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Reader comment on: Terrible TV
Submitted by Mike DeCastro (United States), Mar 4, 2008 15:27
Mr. Schanzer, as a former investigative journalist and news photographer in Israel (Jerusalem bureau chief for Israel Sun, Ltd.) and active in hasbara in the USA since my return in 1976 ("Israel Calling" on KQED radio and more); I have first-hand experience on both sides regarding hasbara, Arab propaganda, anti-terrorist action and intelligence. Simply put, I enjoyed your article, but I think it misses on some essential points that are mission-critical to winning GWOT (Global War on Terror).
One reason why more aggressive action is not taken against terror TV is that it is an important intelligence source. For example, the reason the story was leaked about the coded messages is that we intercept them and de-code them. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that leak made it to the press. It's never good to reveal that you can listen to and understand the enemy's comms. It relinquishes a vital tactical advantage as any student of intelligence gathering and military history will tell you. I'm certain there are those in our intelligence community who would have preferred to keep that fact secret for the sake of the war effort.
Funding TV ops takes big bucks. Moving big bucks around the globe leaves a big trail. Letting the Arab media operate is one way to back track the money donated for their operation to its source and roll up the entire terror funding chain. Think of them as a fat goats, bleating loudly, staked out as bait to attract the lions.
Back-tracing the support funding is a mission that is hot, sweaty work but very important. While it would be ill-advised to overtly take down the channels due to their value to our war effort, rolling up the terror finance networks is essential and locking up all who contribute to it mission-critical to our GWOT success. As others step in to keep the cash flowing, we can further dig into the terror funding network's heart of darkness, and so on.
There is also a larger principle at work here. We cannot stand for freedom of speech without tolerating all speech. In America, I have as much right to speak out in favor of Israel and Zionist principles as the Palestinians. As an American patriot, I sincerely believe that is truly the highest calling: tolerance and protection of the rights of all. Frankly IMHO, the best way to defeat the Arab TV lies and show the world that American Democracy stands by our principles and has the strength to defeat hateful speech is to beat them with our own truth. The best defense against lies is always the truth. Facts always outweigh ridiculous propaganda in the end.
Also, the more we talk about terror TV allegations and report on their specious lies, the more the lies are disseminated to an even wider audience. Silence and quashing the story are powerful weapons against Arab propaganda.
I believe we should take the offensive and massively broadcast our own Arab language channels that are pro Democracy. It would be a much better way to beat Terror TV at its own game. Blanketing the region with free TV and radio that has culture-appropriate programming and truthful news and other infotainment would do far more to defeat the lies and win allies than just whining about the propaganda and the nasty things the Arabs say about us.
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