Why so quiet?
October 6, 2004 12:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm not much for the tin foil hat types out there, but does anyone else find it odd that the leader of the Islamic Jihad was killed [Reuters UK via Fark] and it's not being reported by anyone else? Could it have anything to do with the fact that it's nearing election time and the fact that it wasn't us who did it?
posted by twiggy (33 comments total)
ABC is reporting it, as linked by Google News

Meanwhile, I hear that Blogger is accepting accounts for people who want to start a blog.
posted by mkultra at 1:03 PM on October 6, 2004

is that the leader of this weeks jihad or last weeks jihad?
posted by quonsar at 1:06 PM on October 6, 2004

Your Reuters UK link isn't producing anything for me in either Mozilla or IE. I'm also not seeing anything regarding Islamic Jihad in a (admittedly very quick) search of the Reuters UK headlines.

A BBC News headline tells me this, though:

"But two late Israeli missile strikes rocked the territory.

The first hit a car in Gaza City, killing two Islamic Jihad militants, including senior member Bashir al-Dabbash.

He was one of the most senior militants killed in Gaza since Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi was assassinated in April.

Islamic Jihad vowed revenge. "

Is that the guy you're referring to?
posted by eyebeam at 1:07 PM on October 6, 2004

what's really funny is on firefox i get an empty reuters page template from that link. the place where the story should be is whitespace.
posted by quonsar at 1:09 PM on October 6, 2004

what eyebeam said...
posted by quonsar at 1:10 PM on October 6, 2004

Try this link.
posted by milovoo at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2004

My apologies.. I suppose I should have pointed more to the fact that it isn't on the forefront of any news organizations' sites...

One would think that killing the leader of one of the most notorious organizations out there would be on everyone's front pages - no?

and to mkultra: snark+1... but MeFi IS a blog, meant for community discussion, and thus I don't feel my post was off-base / shouldn't be here. Hell, at least it wasn't Iraq related.

I do concede that I did not search Google News any deeper.. I was under the assumption that if anyone was reporting it, it'd be on the front page...
posted by twiggy at 1:15 PM on October 6, 2004

I read about the strike killing the guy on today's Boston Globe, so I don't think it's being buried in any way.
posted by zeikka at 1:21 PM on October 6, 2004

I blame Dick Cheney.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:26 PM on October 6, 2004

I heard about it on the radio, read about it in the Boston Globe, saw it on CNN, and even saw it in the "crawl" on Court TV.

So I don't think it's being "buried". I also don't think it's clear that al-Dabbash was "the leader" of Islamic Jihad, either.

Nor is Islamic Jihad as large or influential an organization today as it was 10 years ago.

The fact is that right now, news media conceive of terrorism as A) al-Qaeda, B) Hamas, and C) everyone else.

I don't see this as a slam-dunk front-page story for US/UK/Canada/Oz newsoutlets, sorry. There are ten or fifteen terrorists in the world who beat out al-Dabbash for the "most wanted" list.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:30 PM on October 6, 2004

I think it's interesting that this comes on the same day that the Israeli government said screw the peace process. I wonder if Arafat is next.
posted by eyebeam at 1:33 PM on October 6, 2004

And note--if you search Google News for "al-Dabbash", you'll get almost 2,000 links.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:33 PM on October 6, 2004

This is my favorite of all the stories on this, from the always-colorful New York Post.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:35 PM on October 6, 2004

And, in fact, it's actually pretty clear that al-Dabbash wasn't "the leader" of Islamic Jihad.

al-Dabbash was "the commander of the al-Quds brigade", whatever that means. The leader of the Islamic Jihad group is Ramadan Abdallah Shalah, who currently resides in Syria.

al-Dabbash isn't even mentioned on the Islamic Jihad dossier compiled by Israel's International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

It sounds to me like somebody at Reuters bought into the hype of an Israeli military press release, which posthumously elevated al-Dabbash to the status of Most Dangerous Man in the World.

Not that al-Dabbash doesn't seem to have been a vile and reprehensible individual without whom the world is better off, because he does. But he was no Osama bin Laden in terms of his international influence--he was just one of a bunch of violent thugs.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:46 PM on October 6, 2004

Just to be clear: the point of MetaFilter is to find the best and most interesting of the web to share with others, not things described here.

(from the "Post a link" page)
posted by mkultra at 1:52 PM on October 6, 2004

Islamic Jihad (proper name Palestinian Islamic Jihad) has perhaps 1/20th the members and 1/100th the authority of the HAMAS organization. It really isn't a huge story outside of Israel and maybe Iran, who I believe is known to be the largest outside funder of PIJ. It seems that you may be confusing the group Islamic Jihad with some other group, or with the general concept.

Sidhedevil, it seems that most of these terrorist groups tend to ape proper militaties with their assorted titles, brigades, and divisions. Al Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
posted by cell divide at 1:54 PM on October 6, 2004

Just to be clear: the point of MetaFilter is to find the best and most interesting of the web to share with others, not things described here.
(from the "Post a link" page)

Well, then you should complain in MeTa, not here.
posted by milovoo at 1:58 PM on October 6, 2004

Thanks, cell divide! It does seem from some of the more detailed stories like al-Dabbash's role was to direct guerrilla/terrorist operations on the ground within Gaza, so in the light of your observation, "commander of the al-Quds brigade" makes sense as a title.

It's hard to imagine this as qualifying as a front-page story anywhere outside of Israel itself, and possibly Syria (given that so many of al-Dabbash's superiors seem to be operating from there) or Iran (which, as you point out, is a big supporter).

I had an editor once who used to say "Water is wet! Film at 11!" for what he thought were non-stories. "Israeli Army Kills Terrorist!" isn't breaking news for most of the world, because it happens quite often.

