-toe with men, just like him, who exhibit the same range of emotion when in the presence of, or inflicting horific death.

This was on projects in Syria and Algeria, where circumstances rendered them literally impotent, unless I was stupid enough to push them too far (I pushed, but, only 'so far'). We had discussions of the things they'd done in Battle, when battle was not what they were describing.

They bragged about killing children, and, the ways they killed them. The purpose was to illicit a single spark of fear in my eyes or bearing. I wasn't impressed. One on one, with no weapons at hand (except hands), I've never met one that scared me; disgusted me, turned my stomach, but, not scared, no matter how big he was. I've played their games, and, played games with their minds. Invariably, their only response is confusion.

They're brainwashed idiots who don't know how to react to someone who doesn't respond in the way they're taught to expect.

This man, Greenhat, is a cold blooded killer, and, it would not surprise me to learn that he deliberately killed those children as propaganda props (the visible trauma does not match the descibed cause of death). I'd like to be the one who killed him, just as much as I would have liked to kill the ones described above...some people just need killin'.

And, I run through the same emotional rollercoaster when confronted by any brainwashed idiot, especially Anti-semitic left wing Liberal idiots that spout programmed hatred (best described as "Libberish," or, Limousine Liberal gibberish).

To the 'person' who wrote the first post (won't grant him the courtesy of using his 'chosen' screen name): I suppose you believe that Hizb'allah raining Rockets on innocent Civilians is OK. In case you hadn't noticed, they're not 'fighting' the IDF, they're fighting civilians, on both sides. In a parlance you probably won't understand, "They're eating their own," as well.

Gordon Arthur DeSpain
(ex-King of the Punching Bag, at Gilley's, one of the real, original "Urban Cowboys"...trained in most weapons, and, most forms of combat)
8.12.2006 3:09pm
Once again: the object of journalism is to produce entertaining, inexpensive filler to go between the ads. Once we understand this, we can see that using the prepared story-line and ready-made photo opportunities presented by Hezbolla is simply good journalism.
8.12.2006 3:14pm
MnZ (mail):
Correct me if I am wrong. However, isn't this the same media that self-censored gruesome, inflammatory, unstaged images from 9/11? Now, they are showing gruesome, inflammatory, staged images.

Have media mores changed that much in under 5 years?
8.12.2006 3:16pm
Humble Law Student, I believe you have me confused with somebody else. I do not recall any of the matters you describe. Mudslinging is bad enought, but false mudslinging is even worse. Please, let's discuss the issues rather than engage in this petty nonsense.
8.12.2006 3:20pm
Tom952 (mail):
Lost in the reporting somewhere is the contrast between Israel targeting rocket launchers and Hizbollah hideouts that are unfortunately located (by Hizbollah) in civilian areas, while from day one Hisbollah has directed their Katyusha rocket attacks at civilian targets in Israel.
8.12.2006 3:21pm
Warsong (mail) (www):

"Lost in the reporting somewhere..."

No, it's lost from the minds of those who only know "Todays Talking Points," that they received in todays Email. It should be more accurately titled, "Spout this."
8.12.2006 3:50pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
"Lost in the reporting somewhere is the contrast between Israel targeting rocket launchers and Hizbollah hideouts that are unfortunately located (by Hizbollah) in civilian areas, while from day one Hizbollah has directed their Katyusha rocket attacks at civilian targets in Israel."

Let's do this again for you people. By the numbers, because I have No patience, and no time.
Here's a report from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs listing Hezbollah attacks since 2000.
And here's another article of the events prior to the 'unprovoked' Hezbollah attack.
And Tom952, follow the link above.
On another note, the Bookish-Nebbish/Cracker-illiterate mix on this site is fascinating. Now I understand the philosophical underpinnings of modern intellectual conservatism. It's the logic that the entire working class is as unintelligent as your fan base.
You have contempt for the people who listen to you. Straussian lite.
8.12.2006 3:58pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Dear Seth,

Sorry that we don't measure up to your intellectual standards. Perhaps you're just in the wrong neighborhood. We peasants are blessed that you deign to take a few moments of your precious time to educate us with links to your favorite foreign policy organization. And I won't hold it against them that they made a ridiculous error in their second paragraph. See if you can spot it.
8.12.2006 4:35pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
LGF has an article from an AP insider describing how the AP's video arm has a separate division that produces film clips tailored for middle east consumption only. It also claims that much of the video content that you see here in the US actually originates from the AP with the networks just adding voice-over narratives using their own "correspondents". All shocking to me if true. But LGF is a hate site right?

It is also shocking to me the blatant anti-semitism prevalent on this thread. Did Israel deserve to have 2 captured and 8 killed? This is more of a hate site than LGF as far as I can tell. (Full disclosure...I occasionally read their comment sections...I do not post there).
8.12.2006 5:12pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Apparently the consensus of those opposed to the Isreali incursion into Lebanon is that any photos are legitimate, even if faked or staged.

