Dozens of Israeli customers of the Orange cellular service provider received unexpected SMS messages on their phones Wednesday evening, with the English message: "Now Now Now...Go out from your home Hizballah willing shelling of the area, Israel Government Cheating you And refuse recognition Defeat.” It was not yet clear whether Hizbullah operatives were in fact behind the messages of intimidation, or whether the messages were no more than a joke in poor taste by other network subscribers. . . . Rani Rahav, a spokesperson for Orange, responded that the text messages were coming from a small service provider “somewhere out there in the Pacific Ocean. We are working right now to block the provider from transmitting further messages to Orange customers.”This will be remembered in Israel as "the Micronesian betrayal."
A senior member of Muqtada al-Sadr's Iraqi Shi'ite militia, the Mahdi Army, says the group is forming a squadron of up to 1,500 elite fighters to go to Lebanon. The plan reflects the potential of the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah to strengthen radical elements in Iraq and neighboring countries and to draw other regional players into the Lebanon conflict. "We are choosing the men right now," said Abu Mujtaba, who works in the loosely organized following of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. "We are preparing the right men for the job."It is the Washington Times after all...
En faisant porter la responsabilité des violences d'aujourd'hui aux seuls Hamas et Hezbollah, la communauté internationale se fait le relais en connaissance de cause du discours israélien. Un redoutable engrenage est pourtant en train de se mettre en place dont nul ne connaît le terme. Le gouvernement d'Israël n'est-il pas comme par le passé en train de pousser ses adversaires à commettre des actes qui ne lui apporteront qu'une justification de plus auprès de la communauté internationale pour de nouvelles initiatives qui, à leur tour, entraîneront de nouvelles violences ? Du Hamas et de Gaza, nous sommes passés au Hezbollah et au Liban. Le terme de cette course folle se trouve-t-il en réalité à Damas ou même à Téhéran ? George Bush voit le terme de son mandat approcher et la communauté internationale est actuellement dans une phase de tension avec la Syrie comme avec l'Iran. Cette conjonction, maintenant que l'Irak est à terre, sera-t-elle saisie comme une occasion par le gouvernement israélien pour régler à sa manière la question de ses voisins les plus encombrants ? À quel prix pour le reste du monde ? Les Palestiniens, une nouvelle fois, auront été en «zugzwang», comme aux échecs obligés par le gouvernement israélien de jouer un coup perdant. La communauté internationale se laissera-t-elle entraîner à son tour dans pareille stratégie ?
Around 4,000 Egyptians protest against Israel in three demonstrations Cairo, July 28 (dpa) - Nearly 4,000 Egyptians protested Israel's military operations against Lebanon and the Gaza Strip following Friday noontime prayers in three separate demonstrations, one in Cairo's al-Azhar Mosque another in the Giza Square, and a third in the northern city of Mansoura. The demonstration in the al-Azhar Mosque, organized by the Labor Party and members of other opposition movements, involved over 1,000 protestors who chanted slogans in support of Hizbollah and Hamas while denouncing the "barbaric aggressions targeting civilians" perpetrated by "the Zionist enemy." These demonstrators were sealed in by thousands of Egyptian security forces as they protested inside the large mosque. Beyond their denouncement of Israel and the US, the demonstrators condemned "the silence of Arab leaders" whom they described as being traitors, cowards and US agents. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordanian King Abdallah II, and the King of Saudi Arabia Abdallah Ben Abdel Aziz were singled out for criticism. These three Arab leaders, and especially Mubarak, were criticized for their repeated censuring of Hizbollah. The protestors waved the flags of Hizbollah, Palestine, and Lebanon while others carried pictures of Hassan Nasrallah. They chanted "God bless you Nasrallah," "Dear Nasrallah, in whom we believe, go on and destroy Tel Aviv," and "1...2... Where have the Arab armies gone to?" Scuffles took place between the protestors and security forces who prevented the demonstrators from taking to the streets; no arrests