Thursday, February 28, 2013


Here is another comment on the following February 26th article discussed earlier:


The article contains the following casual claim:

         "Over the past decade, Gaza militants have fired thousands of rockets and mortar shells at Israel, and Israel has responded with military strikes."

This is classic war journalism.

CBC does this all the time. They always describe Israeli attacks on Palestinians as "a response" to something done by Palestinians.

It is so routine for CBC to see things this way that they do not think twice about writing a line like this.

But why does CBC not feel it is necessary to start every reference to Palestinian attacks as "a response to" Israeli violence, oppression and ethnic cleansing?

Peace journalism refrains from saying "who started it", or even implying one side was acting solely in response to an unexplainable provocation from the other side.

Can you ever imagine CBC writing a line like the following:

     "Over the past decade, Israel has carried out thousands of acts of violence, oppression and human rights abuses against Palestinians, and Gaza militants have responded with rocket attacks."

It would be unthinkable.

For whatever reason, CBC wants to create the impression that Israel is the innocent victim of violence from wild and crazy Arabs, who commit violence for no other reason than it is in their evil nature to do so.

How this lopsided and phony war journalism serves the interests of Canadians is beyond me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


On February 21, CBC posted the following article about Palestinian protests:

Under the headline there was a large color photo of a Palestinian throwing a smoking projectile. The caption identifies that he is throwing back a tear gas bomb thrown first by Israeli soldiers.

Visual images can make a stronger impression than words, and the impression clearly reinforced by this photo is that Palestinians throw bombs and are violent.
This is creating a false reality. The overwhelming proportion of violence is coming from the armed Israelis against unarmed Palestinians. If CBC wanted to accurately portray this reality they should have shown Israeli soldiers shooting their tear gas bombs and rubber bullets, etc at the Palestinians. The choice of this photo, and not the other kind, was a conscious choice to misrepresent and misinform.

If we want to know who CBC is taking their direction from, we can see it in the text, where we find this line:

       "When the military prevented them from proceeding, protesters began rioting by hurling stones and burning tires."

The Palestinians were protesting. They were not rioting. "Riot" has a strong negative connotation that "protest" does not have. It implies disorderly violence, from an undisciplined crowd. What actually happened was a protest, and although some rock throwing and tire burning occurred, it was in response to Israeli violence and was a protest, not a riot.

Why did CBC choose to use this strongly negative word to describe a protest? The answer is found further in the text, where CBC writes:

     "security forces used nonlethal means to break up what it called a violent riot."

The "it" referred to is obviously the "security forces" (even if CBC cannot get a handle on English grammar). So since the Israelis choose to call a protest a riot, CBC feels comfortable doing the same.

As Canadians, we need to ask who CBC is working for?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Can CBC editors and writers really be so incompetent, or are they intentionally misleading the Canadian public?

On February 26th there was the following article:

        Israel hit by 1st rocket in 3 months

            Militants say attack was in retaliation for Palestinian in Israeli custody

First we have to wonder why this ineffectual little toy rocket was such big news. Over the last several months since the November hostilities ended, Israeli forces have killed over half a dozen unarmed youths, but that never made a headline. Even in the text of this article, presented almost as an irrelevance, is the following information:

"Two Palestinian teens, ages 13 and 16, were wounded in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers. The older boy was transferred to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital after being shot in the head and was in critical condition Tuesday, hooked up to a respirator, officials said."
An unarmed 13-year old is shot in the head, and may die, and this is less news-worthy than a toy rocket?

Also notice the use of the passive voice, "after being shot in the head". Why didn't they write that the child was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers? Will we ever see a CBC headline with words like "UNARMED PALESTINIAN CHILD SHOT IN HEAD BY ISRAELIS". This kind of headline would be sensational. It would sell a lot of newspapers, as they say in the media business, but CBC would never want to make Israel look bad. Why not? They have no trouble writing screaming headlines that make Palestinians look bad.

On top of this CBC adds the following absurd quote:

"Quiet will be met with quiet, missiles will be met with a response," said Israeli President Shimon Peres,

Killing and maiming unarmed Palestinian children at a rate of one a week is defined by Peres as "quiet". Why would CBC repeat this disgusting quote as if it provided some real insight to the situation? Indeed why does CBC quote and cite Israeli official sources so often? By what reasonable criteria can Israeli sources be deemed credible in reporting on this conflict?

At the bottom of the same article there was the following puzzling statement, also from Israeli sources:

"In Monday evening's confrontation near Bethlehem, the Israeli military said protesters threw "improvised hand grenades" at a Jewish shrine in the area, endangering worshippers inside."