But what I don't appreciate is that these photos are "sold" as if they were reporting reality, whereas, it appears that a great number of those in Lebanon were staged by Hezzbollah, complete with bodies of kids used as props, empty ambulances lined up to rush off with sirens blaring, etc.

When journalists stoop to using staged photographs from staged photo-ops, the journalists are no more than propogandists for the party staging the shots. They are no longer reporting "news", but rather, what they would like the news to be.

Zombietimes has a good summary of the type of fraud that has gone one with this Israeli incursion.
8.12.2006 5:16pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
Who knows, maybe I'm missing something. Nobody's perfect.

July 13
Israeli planes strike Beirut for the first time, an escalation of the crisis that prompts fears of war with Syria. The US calls for restraint but reiterates Israel's right to self-defence. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, says western supporters of Israel should be "prosecuted" but Saudi Arabia blames "elements" within Lebanon for the violence.

July 12
Hizbullah guerrillas capture two Israeli soldiers during fighting close to the Lebanese-Israeli border. Israel describes Hizbullah's move as an "act of war", threatens to bomb Lebanon "back 20 years" and makes first air strikes in southern Lebanon. Kofi Annan calls for return of Israeli soldiers and criticises Israeli attack. Condoleezza Rice says Syria has "special responsibility" for the situation.

Tell me where the other report is wrong.
The mistake I noticed is in the first paragraph where it says "Hezbollah forces haven't killed any Israeli civilians for more than a decade." The number I've read (since 2000) is 6.
8.12.2006 5:19pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
The account I have read is roughly that HzB launched a rocket attack as a diversion and simultaneously a cross border raid that resulted in 2 captured/8 killed. But the Guardian timeline just describes the incident as "fighting". I haven't seen anyone claim that Israel started the hostilities or that its soldiers were inside Lebanon when attacked.
8.12.2006 5:36pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
The animus I detect behind much of the comments would put poor Mel Gibson to shame. More crocodile tears being shed for the innocents in Lebanon? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM?
8.12.2006 5:39pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
"I haven't seen anyone claim that Israel started the hostilities or that its soldiers were inside Lebanon when attacked."
There has been a heated debate on the internet about whether the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah that day were captured in Israel or in Lebanon, but it now seems pretty clear that they were seized in Israel. This is what the UN says, and even Hizbullah seems to have forgotten that they were supposed to have been found sneaking around the outskirts of the Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab. Now it simply states that "the Islamic resistance captured two Israeli soldiers at the border with occupied Palestine". Three other Israeli soldiers were killed by the militants. There is also some dispute about when, on July 12, Hizbullah first fired its rockets; but Unifil makes it clear that the firing took place at the same time as the raid - 9am. Its purpose seems to have been to create a diversion. No one was hit.

But there is no serious debate about why the two soldiers were captured: Hizbullah was seeking to exchange them for the 15 prisoners of war taken by the Israelis during the occupation of Lebanon and (in breach of article 118 of the third Geneva convention) never released. It seems clear that if Israel had handed over the prisoners, it would - without the spillage of any more blood - have retrieved its men and reduced the likelihood of further kidnappings. But the Israeli government refused to negotiate. Instead - well, we all know what happened instead. Almost 1,000 Lebanese and 33 Israeli civilians have been killed so far, and a million Lebanese displaced from their homes.

On July 12, in other words, Hizbullah fired the first shots. But that act of aggression was simply one instance in a long sequence of small incursions and attacks over the past six years by both sides. So why was the Israeli response so different from all that preceded it? The answer is that it was not a reaction to the events of that day. The assault had been planned for months.

...A "senior Israeli official" told the Washington Post that the raid by Hizbullah provided Israel with a "unique moment" for wiping out the organisation. The New Statesman's editor, John Kampfner, says he was told by more than one official source that the US government knew in advance of Israel's intention to take military action in Lebanon. The Bush administration told the British government.

Israel's assault, then, was premeditated: it was simply waiting for an appropriate excuse.
8.12.2006 5:56pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
Hmmmm. You may be right about the Lebanese prisoners. But who would Israel return them to? HzB? You have got to be kidding. And isn't Hzb also seeking the return of others held by Israel...such an infiltrator that killed Israelis in Israel?

Of course your curiosity is curiously unpiqued by the fact that HzB attacked on July 12, the very day that the G8 summit was due to address the matter of Iran's reprocessing of Uranium.

And of course Israel had a plan. During the Cold War there wasn't a day that we didn't have a planned for dealing with a Soviet attack.
8.12.2006 6:19pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
SE, mind revealing your feelings about Mel Gibson's anti-semitic remarks? OT, I know, but I get the definite feeling that there is cognitive dissonance at play here.
8.12.2006 6:28pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
"But who would Israel return them to? HzB? "
That's what they've done in the past.

Click the link. I didn't include everything.
8.12.2006 6:31pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

Here's one for starters. Speaking the Obvious posted that semi self-refuting article from about about the "hiding among civilians" myth.

What's the first thing you posted in response?