were reported. The Moslem Brotherhood were conducting their own protest, at nearly the same time as the al-Azhar demonstration, following the conclusion of Friday noontime prayers in Giza's al-Istiqama Mosque, in which around 2,000 demonstrated against Israel. The Moslem Brotherhood moved from the mosque to the nearby Giza Square where they were cordoned in by over 5,000 members of the Egyptian security forces. They chanted "May God grant Hizbollah and Hamas their victory" and "death to Israel" amongst a number of Islamic slogans. A number of demonstrators carried Lebanese and Palestinian flags as well as photos of Hassan Nasrallah, while others carried placards reading "Yesterday was Iraq, today Lebanon, who's next?" and placards displaying "Flag of Israel = Swastika." The demonstrators had reportedly intended to march forward in order to demonstrate outside the Israeli embassy in Giza, but the security forces prevented them from doing so. No scuffles or arrests were reported at the Giza Square. Nearly 500 others protested at a third demonstration in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and Palestine that was staged in the northern Nile Delta City of al-Mansoura. This demonstration was also conducted following the conclusion of Friday prayers and was also organized by the Moslem Brotherhood. Earlier, on Thursday evening, nearly 100 protestors held an anti-Israel demonstration outside Cairo's journalists' syndicate. This demonstration was organized by the Nasserist Party and the (Nasserist) Karama Party. These Nasserist protestors carried photos of the champion of Pan-Arab nationalism, former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and photos of Hassan Nasrallah along with the flags of Hizbollah, Lebanon and Palestine. The Nasserists swore to deny Condoleezza Rice of her envisioned plan of "a new Middle East" which they said was "a new Middle East in the interests of only Israel and the US, at the expense of the entire Arab World." In a related development, the General Federation of Professional Syndicates in Egypt, presented the Egyptian government, on Friday, with a petition demanding the expulsion of the American and Israeli ambassadors from the country. Further demonstrations in solidarity with Lebanon and Palestine are scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
Israel steps up "psy-ops" in Lebanon By Peter Feuilherade BBC Monitoring From mass targeting of mobile phones with voice and text messages to old-fashioned radio broadcasts warning of imminent attacks, Israel is deploying a range of old and new technologies in Lebanon as part of the psychological operations ("psyops") campaign supplementing its military attacks. According to US and UK media outlets, Israel has reactivated a radio station to broadcast messages urging residents of southern Lebanon to evacuate the region. Some reports have named the station as the Voice of the South.
The South Lebanon Army, a Christian militia backed by Israel, operated a radio station called Voice of the South from Kfar Killa in southern Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s. The station closed down in May 2000 when Israeli forces withdrew from southern Lebanon. Cash for tip-offs The Israeli newspaper Maariv on Sunday reported the appearance of a website called All 4 Lebanon which offered payment for tip-offs from Lebanese citizens "that could help Israel in the fight against Hezbollah". According to Maariv, the site, with content in Arabic, English and French, had been set up by Israeli intelligence. "We appeal to everyone who has the ability and the desire to uproot the sore called Hezbollah from your heart and from the heart of Lebanon," the paper quoted the website as saying in Arabic. On its English-language page, the site says: "Whoever is able and willing to help Lebanon eradicate Hezbollah's evil and get back its independence, freedom and prosperity is hereby invited to contact us." It adds: "For your own safety, please contact us from places where no-one knows you." The Arabic wording is identical to that on leaflets which Israeli aircraft have been dropping over Beirut and the south of Lebanon. The leaflets called on people to "remove the sore known as Hezbollah from the heart of Lebanon". The rewards "could be a range of things, such as cash or a house", according to an Israel Defence Forces spokeswoman quoted by Reuters news agency. It was not clear