What in Heaven's name are "improvised hand grenades"? Given the fact that the Palestinians are essentially unarmed victims of strict Israeli occupation, it is likely these "improvised hand grenades" are just stones.

Also look at the sub-headline. The Palestinian referred to is dead. He is not a "Palestinian in Israeli custody", he is a corpse. He was a 30-year old man arrested for throwing rocks and he most likely died under torture. Certainly CBC has a better grasp of English and of reality than to write a headline like this. This sub-headline was carefully crafted to hide the truth and protect Israel, but why?

Israel is in a state of war against the people of Gaza and the West Bank. When CBC uses words to protect one side in a conflict, particularly the more war-like, heavily-armed, aggressive side, these are weaponized words.

And CBC's weaponized words are not only targeted at Palestinians. Ultimately they are targeted at us Canadians as well.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


The following was listed as one of the most viewed articles on February 21:



      Iran stepping up nuclear enrichment

        New technology can speed up warhead development, diplomats say

You cannot "speed up" something that has not already started.

This headline implies strongly that there is nuclear warhead development currently underway in Iran. There is no evidence for this. So this headline is misleading.

This claim that Iran is currently developing a nuclear warhead is made by those seeking justification for an early attack and war on Iran.

CBC implying strongly in a headline that this unsubstantiated claim is true is a good example of war journalism.

These are weaponized words, and we have to ask whose interest is being served by them.

Also the headline quotes "diplomats" as the source for the claim that warhead development could be sped up.
However if one looks at what they are quoted as having said in the article, they say nothing about the current existence of a nuclear warhead development program. They only say that this nuclear material could be used in such a program, if one existed. They did not say that such a program exists (because there is no such evidence).

So CBC is strengthening the misrepresentation in its headline by falselyly citing unnamed diplomats as its source.

One must ask whether this is just incompetent journalism or whether it is intentionally serving someone else's war agenda (to the detriment of Canadians who pay CBC's bills).

Monday, February 18, 2013


Recently we have seen the frequent use of the term "Islamist" in CBC reports, whether talking about events in Mali, the Middle East and elsewhere. This term "Islamist" has become widely-used in Western media, and although seldom defined, it appears to refer to what would be more fairly termed "fundamentalist Islam" or "political Islam". Adding "ism" to the name of a religion implies it sums up the teaching of that religion, like in the case of Buddhism or Taoism. But given its use with a political dimension in the case of Islam, it seem to also suggest notions of "fascism" and "extremism".

The proper name for Islam is Islam, and its members are normally called, Muslim. The creation of this new term, Islamism, to describe fundamentalist, political Islam, is partly a convenient shorthand, but it is also an expression of BIAS. There are fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Jews, both with a political dimension and a predeliction for violence ,but no one in the Western media would dare to call them "Christianists" or "Jewists".

I suppose it is too much to ask, but it would be the decent thing to do if CBC stopped using this biased term for Muslims.

Prime Minister Harper took this biased use of terminology one step further in an interview given on the National, by coining an even more fascist-sounding term, Islamicists. It is reported on in the attached:


Harper's claim of this Islamicist threat is fully in keeping in some of his other ridiculous, bigoted statements on Muslims, but what is most interesting is CBC willingness to report it without even attempting to point out how ludicrous it is.

I was incensed by it at the time, as were thousands of other Canadians, and I wrote the following few paragraphs:

                                Islamicism versus Jewicism


In his interview with Peter Mansbridge aired on "The National" on September 8, 2011 Prime Minister Stephen Harper asserted that the greatest national security threat to Canada was "Islamicism". He also warned that we have "homegrown Islamicism" proliferating in Canada. Being unfamiliar with the term "Islamicism", in a panic, I rushed to my dictionary and found that the word does not exist. Stephen Harper had coined it. My panicked imagination ran wild as I began to wonder what Islamicists might look like. I took some comfort in the thought that Islami-cysts are probably less dangerous that Islami-tumors, but since the dictionary could not offer one, I put together my own definition.