Gee, isn't it interesting how a dose of actual observation on the ground can change a debate? I had not considered the possibility that Hezbollah would avoid civilians; I had assumed that they would use this tactic. I was wrong -- as was just about everybody else here. Thanks for providing some actual information to illuminate our hot air, 'Speaking the Obvious'
Where's your "rationalism" and critical thinking?

Everyone is wrong because of "oberservations" from one article. However, whenever Prof. B or someone else posits some information in favor of Israel, suddenly, it must be doubted, criticized, etc. So, lets recap. Pro-Hezbollah news/propaganda = You treat as the Word of God. Pro-Isreali news/propaganda = extreme criticism.

That's why your calls for neutral analysis fall on deaf ears. Decrying bias while refusing to admit your own prevalent bias destroys credibility. Btw, I completely admit I am biased - as would probably most of the pro-Israeli posters here.
8.12.2006 6:33pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
BTW, I am biased. I am pretty much pro-Israel down the line. Especially, since the election of Hamas and the resumption of attacks on Israel since withdrawal from Gaza. Its perfectly clear that there is a desire for peace on only one side. Israel.

But my bias is pretty thin and would not include siding with Israel if they had initiated the current conflict, Mr. Edenbaum's confusion about the meaning of "premeditated" notwithstanding.
8.12.2006 6:43pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
My comments on Gibson are here.
Cognitive dissonance? None at all, but I'm used to idiots suggesting that there is.
I'd still like to see the dissolution of the German state; it should have happened in '45. Too bad.
8.12.2006 6:50pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
"but you might hate his father"...kicking the can back in time so to speak. Yet here you are, in my view, twisting context and words to attack Israel. A bit more sophisticated but Goebbels was clever too, no?
8.12.2006 7:01pm
Humble Law Student, I'm glad that you found something vaguely similar to your accusations, although your specifics were all wrong earlier.

I remind you that the article in question was never refuted; as far as I am concerned, the observations of the reporter remain useful evidence. There is other evidence, of course -- mountains of evidence, pointing in many different directions. I had made an assumption the Hezbollah was hiding among civilians and, when confronted with contrary evidence, I altered my position. Would you have me do otherwise? Would you refuse to alter your position when confronted with contrary evidence?

These are rhetorical questions; I really don't think it's necessary for you to answer them. Can we please get back on topic now?
8.12.2006 7:01pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
Correction: "but I might hate his father"...quoting Mr. Edenbaum.
8.12.2006 7:03pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
8.12.2006 7:20pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

One last thing, then sure we can get back the issues.

Here's the point, which I raise continually with you, that you refuse to address. You are very critical and skeptical of anything (or everything I can think of) that is pro-Israeli. Yet, you do NOT apply the same critical thinking and general method of analysis of pro-hezbollah information.

That article illustrates my point perfectly. You completely accepted the pro-Hezbollah propaganda, without questioning in any way its accuracy. Yet you constantly, criticism and express extreme skepticism towards information presented that is pro-Israeli.

This example is made more egregious because it was an article that should have elicited skepticism from any reasonable person - let along one like you who calls on cries for rationalism constantly.

You only call attention to your blatant double standard because of the strong positions you take. You constantly decry what others say, calling for rational thinking and critical analysis. Yet, conveniently, you only apply to one side.

So, to oversimply, the problem is this. "Pro-Hezbollah news/propaganda = You treat as the Word of God. Pro-Isreali news/propaganda = extreme criticism."
- So, please, either stop condemning others for their lack of rationalism and/or critical thinking or please acknolwedge that you either can't or have no desire to do so yourself.
- Btw, I like discussing issues with you, but I just can't get past your constant hypocrisy - especially since you put it out there so much.
8.12.2006 7:20pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
The bias of the media is towards soap opera, period.

If you're a terrorist organization, or anyway somebody who is into getting media bang for the buck above all, just stage events of interest to soap opera women.

That's all there is to it.

Why? There's no sustainable interest in hard news, so no way to support a news organization on hard news. They need an audience every day, news or no news, in order to sell them (audience is their product) to advertisters.

Soap opera women, about 40% of women, can be attracted every day, and are a big enough bloc to sustain a news organization.

Not a majority, but it's the best bloc available, so that's what edits every national debate, driving out everything else.

Terrorists simply hitch on.
8.12.2006 7:22pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
SE, I am neither Israeli nor Jewish. I am not making arguments about Israel's right to exist. You nailed it. Israel is there and there they will stay until pushed into the Mediterranean. I have been hearing about the troubles in the middle east since I became self-aware (50+ years). I and the whole world is sick of it. So to see someone like you excuse HzB killing and capturing Jews for the purpose of extracting prisoners from Israel is sickening. How about HzB disavowing war? Well, hell no! That is their reason for existence! Twisting words? Having a contingencey plan is a "premeditated" attack IS a twisted way to describe their response. Yes indeed.