how such items would be delivered or exactly what information Israel wanted, Reuters noted. Mobile aggression On Friday, residents of southern Lebanon reported receiving recorded messages on their mobile phones from an unknown caller. The speaker identified himself as an Israeli and warned people in the area to leave their homes and head north. Dubai-based news channel al-Arabiya TV reported that the recorded messages also said they "held the Lebanese government responsible for the abduction of the two Israeli soldiers, and called on Lebanon to set them free". Inquiries by Lebanon's communications ministry revealed that the calls had come from exchanges in Italy and Canada, but had originated in Israel. According to US magazine Time, Israel has been targeting SMS text messages at local officials in southern Lebanon, urging them to move north of the Litani river before Israeli military operations intensified. The UK's Guardian newspaper said mobile phone users in Lebanon were regularly receiving messages to their phones which purported to be news updates, attempting to discredit Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah or his party. Satellite warfare next? As Israel broadens its psyops activities, it also continues to attack media targets using conventional military means. Air raids on Saturday hit transmission stations used by Hezbollah's al-Manar TV, Future TV and the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC). A technician working for LBC was reported to have been killed. The next day, a convoy of journalists from Lebanese and pan-Arab TV channels was attacked by Israeli planes while on a tour of southern Lebanon; no injuries were reported. According to an unconfirmed report by Egypt's Middle East News Agency, Israel managed on Sunday "to intercept the satellite transmissions of Hezbollah's al-Manar TV channel for the third successive day, replacing it with Israeli transmissions that reportedly showed Hezbollah command sites and rocket launching pads which Israel claimed it has raided". Replacing a TV station's picture with output you want the audience to see is more difficult to achieve than jamming. Al-Manar TV has three satellite signals, one on ArabSat 2B at 30.5 degrees east, one on Badr 3 at 26 degrees east and one on NileSat 102 at 7 degrees west. On Badr 3 and NileSat, al-Manar is broadcast alongside other TV stations in a multiplexed or combined digital signal. While it would be technically feasible to replace one station's output, all the other stations in the multiplex would be taken off the air too. The technical parameters of the original station would need to be exactly duplicated by the interloper.
The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil by Michel Chossudovsky July 26, 2006 GlobalResearch.ca â€œIs there a relationship between the bombing of Lebanon and the inauguration of the World's largest strategic pipeline, which will channel more a million barrels of oil a day to Western markets? Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku (BTC) oil pipeline, which links the Caspian Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, took place on the 13th of July, at the very outset of the Israeli sponsored bombings of Lebanonâ€¦ The BTC pipeline totally bypasses the territory of the Russian Federation. It transits through the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia, both of which have become US "protectorates", firmly integrated into a military alliance with the US and NATO. Moreover, both Azerbaijan and Georgia have longstanding military cooperation agreements with Israel. In 2005, Georgian companies received some $24 million in military contracts funded out of U.S. military assistance to Israel under the so-called â€˜Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programâ€™â€¦. The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully planned and coordinated military road map. The extension of the war into Syria and Iran has already been contemplated by US and Israeli military planners. This broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil and oil pipelines. It is supported by the Western oil giants which control the pipeline corridors. In the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks Israeli territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline.â€�You can read the full article here. Ryan had also few thoughts to share on the subject...