Because Harper described the Taliban as "Islamic fascists" in the same interview, I was able to infer the following as likely elements of what Harper meant by his invented term:


Islamicism, like fascism, is an extremist ideology of identity. It should not be confused with the religion of Islam; not even fundamentalist Islam. Islamicists are people who so strongly identify with the community to which they belong (in this case the community of people who profess the religion of Islam), that they put the interests of that community above all else. Its extremist ideology is manifested in the following elements:

a) the belief that they are members of a surrounded, beleaguered community with powerful forces ranked against them and out to destroy them, and that every good member of the community must dedicate him/herself to its defence;

b) the belief that loyalty to the interests of the community trumps everything else (like the Nazi slogan "Deutschland ubber alles"). It must trump honesty, integrity, humanity, decency, moderation, justice, and even the fundamental principles of the religion which binds the community;

c) the belief that the threat to the community is so great that the use of violence is both justified and inevitable, and if necessary, this violence can be directed against innocents.


One must agree with Stephen Harper that there are some Islamicists in the world and maybe even a few in Canada, but it is a bit of stretch to claim these people are the greatest security threat to Canada. There are too many other threats that deserve to share the spotlight to focus exclusively on "Islamicism".


How about Jewicism?


With a bow to Harper's genius in the coining of an appropriate word to describe a form of extreme tribalism bordering on fascism, I would like to coin another in the same vein; Jewicism. Much like Islamicism, Jewicism is an extremist ideology. It should not be confused with Judaism, not even Orthodox or fundamental Judaism. As an ideology it shares the same fundamental principles as Islamicism;


a)     the belief that the community is under attack everywhere and every member must act in its defence;

b)     the belief that loyalty to the Jewish community trumps all other principles, including the morality of the Jewish religion;

c)      the belief that violence in the defence of the community, even if directed at innocents, is justified and inevitable.


Bearing this definition in mind, it might be useful to determine if there are any "homegrown Jewicists" in Canada, and whether they might also be a threat to the welfare of Canadians. The answer to that question is not hard to find. Many of the highest profile Jewish people in Canada can be described as Jewicists. They are well-represented in the media, in academia, and in politics. Of course not all Jewish people are Jewicists, just as all Muslims are not Islamicists. The Jewicists can be most readily identified by their unqualified support for the State of Israel, and in keeping with the definition above, they usually display the following characteristics;


a)     a belief that the Jewish people are surrounded by enemies; that another Holocaust can happen any time, and that it is the obligation of every Jewish person to defend Jewish institutions, especially the State of Israel;

b)     the willingness to abandon, in the defence of Israel, every principle which they usually hold dear, including the morality of the Jewish religion. It is actually a fascinating phenomenon to observe, but many Jewicists have extremely fine moral values, except where Israel is concerned.

c)      the willingness to endorse, and even encourage and finance, all the abuses committed by the State of Israel, including the mass murder of civilians and children, and its violent aggressiveness towards all its neighbours.


Greater Threat: Islamicism or Jewicism?


As might be expected Jewicists in Canada who are in positions of power frequently abuse that power if it serves the interests of their community and Israel. Jewicists in the Canadian media abandon journalistic integrity in order to misinform the Canadian public on the sad realties of the Middle East. Wealthy Jewicists use campaign donations to exploit the weaknesses in Canadian democracy, and pressure the Canadian Government to act in ways that benefit Israel, but may harm Canada. And Jewicist Canadian politicians participate in such anti-democracy activities as creating the Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism which was designed to silence Canadians who have non-Jewicist views on the policies of Israel. All of these "homegrown Jewisicists" are pursuing their extremist ideology at the expense of their fellow Canadians, and doing considerable harm to Canada.


On the other hand, one would be hard pressed to find many Islamicists in positions of power in Canada, and there are virtually no cases of Canadian Islamicists doing harm to Canadians within Canada. So the question arises, "Why does Stephen Harper point the finger only at Islamicists?"


Could the answer perhaps be;

a) considering his constant fear-mongering against Muslims;

b) the lack of balance and integrity in his Middle East policy; and

c) his eagerness to send Canadian soldiers to do violence against Muslims in their own countries,

that the Canadian Prime Minister is a Christianicist?


Friday, February 15, 2013


This article appeared on January 28 in CBC online:

Beside it in the Related Articles is the over-one-year-old headline "Iran really on the nuclear brink" This was a lie 15 months ago, and it still is. Clearly this juxtaposition of Iran's space program with Iran's nuclear program was intended to create a threat and is war-mongering journalism. Also it is curious that 15 months ago, Iran was on the brink, and is still "on the brink". No doubt in 10 years time, CBC will still be publishing the threat that Iran is on the brink.

Indeed about half of the article was discussing military type issues, when it could have been treated as simply a scientific achievement for Iran. 


