Those Who Die in Palestine: Those With Dead Souls Here 251

I cannot imagine the cold courage it must take to be a Palestinian, walking in protest, unarmed, towards the fence that contains the agony of their long drawn-out genocide, in the knowledge that the bullets will start splintering bones and ripping out brain matter around them, and every millisecond could be their own last.

I cannot imagine the cold viciousness it must take to work on the Guardian newspaper, where on the homepage the small headline of the latest six Palestinians to be shot dead, is way below the larger headline of the several hundredth article associating Jeremy Corbyn with anti-Semitism, on the basis of the quite deliberate conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel.

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251 thoughts on “Those Who Die in Palestine: Those With Dead Souls Here

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  • Bunkum

    Still of the opinion this is the most important thing that is behind all the smoke and mirrors trying to influence governments worldwide.

    A senior insider of SCL Group (SCL), the parent company to data miners Cambridge Analytica (CA), has jumped ship in the wake of recent revelations.

    And a whistleblower has revealed a wealth of documents that appear to provide evidence closely linking digital intelligence specialists AggregateIQ (AIQ) with CA and SCL.

    Commander Dr Steve Tatham RN, who headed SCL’s defence arm, has now completely disassociated himself from that company.

    Tatham, who has extensive links to academia and the wider defence community, specialises in strategic communications. Through his company Influence Options, Tatham has issued an updated statement on the activities of CA and SCL:

    We have previously worked, as contractors, for the defence division of SCL, as indeed we have with many other organisations. The defence division works on defence related projects only.

    We are utterly appalled at the actions of senior Cambridge Analytica staff revealed by Channel 4 news and the subsequent evidence provided by Christopher Wylie to the Commons’ Select Committee. These are not our values and standards and we condemn them unreservedly. We have now withdrawn from all work with SCL.

    A page (now removed) on the SCL website referred to four types of training offered: Strategic Campaign Planning, Target Audience Analysis (TAA), Campaign Intervention Strategy (based on TAA) and Audience Based Measures of Effectiveness. That training came within the ambit of SCL Defence.
    From ‘psyops’ to social media

    SCL Defence, guided by Tatham, engaged in major work for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and NATO over many years.

    In 2005, Strategic Communications Laboratories Ltd, as SCL was then known, launched a ‘psyops’, or psychological operations service. As former head of 15 psyops for British forces in Afghanistan, Tatham was the logical choice to promote this service.

    In 2008, Tatham co-authored Strategic Communication & Influence Operations [pdf], borrowing heavily from the British army’s campaigns in Afghanistan. He followed that up with Strategic Communications [pdf] and the use of social media, a topic that would eventually prove to be SCL’s ‘Achilles heel’.
    Major contracts

    In a 2015 paper, ‘Target Audience Analysis’, Tatham intriguingly stated [pdf]:

    the TAA programme will be delivered by the UK company SCL, who have spent over $40 million and 25 years, developing this group behaviour prediction tool.

    But Tatham does not clarify where the $40m came from. However, on page 4 in the paper, he refers to a NATO training course. Indeed, later that year NATO launched a counter propaganda programme, run by SCL Defence. Two years later Tatham co-authored a study [pdf] for the US Army War College and other bodies on the use of social media.

    More recently, SCL Defence worked on the highly secretive Operation Duco [pdf], which required oversight from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, otherwise known as Porton Down, where chemical weapons and nerve agents are tested. The operation concerned the analysis of “psychological and anthropological principles” in regard to how the public interacts with government messaging.

    And this project involved Porton Down ‘students’:

    The recent announcement by Tatham will likely be a huge blow to SCL’s prestige and coffers. And it could affect its MoD-awarded ‘List X’ status [pdf].
    Smoke and mirrors

    Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie claimed that AIQ, who worked on the EU referendum Vote Leave campaign, was basically the Canadian ‘department’ of CA.

    Now documents [pdf] provided by Wylie to a Commons select committee appear to reveal the extent of the working relationship between SCL and CA and AIQ.

    These include a September 2014 Service Agreement [pdf, p10-29] between SCL Elections Ltd, CA and AIQ for an ‘engagement platform’ known as ‘Ripon’. There is also a November 2013 contract [pdf, p31-43] between AIQ and SCL Elections (UK) and a September 2014 Intellectual Property agreement [pdf, p60-65] between AIQ and SCL Elections. Zak Massingham (AIQ CEO) is also described [pdf, p66] in a datasheet as Head of SCL Canada.

    None of which is good news for Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who fronted Vote Leave.
    End in sight?

    It would be wrong to see this scandal as merely about alleged overspends to help secure a pro-Brexit vote. Or about the use of millions of Facebook users [paywall] to win elections in the US. Or the management of elections and propaganda in scores of developing countries.

