UPDATED: St. Louis College Reporter Promoted After Linking Israel to 9/11

New update: College will sponsor workshop on responsible journalism

Newspaper columnists have the right to express whatever opinion they want, but they do not have the right to disseminate inaccuracies, distortions or fabrications and present them as facts. Bryan Shuck, a student from the St. Louis Community College (Meramec campus), authored an inflammatory column filled with errors, including paraphrases that are the opposite in meaning to the actual quotations. Published in the student newspaper Montage and entitled “America’s friends in low places,” Shuck treats as reliable fact — and bases his commentary on — a number of already debunked anti-Israel conspiracy theories.

For example, through the use of out-of-context, incomplete quotations, he implies that Israel is linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has a massive spy-ring operating in America. He also accuses Israel of genocide and war crimes against Palestinians, “slaughtering American and British activists, along with thousands of Palestinians,” and of wanting to “nab” Iraqi oil.

Apparently duped by propaganda fabricated by the Islamic Association for Palestine, Shuck retells the group’s invented story that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was quoted by Israel’s Kol Yisrael Radio as saying, “Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.” (See CAMERA’s exposé of this bogus quote)

Instead of being assigned to a journalism workshop to learn how to check facts thoroughly, paraphrase accurately and distinguish between legitimate criticism and fabricated propaganda, columnist Bryan Shuck was actually promoted to managing editor of the school newspaper for the coming year! What’s next? Hiring Jayson Blair, plagiarist and fabricator, to advise the paper?

Below is a detailed rebuttal of the distortions (in red text) that appeared in the offensive column, followed by the column  itself and an update.

REBUTTAL

*“Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered — it is classified information,” a U.S. official said, during an interview on Carl Cameron’s Fox News report, Oct. 9, 2002.

Quoting this sentence out of context implies that the Israelis had something to do with planning or committing the 9/11 attacks. While Cameron’s shoddy report (on Dec. 11, 2001, not Oct. 9, 2002) was full of baseless speculation and contradictions, he did clearly state that :

There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks. (Fox News, December 11, 2001).

* …FBI’s discovery last fall of a massive spy-network inside the United States run by the Israeli government, as reported by Fox News network.

The FBI has never claimed to have discovered an Israeli spy-network. In fact, the Amdocs investigation Cameron reported on turned up absolutely no evidence whatsoever of spying or any other improper activities. Indeed, the New York Times headlined its story on the probe “Israeli Spy Inquiry Finds Nothing, Officials Say.” According to the Times report, datelined May 5th, 2001:

The federal authorities conducted a highly classified espionage investigation into whether Israeli intelligence agents used a software company in Missouri to intercept telephone conversations from the White House, State Department and other agencies, government officials said today.

The counterintelligence inquiry did not find evidence that government telephone systems were penetrated, the officials said. The investigation focused on the Amdocs Corporation, a publicly traded corporation founded by Israelis, but failed to unearth evidence that anyone at the company or connected to it had tried to listen to government communications illegally, the officials said.

“There just weren’t any facts to support a penetration,” said a government official who closely followed the inquiry.

The existence of the inquiry emerged today after Insight Magazine, which is published by The Washington Times, reported that the investigation had uncovered a security breach in the White House telephone system. Other news organizations quickly spread the story over their Web sites, but the accusation of a major espionage problem collapsed almost immediately. …

See CAMERA’s detailed analyses of Cameron’s reports: www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=3&x_outlet=15&x_article=148 www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=3&x_outlet=15&x_article=149

* Amdocs is able to “analyze traffic,” or in other words, they can monitor phone calls…

Cameron actually specifically stated the opposite, that:

Investigators don’t believe calls are being listened to, but the data about who is calling whom and when is plenty valuable. (Fox News, Dec. 12, 2001)

* Even more alarming is that Congress, the White House, the Pentagon and other important government buildings’phone lines are not exempt.

Cameron again stated just the opposite:

The White House and other secure government phone lines are protected, but it is virtually impossible to make a call on normal phones without generating an Amdocs record of it. (Fox News, Dec. 12, 2001)

* Intelligence Online, a Paris-based newsletter that reported on the study, said some 120 Israeli spies had been arrested or expelled and inquiries were continuing.

While there have been Israelis expelled recently for visa violations, not a single one was charged with, or convicted of, spying. If there had been such a huge spy-ring cracked, why wouldn’t it have been reported widely? News of an Israel spy-ring would certainly not be downplayed. One only has to look back to the intensive coverage of Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel many years ago.

