The school that Israel didn't shell
The media love terrorist lies
Every Israeli operation to defend itself has one. And the "bombed school" was the "Jenin massacre" or the "bombed ambulance" hoax of Israel's operation this past month in Gaza. In early January Israel was once again accused of a horrific war crime - an allegation that ran and ran. Some examples:
From Britain's The Independent: "Massacre of innocents as UN school is shelled"
From The Australian: "THE deaths of 42 people in an Israeli attack at a UN-run school in Gaza overnight has finally forced Barack Obama to break his silence over the conflict..."
From The Age: "43 Palestinians in a UN school were killed by Israeli shelling..."
From Iran: "The UN High Commissioner for Rights has also called for independent investigations into possible war crimes after Israel's shelling of a UN school compound which killed 42 people..."
From India: "Israeli tank shells killed more than 40 Palestinians on Tuesday at a UN school where civilians had taken shelter, in carnage likely to boost international pressure on Israel to halt a Gaza offensive".
The key ingredients in this latest "proof'' of Israeli depravity: 43 dead, school attacked, sheltering civilians massacred. Oh, and with no good cause: "The United Nations on Wednesday denied Israeli army allegations that militants were inside a school in Gaza that was hit the previous day by an Israeli strike, killing at least 42 people."
Now for the facts of that January 6 mortar shelling of the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Yes, the 43 people are dead, and that is a tragedy, given many were undoubtedly innocent. But the rest of the allegations? False, false and false. Yet again the media has bought anti-Israeli propaganda, as a Toronto Globe and Mail investigation has found:
Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed....
While the killing of 43 civilians on the street may itself be grounds for investigation, it falls short of the act of shooting into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers....
The teacher, who refused to give his name because he said UNRWA had told the staff not to talk to the news media, was adamant: "Inside [the compound] there were 12 injured, but there were no dead.".
Hazem Balousha, who runs an auto-body shop across the road from the UNRWA school, was down the street, just out of range of the shrapnel, when the three shells hit. He showed a reporter where they landed: one to the right of his shop, one to the left, and one right in front.
UNRWA itself now opening concedes its school was not actually shelled:
John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that "no one was killed in the school." ... The Israelis are the ones, he said, who got everyone thinking the deaths occurred inside the school. "Look at my statements," he said. "I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation."
But the Globe and Mail recalls an earlier Ging quote:
Speaking from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as the bodies were being brought in that night, an emotional Mr. Ging did say: "Those in the school were all families seeking refuge. ... There's nowhere safe in Gaza."
And a World Health Organization report:
On 6 January, 42 people were killed following an attack on a UNRWA school ...
And a UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs weekly report:
Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools [including this one]...
So why did Israel lob those three mortar shells into the street outside the school? As Associated Press reported at the time:
In a statement, the Israeli army said an initial investigation found that "mortar shells were fired from within the school at IDF soldiers. The force responded with mortars at the source of fire. The Hamas cynically uses civilians as human shields." The army said two Hamas militants - Imad Abu Askar and Hasan Abu Askar - were among the dead.
Two neighborhood residents confirmed the Israeli account, saying a group of militants fired mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets. Israel then opened fire. The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared for their safety, said the Abu Askar brothers were known low-level Hamas militants.
"Within" is not right, of course. But it seems the real story is that 43 people, including at least two Hamas militants, were killed when Israel returned fire from Hamas mortars launched from among a crowd in the street. You might still not like what occured. But it is very, very different to what was so widely alleged, and far more forgivable.
And after the earlier evidence of the media repeating pro-Hamas propaganda and gross exaggerations of the death toll in Gaza, especially among civilians, we need to ask again: how much can we trust the coverage of journalists and welfare groups reporting from territory run by terrorists?
Four hundred years ago, Miguel Cervantes described an archetypal delirious fruitcake who wanted to change the world by turning the clock back to the idealized Utopian times that never really existed. Imagine what Cervantes would write today about the futility of his satirical effort, if he were to learn that four centuries later, a whole movement would arise that emulated his loony character and elected one of their kind as the leader of the free world.... Being light on details, Obama's inaugural speech briefly reiterated his views - which we already knew from his previous comments, associations, voting record, and cabinet appointments. Here is a partial list of the windmills he pledges to fight:
Windmill #1: Greed is bad for the economy.
