....LMB: "Garrick 8-10"....

August 10, 2002

New email report from Garrick, in the West Bank town of Qalqilia. Among other things, he writes about Israeli soldiers using Palestinians as "human shields" (well, perhaps more accurately, "involuntary negotiators"), a practice I heard about during the massive invasion of Jenin earlier in the year. Basically, when attempting to confront or capture Palestinian #1, Israeli soldiers threaten Palestinian #2 into going into #1's house or wherever and bring him out. If #1 was indeed dangerous, #2 could be killed. More likely, #1 reacts more favorably to #2 than he would to Israelis with rifles at the ready, and possibly #1 comes out peacefully.

While that may sound like a better situation than Israelis bursting in and causing violence, in Garrick's tale 1) the soldiers threatened to demolish #2's house if he didn't act as their representative, and 2) once #1 came out peacefully, the soldiers shot him.

Garrick's report reminded me of a previous article I'd written about that term back in the 1990s about "human shields." Garrick's report refers to the "forced point-man" version of human shields, and mine referred to a political spin used to describe bombing deaths.

During the US/NATO war on Yugoslavia/Serbia, the US crafted the devious "human shield" story. It would go something like this:

1) US/NATO planes bomb what appears to be a civilian area and kill innocent civilians. This makes their army look negligent at best.
2) US/NATO, without supplying evidence to back up their claims, states that the area was not a civilian area, but a "legitimate military target."
3) US/NATO, without supplying evidence to back up their claims, states that if any civilians were killed in the bombing attack, that they must have been put there by enemy forces as "human shields."
4) US/NATO now appear to be victims of an unjust PR ploy, while the enemy is both guilty of deception and responsible for the massacre.

If you can set your morals aside, this plan is a brilliant propaganda manuever. The US/NATO have somehow managed to not only dodge the appearance of incompetence, but to make their enemies look even more monstrous than before.

Anyhow, the story I wrote about this can be found here, second article down. It's about how this "human shield" theory played out during a bombing raid gone wrong in the town of Korisa.

Posted by Jake at 10:48 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

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