*…if Israel plans to nab some Iraqi oil for themselves…

Israel has no plans “to nab” Iraqi oil. If Iraqi oil is offered for sale, Israel — like any other nation — has the right to purchase it if they can afford it. Such a purchase would only seem provocative or wrong to those who do not see Israel as a legitimate nation.

* Possibly the most absur d statement of all came from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon himself when, during an interview on Kol Yisrael radio Oct. 3, 2001, he said “I want to tell you some thing very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.

Ariel Sharon never made such a statement. Kol Yisrael Radio (the supposed source of the quotation) confirms that it never reported any such statement. This outrageous fabrication was invented and disseminated by the Islamic Association for Palestine, a pro-Hamas organization, and has been circulated by gullible individuals, such as Bryan Shuck.

* Palestinians are viewed as being the mass murderers in the conflict yet, between Sept. 29, 2000 and April 13, 2003, 2,251 Palestinians were killed as opposed to 699 Israelis.

This is a distortion through lack of context. Shuck fails to note that while the majority of Palestinians killed were combatants, the vast majority of the Israelis killed were innocent civilians, many of them women and children, who were murdered in terrorist bombings and drive-by shootings. Innocent Palestinian women and children have also tragically died, but they were not the target of Israeli soldiers; they were unfortunately caught in crossfire or killed inadvertently while Israel was targeting a terrorist or combatant. The Israeli civilians were the intentional targets of Palestinian terrorists.

* While one can only speculate whether Israel was complicit in the 9/11 terrorist attacks…

Shuck repeats his reference to a non-existent link between Israel and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

* an American peace activist, Rachel Corrie…

Rachel Corrie and other members of the International Solidarity Movement are not “peace activists.” They are pro-Palestinian activists who stand in the way of anti-terror operations, such as the clearing of mines and the destruction of structures being used as cover for snipers or as cover for a tunnel entrance being used for weapons smuggling.

In a January 2002 article for Palestine Journal, ISM founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote that non-violent activities should take place in addition to (not in place of) armed resistance, because the non-violent activities are good for PR purposes. They also characterized “suicide operations” as “noble.”

* genocidal campaign

Israel has never been involved in a genocidal campaign. Israel has the duty to defend its citizens against terrorists and it tries very hard, at great risk to its own soldiers, to use methods (such as house to house combat rather than aerial bombing) to ensure that terrorists and not civilians are targeted in its military operations. If anything, one may interpret Palestinian religious and political leaders’ repeated calls for the murder of all Jews a “genocidal campaign.”

* IDF troops pressed on, destroying the house along with Corrie. Reports from London’s The Guardian stated that the bulldozer backed over Corrie’s body a second time.

This allegation by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is refuted, not only by other eyewitnesses, but by the results of an intensive IDF investigation. According to the military probe, Corrie died of injuries sustained “as a result of earth and building material falling on her when she tried to climb on a pile of earth while work was being carried out by an armored Israel Defense Forces bulldozer. The crew of the armored bulldozer did not see Miss Corrie, who was standing behind a pile earth, nor could they have seen or heard her.” News outlets, such as CNN , reporting on the event at the time, included both Palestinian charges of deliberate violence against Corrie by Israel and eyewitness reports that Corrie had scaled a pile of dirt, lost her footing and fallen backward behind it, out of sight of the bulldozer operator.

Shuck implies that Corrie was deliberately run over because her protest was “an embarrassment” or bad PR for Israel, but doesn’t explain how intentionally crushing an American with a bulldozer would be better PR. Does Shuck actually believe that Israel would think that running down Corrie with a bulldozer would be less “embarrassing”? Or that the Israeli bulldozer driver was so lacking in human empathy that he would willingly drive over Corrie’s body in order to silence her?

* Other deaths, including a British man named Tom Hurdell, have followed since.

In fact, there have been no “other deaths” of American or British protesters. Hurdell is alive.

* …these evidences are more than any ad-hoc leftist conspiracy theory. The media ceased to report the facts of the alleged Israeli spy-ring. Ariel Sharon claims, awkwardly, a sort of control over America. Israeli forces are slaughtering American and British activists, along with thousands of Palestinians…

These disproven and unsubstantiated allegations are hardly “evidences” [sic].

The number and severity of the errors contained in the column should be cause for reflection by Shuck, the newspaper staff and faculty advisor, and the college’s administration. It is an extremely poor reflection on St. Louis Community College’s commitment to excellence, truth and integrity that Shuck has been promoted to managing editor of the school newspaper.