Maybe you caught the debate between Chomsky and Dershowitz a few months back at Harvard? Two of the most brilliant Jews in America. One of the two is wrong. Chomsky got the worst of it in my opinion.

And will you be pleased when Israel is destroyed. Well, I guess so since racism is worst sin imaginable. Worse than murder.
8.12.2006 7:39pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

That was a great debate between Chomsky and Dershowitz, for those interested it can be acccessed here.
8.12.2006 7:42pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
Humble Law Student,
I included a quote from and IDF comander, on the same subject why don't you respond to that?
8.12.2006 7:46pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
"And will you be pleased when Israel is destroyed. Well, I guess so since racism is worst sin imaginable. Worse than murder."
More ignorance. More idiocy.
Read any one of the links I included. Read Uri Avnery. Don't assume you know what I'm saying... read what I'm saying. Read about the history of Hezbollah.

"...racism is worst sin imaginable. Worse than murder."

Again wow. You love to argue but refuse to learn.
8.12.2006 7:54pm
Ken Arromdee:
If, on the other hand, a bombing (on either side) kills children, and somebody "stages" a photo by having an ambulance or other vehicle that really took the body away redo that action just a bit later, as if the reporter had been there the first time . . . That's not ideal but it doesn't strike me as a big deal because it's not creating a false impression of what happened in any significant way.

... if you assume that this is the only fake in existence.

If Hezbollah is faking pictures this way, they're probably doing more fakes that just happen to be harder to catch--and which could be a lot more serious.
8.12.2006 7:56pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
Dang, that Edenbaum is too clever by half and doesn't respond to my arguments anyway. But here I stand "unbloodied and unbowed".
8.12.2006 8:01pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
what arguments?
You accuse me of something. Of what?
8.12.2006 8:14pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Seth Edenbaum,

I dont know what you are referring to.
8.12.2006 8:23pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The mistake I noticed is in the first paragraph where it says "Hezbollah forces haven't killed any Israeli civilians for more than a decade." The number I've read (since 2000) is 6.
So random attacks that kill Israeli soldiers are apparently not even worth noting. I wonder if Seth would have eagerly signed up to be on a Judenrat in Europe.
8.12.2006 8:25pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
Posted above but I'll do it here as well:
From War in Context
Nor, it seems, do IDF officers take seriously the more graphic defense of IAF targeting, as justified because Hezbollah uses human shields. Israel also co-locates many of its basing operations in cities and amongst the civilian population -- simply because of the ease of logistics operations that such co-locations necessitate. "The human shield argument just doesn't wash and we know it," an IDF commander says. "We don't expect Hezbollah to deploy in the open with a sign that says 'here we are.'
8.12.2006 8:29pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I included a quote from and IDF comander, on the same subject why don't you respond to that?
Leaving aside that the "quote" is from an anonymous person, not "an IDF commander," because the quote makes no sense at all. It doesn't say anything with any content.

""We don't expect Hezbollah to deploy in the open with a sign that says 'here we are.'" doesn't mean anything. Heck, I don't expect that either. But what on earth do our expectations have to do with anything? The only relevant issue is whether Hezbollah in fact uses human shields. If it does -- and this anonymous quote doesn't seem to deny that -- then what's your point? What's the point of the quote? Hezbollah is not criticized because it accidentally kills Israeli citizens when it engages in combat with the Israeli military.
8.12.2006 8:35pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Seth E,

The two statements by the IDF commander are seemingly contradictory - though not necessarily. Regardless, I'm not much for taking random quotes, without context from a site that I've never heard off and that doesn't sources its material. Further, even if accurate, thats one "IDF Commander" vs. the rest of the IDF that disagrees.

I can go find plenty of quotes from teh Druze in Lebanon that agree with the Israeli offensive and argue that Hezbollah does hide behind civilians, but that will hardly advance my case either.
8.12.2006 8:53pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

Let me add. I do appreciate you marshalling evidence of a sort to support your viewpoint. Nevertheless, one anonymous source, without context is hardly enough to change my opinion after the countless photos and various videos I have seen that run directly contrary to your narrative.
8.12.2006 8:58pm
Warsong (mail) (www):

"Racism," is a great sin, I agree, exceeded only by determined ignorance. One thing we need to define in this discusion is "The Arab Mind" (Raphael Patai), and, their concept of 'Truth and Reality.' To an Islamist (actually, a Muslim concept, paraphrasing Raphael Patai): Truth and Reality bear no relation. Reality is what actually happened, and, is unimportant. Truth is the spoken word, and, defines the reality you must consider and believe (I.O.W.'s, don't think. We'll tell you what to think).

It bears a striking resemblance to the 'Moonbats' concept of "Truthiness": something that never happened, but sounds good, therefore it becomes the accepted "Truth," which allows them to ignore what really happened.

The prisoner who qualifies as "longest held" is one (of two) that infiltrated into an Istraeli community (Haifa?) seeking to force their way into an Israeli Kindergarten, and, slaughter the children. They were thwarted by armed Guards. Seeking to hide from the guards, they broke into an apartment house, and, abducted a Man and his young daughter (5? 6?). The Mother was able to hide in some type of cubbyhole, with her baby.

