On the Message Board

The Irish Examiner recently relayed the thoughts of US senator Joseph Lieberman who favours military action against Iran in order to force them to ‘play by the rules’. We wrote in response:

Dear Tim, [Tim Vaughan, Editor, Irish Examiner]

We write to enquire about a recent unattributed report in the Irish Examiner concerning Joseph Liebermann’s recommendation that the US should use military ‘force’ against Iran in response to the unsubstantiated allegations of support for Iraqi insurgents. (Irish Examiner, Monday June 11th)

We notice that your reporter quotes exclusively from Mr Liebermann’s statement as if to attach a value of truth to the comments. Why was there no attempt to put Mr. Liebermann’s statement in context?

Mr. Lieberman’s ironic reference to ‘the international rule of law’ should have offered the perfect opportunity to question the legality of a military resolution to a fabricated threat – not least because Mr. Liberman is the Democrat’s most prominent defender of the Republican’s ‘interventionist’ policies; policies referred to as illegal by the UN’s Kofi Annan.

The effect of this one-sided report is to imply that what Mr Liebermann says is factual – even though these allegations have not been demonstrated to be true. This could be referred to as propaganda.

With best wishes

David Manning &
Miriam Cotton [Email, 28th June 2007] [1]
An article in the 26th June edition of the Irish Examiner detailed Israel’s announced ‘gesture of good will towards the Palestinians’, the release of 250 Fatah prisoners:

“The Arabs and Palestinians are pressing Israel to take immediate advantage of the Hamas militants’ expulsion from the coalition government and make quick peace progress despite the Palestinians’ split between a Gaza ruled by the Iranian-backed Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank run by Mr Abbas’ Western-backed Fatah in the West Bank.”

We wrote to the author the same day:

Dear Nadia

In your article you refer to “the Hamas militants expulsion from the coalition government.” This statement is misleading. As with Fatah, Hamas have both militant and political sides. It was Hamas, the democratically elected political group, that have been forced from government. In elections last year, Hamas won an outright majority of the votes and 76 of the 136 seats in their parliament.

Since the election Israel and the US have been doing everything possible to bring about the current crisis. In our latest media shot we have quoted The New York Times which reported that:

“Since the election victory of Hamas in January 2006, the United States and Israel have worked to isolate and damage Hamas and build up Fatah with recognition and weaponry.”

This economic violence was a precursor to Hamas’ military violence, which was in itself a response to the real threat of a US-backed Fatah coup. Hamas cannot be excused for it’s recent violence, but would any other democratically elected government allow foreign forces to undermine its democratic mandate in favour of a group widely regarded as corrupt and incompetent?

Why does your article accept the legitimacy of the new Palestinian Authority – imposed on Palestinians, without question?

Yours sincerely
Miriam Cotton &
David Manning

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