The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism page on [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad refers to its "tens of members", BTW.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:03 PM on October 6, 2004


Meanwhile, I hear that Blogger is accepting accounts for people who want to start a blog.

Hasn't it been the case before? I'm asking because I have no idea.
posted by NewBornHippy at 2:54 PM on October 6, 2004


Yeah, mkultra was (seemingly) just encouraging twiggy to "get his own blog, fuckwit".
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:05 PM on October 6, 2004

"us"? Who is "us"?
posted by salmacis at 3:09 PM on October 6, 2004

Ufez- precisely.

Milovoo- I was going to, but if I posted to MeTa for every lazy, agenda-driven post like this, it'd get old, fast. Besides, Sidhedevil did an excellent job of single-handedly rescuing this thread.
posted by mkultra at 3:22 PM on October 6, 2004

'"us"? Who is "us"?'

Are you the Palestinian Islamic Jihad?

Fuck off! We're the Islamic Jihad for Palestine!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:23 PM on October 6, 2004

The Post may label this guy a murderer but BBC referred to him as a martyr...depends whose ox is being gored, whatever the fuck that means.
posted by Postroad at 4:09 PM on October 6, 2004

Fuck off! We're the Islamic Jihad for Palestine!

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:32 PM on October 6, 2004

It was fun, and I learned something, too. However, Stavros beat me to the punchline, as always.

The sayings "it depends whose ox is gored" or "it's not my ox that was gored", etc., refer to the lengthy debate in Exodus about what the proper adjudication is in cases of ox-goring (covering situations in which oxen are both gorers and gorees ).

I believe that it was Sir Thomas Browne who first popularized the saying in English, but I have only the vaguest memory from my grad-school "Seventeenth-Century English Literature" course to back this up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:53 PM on October 6, 2004

Well, at least you were spot-on with the tin foil hat link.
posted by LimePi at 8:43 PM on October 6, 2004

twiggy may have thought they meant Egyptian Islamic Jihad, headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, which merged with al Qaeda in 1998. Before that, they were best known for coordinating the assassination of Sadat. They certainly have some historical affiliation with the Palestinian group, but operate independently.
posted by dhartung at 10:25 PM on October 6, 2004

Killing the leader of (the Palestinian, re dhartung's crucial distinction) Islamic Jihad is like killing Miss America :

There's an endless line of contenders ready to step up and take the crown.

That said, I'm sure Israel's regular assasination of such leaders does cause more than a hiccup in the operation of the Palestinian mill that grinds out rocket attacks on Israel and gory suicide bombings of random Israeli civilians.


All the Palestinians can do to stop IDF attacks which kill Palestinian civilians is to knuckle under, stop their bombings and rocket launches, and simply accept their lot - of living in the World's largest and most densly populated open air prison.

Of course, that won't happen....so this tired, evil dynamic will grind on - In Israeli eyes, Palestinian attacks justify the IDF's retribution while that retribution, and the near-concentration camp realities in Gaza and the West Bank, justify in Palestinian eyes, the killing of Israeli civilians.

In the immortal words of the author of "Breakfast of Champions", so it goes.

It makes me want to study biochemistry - so I could develop high carbon steel eating bacteria.
posted by troutfishing at 7:35 AM on October 7, 2004

Twiggy - there are plenty of proven instances of censorship in US media, cases where stories get axed or altered, transcripts changed, and so on. This has become a cottage industry of sorts on the Net and in the Blogosphere.

: And those who are always eager to whip out the tired "Tin Foil Hat" smear - in response to better substantiated instances than you pointed to in your post - betray an almost charming naivete (like overly-cute bunnies, perhaps?) of a sort of ongoing phenomenon which is as old as mass media itself, noted in this notorious (and oft-misattributed) quote by editor and eminent NY journalist John Swinton :

"....There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

posted by troutfishing at 7:49 AM on October 7, 2004

BTW, that quote was probably made at a NYC social gathering one night in 1880.

Plus Ça Change......US Mass Media : Who Owns What ?

see The Columbia Journalism Review (and CJR's Campaign Desk Cursor, Media Transparency Editor and Publisher Magazine and FAIR (a recent piece FAIR piece on election coverage : Covering the Caged Hamster raises the spectre of the tabloid-esque headline : Giant 6'4" hamster terrorizes president Bush! )

Omission is one favorite mainstream media tactic. For example :

(from Media Transparency) NYT piece on William F. Buckley neglects to mention the $3.1 million Buckley has received from conservative foundations. See NYT's National Review Founder to Leave Stage (June 29, 2004) - "Doesn't the NYT know how to use Google ?"

For Starters

On the Net - if not yet on the air/radio waves and the print media World - info on disinfo is an ocean.

I love the DisinfoPedia too, from the mighty PR Watch

The REAL question now is :

How long can mainstream media journalists and reporters continue their traditional fellatio to the prerogatives of wealth and power now that the internet works as a microphone - jammed right up in the nasty, messy business - which
amplifies all of the panting, grunts, groans, and sloppy wet squishing, snapping and smacking noises ?

How long, I ask ?
posted by troutfishing at 8:40 AM on October 7, 2004

there are plenty of proven instances of censorship in US media, cases where stories get axed or altered, transcripts changed, and so on

...but this is not one of those instances.

The "Israel kills Hamas leader" story was on the front pages of at least some of CNN, MSNBC, and FoxNews before Mt. St. Helens, the VP debate, and the Iraq/WMD commission findings conspired to shove it off. I saw it there with my own eyes, big as life and twice as ugly.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:13 AM on October 7, 2004

ROU_Xenophobe - I agree, it isn't.

But wasn't that a nice rhetorical flourish there ?
posted by troutfishing at 1:57 PM on October 7, 2004

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