They left the Apartment house seeking to take them back to Hizb'allah territory, but, were intercepted by Police and forced onto a rocky public Beach, where one was killed. When the remaining Terrorist realized he was trapped, he calmly executed the Father with a shot to the head, then, threw the little girl down on the rocks, smashed her head to an unrecognizable pulp with his Rifle Butt, and, surrendered.

Israel does not have the death penalty, even for such heinous crimes as this, so he knew that the only thing that would happen to him was a pleasant stay in a place where they would provide him with "three hots and a cot." And, plenty of time to sit around and describe his great feat to fellow prisoners, hereinafter referred to as 'wide-eyed admirers.'

Hmmmmmm? Y'know...I might consider trading him to Hizb'allah, but, I'd send him back with the "Family Jewels" (all of them) in a brown paper bag.
8.12.2006 8:58pm
JosephSlater (mail):

I agree that if Hezbollah is shown to be faking a picture in what I consider the less serious way ("restaging" an event that actually happened a bit earlier), that should raise everyone's guard that they could be faking in other ways -- possibly including the much more serious deception of attributing deaths to bombings that didn't cause those deaths.

But I would want to see some proof of the second before I thought this was a big issue. Believe me, I have no brief for the murderous theocrats of Hezbollah. Again, I'm proud Zionist. But I think it's counterproductive from the Zionost side if the main thing we say in response to a picture of a dead child that Israel unfortunately killed is that we're outraged that the picture was a restaging of events that actually did take place a bit earlier.
8.12.2006 8:59pm
Warsong (mail) (www):
I should mention, that in the description above, there was one more death. The Mother managed to crawl into a cubbyhole and hide from the Terrorists, while they kidnapped her husband and daughter. Trying to avoid detection, she covered her babies mouth, and, froze. What she never intended, happened: she held her hand over the babies mouth too long, and, smothered it.
8.12.2006 9:03pm
PeterII (mail):
But there is no serious debate about why the two soldiers were captured: Hizbullah was seeking to exchange them for the 15 prisoners of war taken by the
Israelis during the occupation of Lebanon and (in breach of article 118 of the third Geneva convention) never released. It seems clear that if Israel had
handed over the prisoners, it would - without the spillage of any more blood - have retrieved its men and reduced the likelihood of further kidnappings.
But the Israeli government refused to negotiate. Instead - well, we all know what happened instead. Almost 1,000 Lebanese and 33 Israeli civilians have
been killed so far, and a million Lebanese displaced from their homes.

The people held by Israel aren't prisoners of war but criminals fouhnd guilty by due process with no entitlement to protections under the laws of war.
Sneaking into another country in civilian clothing aiming to attack noncombatants and civilian infrastructure is a war crime plain and simple.
8.12.2006 9:09pm
Humble Law Student, you seem intent upon proving to the world that I am lying, hypocritical scum. I would much rather discuss political issues. If you'd like to address political issues, I'm happy to participate. But I simply will not be drawn into any kind of personal confrontation. If I write something that you disagree with, by all means present your counterarguments. But I will continue to ignore your personal baiting.
8.12.2006 9:14pm
anon252 (mail):
Seth Edenbaum,

I find it bizarre that you keep linking to a single post by some blogger I never heard of quoting an unnamed (and probably nonexistent) IDF "commander" (there is no such rank!) as stating that Hezbollah isn't really using any human shields. You seem like a smart guy, don't you have any critical faculties. Wouldn't you like to at least see a real name attached to that alleged quote? And even if one Israeli "commander" said it, does that make it right? Even if every other Israeli disagreed with his analysis?
8.12.2006 9:53pm
F. Rottles:
In David Kopel's article, the AP director of media relations said:

"The full sequence of AP photos and captions from the incident at Qana on July 30 reflect that reality."

Green Helmet had estimated that there were 210 casualties at the site of the collapsed building.

It has since been confirmed by the Red Cross that there were 28 dead and 35 survivors.

In Newsweek a woman told her first person account. She had put her two daughters to sleep on mattresses in the basement. She slept with them. The house collapsed. She was dug out by her family. Her two young daughters were also dugout, but were dead. Their corpses were found ONTOP of their mother. Newsweek reporter claimed to have spoken to other survivors.

But, by Green Helmet's estimate, there must have been another 147 survivors -- now unaccounted for. So the questions are raised:

1. On what did he base his original estimate of 210 casualties? For instance, did he have knowledge of more people at that place prior to the collapse of the building?

2. Where are the survivors of the house that had collapsed the previous night? How many were men of fighting age? And how come they had not recovered the bodies that Green Helmet rescued the following morning? The photos show that the children's bodies, for exmale, lay ontop of the rubble. The hands and clothes of the rescuers did not appear to be very dirty or dusty.

3. Where was Green Helmet's refrigeration truck the night before? Where there bodies in the truck prior to his arrival at Qana?