Also note the headline and sub-headline: CBC regularly quotes Israeli and US officials without qualification, but when Iranians say something it is "Iran claims..." In the sub-headline it does not say that the US claims to be concerned. In reality the Iran statement is verifiable and reasonable (there is video evidence), while the US statement is highly questionable – this so-called "concern" may very likely be just propaganda/spin.




Thursday, February 14, 2013

In article discussed in yesterday's posting ended with the following bit of information:

"In a separate incident Saturday, the Israeli military said soldiers shot at a Palestinian who "tried to infiltrate Israel" from the West Bank. The military said soldiers called on the man to stop, then fired warning shots in the air, and finally fired at his legs when he refused to stop.
Palestinian police said he later died of his wounds.
It was the second shooting death on the borders with the Palestinian territories in two days. On Friday, Palestinian officials in the Gaza Strip said a man was shot and killed near the coastal territory's border fence. The Israeli military said he was part of a group that rushed the fence to damage it."

In both cases the youths who were shot and killed were unarmed. In neither case did they pose a real threat to the Israeli soldiers who killed them. In both cases they were gunned down by a foreign occupier.

Why did CBC omit all these details? Is it because the Israeli authorities that CBC loves to quote as legitimate sources prefer not to mention these details? At least the fact that they were unarmed and posed no real threat should have been included. CBC chose to omit this important detail. It was a choice that speaks volumes about CBC's objectivity on the Israel/Palestine issue.

In fact in the 4-day period (Jan 11 – 15), in four separate incidents, 4 unarmed Palestinian youths (ages 17 – 22) were shot and killed by the Israeli military. More details are available here:

When Gaza rockets killed 3 Israelis in November 2012, CBC reported on this with full headlines as major news. Why is the killing of 2 young Palestinians treated by CBC in such a cavalier fashion? 


In Britain there is an "old newsman's maxim that one Briton dead in a plane crash carries the same interest as 100 Frenchmen and 1,000 people from any developing country."
CBC seems to think that Canadians are Israelis, and that Israelis are of greater value to Canadians than Palestinians. When did Canadians come to see themselves as Israelis?

Are the young lives of Palestinian worth less than Jewish lives for CBC? The Palestinians are the occupied and oppressed people, not the Israelis. Normally Canadian sympathize with the underdog, and would abhor the ruthless shooting of unarmed youths. Is CBC unaware of this Canadian bias?
Have you noticed how often Israeli authorities are quoted in CBC articles? Do Israeli authorities deserve to be given so much credibility? We have heard that "truth is the first casualty of war", so it follows that the claims of people who are always at war, like the Israelis, should not be treated as reliable or credible. CBC does not afford the spokespeople of other belligerent countries (except perhaps the USA) with the same degree of respect. Why does CBC think Israeli spokespeople are so credible and quotable?
CBC is clearly favouring, amplifying and echoing the "weaponized words" coming from Israel on a routine basis.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


War journalism ignores peacemakers. It plays up violence and conflict, and downplays non-violent alternatives.

CBC's reporting does not offer any credibility to Palestinian non-violent initiatives. CBC prefers to be a part of the problem rather than a part of any solution.


The biggest news on the Israel/Palestine conflict these days is the strong embrace of NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE by all the major Palestinian civil organizations.

Non-violent resistance actually terrifies the Israeli Government far more than Gaza's ineffective rockets, and it is in their interest to pretend as much as possible that it is not happening.

CBC is collaborating with the Israeli Government and undermining both peace and Palestinian non-violent initiatives by downplaying them.


The major program being promoted by the Palestinians is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS Campaign), which has been largely ignored by CBC.

But a good example of gross misrepresentation in this area is the following article published on January 13, 2013 online:


This was a beautiful example of non-violent resistance. The Palestinians have watched Israelis move onto their lands for decades and build what CBC always calls "settlements", although they are actually colonies. So they decided to build their own settlement on their own land in area E-1. The unarmed Palestinian settlers were immediately evicted violently by the armed Israelis.


Why does CBC refer to them only as "protestors"? They deserve to be called "settlers" far more than the Israeli colonists. They were much more than mere "protestors". They were not so much protesting as asserting their rights by building on their own land.


Why does CBC treat this as just another "protest", when in fact it is a brilliant new tactic in the new NON-VIOLENT approach being taken by the Palestinian resistance? Why doesn't CBC give more coverage of this REAL news?


Why does CBC cavalierly talk about the possibility of an Israeli "settlement" being built on the same site in the future? Why is it so natural for CBC to describe the Bab al Shams settlement that was established by the Palestinians as nothing more than a "protest", while not emphasizing the illegality and immorality of planned future Israeli building on the same (Palestinian) land?


