The mainstream media has finally decided that Israel did bomb Syria’s Latakia weapons depot five days after I first reported this. My post was written on July 7th, one day after the incident. Yesterday, CNN was the first MSM outlet to report, based on anonymous Pentagon sources, that Israel was the culprit. Barbara Starr, who wrote the piece, never credited the original publication which reported this fact, Tikun Olam. Amos Harel wrote a story for Haaretz in which he claimed the Latakia attack “has largely flown under the radar.” Which is nonsense, because it discounts my own reporting which, of course, he didn’t credit. The NY Times’ Michael Gordon essentially regurgitated the CNN report. He didn’t bother to note my work on the story either.
E-mail messages and tweets to Starr, Harel, Gordon, and Aluf Benn, Haaretz’s editor, have remained unanswered. In a way, I’m not surprised by Haaretz since virtually no Israeli media outlets credit the reporting of others outside their own shop. But I am a bit surprised by the sloppiness of the Times and CNN.
By the way, numerous other media outlets were offered this story including the BBC, among others. None was interested. So you have to ask yourself whether these MSM journalists are doing their jobs. Why does it require a gold-plated press pass to be taken seriously? Finally, this should be a lesson to anyone seriously interested in following world events–that the MSM offer half the story, if that. You need to cultivate alternate sources of information. And if you’re in the MSM you can’t do your job as you should if you ignore, belittle or disrespect us, as most of you invariably do.
Israel is reportedly angry with the U.S. for spilling the beans on Israel’s role in the bombing. Which seems a bit chutzpadik: Israel decided to invade Syria’s sovereignty to obliterate defensive weapons and doesn’t want to pay the price. Nice.
A reporter whose work I generally greatly respect, Alex Fishman, has the gall, in today’s Yediot, to take the U.S. to task, claiming it’s an “untrustworthy ally” because Pentagon officials “sold” Israeli military secrets “cheaply” to the U.S. media. In doing so, we supposedly knew full well that it endangered Israel’s “regional interests” and the lives of Israelis. Excuse me fella, but you’ve got it backwards: Israel chose to endanger those lives when it attacked the weapons depot. The fault is not with any Pentagon leaker, but with Israeli policy. If it wants to bomb, then take responsibility for it instead of hiding behind a bunch of ragtag Syrian rebels.
Israel believes that it can get away with whatever it likes in the Middle East and that enemies like Assad are so afraid of Israel that if only it doesn’t rub the insult in, that he’ll overlook Israel’s aggression and flagrant violation of its sovereignty. Thus, Americans are nasty spoil-sports to violate that rule of secrecy.
Another factor Fishman discounts is that this story, first reported by me, derived from an Israeli source, not an American one. Which means there are Israelis who believe the public should know these facts. So Mr. Fishman, don’t point the finger at us–look in the mirror. My reporting of the story proves that such secrecy and opacity, the hallmark of Israel’s national security state, is outmoded and ineffective.
Finally, Rodney Dangerfield was right: you just can’t get any respect unless you’re one of the select establishment few. But beating them all to the story does have its satisfactions.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.