The BTC route is the most strategically important pipeline route in the Westâ€™s energy security plan. It effectively neuters Russian moves to re-establish its Soviet sphere of influence and dominate the energy rich Caspian region. Such moves would make Europe utterly dependent on Russia for its energy supplies, create a Russian strategic alliance extending beyond Central Asia into Iran and the Gulf, and thereby give it a cheap and secure energy route to Asia â€“ deepening the strategic rapprochement between Russia and China (and potentially India, Pakistan and Afghanistan). These potentials are hugely worrying for the supremacy of the transatlantic alliance led by America and potentially catastrophic for the oil/dollar dominated global economic status quo. The Bush administrationâ€™s new â€˜great gameâ€™ is being played as a zero-sum game. In an age of energy scarcity, each gain for â€˜themâ€™ is an economic, political and security loss for â€˜usâ€™. With such high stakes it should be unsurprising that â€œenergy securityâ€� has become the new buzzword in foreign policy circles throughout the world. The commercial construction of strategic pipelines like the BTC have therefore become fully integrated with political and military strategies for securing their routes. The BTC serves the immediate goal of reducing European dependence on Russian energy supplies, but the full potential of the route can only be realised through a parallel political strategy. Blocking the Russia-Iran-China strategic energy alliance requires the political and economic isolation of Iran. In addition to the threat to oil prices a globally enforced sanctions regime would require Russian and Chinese consent and is therefore unlikely. Military intervention, involving the â€œprotectionâ€� of Iranian oil flows, or political pressure exerted by the threat of military action seem to be the only two options left on the table. Israelâ€™s attempt to castrate Hezbollah and Syria is certainly satisfying the latter and could plausibly escalate into the former if Iran refuses to play ball. Yet, as the article above points out, the plan to link the BTC with Israelâ€™s Red Sea port Eilat is a further level of integration between the BTC energy security strategy and the current bombardment of Lebanon. An integration that could position Israel as a major stakeholder in the coming BTC energy bonanza. The zero-sum great game is a race, in this case between Russia and America, to see who can organise their sphere of influence quicker to deliver a safe route from the Caspian to the fastest growing energy markets in the world â€“ Europe and Asia. Russia already got a head start with Europe, America is not about to allow that to happen again with Asia. [Also keep yours eyes on the emerging conflicts in Georgia and in Somalia â€“ both of these take place on the same â€œgreaterâ€� BTC routeâ€¦]
'Shut up, you barefaced liar' By Zvi Bar'el "The war against Lebanon caught us completely unprepared," an editor on Jordan's television station told Haaretz. "All of us were focused on what was happening in Palestine or Iraq. I know that the majority of Arab stations, except for news channels like Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya didn't even have permanent correspondents in Lebanon after the completion of the Syrian withdrawal, and after the elections in May-June 2005. "Lebanon wasn't an object of interest. And then all of a sudden - war. How are we supposed to relate to it? How are we supposed to define Hezbollah? What is the official line we are supposed to take on the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers? What vocabulary should we be using? Everything needed to be rethought. Even the system to which we answer didn't quite know how to deal with it." Yet now, even after a week and a half of warfare, no one on the Jordanian station seems too troubled by the fighting. The same is the case on the Libyan and Moroccan networks, and most especially so on the Iraqi network. After all, Iraq has a large daily dose of death, with numbers several times higher than those in Lebanon. This war has also rekindled the question of what format the reporter's interviews should take, and primarily how to relate to Israeli interviewees.
"There are times when I am forced to suppress a voice that rises within me, and which wants me to tell the Israeli interviewee: shut your mouth, you barefaced liar," says Mai al-Sharabani, a newscaster on the Al-Arabiya network, in an interview with Ibrahim Totanji, a reporter for Al-Hayat, the Arabic-language newspaper published in London. "The newscaster has to always be ready to make the Israeli interviewee uncomfortable, to pin him down in the narrow alleys of his lies," declares al-Sharabani, who began her career at Egyptian television, from which she moved three years ago to the Al-Arabiya network. The problem is that you don't have enough time to prepare for interviews with "the Israeli," and events dictate both the pace and the length of the interviews, explains al-Sharabani. Nevertheless, when they simply can't restrain themselves any longer, the newscasters have at their disposal those precious final seconds of the interview, in which they can make