Greed is a known "progressive" code word for the freedom to keep what you earn - the sort of freedom that made the United States the economic wonder of the world. To be fair, during the presidential debates McCain also attacked greed in rather quixotic terms, although next to Obama he sounded more like the simple-minded Sancho Panza.
Windmill #2: Lack of government control is bad for the economy.
The ones out of control here were the Democrat politicians who created corrupt government-sponsored companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, later defending them to the death against Republican calls for stricter oversight. At the same time they overburdened the banking industry with Utopian requirements to give mortgages to people who couldn't pay them back - a quixotic move that sparked the current economic meltdown.
Windmill #3: Partisan discord must give way to "unity of purpose."
A debate between political parties is healthy for a democracy. The trouble is, the debate itself became toxic when Obama's own party was hijacked by leftist radicals whose idea of unity is the suppression of dissent. If we unite with them for that purpose, it will be the end of American democracy. Observe examples of political unity in Cuba, North Korea, and Hollywood. One-party rule was stipulated in the Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution that singled out the Communist Party as the leading and inspiring force of the Soviet people. We know how that ended.
Windmill #4: Wealth creation must give way to wealth redistribution.
"Without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and ... a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous." In real life, free market favors everybody who participates in it. Excessive regulations give unfair advantages to large corporations that can swallow the extra cost while their smaller competitors will choke on it. This stifles competition, reduces economic opportunity, lowers the quality of life, and spreads misery. In the end the elites remain prosperous while everybody else is worse off. Quixotic policies always result in the exact opposite of the original intentions. The only winner here is the growing government bureaucracy.
Windmill #5: Discipline the government bureaucracy.
"And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day." It's what Leonid Brezhnev also said when he figured Khrushchev's liberal reforms had unleashed government corruption that had been previously held in check by Stalin's rule of terror. Let's face it - terror is the only way to run a state-owned economy effectively; that's why Stalin kept his apparatchiks trembling with fear and waking up at night in cold sweat. Without the show trials and executions, to manage an army of sticky-fingered bureaucrats became a gigantic windmill that the country had been fighting for a few decades before it collapsed from exhaustion. The moral here is that, short of the gulag, nothing can control the corrupting powers of an exponentially-growing government bureaucracy. Attempts to fight it will only result in a quagmire. The obvious answer is to stop feeding this monster, by removing the unessential regulating functions; the government will deflate to a manageable size and will become people-friendly again.
Windmill #6: Finance government construction projects by taxing private industries.
Talk about "meeting the demands of a new age." Throw away your computer and grab a shovel - the future is here! Putting government in competition with the private sector helps neither, but corrupts both. FDR tried this on a massive scale; his well-meaning programs turned a recession into a depression, prolonged the suffering, and delayed the recovery by a decade. The subsequent lionization of FDR for this man-made disaster could only occur in a mindset where good intentions mean everything, and the results mean nothing - a classic example of quixotism.
Windmill #7: Ward off the specter of Global Warming.
"We will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet." Nice try bundling terrorism with Global Warming, but no cigar. While the industrial impact on climate cycles remain a questionable hypothesis, its ideological underpinnings are getting more and more visible. Not two weeks ago Obama created the position of global warming czar and gave it to known socialist radical Carol M. Browner, whose solution to any world problem is the curbing of capitalism and shrinking the economy. Swapping Karl Marx's "specter of communism" with a more convenient "specter of a warming planet" may have changed the lyrics, but the song remains the same.
In this light, Obama's promise to "restore science to its rightful place" is merely a code phrase for the politicization of science. In the USSR, where scientific consensus was created by government mandate, politicization of science resulted in a colossal waste of national resources on absurd agricultural hoaxes, while state-appointed "scientists" denounced the emerging cybernetics as a "bourgeois hoax." Every single one of these people acted out of good intentions.
Windmill #8: Global poverty exists because the US taxpayers aren't throwing enough money at it.
"We can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect." If global poverty still exists after trillions of dollars in foreign aid over the decades, shouldn't we already start looking for the root of the problem elsewhere? Say, not in the lack of donations, but perhaps in the despotic quasi-Marxist regimes that cause poor nations to stay poor? A bizarre quixotic-despotic symbiosis has emerged, for example, in Africa, where well-meaning Western activists and politicians are promoting socialist reforms and nationalization of resources - while local despots, who otherwise couldn't care less about Marxism, find this system very useful in maintaining power and keeping populations in economic serfdom.
