Terrorism? Resistance? Censorship!

Thanks to Susan for forwarding this extremely interesting op-ed piece by Neil MacDonald published by the Canadian Broadcasting Company. In “Defining ‘terrorism’ is harder than you’d think”, he states that the concept of reciprocity is never taken into account. He mentions the blurry line dividing States who engage in actions which provoke terror and fear in civilian populations from non-States who do the same thing.

“When states target civilians or use military force with wanton disregard for civilian populations, it is a war crime. There is black-letter law against it. The UN report points that out, and suggests that an international definition of terrorism might be more acceptable if it contained “recognition … that State use of force against civilians … if of sufficient scale, constitutes a war crime by the persons concerned or a crime against humanity.”

The trouble is that such wording would be hollow, and everyone knows it. War crimes are almost never actionable. Powerful nations have seen to that. There are only two specific tribunals at the moment set up to deal with war crimes: the Arusha tribunal, to deal with the genocide in Rwanda, and the tribunal in The Hague dealing with the Yugoslavian civil war.

The International Criminal Court itself is not empowered to act against states that have elected not to participate. And several have done just that. The United States, for example. It is also a safe bet that the five real powers at the UN – the U.S., France, Russia, China and Great Britain – are never going to agree to an anti-terrorism strategy that might eventually condemn their military tactics or those of their client states. And, of course, as long as states can evade responsibility for war crimes, “non-state actors,” as the UN labels groups like al-Qaeda, will be able to claim they are merely doing what governments the world over do.

The second argument standing in the way of an international definition of terror, says the UN, “is that peoples under foreign occupation have a right to resistance and a definition of terrorism should not override this right.” What the report is talking about here, although it avoids naming names, is Israel. That second argument is the argument of the Palestinians, who have for decades waged diplomatic war with Israel at the UN, with the majority of member states taking their side.

The UN report suggests finally taking a stand against that sort of thinking: “there is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the targeting and killing of civilians.” Which would seem a simple enough truth. (Although one suspects that if Texas were occupied by a foreign power, its citizens would pull out their guns and start shooting at any enemy target that presented itself, civilian or not).

But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not as easy to characterize as the UN report might wish. The Israeli soldiers who enforce the occupation kill a great many Palestinian civilians. If Palestinians have committed terror, the Israelis have certainly committed war crimes.”


Well, there’s some follow up to that op-ed. Read the piece in B’nai Brith Canada’s website, excerpted below:

“When HRC (Honesty in Reporting Canada) contacted the Middle East Institute, (someone MacDonald interviewed on a previous occasion) it was told the Institute’s funding comes primarily from the following sources: Abdul Latif Jameel Corporation in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Chevron Texaco; Conoco Phillips; Exxon; Raytheon; Saudi Aramco and Shell International. (In May, Macdonald’s story on the Abu Ghraib prison abuses quoted a known anti-Israel lobbyist who falsely implicated Israeli agents in the affair.)

Smith, HRC’s executive director, said the group asked its membership to petition the CBC to drop Macdonald from The National for his obvious and repeated anti-Israel bias. The action call generated “the most intense, well-articulated and intelligent” letter-writing campaign in HRC’s history, Smith said.

He said, “People have really thought about this and many writers specifically pointed out that they aren’t even Jewish.

“We take pains to avoid extreme positions, but in cases of obvious bias, we feel that there is no other choice but to ask news organizations to drop the offenders.”

After Macdonald’s May report, Tony Burman had said “. . . we have modified our editorial processes and procedures to ensure that this situation is never repeated.”

Bazay found that while he did not find Macdonald guilty of bias, “Under CBC journalism policy reporters, editors and producers must not only avoid bias; they must avoid the appearance of bias.”


Now it’s your turn to call the shots: If you agree that Neil Macdonald’s reporting is valuable, please send a note of support/appreciation to the CBC:



Here is a sample letter:

Dear Sirs,

I wish to express my esteem and support for Neil MacDonald, whose articulate and measured analysis of the relationship between war crimes and other beligerant actions undertaken by non-State entities which can run the gamut between terrorism (to be condemned, and which he obviously does not approve of) and resistance (which is a right guaranteed to all occupied peoples by UN Charters and International Conventions) is an example of excellent editorial journalism.

Please do not be influenced by pressure groups who seek to silence this journalist.



6 responses to “Terrorism? Resistance? Censorship!

