Author Topic: BBC  (Read 15086 times)


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« on: June 20, 2010, 11:57:30 AM »
From: Terry Gallogly
To: pscnorth@yahoogroup
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 8:43 AM
Subject: [pscnorth] Please Read If Anyone would like to
add their name to this letter to the BBC, Please get in touch with me
soon as poss

BBC Complaints

PO Box 1922


G2 3WT


Dear Sir or Madam:

Re:      Complaint re BBC’s Coverage of Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla

We, the undersigned, wish to submit a complaint in respect of the BBC’s
coverage of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and the
cold-blooded murder of at least 9 activists on the Mavi Marmara [MM] on
the morning of 31st May 2010.

The BBC’s coverage of Israel’s attack on the MM was even worse than its
biased and selective coverage of Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2008/9. 
Throughout its coverage of the attack, BBC News has acted as little more
than an extension of Israel’s PR offensive.  In particular:

For example, in its first response to the murders on the MM, and repeated
throughout the day, the BBC’s correspondent on  BBC News 24 stated

“Well clearly when you've got as many as 600 people on board these
ships at night in the high seas, it is a very very difficult situation and you
can imagine a rather chaotic situation. Of course the Israeli military is
very well experienced at dealing with crowd control. But certainly you've
got live fire being fired as well as teargas canisters which is what is being
reported was fired then that is a very dangerous situation in a crowded

If we deconstruct this apologia, there are certain obvious assumptions
being made, as well as equally obvious questions unasked:

a.       If this is such a ‘very very difficult situation’ on a ship at night in
international waters, not merely the ‘high seas’ then it begs the question
‘why Israel didn’t board the ship in day light’.  But if, as is clearly the case
here, that the BBC anchorman assumed that Israel had a right to do what
it did to enforce its illegal siege, then attacking the ship and the activists
on the MM at night would ensure that they are bewildered.  It would also
prevent what is happening being witnessed by the outside world.

b.      It is true that the Israeli military is ‘very well experienced with crowd
control.’  That though is part of the problem.  On the same day as the MM
murders, 31st May, a Jewish art student from the United States, Emily
Henochowicz ‘lost an eye’ at a protest in Jerusalem.  In fact she didn’t ‘
lose’ her eye, it was destroyed by a tear gas cannister fired directly at
her. news/article/ 2010/06/03/ 2739415/us- jewish-student-
loses-eye- at-roadblock- protest  The fact that your reporter thought that
such tactics are an asset suggests he might consider an alternative

c.       The BBC repeatedly showed throughout coverage of the affair a
video of masked and armed Israeli navy personnel being attacked by
activists on the MM, with one of them being thrown to a lower deck.  At no
time did the BBC give any indication of the provenance of this video still
less give it any context.

1.                  As has since become clear, the MM was fired upon before
being boarded and there is strong evidence that two people had already
been killed by shots fired directly from the helicopter before the descent
of navy personnel.  This would suggest that there was a plan to provoke a
confrontation as it cannot seriously be expected that activists would do
nothing to resist the boarders after shots had already been fired killing
people.  This evidence, e.g. from the world famous Swedish novelist
Henning Mankell 2010/jun/
02/gaza-flotilla -raid-gunfire- ship-blood has of course been ignored by
the BBC, as have the reports of activists being beaten up and assaulted
after having been detained.  Of course if you believe the Israeli military can
do no wrong, then this is quite logical.

2.                  The BBC, quite disgracefully, not only used an Israeli PR film
without mentioning its source, but it failed, at any time, to inform viewers
that alternative footage from the human rights activists was not available
because Israel took especial care to confiscate all phones and cameras. 
The fact that the BBC did not think this evidence was relevant speaks
volumes as to the BBC’s complicity in justifying the attack on the flotilla. 

3.                  We are disgusted that the BBC saw fit to use, without
comment, Israeli propaganda videos, whilst failing to even mention the
confiscation of evidence to the contrary by the Israeli state. Any news
organisation with an ounce of principle or integrity would have refused to
use a tainted Israeli film unless all film from both sides, was used.

4.                  The BBC has also failed to comment on the fact that mobile
phones, cameras and other possessions of the activists on board the
flotilla has not been returned to its owners and the State of Israel has
effectively engaged in larceny and theft.  This is in addition to the theft of
individual personal items of those detained by navy personnel.

5.                  The BBC repeatedly referred, in its hostile questioning of
returning activists, to the fact that they had ‘provoked’ the attack on
them.  One wonders whether a householder with valuable possessions in
his/her house would also be accused of ‘provocation’?  It is no longer
fashionable to label as ‘provocative’ women who are raped, why then is it
acceptable to describe human rights and aid workers as ‘provocative’ for
having breached an illegal blockade?

6.                  The BBC continues to use the launching of rockets from
Gaza into Israel as some kind of excuse for Israel’s collective punishment
of Gaza’s civilian population.  In fact the original reason was the election
of Hamas but we wouldn’t expect consistency from the BBC, still less any
memory of the past.  However, if you are going to have recourse to this
Israeli pretext for attempted genocide, it is strange that you keep silent
about the fact that in the past 7 years, such ‘rockets’ have killed 20
Israelis compared to the death of some 7,000 inhabitants of Gaza from
Israel’s target munitions.  Even the  murder of 5 Gazans in a bombing raid
in the week of the attack on the flotilla was not deemed worthy of

Perhaps the BBC might clarify whether it is official policy that the death
of a Palestinian is not considered as newsworthy as that of an Israeli Jew
since you have repeatedly demonstrated that Israeli bombing raids and
firing of rockets is not something worthy of mention. 