Qana is midway between Tyre and Ben Jublait, where heavy fighting has taken place. The Tyre area is rocket-launcher-central for the Hezbollah. The site of the collapsed house in Qana is at a strategic 5-road crossroads.
8.12.2006 9:57pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

Okay, sure then stop pretending you are all about "rational" analysis as if others aren't. My only point was to show that you hardly apply your rational thinking in an unbiased manner. I provided a great example, that you refuse to respond to. Stop the pretensions of neutrality and I'll stop calling you on it.
8.12.2006 10:06pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
It is certainly unfortunate that the site of an Israeli bomb or missile strike lacks large numbers of journalists.

So the thing will have to be restaged for those who arrive later.

If there is nothing wrong with restaging, what would be the problem in labeling it so on television? "What you are about to see is a re-enactment of what [Hezbollah wants you to think] happened in an Israeli missile strike."

If it's okay to restage, it ought to be unremarkable to mention it. I don't like to talk in absolutes, but this seems to be one. Absolutely no reason not to mention it.

I guess that brings up the question of why it isn't already being done.
8.12.2006 11:29pm
noahpraetorius (mail):
Correction: when I said that "racism was the worst crime imaginable" I was mocking Edenbaum's insistence that "Zionism is racism". Would not say nobody but not very many give a rat's behind whether Zionists are racists or not. Hell, Arabs (Jews too!) are the biggest bigots on the planet and given the history of the past 1000 years who could dispute it? Time is way past to get the fuck over it.
8.12.2006 11:30pm
disgusted (mail):
what muzzys really believe in!

Surah 116: The Pervert


And it came to pass that Muhammad was growing ever hornier and more depraved: In a dream it was revealed by Allah that he was to molest a young girl named Ayesha.
Drunk on strong wine, the Prophet looked to a follower named Khalil and announced, "Allah has said I am to have sex on this day with a child; the virgin daughter of my brother in law Abu."
"What?" asked a frowning Khalil, holding a wine bottle, taken back by the remark and turning to Muhammad.
"I am to know Abu's daughter Ayesha," declared Muhammad, a finger in the air, becoming visibly aroused at the thought having sex with her.
"She is but a little girl who plays with dolls; her womb does not yet weep, are you insane?" asked Khalil, knowing in his heart that the Prophet was little more than a pervert, thief, liar and murderer.
"Probably, but it is the will of Allah", Muhammad said to himself, staggering off to the hovel of Ayesha.
"What a twisted devil the Prophet is -- the will of Allah my ass, he's just an evil, depraved monster who lusts after the flesh," Khalil mumbled, putting the bottle to his parched lips.
An oblivious and uncaring Muhammad blundered down the street, weaving as he went, arriving at the hovel shortly thereafter.
Knocking on the door, Ayesha's mother Umm appeared.
"What do you want Prophet?" she asked, staring at the debauched Muhammad, clad in a filthy tan robe covered in dust and wine stains, a lone flea crawling upon his moustache near his nostrils.
"Bismillah, I am here to take your daughter Ayesha in bed," the Prophet answered, slurring his words.
"You licentious beast!" exclaimed the girl's mother, "She is only six years old, if it is indeed the will of Allah, take me instead to satisfy your wanton depravity!"
"Taking you is not the will of Allah," retorted Muhammad, the scent of wine heavy on his foul breath, "You are a wrinkled and faded flower without comeliness; be gone with your favours; I could never get a hard on at the likes of you."
Enraged by her rebuff, Muhammad smote her upon the face with a backhand.
"That's what one gets for disobeying the will of Allah," declared Muhammad, his words punctuated by a loud belch, "Take me to Ayesha, that I may know her on this day!"
Obeying, Umm reluctantly led Muhammad to the room of Ayesha, opening the door.
"This perverted Prophet here wants to screw you," announced Umm with a frown, Muhammad ogling the virgin child in double vision.
"But you knew my cousin Abdullah, younger brother of Ahmed not an hour ago," replied a shocked Ayesha, dropping her doll, revolted by the sight of the filthy, lascivious paedophile Muhammad.
"Be that as it may, Allah has said I will also know you," said Muhammad with an expectant smile, the gleam of lust in his eyes.
"Why me?" asked Ayesha, looking to the Prophet with trepidation.
"Because Allah has said it and I am horny, let us lay down, that I may know you," ordered Muhammad as he removed his robe, Ayesha's mother shaking her head in helpless disgust and closing the door.
8.13.2006 12:25am
Bleepless (mail):
MnZ from 2:15, supra:

The media censored film of the 9/11 victims hitting the ground because they did not want anybody to get angry at their heroes, Muslim terrorists. This is the same reason they kiss Green Helmet Guy's butt, with the extra added fillip of imaginary Israeli war crimes.
8.13.2006 12:26am
anon252 (mail):
Seth, you don't think the fact that Mr. Perry, who quoted an unnamed Israeli "commander", is editor of something called the "Palestine Report" actually adds to his credibility in citing an unnamed Israeli source for a quote defamatory to Israel, do you?
8.13.2006 12:56am
Humble Law Student (mail):

Wow, Seth. So your idea of a credible source only requires a few blurbs from journalists making general statements about a blog that probably came from who knows when?