a venomous remark that will not garner any response by the interviewee, for the simple reason that it is the end of the conversation. "Newscasters understand the magnitude of the responsibility placed on them in interviewing Israelis. Millions of Arabs watch them, waiting to see how we will embarrass them or crush them in an interview." says Mohammed Abu Obeid, another al-Arabiya journalist, who claims that he knows how to deal with Israelis, due to having worked in Palestine in the past. Ibrahim Totanji, the writer of the article, has his own feelings on the subject. "Nobody wants to hear the Israeli drivel. But that is professionalism and its obligations. This is the 'curse' of democracy, of one opinion and of the other opinion that you can't avoid." Interviewing Israelis, which has over time become an inseparable part of Arab news programming, broke a taboo that went back decades. "The curse of democracy," as Totanji calls it, continues to elicit protests from Arab listeners: They send letters in response to the Arab networks' Web sites, in which they express revulsion, a "sense of betrayal" and at times, abusive language over the fact that the networks devote their airtime to "Zionist propaganda," and especially at such a sensitive and difficult time as the days of war in Lebanon. The breakthrough Al Jazeera network, the network that interviews the most Israelis, has not only generated competition among several other Arab networks, but has also provoked a proper response by Israeli PR spinners in the office of the IDF Spokesman and at the Foreign Ministry. These two institutions now dispatch articulate spokesmen who are fluent in Arabic, but who do not usually succeed in breaking through the familiar sheaf of cliches. However, sharing airtime on Arab television with Israelis isn't the only thing drawing criticism. With the outbreak of war in Lebanon, there has also been a rise in sensitivity toward the vocabulary employed by newcasters on the various stations to describe the war. Egyptian television is the object of the most strident criticism, for example, for not broadcasting martial overtures before the news programs, or for not playing songs by Fairuz or other national Lebanese songs, as was the case during the first Lebanon War and even at the start of the Palestinian Intifada.This is interestingâ€¦
In addition, the Egyptian vocabulary has been softened, and broadcasters on state-run Nile Television seem to have been given instructions by the station manager, Hala Hashish, not to use the term "aggression against Lebanon" to describe IDF attacks, but to make do with the softer sounding "siege of Lebanon." Similarly, greater use has been made of the words "tension" and "military dispute" in place of "war." This vocabulary is fundamentally similar to that employed by the government newspaper Al Ahram, which quotes Mubarak talking about "military activities" and not about "aggression." The terminology closely reflects the diplomatic consensus reached between Mubarak, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah of Jordan. Because they consider Hezbollah to be the source of all evil, any war against it cannot take on the air of an Arab war against Israel. But what is even more vexing is what is seen as the apathy of television stations outside Lebanon to what is going on in the country. Again, the Egyptian stations are the main target of criticism, because of the excessively brief news coverage they offer about Lebanon and the fact that they have not, so far, adjusted their broadcast schedule to the war. "It's as if no Arab country was being attacked. As if there is no war here," read an e-mail to the Web site of a station in the Persian Gulf. Another writer wondered how the Lebanese satellite TV station, LBC, terms those who have been killed in Israel by Katyushas "victims," and why Lebanese civilians killed by Israeli bombs are termed either "victims" or "casualties," but not shahids [martyrs].And I don't know if I should laugh or cry. But yeah, I can so see the following happening...
One of the most infuriating but amusing episodes took place on Egypt's Channel 1: The hostess of a light entertainment show said, "The war in Lebanon seems to be once again reviving the Arab dream of Arab unity... To that end, we have invited to the studio an important researcher in the interpretation of dreams."
LEBANON: TV crews allege targeting by Israeli warplanes in the south New York, July 27, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern today over allegations by several television crews that Israeli warplanes had attacked them, effectively shutting down live television coverage from southeast Lebanon. Crews from four Arab television stations told CPJ that Israeli aircraft fired missiles within 80 yards (75 meters) of them on July 22 to prevent them from covering the effects of Israel’s bombardment of the area around the town of Khiam, in the eastern sector of the Israel-Lebanon border “Israeli aircraft targeted in an air raid TV crews, especially Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and Al-Manar,”said Ghassan Benjeddou, Al-Jazeera’s Lebanon bureau chief. “It’s a miracle that our crew survived the attack,” he told CPJ.
