Sunday, August 03, 2014

PR tricks used by Hamas

It makes me angry that all media accept without verification the casualty numbers put out by Hamas in Gaza, that are dutifully repeated by the UN, that so many Gazans, currently 1,700, have been killed in the 4 week war in Gaza.  They also accept that of these 75% are civilians.  This is obviously a deliberate over-estimate, since there are no pictures allowed of Hamas terrorists having been killed, yet the IDF has noted at least 700 Hamas casualties.  That leaves ca. 1,000 civilian casualties, or 250 per week, which in fact is a low number, especially compared to the loss of civilian life in Syria (ca. 1,000 per week) and in Iraq (ca. 350 per week).  This lower number in Gaza can only be ascribed to IDF measures to reduce civilian casualties.
Hamas and most terrorist organizations are experts at manipulating PR to gain sympathy for their cause, especially in the west.  There is a long history of such methods to trick the press.  In the time of Empress Catherine of Russia, her Minister Potemkin built whole villages to impress her with how happy and healthy the peasants were, and such false structures are called "Potemkin villages."  This trick was used and extended by Stalin to impress the foreign press, and he also co-opted Walter Duranty, Head of the Moscow Bureau of the NY Times, who was effectively a pro-Soviet agent, who wrote glowing stories about the harvests in the Soviet Union when the people were starving.  Of course, I would not accuse any leading western  journalists of being pro-Palestinian propagandists, because all of them are.  Here are some of the tricks Hamas uses:
1. Use photographs of dead people from other conflicts.  Recently Hamas has used several photos of dead people from the conflict in Syria and changed the caption to indicate they were killed in Gaza by Israel.  I have seen two examples of this, and who knows how many more there are?
2. Modify photos using Photoshop of other similar programs to make the damage and destruction look worse than it is.  One excellent example of this was Iran manipulating a photo of its missile firings to make it look as if there were more missiles than there were.
3. Bringing in stretchers of injured civilians writhing in pain with blood on them and then seeing that person calmly walk out of the ER some time later. An example of this was an ambulance driver in Lebanon who got onto the stretcher in his ambulance and pretended to be injured.  Then after being photographed by willing foreign photographers he calmly resumed his seat in the cab and drove away.
4. Bringing in supposedly wounded children and adults with bloody bandages who later are seen sitting without bandages in the ER.
5. Bringing in stretchers of wounded into the ER then taking them out the back door and bringing them around again. 
6. Bringing bodies or wounded from road accidents or from the morgue and pretending they are casuaties of Israeli attacks.
7. Using wounded and dead of their own attacks to blame on Israel, such self-inflicted friendly fire attacks do happen in war, but strangely do not happen to Hamas.
8. Blaming explosions and killings from their own rocket fire on the IDF.  This has happened numerous times.  An Italian journalist witnessed the killing of 10 children by a Hamas rocket that fell short in Gaza, and saw them clearing up and removing the evidence and then blaming it on IDF fire.  But he was not allowed to write about it there, he could only describe what actually happened when he left Gaza.  Of the 2,500 missiles fired into Israel at least 200 are expected to have fallen short.
9. Manufacturing numbers, how do we really know how many people have been killed and/or wounded in Gaza.  The numbers are given out by the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry and simply repeated by the Red Cross.  A classic example was when Israel attacked south Lebanon in 1982, there were headlines all around the world stating that Israel had killed or wounded 420,000 people, a figure put out by the Palestinian Red Cross that was run by Yasir Arafat's brother.  Yet there were only ca. 350,000 people in the whole of south Lebanon and it turned out that of them only a few hundred were actually killed. 
10. Firing from hospitals, schools and mosques that automatically make those sites legitimate targets for return file and then blaming Israel for a war crime.  A Hamas paper was found listing the 10th floor of the Red Cross building in Gaza City as a firing point.  The IDF have documented many instances of this actual war crime.
11. Staging whole incidents, such as the supposed shoorting of the child Mohammed al Dura in Gaza in 2000, that was a completely manufactured incident that was blamed on the IDF, but in fact no one was actually injured.
In Gaza, Hamas absolutely controls everything that is sent out, including written and photographic material.  The main problem with this is that foreign journalists are either complicit in order to get a good story or photo and/or are gullible in the extreme and so are their readers.  For a description of Hamas intimidation of journalists see )  This is why you see no pictures of Hamas terrorists in action, they are censored.  Hamas is a totalitarian terrorist organization, don't believe them!


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