I looked up Mark Perry's bio, here it is

Mark Perry is co-director of the Conflicts Forum, a Beirut-based nongovernmental organization that has, over the past three years, put former senior American and British policy-makers and intelligence officials in talks with Hezbollah and other militant political Islamic groups in Lebanon. He formerly worked as an adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and as a reporter for Newsday.

Very interesting.
8.13.2006 1:05am
Tom952 (mail):

I read your links, but The Guardian article is not convincing, partly because it is too narrow.

Left out is consideration that Hezbollah's (and Iran's) stated goal is the destruction of Israel. This is a big omission. Such an open statement of aggressive intent would provoke a prudent government to make preparations, so I am not surprised that Israel developed detailed plans to respond to the possible courses of aggression Hezbollah and Iran may take to achieve their goal. The Guardian reveals their tilt by labeling Israel's defense preparations as "premeditated".

The assertion that the over flights of the border justify Hezbollah's subsequent action is weak. I expect the U.S. would certainly keep an eye on Mexico (for example) if it had similarly pledged the destruction of Texas, and I would not be surprised if a few sonic booms were involved during the surveillance flights. It sounds like the author is imtimating that Hezbollah's actions were justified by the overflights and sonic booms (violating his own "proportionate response" rule...).

The argument for "Proportionate Response" by IDF assumes a set of rules that do not exist in war. It isn't like a football game where a player has a duty to respond to a foul with restraint. When one initiates war with a nation, the possible outcomes include one where you no longer exist and the winner keeps your former lands.

Also omitted is mention of the hundreds of rocket attacks aimed at Haifa and other towns and small settlements in northern Israel since the eruption of hostilities. This can only be a manifestation of Hezbollah's pledge to destroy Israel and kill all the jews, and as such it undermines any restraint Israel might exercise in their response. They are going to go full throttle to stop Hezbollah any way they can when their citizens are being rocketed.

The overwhelming issue is the pledge by Iran and Syria to wipe Israel off the map. There is not going to be peace until they relinquish that goal, and they leave Israel no room to negotiate.
8.13.2006 1:26am
Tom952, if you are correct in your assertion that The overwhelming issue is the pledge by Iran and Syria to wipe Israel off the map. There is not going to be peace until they relinquish that goal

then isn't Israel wasting its time attacking Lebanon?

That's a rhetorical question. But Israel does not have the military capability to defeat both Syria and Iran, so it should be obvious that a policy of confrontation with Iran won't work. It seems to me that Israel's best strategic response to Iran is to have a happy, prosperous Palestine right next door. The Iranians wouldn't want to nuke Israel if the fallout would wipe out Palestine.
8.13.2006 2:05am
David M. Nieporent (www):
The Iranians wouldn't want to nuke Israel if the fallout would wipe out Palestine.
You've got to love the naivete. It's cute. Or it would be, if it weren't for the damaging policy it could lead to if people with actual power were infected by it. Of course they would. You think they care about Palestinians? No; they hate Israel. They couldn't care less about Palestinians. The latter are a p.r. excuse for the West, because it sounds better than saying that they want to kill Jews over dirt.
8.13.2006 3:05am
David, your cynical view of Iranian views is unsubstantiated by any evidence I am aware of. If you have some evidence that Iran would not scruple to kill Palestinians, please present it.
8.13.2006 11:59am
Humble Law Student (mail):

Your naive view of Iranian views is unsubstantiated by any evidence I am aware of. If you have some evidence that Iran would scruple to kill Palestinians, please present it.
8.13.2006 12:19pm
OK, here are some quotes from Mr. Ahmadinejad, President of Iran:

We are saying that if the Holocaust occurred, then Europe must draw the consequences and that it is not Palestine that should pay the price for it.

Five million Palestinians have not had a home for 60 years. It is amazing really: You have been paying reparations for the Holocaust for 60 years and will have to keep paying up for another 100 years. Why then is the fate of the Palestinians no issue here?

I have no doubt that the new movement taking place in our dear Palestine is a spiritual movement which is spanning the entire Islamic world and which will soon remove this stain of disgrace from the Islamic world.

[The UN Security Council lacks courage to condemn Israel's attacks on the Lebanese and Palestinians, the head of the world's main Islamic bloc said Thursday]

Why does the Palestinian nation have to be suppressed and have its land occupied?

Believe that Palestine will be freed soon.

Iran has previously said it will give money to the Palestinian Authority to make up for the withdrawal of donations by Western nations who object to Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence. But no figure has been published.

They destroy Palestinian families and expect nobody to object to them.

There you are. Where's yours?
8.13.2006 1:02pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Nothing in those quotes indicates that Ahmadinejad would give a second's thought to the Palestinians as anything more than a tool to use against Israel.