Why does CBC not mention the double standard in the occupied territories where Israeli "settlements" are tolerated and protected by the military, while Palestinian settlements are violently uprooted?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


On December 24, 2012 CBC published the following article:

        "Gaza militants accused of violating laws of war"

It is a short article, but it must have been deemed important and newsworthy because it was one of only 16 articles published online on that day. I do not condone the Gaza militants bombing of populated areas and I support the good work of Human Rights Watch in accusing them of wrongdoing. However I have several problems with this article:

1) Why did CBC highlight this news and not other stories? Gaza rockets are an old story, but at the same time that the Human Rights Watch report came out, something very new (and thus even more newsworthy) was also announced. The ruling party of South Africa, the African National Congress, formally voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The BDS campaign has been adopted by all major Palestinian organizations as a NON-VIOLENT way to resist Israeli oppression, and ethnic cleansing. The ANC endorsement of this campaign is the first by a major country (one of the BRICS), and was a great victory for advocates of non-violent resistance. However a victory for Palestinian resistance is a potential obstacle to Israeli colonialism. We have to wonder why CBC chose to ignore this real news, that offers hope for peaceful progress, with this article that is likely to support continuing hostilities.

2) Vocabulary choice. The phrase; "the laws of war" – I have difficulty with describing the violent conflict between Israel and Gaza as "war". The balance of
forces is so skewed that Israel's actions are more properly described as massacres and Gaza's as futile gestures. Israel has one of the world's most powerful military establishments, while Gaza is virtually unarmed (except for those ineffective rockets) and does not have even 1/1000th the military power of Israel. If a 250-pound, 6 foot six, heavily-armed combat-hardened soldier is punching a skinny 10 year-old unarmed child, would you call that a "fight", or just an "abuse". And if the child, in desperation, kicks the marine in the genitals, would you loudly accuse the child of "dirty fighting"? By the same token, loudly accusing Gaza of not obeying the "laws of war" seems just a bit much in the absence of one thousand times more criticism of Israel.

3) Notice the use of language and strategic omissions in the article:

"The rocket attacks killed three Israeli civilians and wounded dozens. Israeli assaults killed 169 Palestinians."

It says "three Israeli civilians" were killed, not just "three Israelis" But it says "169 Palestinians" were killed, without mentioning that the majority of them were civilians, and dozens of them were children. Also there is mention of dozens of Israeli civilians being wounded, but no mention of the thousand Palestinian civilians that were wounded. Could this fuzzy use of language be unintentional? I doubt it. Also it describes Gaza actions as "rocket attacks", but Israeli actions only as "assaults". What are "assaults"; a punch in the nose? In fact, the Israelis also killed Palestinians (in a ratio of 50 Palestinians for each Israeli killed) with rocket attacks, so why doesn't CBC say so?

4) Omission of relevant contextual information. In the article Human Rights Watch declared unequivocally that; "There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas." Since this was precisely what Israel was doing, launching rocket attacks on populated areas, it seems that somewhere in the article it might have been mentioned that Israel was guilty of the same war crimes as the Gaza militants, but on a much greater scale.

Personally I believe that rocket attacks on populated areas are reprehensible. However I recognize that the actions of the Gaza militants were the actions of the weak and the poor, while Israeli actions were the actions of the strong and the rich. Both of them were reprehensible, but the strong and rich are by far the worse, and deserve the lion's share of censure, because they had so many more options and