An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman denied that Israel was targeting journalists. “We are targeting the roads because Hezbollah uses those roads; under no circumstances do we target civilians, including the media,” Capt. Jacob Dallal told CPJ. “Journalists working in those areas are knowingly taking a risk,” he added. Reuters reported at least 434 Lebanese and 51 Israelis have been killed in conflict. Israel launched an offensive in south Lebanon 16 days ago after a cross-border raid by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. “We are disturbed by these allegations and request an immediate investigation,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Journalists have a right to work in conflict zones and are entitled to the same protection as all other civilians, meaning that they cannot be deliberately targeted.” While journalists based in Israel have generally been able to cover IDF operations, live television pictures of the Israeli operation along the border from the Lebanese side is now virtually impossible, journalists said. Broadcasters said a few individual TV journalists and media support staff remained in some southern Lebanese towns and villages but getting TV footage out was extremely difficult. Several international broadcasters and news organizations told CPJ that they had made the Mediterranean port of Tyre their base in the south. Journalists in the city, which is 55 miles (90 kilometers) south of Beirut, said any vehicles, including TV vehicles, traveling between towns and villages were targeted by Israeli planes if spotted on the road. One journalist who ventured into the area was Layal Najib, 23, a freelance photographer for the Lebanese magazine Al-Jaras and Agence France-Presse. She was killed July 23 by an Israeli missile while traveling in a taxi to cover Lebanese fleeing north. She was the first journalist fatality of the fighting. By July 22, most TV crews with satellite uplink trucks had pulled out of the strategic southern town of Marjeyoun. Those that remained included the international satellite channels Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), and Al-Manar, the satellite channel affiliated with Hezbollah. Israel has acknowledged targeting Al-Manar installations, accusing the station of propaganda and incitement. Three vehicles from LBC, which set out from Marjeyoun ahead of the other teams, reached the village of Hasb Bayah, were the Lebanese Red Cross had a presence. But a convoy of Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and Al-Manar vehicles was chased by Israeli fighter aircraft which fired missiles on the road behind them as they approached an already bombed-out bridge. The journalists said they managed to get away on back roads but the planes followed and again trapped the vehicles by firing missiles at the road ahead of them and behind them. The journalists and technicians abandoned their vehicles and walked to Hasb Bayah. The following day peacekeepers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon repaired the road and the crews were able to drive back to Beirut, the journalists said. “Their cars were clearly marked ‘Press’ and ‘TV’,” Nabil Khatib, Executive Editor of Al Arabiya, told CPJ. Radio broadcasts in Arabic accused several journalists of helping Hezbollah. The radio, Al-Mashraqiyeh, which the journalists believe broadcasts out of Israel, is affiliated with exiled members of the South Lebanon Army, Israel’s military ally during its occupation of south Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s. The radio singled out Al-Jazeera correspondents Katia Nasser and Abbas Nasser, and Al-Arabiya correspondent Ali Noon. CPJ heard a recording of the broadcast against Katia Nasser and Abbas Nasser, in which they were accused of aiding Hezbollah. Abbas was accused of giving Hezbollah favorable coverage in order to secure a job with Al-Manar. The Al-Mashraqiyeh radio announcer said, “the noble Lebanese will hold those who supported Hezbollah in destroying Lebanon to account.” CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit www.cpj.org.
Questions over the photos' authenticity have been put to rest by authorities that were present during the incident, which occurred on July 17 near the northern border. The mostly local children had been brought to see the shells by their parents. Although it remains unclear who encouraged them to write the messages, their colorful scribbles, including a Star of David, hearts, and "From Israel, with Love," have appeared in dozens of blogs, or on-line journals, and on-line photo hosting sites. Although the IDF has failed to issue a response to the incident, a spokesman from the IDF said it "appeared as though the situation occurred unofficially." Although an officer was present during the incident, the soldiers, and the IDF as a whole, did not condone or condemn the incident. An official close to Israel's public relations campaign said that there was "no way" to spin the incident in a positive light. "Some people are simply irresponsible," said the official. On-line, the photos are being called "horrifying," "disgusting" and "despicable." "I still cannot understand why or how anyone would allow their young children to walk up to missiles or other explosives. The militarization of children is always a crime," said one user by the name of "aviv2b" on the Guardian Web site, which ran a lengthy discussion about the photos. Another reader, by the name barbicanangel posted that "I still say Israel is right in this war, however, the picture of young Jewish girls signing the shells is quite disturbing." Although the photos were first taken by professional photographers from AFP, Associated Press, and Haaretz, they were circulated on-line through the popular photo-hosting Web site Flickr.com. That site republished the photos, bringing them to the attention of hundreds who later posted them on their own personal sites.All hail Flickr!