Panorama – embedded with the IDF…

Tonight was a mega-painful watch. I don’t know why I do it, but sometimes I’m a glutton for getting angry at the telly. I saw a few tweets from maydayblues which went a bit like this:

‘Impossible to fire a gun whilst absailing from a helicopter’. Tell that to Hollywood. #panorama about 3 hours ago via web

British Brainwashing Corporation #panorama #gaza #bbc #shills #janecorbin about 3 hours ago via web

oh! the cries of ‘allah akhbar’ were relentless on the boat. #panorama on gaza – thanks for that meaningless comment. about 3 hours ago via web

@HarpyMarx i know! straight in on the boat like it was some kind of warship… grrr… about 3 hours ago via web in reply to HarpyMarx

@KirenUK feel like the set up of ‘muslim -> islamist ->terrorist ->asking for it’ pretty narrow minded #panorama about 3 hours ago via web in reply to KirenUK

That should have been enough to make me realise I shouldn’t have watched it. But I did. Panorama’s “Death in the Med”.

Shocking load of balls. If you don’t believe me, watch it yourself.

I got so wound up that I had to write to the beeb. It’s a bit of a rambling rant – apologies – but I had to write something just to be able to get to sleep.

I encourage you all to send them your complaint emails too: and also post them to the BBC trust and don’t forget OFCOM

I’m shocked and disappointed with the extent of the bias in the Panorama documentary you aired tonight.

Both the ‘facts’ and the tone of the coverage were wildly biased and selective. I’d like to register the following complaints:

– why did you not mention the footage that had been confiscated by the Israelis and not returned? Cultures of Resistance provided you with some non-Israeli footage but there is much more that they chose not to release. Yet you use their footage (for example the video from the captain of the ship during questioning) without mentioning the lack of access to the rest.

– There is an emotive interview with a commando who is talking about the chairs, bottles etc that were being thrown from the ship. The BBC interviewer asks: how dangerous is it for a commando? Very, very dangerous, is the reply. And yet, why is there no corresponding interview about how dangerous it was for civilians to have Israeli commandos boarding the ship?

– What we get is the interviewer asking an israeli commando if he killed anyone and he replies he probably injured some people, but he shot them all in the legs. Clearly people weren’t just shot in the legs, so why does Panorama let the soldier get away with saying that?

– There is extensive coverage of the stabbing, along with emotive pictures of the knife used, and yet there is no discussion of the shots that killed nine people. None. There is no footage of the shooting, no pictures of people dead. Why is that? Presumably because Israel didn’t let the BBC have them. Is that not just playing along with the Israeli official media spin? This really is the fundamental question: why does the documentary cover NONE of the killing of the nine passengers. We don’t know their names, their backgrounds and more importantly the situation in which they were killed. Were they the nine people with these metal pipes? Where were they when they were shot? The programme covers extensively what happened to the Israeli soldiers (who survived) but nothing about those who died. Why is this?

– The programme mentions Israel airlifting the seriously wounded to hospital, suggesting a humanitarian gesture. There is no mention of the hours before they were airlifted that they were left without proper medical care in which some conditions worsened and people died. Why is that?

– There was an implicit assumption throughout the programme that violent resistance was not a reasonable response to being boarded in international waters. That these activists could not resist Israeli commandos boarding their ship with bars and sticks. Could you not see the tone of the programme was equating self defence with makeshift weapons with boarding a ship in international waters as trained military commandos. Why did the programme make that

– There is no contextualising of the situation in Gaza at all. If this was a film about apartheid South Africa do you not think it would be worth talking about the apartheid system? Why is the only background about Hamas and the fact that they fire rockets at civilians. Why – when you mention Hamas killing civilians – do you not mention Israel killing more than a thousand civilians in the recent war in Gaza?

These are all important questions that go to the heart of why many have lost faith in the BBC’s ability to cover the Middle East in anything approaching an impartial way.

I look forward to hearing your reply.

Grr.. I’m still mad.

1 Response to “Panorama – embedded with the IDF…”

  • oh my god – thanks for that. i thought i was going insane.

    What is truly terrifying is the question mark that hangs over the identity of these civilians by alluding that they are terrorists.

    ‘Were you targeting civilians?’ asks Jane (her *only* vaguely shirty question directed towards the israelis) no. replies commander A. B. or C ‘they were terrorists’

    Exactly where were these terrorists? Miles away from their area of jurisdiction in open waters.

    However if somehow someone is considered a terrorist we have free reign to descend on them any where in the planet (our government legitimizing that argument by practicing it)

    OH but they were making home movies about how if they were to die their mother and sons should try to consider them as matryrs. hook line sinker its a suicide mission therefore kill them in the middle of the ocean. therefore its all okay. cos there’s only one thing that worse than gun slinging off the leash commando units and that’s terrorists

    Gun blazing commando units incidentally who are training in the opening sequence in HOW TO BOARD CIVILIAN SHIPS? Yet panorama is too busy telling us how AMAZING it is to HAVE THE ONLY EVER EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO THIS WEIRD AND FREAKISH and ‘somewhat incriminating surely? practice that it DOES NO INVESTIGATION WHATSOEVER- asks NO QUESTIONS and uses the SHIP FOR HER OPENING PIECE TO CAMERA – was that a joke?

    grr… indeed.

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