Monday, February 11, 2013


I would like to give another example of CBC's inappropriate use of a headline.
On January 5, 2012, there was the following headline;
       Iran wants to use nuclear weapon, Harper says
 Do you think CBC would ever publish a headline such as the following?
      Israel wants to use nuclear weapon, says spokesperson
No government on earth WANTS to use nuclear weapons, so one would rightly conclude that the media organization that published this headline was either incompetent, or intending to mislead. It is virtually impossible that this claim could be supported by any evidence at all. It might however be based on religious bigotry or ethnic bigotry or both. It resembles the classical blood libel, accusing a country and a people of lusting for innocent blood in the complete absence of any real world evidence of this pathology.
Certainly there are countries that want to possess nuclear weapons, and there are countries that do possess them, but it is hard to believe that there is any country that WANTS to use them. Those that have them and those trying to acquire them are all motivated by the deterrent effect of possessing a nuclear weapon. Wanting to use one would be a sign of total depravity, a kind of barbaric, inhuman lust for the blood of thousands of innocent people, including children. Claiming that a government wants to use a nuclear weapon is tantamount to accusing it of being monstrous.
Why would CBC publish a deranged headline like this? Yes, Prime Minister Harper did say something very much like this. Actually what he said was possibly worse. He is quoted in the article as saying that Iran has "indicated a desire to use nuclear weapons." Saying they "want" to use nuclear weapons is just an opinion, albeit the opinion of someone consumed by religious bigotry and ethnic bigotry. But saying that they have indicated a desire to use them is a statement of a fact. And this is a "fact" that, any careful observer of Iran can confirm, cannot be supported by any evidence. When Harper states this as a fact, he is lying. No representative of the Iranian Government has EVER stated, or even intimated, the desire to use a nuclear weapon. Besides the fact that the Iranian Government is not totally depraved, given its military weakness, using a nuclear weapon would bring about the immediate suicide of the entire country and what country could possibly WANT that?
CBC could easily have avoided echoing and amplifying Stephen Harper's beating of the war drums by using a more neutral headline, perhaps something like;
"Shocking opinions on Iran's nuclear intentions from PM Harper"
To be fair, the report does have the words of a saner foreign affairs expert, Fred Hampson of Carleton University. However probably in his desire to be polite, he only described Harper's claim as an "overstatement". This is much too weak a rebuttal to such a dangerous lie as this one. CBC, in keeping with its mandate to hold the government accountable to the truth, should have used stronger language and printed a much more in-depth criticism of Harper's words. CBC might have mentioned, for example, that using a nuclear weapon by Iran would be an act of national suicide.
Prime Minister Harper proudly includes himself in the group of leaders who wish to deprive Iran of her sovereignty. They are currently enacting sanctions designed to bring Iran to its knees, and if these do not work, they are prepared to start killing Iranians to achieve this end. While it is possible that Harper, because of his religious bigotry, has deceived himself about Iran WANTING to use a nuclear weapon, it is more likely that he is consciously lying to the Canadian public in order to justify a military attack on Iran by his friends in Israel and the USA. Harper and his friends are collaborating in a campaign of demonisation of Iran. The key and most nonsensical element of this campaign is the promulgation of the belief that as soon as Iran gets a nuclear weapon, they will commit national suicide and use it against a neighbour.
Noam Chomsky has described this narrative as "ludicrous". Indeed, this imagined scenario is so absurd, that it would be one of the easiest tasks in journalism to expose its absurdity. One has to wonder why CBC does not even attempt to do so.
The words of this headline are weaponized words. They are as directly designed to facilitate death and destruction as bombs and bullets, and CBC should be held accountable for using its media power to propagate them.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Inexpert Expert

I would like to briefly return to the article discussed in my first posting:
CBC must have had a wide choice of "experts" that could have been interviewed for this article on Iran's nuclear developments. Why did they choose Aurel Braun?
Aurel Braun has very distinguished credentials as an expert in International Relations, and is a widely published scholar, so on the surface he looks credible.
However, Aurel Braun is:
1) only an expert on Eastern Europe and Communism. He has no scholarly publications on Iran because he has no specialized knowledge of Iran. He does not speak the language, and has no in-depth knowledge of Iranian culture, history, religion or society;
 2) He has no specialized expertise on nuclear technologies, either for war or peaceful purposes;
 3) and most significantly, he is well-known to have extremist Zionist views and his statements on Iran are more in keeping with Israeli Government propaganda than any scholarly research.
Even a cursory research into Aurel Braun's background reveals that
1) he has held high positions in Canadian Jewish organizations that have a strong pro-Israel bent, including the B'nai Brith;
2) he is a controversial figure for his destructive chairmanship of the now-defunct NGO, Rights & Democracy (where he tried to enforced the position that human rights should not apply to Palestinians);
3) and he has frequently been quoted in right wing media making warmongering claims that were not only ignorant, but patently ridiculous. For example he has been quoted on the radio saying that as soon as Iran obtained a single nuclear weapon, it would use it. Given the fact of America's 1000s of nuclear bombs, and Israel's 100s, and the certainty that they would retaliate, this is tantamount to saying that the leadership of Iran would commit national suicide.
Aurel Braun has close to zero credibility to comment on the topic of this article. We must ask why CBC gave him this platform. If they did so in order to provide a range of opinion, then we must ask why they did not balance this article with at least one quoting a real Iran expert, or anyone with a least a scintilla of the credibility that Braun lacks.
CBC made a choice here, and the choice was clearly to promote war. CBC has chosen to weaponize its words on Iran, and Aurel Braun was the perfect choice of "expert" to carry this out.