    The bigger picture is about how voters are psychologically manipulated [pdf] for political gain. And it’s also about the application of a unique blend of psychological operations with behavioural manipulation and the exploitation of social media that Tatham helped to develop and SCL and its offshoot CA went on to perfect.

    SCL has long-established connections with the defence community, as well as, historically, close links with the Tory elite. But with the recent revelations and the departure of stalwarts like Tatham, questions must surely arise about SCL’s future prospects.

    • Dave Lawton

      “Still of the opinion this is the most important thing that is behind all the smoke and mirrors trying to influence governments worldwide. ”
      This is not new .You can go back to Edward Bernays in the 1950`s and Norman Reddaway of the IRD Information Research Department.He was the worlds biggest liar and propagandist and run up to the 1975 EU referendum and with help of the CIA swung the remain vote to stay in the EU.

  • RD

    Well said. Apart from a handful of authors, the Guardian is just so symptomatic of the excrement-brained bloody-mindedness of Little Britain’s extremist, anti-democratic and anti-peace leadership. The fact that some of those Tories and their journalst-hacks still have jobs is baffling. How far gone are we in the space of just a decade or two in accepting this new norm – where decent persons are branded extemists by the scumbag extremists themselves!

    I haven’t seen a good piece of journalism re: Britain’s foreign policy for as long as I can think.

  • Kevin Mullins

    Thank you for your bravery in speaking truth to power in recent weeks.
    You and others like you have been vindicated
    God Bless you

  • Tony

    It looks like history is repeating itself.

    Maureen Lipman can no longer support Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn.

    A few years ago, she could no longer support Labour because of Ed Miliband!

    This seems to be something of a tradition. Needless to say, the Sky News did not put this point to her when she appeared yesterday and delivered a monologue that lasted several minutes.

  • Teresa Grover

    I am very concerned about the lack of compassion for a tiny country, which was divided up by the Western world & without any thought, they gave a huge piece of Palestine & gave the land to the Jewish people post the war. They needed somewhere to live & feel safe, no one disagreed. But answer me this, would the UK, Germany, France the US, like it if part of their land was divided up & given to someone else????
    What is absolutely monstrous is that this Israel, now wants all the land, & remove all Arabs!!! It is so obvious, yet some nations have turned their backs & closed their ears & eyes…. WHY has this extermination of Palestinians been allowed to continue?

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I suspect Mr Murray that a lot of younger journalists are simply completely uneducated on where truth lies, having drunk in Western propaganda since the day they stopped wearing nappies. We do have a strong culture of deference to seniority and it is quite easy to get sucked in.

    I escaped it in the first year of my PhD when a practicing vet told me the ‘scientific salesman’s pitch’ that bracken-associated bovine cancers in Scotland were ‘an economic problem’ was simply not true. It was hard not to feel frustration and anger that academics had descended to playing to ignorance when pitching for funding, but it did mean I was forever skeptical of seniority thereafter. If scientists could distort the facts to control the narrative, I reckoned everybody else could too….

    Maybe young journalists are not so lucky? They certainly will not be sent to Palestine to report directly, much less North Korea. But that did not stop James Forsyth being a Foreign Policy guru concerning Kim Jung Un at the Spectator when I doubt he has ever been posted abroad in his life. I doubt the editor took too much notice of me calling him a Playstation Four Journalist….

    As for the older ones, the old story of rationalisation comes into play. Mortgages, children to feed, no other skills to find an alternative career. The bedrock behind every propaganda heist. A population that places family survival higher than ethics and more abstract morals.

    As fr the Palestinians, I suspect they act the way they do because they know that to submit will mean the final curtain. They have no illusions that a victorious Israel will see them as equals. Ther believe their cause is just, they long ago crossed the boundaries where illusions remain and they probably have a great intuitive understanding of which human freedoms still remain within their situation. Certainly knowing that choosing how they die is one of them, just like Steve Biko and his fellow South Afrcans understood in the Seventies. They know that others in history have overcome greater powers, so hope will remain with them. I am sure that some have hatred in their hearts, but enough still have hope, faith and love; a sense of duty; and a sense of purpose.

    But those are just surmises, not a claim to understand…..

  • SA

    Choice beetwen horrific end and horror without end…
    Think that brave kids take horrific end, others will taking horror without end.

  • Ann Lewis

    Radio4 news exhibited the same imbalance with utterly disproportionate coverage of material trying to link the Labour Party with anti-semitism.This was picked up on Feedback. “No one was available to comment. May be there will be a spokesperson on this weeks Feedback?

  • Karin Brothers

    Yea Craig!! We welcome the rare voice of honesty and integrity and courage to describe the Palestinian reality.

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