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognised these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognise more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice...and if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.
Hitler, Speech in Munich (12 April 1922)

Hitler never bothered with the real precepts of Christianity. He only used it as a tool to further his goal of eradicating the Jews as is Ahmadinejad today. The thrust of your quotes from Ahmadinejad parallel quite nicely to this except from Hitler.
8.13.2006 1:15pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Further point, there is little in your quotes or the generally available evidence that indicates that Iran (or the Arab countries for that matter) view the Palestinians as anything else than a tool and sometimes a proxy in their fight against Israel.

If it weren't for the fact that it was Israel the Palestinians were arrayed against, Ahmadinejad wouldnt care about the Palestinians at all.

For example, how much do Arab governments actually protest the oppression of ethnic groups within other Arab countries, compared to their codemnation of Israel? More pointedly, how much has Ahmadinejad condemned such oppression in other Arab nations compared to Israel?
8.13.2006 1:23pm
Well, HLS, you're welcome to your own interpretation, but you asked for evidence contradicting your claim that Iran doesn't give a fig about the Palestinians, and I presented it. Your dismissal of that evidence is a matter of personal choice.
8.13.2006 1:53pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

Yes, it is personal choice. But, personal choice based upon context and observing the characters involved. Your personal choice seems to naively accept the words of a rather disturbing political figure - which personal choice is more plausible?
8.13.2006 3:03pm
Seth Edenbaum (mail) (www):
"Yes, it is personal choice. But, personal choice based upon context and observing the characters involved."

Ever been to Iran? Ever talked to an Iranian, Ever seen a film by Kiarostami? M. Makhmalbaf? By his daughter Samira? What was "Savak?" Ever spoken to or read...
And on and on.
You defend freedom, but you refuse to work for it. Not all humility is false, but yours is. "In dreams begin responsibilities" but you're interested in one and not the other. Lawkid, you should travel more. Don't let unimaginative law professors do it for you.


(it's hard to break away. Sometimes it's fun being a troll.)
8.13.2006 3:32pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Humble law student,

We must give Erasmussimo the benefit of the doubt, as we must give Ahmadinejad the benefit of the doubt when he says -- according to Mike Wallace -- that he has no quarrel with Jews, he just wants to wipe Israel off the map. See, he's not anti-Semitic; he just wants to destroy the Jewish state. We must believe that wiping Israel off the map is has no basis in anti-Semitism. And once you believe that, virtually everything else comes easy.
8.13.2006 4:22pm
wack-a-mole (mail):
Ahmadinejad has no power over foreign policy.
It doesn't matter what he says. Khamenei is the man in charge.
8.13.2006 4:33pm
Warsong (mail) (www):
Seth Edenbaum,

Quite a nice riposte, that, I agree with you. It would seem that few here understand that Ahmedinijad is Persian, not Arab, with a generally abiding hatred for those of other races. He not only condones oppression of "lesser races" (i.e. - Iranian Jews, Kurds, etc.) he especially condones attacking and oppressing those whom he perceives as enemies of Iran. The Palestinians have never been known, to my kmowledge, to have any affinity for Iran, nor, espoused any great brotherly fondness for those they consider to be apostate (Persians of any stripe).

During the Iraq/Iran 'Gulf War,' he was one of those recruiting children to become martyrs, pumping them up with Hashish and Opium and marching them into the Guns of Iraqi's, so that artillery spotters could plot Targets for their Tanks, Mortar and Rocket Crews. These were preferably 'not' Persian, but, those they considered to be of lesser races, or, religious sects. The only quality required was religious fervor.
8.13.2006 4:41pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Seth Edenbaum,

Sorry to break it to you, but I actually DO have experience. I have spent some time with an NGO in Iraq. During that time, I actually met a fair number of Iranians. While, my purpose in Iraq wasn't to discover their thoughts on their country or their regime, it did come up.

8.13.2006 8:37pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Oh, and by the way, as I mentioned above, I have worked for it.

Since we comparing "size" what have you done to in your words to "defend freedom" aside from your snarky and ill-informed comments.
8.13.2006 8:40pm
bains (mail):

Some commenters on Prof. Bernstein's posts have raised the argument "who cares about staging; all the matter is that the Israelis killed the children." That argument is wrong on two levels...

No, its wrong on three levels and the not mentioned third is the worst. Staging a photo in any story displays an utter disregard for honest reporting. If a photographer is willing to set forth photographic falsehoods, what else will they lie about? "Oh, but what about the senseless killing of children undisputedly displayed in the photos," wallow some. WHAT? If the photo's already has been proven to be a lie, why in the world do you expect me to think the narrative about that photo is accurate? That another buys into the narrative, even when presented with incontrovertible evidence of photographic manipulation, exposes a credulity worthy of the utmost distain.

It's as if someone admits to photoshopping Karl Rove into a Hieronymous Bosch painting and still maintains that its proof that Rove bites people's heads off.
8.14.2006 1:06am