Thursday, February 7, 2013


Continuing the analysis of the CBC report "Iran is really on the nuclear brink", I would like to consider the headline which was used.

Headlines play a very powerful role in printed or online journalism, and the CBC editors must know this very well. Headlines are "relevance optimizers" and strongly influence what is most likely to be remembered by readers. Also many readers may skim all the headlines on a page, but only read the text of articles which particularly interest them. So CBC online could expect that all its readers would see and possibly internalize the false information that Iran is on the nuclear brink without reading any further. The fact that CBC chose this headline indicates that they strongly desired their readers to remember and internalize this notion (that is not supported by any facts) that Iran was on the brink of acquiring a nuclear weapon.

If the purpose was just to attract readers to an article on Iran, a much more honest headline could have been used, such as "Growing Concern about Iran's Nuclear Development". By placing the lie in the headline it was guaranteed to have the maximum propaganda effect.

Regarding propaganda, a well-established principle of successful persuasion is repetition. Things become increasingly believable the more often they are read or heard. CBC online has the practice of listing "Related Articles" in sidebars to its articles. Over the following four months after "Iran is Really on the Nuclear Brink" was published, virtually every CBC article about Iran listed this headline under its Related Articles. This meant that this false information was highlighted and repeated dozens of times over several months in true propaganda fashion. Indeed as late as last month, January 2013, this headline was listed under "Related articles" accompanying articles on Iran.

It is also interesting to note the use of the word "really" in the headline. This is not a particularly sophisticated word, and would not normally be found in a headline. However its use does reveal a desire to convince. Really! Believe me – it is really true! Again one might ask why CBC is so keen to convince, and is not satisfied just to inform.

I might add that immediately after the article came out I filed a personal complaint with the CBC Ombudsman about this article. Unfortunately my claim was rejected by both CBC and the Ombudsmnan, both claiming that whether or not the IAEA report stated that Iran was on the brink was a matter of interpretation. I invite any reader of this blog to read the IAEA report for him/herself and see if there is any possible wording that can be interpreted as CBC claims to have interpreted it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


The case of CBC's faulty reporting which has been selected as a first example is a bit out-of-date, but the issue of Iran's nuclear development is still very current. The following is a particularly blatant example of CBC echoing and re-echoing a falsehood that is essentially a warmongering propaganda point as if it were a certifiable truth. Thus this article offers an example in which CBC is using its media power to facilitate an unnecessary war with Iran which could cause great harm to Canadians.

The article in question is headlined:    Analysis / Iran really is on the nuclear brink

There are many things wrong with this article, but in this posting I will discuss only one point:

Israel and Zionist-supporters repeatedly claim that Iran is very close to developing a nuclear bomb capability, but actually most intelligence experts, including a consensus amongst US intelligences sources, believe that Iran is still far from this, and certainly is nowhere near a nuclear brink. However this CBC article falsely cites a report of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as the source of this conclusion. CBC wrote:

"A United Nations watchdog has put a much finer point on the whole matter, saying that Tehran is, indeed, on the brink of developing a nuclear warhead."

The CBC article even provides a hyperlink which has the appearance of directing the reader to the original report. I followed the hyperlink and it just lead to another Iran-related CBC article which made no reference to the IAEA report and in no way supported the claim of Iran being on the nuclear brink. It is hard not to think the hyperlink was meant to give false credibility to the CBC statement, assuming few would actually click on it to read the full report. However I did seek out the original IAEA report. It can be found online at:

I read it cover to cover, including the appendices and found not a single sentence, phrase, or even a word which declared or even suggested that Iran was close to developing a nuclear bomb. The most aggressive comment in the IAEA report was "The Agency has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program." However troubling this concern may be, this statement cannot possibly be construed to suggest an imminent timing for the production of a nuclear weapon?

Consequently one must conclude that the headlined claim that Iran is on the nuclear brink, citing only the IAEA as the source, is a lie. This false assertion is an important element in the warmongering narrative on Iran, because it is the basis for the claim that urgent military action must be taken against Iran. If Canada must be involved in a war, any war, it should be based on a truthful assessment of the facts, not on propagandistic lies. CBC should be held accountable for presenting war-promoting falsehoods to Canadians.

Monday, February 4, 2013

This blog will address the explicit role that Canadian mainstream media is playing as a promoter of war, violence, and injustice in the Middle East, and particularly in Israel/Palestine.

