Bloggers take Center Stage
The word “blog” has become
a familiar part of our vocabulary. It is an abbreviated form of weblog, an evolving type of website on which “bloggers”
express their views on everything from food to politics. Some are frivolous, others blatantly contain misinformation and yet
others are plainly hoaxes. On the other hand, there are many serious blogs and
web sites containing important and valuable information, which stimulate serious discussion among opinion makers.
In fact bloggers can no longer be
ignored. They have become the latest trend in journalism while gaining increasing credibility and penetrating the preserves
of the mainstream news media. In the USA they even join poiticos on campaign trips and in many cases they have driven the
media to investigate matters, which would otherwise have gone unnoticed. The definition of communication “media”
must now add “bloggers” to the press, radio and television. All have a profound influence on our lives
With the focus of world attention
on the Middle East conflict, Bloggers have raised pertinent and very serious questions about the accuracy of mainstream media
reports on the Qana tragedy. They have even produced credible evidence suggesting that the scenes we have witnessed on TV
were skillfully staged.
At a press conference, IAF chief
of staff General Amir Eshel said there had been three air strikes on Qana on June 30. Only the first strike, which occurred
at 01.00 hit the building in which the civilians were staying; the other two bombs hit areas at least 400 meters away. He
added that foreign press statements reported that the building did not collapse until about 08.00 creating an unexplained
gap of about seven hours.
With the increasing credibility of
bloggers, allegations raised by them that Hizbullah may have staged the Kana tragedy on June 30, cannot be ignored. Bloggers
have suggested that this time delay gives rise to several theories about the ultimate cause of the collapse. Was it perhaps
due to explosives stored in the building?
It also raises the question why the
militants left the building and allowed only weaker adults and children to remain.
The IAF chief’s statement has
been confirmed by the Israelinsider blog, which wrote that Brent Sadler of CNN reported that the Israeli ordnance did not
even hit the building but landed "20 or 30 meters" from the structure, that the roof of the building was intact and that journalist
Ben Wedeman of CNN noted that there was a large crater next to the building, but observed that the building appeared not to
have collapsed as a result of the Israeli strike.
It questions “Why would the
civilians who had supposedly taken shelter in the basement of the building not leave after the post-midnight attack? They
just went back to sleep and had the bad luck to wait for the building to collapse in the morning?
National Public Radio's correspondent
reported that residents of that building had left and the victims were non-residents who chose to shelter in the building
What we do know is that sometime
after dawn a call went out to journalists and rescue workers to come to the scene. And come they did, in droves.
Lebanese rescue teams did not start
evacuating the building until the morning and only after the camera crews came. The absence of a real rescue effort was explained
by saying that equipment was lacking. There were no scenes of live or injured people being extracted.
The blog cited a CNN report that
the victims had died in their sleep. It seemed highly improbable, the piece asserted, that people could have slept "through
thunderous Israeli air attacks. There was little blood, on the victims CNN's Wedeman noted.
The blog also speculates that the
setting was perfect for a propaganda scoop. Ten years ago, Qana was the focus of world condemnation of an errant Israeli shell
that hit a civilian compound. Now it was used as a primary site for launching more than 150 rockets against Israel, thus drawing
an Israel air force attack. Just as the Israeli bombing of Qana in 1996 brought a premature end to Operation "Grapes of Wrath,"
so too, they figured, Qana II could damage Israel.
The blog suggests that the scenario
would be a setup in which the time between the initial Israeli bombing near the building and morning reports of its collapse
would be used to "plant" bodies killed in previous fighting, (reports in previous days indicated that nearby Tyre was used
as a temporary morgue), place them in the basement and then engineer a "controlled demolition" to fake another Israeli attack.
Adding substance to the above theories,
bloggers point to an event that should have prompted investigative reporting, but which has hardly been mentioned in mainstream
media. An AFP dispatch reported that almost immediately after the Qana disaster, Hezbollah supporters hung a pre-prepared
30 feet (3 storeys high) banner picture of Condoleezza Rice bearing the legend in Arabic: "The massacre of children in Qana
2, is the gift of Rice”.
(http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/060730/photos_wl_me_afp/9034cf170a188a04a5e80bd48812ca98). The date and time of the dispatch (AFP/Ramzi Haidar) AFP - Sun Jul 30, 2:36 PM ET are highly significant.
On his web site, Stephen Pollard
queries how the Hizbollah was able to produce this huge poster so quickly – a question any serious, even junior, journalist,
anxious to discover the truth, should ask. (http://www.stephenpollard.net/002754.html)
A professional poster maker advised
Pollard that the 30-foot banner could only have been prepared in advance of the Qana tragedy, leading to serious questions
about whether the entire event was staged. The poster-maker added that just putting that large picture together would be an
all day affair for most print houses even with a grand format printer. In addition time would be required to transport it
and the cost would be in the thousands. Pollard concedes that this may be a red herring. But given Hezbollah's media savvy,
and their contempt for human life, he says it's far from impossible that they staged the entire thing.
The EU Referendum blog, which discuss
issues, related to the UK's position in Europe and the world, posted a very disturbing page on July 30, containing distressing
photos, which it claims, were posed in order to maximize shock value. In the
article, entitled "Milking It?" the blog presented a sequence of eight photographs taken by Reuters and AP showing the same
rescue worker repeatedly removing the same baby from the destroyed building over a period of several hours
The blog calls the main actor “Green
Helmet” because of his olive green hard hat. In some pictures he has a radio in his jacket pocket and his hands are
bare. In others the Radio is absent and he is wearing gloves. The several shots are clearly posed.
The following day, the site posted
another very disturbing page about “Green Helmet” photographed with a dead child, which appeared in differing
evidently artificial poses in newspapers around the world. Claiming that
this man was a poseur the blog said “If he had been a genuine rescue worker, he would deserve a medal”.
A Day Later
The same man is photographed a day
later watching while a bulldozer clears rubble of a building in Sreefa, 30km south east of Tyre.
Ten Years Earlier
The blog then showed the same, though
younger man at the center of action in Qana in April 1996 “in his now classic pose of handling a victim of an Israeli
Whether or not it is eventually proved
that there is substance to the queries that have been raised, Kudos are due to the blogging generation for taking a concerned
interest in the world around them and for pointing the way back to in-depth investigative reporting