7.                  The BBC has failed to raise or emphasise, in its numerous
interviews with Mark Regev, Israel’s PR spokesman, that Israel’s attack
on the flotilla was an act of piracy and in complete defiance of
international law.

8.                  The BBC has failed to raise with Israeli spokespersons why,
if Israel’s justification for the murder of at least 9 activists was
self-defence, there is any objection to an independent international
inquiry.  It would seem an obvious question since what has Israel got to
lose if it is telling the truth?

There is increasing proof that Israel is resorting to crude forgeries in the
videos of the attack.  For example it has admitted it cannot substantiate a
voice, purportedly from the MM on the morning of 31st May, telling the
Israelis to ‘go back to Auschwitz’.  Perhaps this is not newsworthy?   Or
maybe the BBC might consider the spoof racist video put out by Israeli
civil servants? 2010/jun/ 06/israel-
youtube-gaza- flotilla  Or is forgery by the Israeli government’s PR chiefs
also not worthy of mention?

9.                  Hurriyet, the main Turkish daily, has printed photographs
from recovered memory cards showing that, even as activists on the MM
were under attack, they were medically treating injured Israeli attackers. 
Why is this also considered irrelevant or is it a case that it contradicts
the message that Israel and the BBC wanted to get across?  It is of
course one more example of why the BBC’s coverage was slanted and

10.              At least 3 of those who died on the MM could have been
saved, but were allowed to bleed to death by Israel.  This has not been
covered by the BBC, certainly not in any consistent ways.  This itself is a
war crime, as is an attack on unarmed civilians.  Again the BBC’s
aggressive interviewers (aggressive when questioning for example Sarah
Colborne of PSC) don’t raise this when confronted with Israeli

11.              About 7 years ago, the government of Ariel Sharon threatened
to cut off relations with the BBC unless the latter changed its coverage. 
Reporters like Olga Guerin were moved or silenced.  The BBC, instead of
defending its impartiality,  caved in on a number of issues after the BBC
were barred from Ariel Sharon’s press conference in London. 2005/mar/ 12/israel. broadcasting
(BBC Says Sorry to Israel, 12.3.05.,
2004/apr/ 04/israel. foreignpolicy, Israeli envoy lashes out at British Left,
BBC appoints Middle East tsar, 11.11.03., 2003/nov/ 11/bbc.televisio n.

We saw the fruits of the BBC’s capitulation in the obscenity of the BBC
refusing to broadcast a Disaster Emergency Committee Appeal for the
people of Gaza in January 2009, since the whole thrust of the BBC’s
coverage had been in support of the immiseration of the people of the

The BBC has continually covered the siege of Gaza from the viewpoint of
Israel rather than its inhabitants.  ‘Terrorism’ and Hamas rather than
freedom and democracy for Gazans have been the staple of BBC
coverage.  Not once has the BBC given any context, e.g. the election of
2006 where Hamas received the most support or indeed Israel’s role in
the creation of Hamas.  Still less has the BBC referred to the fact that
Gaza has been occupied for 43 years.  The BBC have preferred the
cartoon caricature version of Hamas, as supplied by Israel’s propaganda
outlets, rather than looking at the repeated indications that Hamas would
be more than willing to accept a genuine two-state solution.  Hamas sets
out conditions for peace 2006/feb/ 08/israel1

The BBC regularly accepts, without contradiction, Israel’s claim to be the
‘only democracy in the Middle East.’  It is strange then that it has failed to
cover the situation of Haneen Zoabi, a secular Arab woman and Knesset
member who has been subject to threats, intimidation and physical
attacks by fellow MKs and whose parliamentary immunity has been rem
oved by fellow Knesset members for having dared to be a passenger on
the MM.  Indeed she has been assigned personal security because of
threats from fellow Knesset members.  Naturally the BBC has refrained
from any coverage of Israel’s ‘democratic’ treatment of Arab
representatives like Ms Zoabi.

One does however wonder whether, if the same treatment were meted
out to the Jewish representative in Iran’s Majilis, the BBC would remain
silent.  Needless to say the racist anti-Turkish demonstration on 1st June
outside the Turkish Embassy in Israel was not covered by the BBC. 

We have no doubt that if Iran or North Korea had attacked a ship flying
another country’s flag in international waters, the BBC would not have
been so willing to buy into their farrago of lies and deceit.  One suspects
the BBC would have had something to say if the above countries had
refused an international inquiry, preferring to conduct their own
investigation themselves.  On the grounds of ‘security’ of course. 

We trust you  now understand why the BBC’s coverage of the attack on
the Gaza Freedom Flotilla is a classic example of what is known as double
standards.  We look forward to your assurances that the whole thrust of
BBC coverage will begin to change in the future and that you will:

a.       Not merely be content to be an echo chamber for Israel’s

b.      That your reporters will take the trouble to acquaint themselves with
some background, e.g. repeated Israeli rejections of anything that might
lead to a peaceful solution, e.g. the Riyadh Accords.

Yours faithfully,