Words are the primary tools of editors and reporters, and they can be used, either consciously or unconsciously, to promote either war or peace. Using actual examples, I will demonstrate that far too often Canadian editors and reporters have chosen to use words that have become tools of war, and thus the blog title; Weaponized Words.

Audiences have great power to resist media messages, and this is especially the case on issues about which they feel knowledgeable or are concerned about enough to research their own opinions. However that leaves many areas where the mass media can have a strong influence on audience opinion:

* Complex global issues, where people feel the need to rely on experts in the media or experts selected by them;
* Issues of lesser interest to the individual, but still important, where the individual is unwilling to spend a lot of time studying the issue, but feels he/she must have an opinion on it (eg. Middle East).

Moreover the mass media 1) primes the public by setting agendas – telling them what is important to think about, and what is not; 2) frames the debate – by telling the public how to consider the issues, and 3) uses the propaganda repetition technique of constantly repeating certain things until they are become “common knowledge” or “common sense”, and thus not readily amenable to doubting or disputing.

There is nothing inevitable about the mass media creating weaponized words. In fact editors and reporters have a plethora of choices:

1) They can choose which topics to emphasize and which to ignore;
2) They can choose who to interview and who to ignore;
3) They can choose which sources to treat as credible and which to ignore;
4) Within an article, they can choose which related information or contextual details to include or ignore;
5) They can choose how to phrase their eye-catching headlines;
6) They can choose which photos, images and metaphors to employ;
7) They can choose to parrot the words of government officials without analysis, or choose to critique them;
8) Most fundamentally, they have an unlimited choice of vocabulary; verbs, nouns,
adverbs and adjectives, from which to choose, each of which may have differing positive or negative connotations.

This blog will employ several tools to analyze media reports, but will primarily use the tools of critical discourse analysis (CDA) and content analysis. Critical discourse analysis is carried out essentially by examining the choices that editors and reporters make (as per the above list), and considering what other reasonable choices could have been made, but were not. This technique has the power to reveal hidden agendas or biases on the part of writers; some of which might be hidden to the writers themselves.

The main principles underlying this blog are my beliefs;

1) That in the 21st century, in the Western democracies, one of the crucial components of warfare (along with bombs, aircraft and soldiers) is information, and without the weaponized words provided by the media, there would be much less warfare, violence and injustice in the world;

2) That mainstream media in Canada, more often than not, is providing weaponized words through inaccurate and misleading reporting on the Middle East, and particularly on Israel/Palestine;

3) That the Middle East is the area of the world that has the greatest potential to create the conditions for a major war or massive acts of violence that could ultimately reach all the way to Canada and threaten Canadian well-being;

4) That the media should be held accountable for the suffering and killing it is facilitating through its use of weaponized words. I believe that the mainstream media in Canada is not only failing in its responsibility to accurately inform the Canadian public; it is actually doing something much worse. It is acting as an accomplice to crimes of violence, injustice and warfare in the Middle East, and supporting events that could ultimately harm Canadians..

Initially the primary focus of this blog will be on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), with special attention to its online presence, While there is a serious problem of misleading Middle East reporting from privately-owned media in Canada, the CBC is owned and financed by the Canadian public and has a clear mandate to serve broad Canadian interests, not those of the small group of powerful, biased media owners. Unfortunately it can be easily demonstrated that CBC just as consistently misreports on Middle East issues as those privately-owned media outlets. This creates the unbalanced and harmful situation in which virtually all Middle East reporting in Canada has a biased slant and is inaccurate.

Another element of CBC’s mandate is to provide an alternative source of information and perspective, particularly to governmental sources, and this is clearly not happening on Middle East issues. In this blog I will provide examples of where CBC chooses to echo and amplify the most ridiculous and false claims of the Canadian Government regarding this region without making any reasonable effort to fulfill its mandate of providing unbiased critical analysis of government pronouncements and policies.

The goal of this blog will be to monitor the mainstream media, particularly the CBC, to identify when they are abusing language, and promoting fallacies and falsehoods that tend to make war, violence or injustice in the Middle East more likely to occur. We believe the mass media should be realigned to serve the broad Canadian public rather than serving special interest groups and foreign governments. Canadians, and the world, will not know security and peace, and there will be no turning swords into plowshares until weaponized words are replaced with peace-promoting ones.

I welcome comments and criticism to all of the postings on this blog. Also I would welcome my attention being brought to any Canadian mainstream Middle East reporting that I have missed that either supports the premises of this blog, or tends to refute them.