As long as everything is owned and governed by the state, the head of such a state automatically becomes an absolute monarch, owning and governing the entire land and its people. Such governing typically consists of stealing foreign aid, pilfering the country, looting the neighbors, and fighting off coup after coup, led by an endless swarm of similarly inclined wannabe despots, who want their share of foreign aid, gold, diamonds, or whatever else the educated Western geologists happen to find in that God-forsaken, state-owned land. No such despot will ever step down voluntarily, because that would make him like everybody else in his country - dirt-poor and vulnerable to abuse from the new despot.
Perhaps, in order to eliminate bloody civil wars in Africa and elsewhere, Obama could throw a few billion of our dollars at a posh retirement facility for tinpot dictators that would help them soften the blow and deal with psychological stresses, thus facilitating a peaceful transition of power from one crook to another. A better solution, of course, would be to introduce those countries to capitalism with its freedoms, incentives, property rights, and the rule of law - but apparently this is too ignoble a prospect for a soaring quixotic mind to consider.
Barack Bush? "The White House warned Iran last night that military action is still one of its options despite the "hand of friendship" offered by President Obama. Officials moved to cool fevered expectations - and assuage lingering European concerns - about plans to thaw a 30 year freeze in US relations. Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, reiterated that any talks held with the Iranian leadership would not necessarily be with President Ahmadinejad and would involve careful preparations beforehand. Asked if the use of force was still possible, he replied: "The President hasn't changed his viewpoint that he should preserve all his options." Mr Gibbs added that the US needed to address Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and its threats against Israel, as well as an "illicit nuclear programme".
Destructive economic ignorance coming up?: "Mr Obama may be about to repeat, at the dawn of his presidency, the same historic error that the much derided Herbert Hoover made just before quitting the White House in 1933. In the depths of the Great Depression, he signed into law the innocent-sounding Buy America Act. It required the US Government to use American suppliers in all public contracts. Less notorious than the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, "Buy America" did huge damage. It proved a disaster for US manufacturing exports and the global economy. Other governments followed suit, and it took decades to begin to reverse the closure of markets. Now, prodded by America's mighty steel lobby, a key congressional committee has voted, 55-0, to attach a still more rigorous "Buy America" clause to President Obama's stimulus package. It bars federal funding of any public projects "unless all of the iron and steel used is produced in the United States". [And then other countries will shut out American products, causing yet more unemployment in America]
Voter ID Was a Success in November: "Remember the storm that arose on the political left after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law last April? According to the left, voter ID was a dastardly Republican plot to prevent Democrats from winning elections by suppressing the votes of minorities, particularly African-Americans. Since the election of Barack Obama, we haven't heard a word about such claims. On Jan. 14, the federal appeals court in Atlanta upheld Georgia's voter ID law. The reasons for the silence about alleged voter suppression is plain. In the first place, numerous academic studies show that voter ID had no effect on the turnout of voters in prior elections. The plaintiffs in every unsuccessful lawsuit filed against such state requirements could not produce a single individual who didn't either already have an ID or couldn't easily get one. Second are the figures emerging from the November election.... The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (JCPES) found that black turnout in the 2008 election was at a historic high, having increased substantially from 2004. The total share of black voters in the national vote increased from 11% to 13% according to exit polls, with 95% of blacks voting for Mr. Obama."
A visit to Paris: " On the first day of our trip, local news reported that another synagogue was firebombed, a 4th that week, and a man had just been stabbed for wearing a Star of David by the notorious “disenfranchised youths” as the media calls them. Two days prior, there was a “peace” rally which resulted in the burning of dozens of cars, again by those pesky “youths” who for some reason yell “Allah Akbar” while rioting. We did an in studio interview on French radio where I bluntly explained to them that their problems were brought on by their leftist politicians who feel the need to push socialist and other leftist policies which have enabled all this to occur. Unfortunately these policies of open borders, refugee resettlement, welfare, and others, are exactly the same policies that the liberals in congress and the state assembly are constantly pushing here in America."
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)