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The media and Gaza

‘The press wanted to be used’

Published Dec 4, 2010 10:42 AM

WW presents here the fourth installment of “The media and Gaza,” a chapter from an upcoming book on the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people of Gaza who are fighting for self-determination.

What has [the military-industrial-media complex] meant for reporting?

[Norman Solomon wrote in “War Made Easy”] “By the time of the 1991 Gulf War, retired colonels, generals and admirals had become mainstays in network TV studios during wartime. Language such as ‘collateral damage’ flowed effortlessly between journalists and military men who shared perspectives on the occasionally mentioned and even more rarely seen civilians killed by U.S. firepower.”

In Gulf War ‘the press wanted to be used’

Solomon continued: “News coverage of the Gulf War in the U.S. media was sufficiently laudatory to the warmakers in Washington that a former assistant secretary of state, Hodding Carter, remarked (C-Span, 2/23/91): ‘If I were the government, I’d be paying the press for the kind of coverage it is getting right now.’”

A media insider who covered the 1991 Gulf War for the New York Times later wrote, “The notion that the press was used in the war is incorrect. The press wanted to be used. It saw itself as part of the war effort.” (“War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” Chris Hedges, Anchor Press, 2003)

The corporate media also see themselves as “part of the war effort” that Israel is waging against Gaza.

Bombing Gaza:  ‘sweet deal’ for arms makers and media

Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate at the World Policy Institute and co-author of the report “U.S. Military Assistance and Arms Transfers to Israel,” said in an interview: “So you have maybe 10 weapons corporations in this country that have a stake in — essentially in Israel using its military arsenal so that it can be replenished again.” (Democracy Now, Pacifica Radio, July 21, 2006)

The Council for a Livable World Education Fund says most U.S. aid is for the military, while 90 percent of all U.S. foreign aid goes to the Middle East. Like the oil companies, the arms makers are dependent on Middle East business for their huge profits.

Israel is the largest recipient of this aid, at $3 billion yearly.

Egypt ($2 billion a year) is the second-largest recipient, with Saudi Arabia not far behind. These Arab regimes are hated by their own people because they are U.S. clients. They are as unstable as a house of cards and the Pentagon lives in constant fear that they will be overthrown. At the same time, U.S. arms makers can’t resist “dumping” weaponry on oil-rich Arab client regimes, obliging them to use their petrodollars to buy overpriced U.S. weaponry. For example, in the 1980s, Saudi Arabia paid $6 billion for Boeing AWAC spy planes, despite the restriction that they be flown only by U.S. pilots.

Israel is different. This European settler state is the only regime in the area that Washington feels it can really rely on to strike against the people of the Middle East without major ramifications back home. This is why Israel is treated very differently than the Arab regimes by the U.S. government and corporations, including the corporate media.

U.S. taxpayers foot bill for Israel’s weapons

Israel doesn’t pay for its weaponry. Most of the money “given from the United States, from U.S. taxpayers, to Israel is then spent on weapons from Lockheed Martin and Boeing and Raytheon. [Israel goes] straight to U.S. corporations with U.S. money to buy weapons that are then used in the Occupied Territories and against Lebanon.” (Berrigan)

The U.S. gives the Israeli military sophisticated high-tech weapons that it will give to no other government. U.S. arms makers have joint ventures with Israeli weapons makers. And Israel is the only regime that uses these U.S. weapons regularly and in a big way — against the Palestinians and other Middle Eastern people.

Who are these U.S. weapons makers  arming, and how do they connect to the media?

Boeing provided small diameter bombs dropped on Gaza

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace and defense company, with annual sales of $61.5 billion. According to Indymedia Corporate Watch for 2009, Boeing was involved in sales to Israel of 42 AH-64 Apache fighter helicopters and 18 newer AH-64D Apache Longbow fighter helicopters, 63 F-15 Eagle fighter planes, 102 F-16, F-16 II and F-16 III fighter planes and four Boeing 777 commercial planes, as well as AGM-114D Longbow Hellfire missiles and Arrow and Arrow II interceptors developed in collaboration with Israel Aircraft Industries.

In 2008, the U.S. government approved the sale of 1,000 Boeing GBU-9 small-diameter bombs to Israel, in a deal valued at up to $77 million. Since each of these bombs weighs only 250 pounds, aircraft can carry more of them and therefore attack more targets. They were dropped on Gaza.

The Disney Co. (ABC) has a direct link with Boeing.

To be continued.