  1. that’s a good article. reminds me of my favorite political pamphlet on the subject: “terrorism: theirs and ours” by eqbal ahmad (seven stories press). some quotes:

    “officials don’t define terrorism because definitions involve a commitment to analysis, comprehension, and adherence to some norms of consistency.”

    “the ratio of people killed by the state terror of zia ul-haq, pinochet, argentinian, brazilian, indonesian type, versus the killing of PLO and other (political terrorist) organizations is literally, conservatively, 1000 to 1.”

    “in the course of my work i have identified five types of terrorism: state terrorism, religious terrorism…, criminal terrorism, political terrorism, and oppositional terrorism… of the five types of terror, the official approach is to focus on only one form – political terrorism – which claims the least in terms of human lives and property.”

  2. Be assured that if it was in the interests of the ultimate powers-that-be to have a non-obfuscatory definition of terrorism observed by the mass media, this would be the case already.
    Such a non-obfuscatory definition would not even need to specify sub-genres but could proceed directly from the word itself (usually a good idea in definitions):
    “‘Terrorism’ is the attempt to pressurise civilian populations, by means of random and exemplary violence against their members, into putting pressure in turn upon their governments to change policies.”
    However, note this : the oil companies which apparently support the anti-zionist pressure groups are as close to the heart of real power as the armaments firms which back the Bush junta and the zionist activists are, if not closer. Without oil, arms sales are of little value.

  3. Canadian media is no better than American.During and before the the Iraq,CBC international was on top of things. However, local CBC–MUM!Because CBC did not tow the line then–Al-Gore decided to buy out the USA CBC contract out on Direct TV.Just in time the Warrior zionist Murdoc from Fox news bought out Direct–now CBC is towing the zionist line–say one bad word about Israel–FIRED!
    Want to take over a country–just by out the media.Check out the national post, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun,gay toronto globe–all fear the Jewish hammer–advertising and labeling of anti-jew.
    I hope you all reading this-check out what oligarch means.the most hated people ought to be–ones who support Israel.Please–read about USS Liberty–
    It’s all about IsraOil

  4. http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=news_members&Number=293014609
    Don’t trust the TV or print media–It is all Jewish controlled-so is government.MA-MA–hide your boys–the e greedy jews,wants them to fight for greater Israel!

  5. Dear Anon,

    It’s certainly slippery territory when one makes categorical statements regarding, “the Jews”, “the Arabs” etc. I think it is painfully obvious that “the Zionists” and “proto-Zionists” are those who have determined to have their pro-Israeli prejudices tamper with free speech, public policy, and those two sub-categories which are in some way related, “dissent” and “people’s movements”. Yet, they are not synonymous with “Jews”.

    To categorise “the Jews” as having a monolithic priority or agenda is in some way buying into the paradigm that Jews are a nation. I have been under the impression for all of my life that Judaism is an umbrella under which various enities are gathered. Many Jews (not enough, unfortunately, but there is a lot of mis- and dis- information regarding the history and the claims of the Jews as a singular group) do not accept the story that the mass media has been promulgating, others are active in deconstructing the narrative at various levels, so that something reflecting the reality of the situation becomes apparent beyond the smokescreen of propaganda.

    When it comes down to it, it is not “the Jews” who control anything, but it is a group of power élite (described very well in Giulietto Chiesa’s book The Infinite War, see 10 Commandments of the Empire, which is a group of individuals and their “sponsors” that is extremely varied as far as ethnic or political make-up is concerned.

    The mass media, of course, is one of the primary intstruments of the obtaining and mantenance of control and dominance of the Power, and naturally, they do not take into account 5/6ths of the world populations that “won’t stand for it”, nor do they consider international law as a valid instrument, as it stands in their way.

    The manner of resolution of their conflicts (meaning, to override either international law or world public opinion) is by aggressive acts such as war, occupation and economic strangulation. They reserve mass media lies for us.

  6. I read the Chiesa excerpt and it is certainly quite good. The basis for the ascription of all the world’s ills to “the Jews” seems to me to be capable of analysis, though it requires some precision of a sort which the neoconservative ideologists are determined to prevent. As a matter of fact, the opposite term, namely “the Fascists”, is also one that would beneift from some historical precision, since the underlying purpose of Fascism was largely to prevent what we now call “globalisation” (i.e. the coming to omnipotence of international finance, rightly or wrongly regarded as centring on Jewish banks).

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