Saturday, August 25, 2012

Guardian does the right thing but is it the right way?

TEXAS "TRIGGER" must hit the trail

THIS is Joshua Trevino, whom the Guardian newspaper had lined up recently to reinforce its US political coverage, tweeting on 31 May 2011: 'Today is the one-year anniversary of the Gaza flotilla, on which I salute the IDF for doing the right thing, the right way.'

Here is a reminder, from the Guardian itself, June 4, 2010, of what he was talking about:

Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.

The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.

Furkan Dogan had been armed with a video camera when he was shot.

Over in Texas, Joshua Trevino tweeted on June 3 2010:
“There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them'.

Then to make sure we -and the Israeli military - got the message, in June 2011, as several dozen Americans, including author Alice Walker and Kindertransport refugee Hedy Epstein attempted to set sail from Greece to Gaza, to break Israel’s blockade along with boats from other countries, Treviño tweeted, “Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.” Joshua Treviño @jstrevino

Well now, after a boatload of protests about Trevino's appointment, which the Guardian had "explained" was to reflect the rise of the Republican right in US politics, the liberal newspaper has apparently realised that this is one American it could do without. It has decided to drop Trevino. You might say that it is doing the right thing; but is it doing it the right way?

Here, in contrast to the background we have described, is the official explanation:

Joint statement from the Guardian and Joshua Treviño

Joshua Treviño wrote a piece for the Guardian on February 28, 2011 titled "Peter King has hearings, but is he listening?" The Guardian recently learned that shortly before writing this article the author was a consultant for an agency that had Malaysian business interests and that he ran a website called Malaysia Matters. In keeping with the Guardian's editorial code this should have been disclosed.

"Under our guidelines, the relationship between Joshua and the agency should have been disclosed before the piece was published in order to give full clarity to our readers," said Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief, Guardian US."

I vigorously affirm that nothing unethical was done and I have been open with the Guardian in this matter. Nevertheless, the Guardian’s guidelines are necessarily broad, and I agree that they must be respected as such," said Joshua Treviño.

We have therefore mutually agreed to go our separate ways and wish each other the best of luck.

So, Trevino has to go, but it's nothing to do with his enthusiasm for seeing people murdered when they are trying to take aid to Gaza! Ironically, it seems this cheerleader for the Israeli forces had a daytime job working for the business interests of the government of Malaysia, which likes to keep its Muslim credentials and does not recognise the State of Israel. It was Malaysia in fact which wanted Israel taken to the International Court of Justice for its criminal action on the Mavi Marmara.

Oh well, that is journalism for you!

Perhaps like the US authorities jailing Al Capone on charges of tax evasion, or conversely, the British government digging up the Official Solicitor to provide a legal formula by which the Pentonville Five dockers could be freed, the Guardian wanted to do the right thing but felt it had to find a face-saving method for doing so.

This way it can ease some of the pain and protest from readers and Palestinian supporters, without admitting they were right, and try to assure the Zionist Lobby that it is not giving in to the protesters. I suspect that trying to avoid the issues this way is only at best postponing them. One might almost sympathise if the newspaper had not been responsible in the first place for getting itself into the mess.

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