ORIGINAL COLUMN

Appeared in Montage (St. Louis Community College Meramec student newspaper)
April 17, 2003

AMERICA’S FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES
by BRYAN SHUCK
ART & LIFE Asst. EDITOR

“Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered – it is classified information,” a U.S. official said, during an interview on Carl Cameron’s Fox News report, Oct. 9, 2002.

This official was referring the FBI’s discovery last fall of a massive spy-network inside the United States run by the Israeli government, as reported by Fox News network. According to these reports, which ran only a couple days before mysteriously disappearing, Israel had developed government subsidized telecommunications companies that operate here in the U.S. One company, Amdocs, supplies billing and directory assistance for 90 percent of the phone companies in the U.S. Amdocs is able to “analyze traffic,” or in other words, they can monitor phone calls, Internet use and various other communications means from their central office in Israel. Even more alarming is that Congress, the White House, the Pentagon and other important government buildings’ phone lines are not exempt. Fox News anchor Carl Cameron gives a perceivable warning to fellow journalists: “Investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying.. . is considered career suicide.”

The French daily newspaper Le Monde reported that “Israelis posed as graphic arts students and tried to enter buildings belonging to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other U.S. agencies.”

Intelligence Online, a Paris-based newsletter that reported on the study, said some 120 Israeli spies had been arrested or expelled and inquiries were continuing.” There has been speculation that the invasion of Iraq is suited to American and Israeli interests alike. According to the BBC, “an Israeli minister says he wants to reopen a pipeline which has been closed for more than 50 years to bring Iraqi oil through Jordan to Israel’s Mediterranean coast. . . to help regenerate the port city of Haifa.”

Though one might say we should look out for our allies, it is questionable whether Israel is a true friend. Certainly if Israel plans to nab some Iraqi oil for themselves it would anger the Muslim world, thereby undermining U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Possibly the most absurd statement of all came from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon himself when, during an interview on Kol Yisrael radio Oct. 3, 2001, he said “I want to tell you some thing very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.”

What Jews is Sharon referring to? Israeli Jews? American Jews? Or is it a more specific sect, the Pilot Knob, MO Jews? I am sure that all of the Jewish people of the world do not stand behind the tyrannical plundering of Ariel Sharon. Palestinians are viewed as being the mass murderers in the conflict yet, between Sept. 29, 2000 and April 13, 2003, 2,251 Palestinians were killed as opposed to 699 Israelis.

While one can only speculate whether Israel was complicit in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there is now irrefutable evidence of American blood on Israeli hands.

On March 16 of this year, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed an American peace activist, Rachel Corrie, whose high-profile presence embarrassed Tel Aviv, further exposing its genocidal campaign to others in the region. Corrie stood before a Palestinian settlement home in the Gaza Strip, attempting to deter IDF troops from bulldozing it. IDF troops pressed on, destroying the house along with Corrie. Reports from London’s The Guardian stated that the bulldozer backed over Corrie’s body a second time. Other deaths, including a British man named Tom Hurdell, have followed since.

Another report from The Guardian on April 14 said an Israeli army investigation has “concluded that its forces were not to blame for her death.”

I am not sure what the Israeli connection is to the United States government, or to what degree Israel influences American foreign policy, but I can say that these evidences are more than any ad-hoc leftist conspiracy theory. The media ceased to report the facts of the alleged Israeli spy-ring. Ariel Sharon claims, awkwardly, a sort of control over America. Israeli forces are slaughtering American and British activists, along with thousands of Palestinians, and the non-Arab world hardly flinches. One could say since Israel is an ally they are excused of their war crimes and other illegal activities by way of association.

“Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries,” former Israeli intelligence officials said, according to United Press International (UPI).

With friends like Israel, suddenly Iraq does not seem such a menace.

[In the original alert, action items and contact information were included here.]

UPDATE: St. Louis Community College Will Sponsor workshop on Responsible Journalism

In response to calls and letters from CAMERA, ADL and Citizens for a Just & Lasting Peace, the St. Louis Community College at Meramec has promised that “in the near future, the Administration will sponsor a workshop for all student writers and editors and their advisors that emphasizes responsible journalism.” Additionally, the STLCC chancellor, president and board of trustees sent an open letter to be published in the Jewish Light apologizing for the lack of adherence to journalistic standards that led to the publication in their college newspaper of an inflammatory anti-Israel column replete with errors, fabrications and misrepresentations.

CAMERA has also been informed by the Montage faculty advisor that the student editor-in-chief, Rori Magnusson, is working on corrections of the numerous factual errors.  The corrections should appear in the July 31 edition of Montage, which will still be on the stands when most students return in August.

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