Caitlin Johnstone: CNN finally tells the truth about the Flour Massacre after previously shilling for Israel


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COMMENTARY: By Caitlin Johnstone

CNN has a new report out showing that (surprise!) Israel lied about the Flour Massacre in which Israeli Defence Force (IDF) troops fired machine guns into a crowd of starving Gazans waiting for food this past February, killing over a hundred people. CNN found that Israel’s timeline and version of events doesn’t line up with video footage, witness testimony, and forensic evidence.

Which of course was obvious from the beginning to anyone who isn’t deeply invested in pretending Israel ever tells the truth about these things.

Within hours of the massacre, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor had a preliminary report up saying that video, audio and material evidence shows that the IDF had been firing into the crowd in contradiction of Israel’s claims that the injuries and deaths sustained on the scene were mostly due to Gazans trampling on each other in a mad rush upon the convoy of aid trucks.

Now here’s CNN, a month and a half later, telling us essentially the same thing.

This is the same CNN who at the time reported on the Flour Massacre in ways that advanced Israel’s information interests with headlines completely exonerating Israel of any wrongdoing like “At least 100 killed and 700 injured in chaotic incident” and “Carnage at Gaza food aid site amid Israeli gunfire”.

CNN also repeatedly refers to the killings as “food aid deaths”, as though it’s the food aid that killed them and not the military of a very specific state power.

I don’t know if there’s a word for when a government does something evil and then churns out a bunch of easily disprovable lies with the understanding that by the time those lies are debunked public attention will have moved on from the controversy, but there should be.

Over and over again we’ve seen the Israeli regime do just enough lying to dampen the initial burst of attention and outrage and get people doubting themselves, only to discover far too late that it was all a bunch of crap after the initial crime has been forgotten.

This is exactly what happened with Israel’s initial assault on al-Shifa Hospital back in November, when Israel was cranking out propaganda claiming the hospital was being used as a command center for Hamas. Not until the end of December did The Washington Post show up to acknowledge the abundantly obvious fact that there was no evidence for Israel’s claims, which independent outlets like Consortium News had been reporting since mid-November.

Now al-Shifa Hospital — the largest hospital in Gaza — has been completely destroyed.

Back in October Israel and its apologists were shrieking with outrage that anyone would dare suggest that Israel would ever attack a hospital at all, saturating the media with bogus evidence that it falsely claimed proved its innocence.

Since that time Israel has launched hundreds of attacks on Gaza’s healthcare services and has destroyed most of its healthcare system.

It’s a weaponisation of the adage “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth even puts its boots on.” They know all they have to do is lie really hard for a week or two, and then when the truth inevitably surfaces it won’t matter, because the truth will never be able to have the impact their lies had when it mattered.

It’s so obnoxious how even after all this time Israel is still given the benefit of the doubt on such claims by the Western political-media class until they’re debunked weeks or months later, long after the outcry over the incident has been muted and neutered by Israeli lies.

If a state power is preventing journalists and human rights groups from investigating the facts on the ground in a given area, then it is not legitimate to give their claims about what happens in that area weighted consideration when their track record and all the facts in evidence say they’re probably lying.

The fact that the Western press keep giving Israel the benefit of the doubt whenever reports like this emerge after they’ve been caught in so very many lies means the Western press are just as culpable for the circulation of Israeli lies as Israel itself.

In journalism you’re taught that if someone says it’s raining and someone else says it’s dry, your job isn’t to quote them both and treat both claims as equal, your job is to go look out the window and see which is true.

The fact that the imperial media take so long to drag their asses to the window serves nobody but Israel and the globe-spanning Empire of which it is a part.

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent Australian journalist and poet. Her articles include The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society. She publishes a website and Caitlin’s Newsletter. This article was first published here and is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

Cafe Pacific Publisher
Cafe Pacific Publisher
Café Pacific's duty editor.
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