National Public Radio, with the founding mission “to create a more informed public,” for months has kept from its 44 million weekly listeners the U.S. intelligence assessment that Hamas did indeed operate a command center in Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital.
Most recently, in her Feb. 2 article, “Why this neurosurgeon chose to stay in his beloved Gaza – and why he left,” Farah Yousry falsely depicted the existence of a Hamas command center in Shifa as nothing more than a dubious Israeli claim:
Israeli forces were encircling Al-Shifa Hospital, cutting supplies to the medical complex as they were looking for what they believed to be a Hamas command center underneath. (On the edge of the hospital compound, they found a tunnel shaft leading to several underground rooms, part of the larger tunnel network in Gaza. The Israelis also said they found weapons in the hospital. But the evidence presented by the Israelis did not show evidence of a command center.) [Emphasis added.]
The mangaging editor of the NPR-affiliated Side Effects Public Media, Yousry neglected to report that American intelligence services, based on independently collected intelligence, have concluded that Hamas ran a command center under the hospital, and evacuated days before Israeli troops entered the facility. As The New York Times reported (“Hamas Used Gaza Hospital as a Command Center, U.S. Intelligence Says“) over a month ago:
U.S. spy agencies believe that Hamas and another Palestinian group fighting Israel used Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to command forces and hold some hostages, according to new American intelligence declassified on Tuesday. . .
But the American intelligence assessment has remained firm that the hospital was used by Hamas. The new intelligence represents the most current American assessment, officials said.
The complex was used by both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to command forces fighting against Israel, according to the intelligence.
While the spy agencies provided no visual evidence, a U.S. official said they were confident in their assessment because it was based on information collected by Israel and America’s own intelligence gathered independently.
“We can’t independently confirm these details [of a Hamas command-and-control center, suicide bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs and other weapons that IDF Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari shows in a video taken from the basement the hospital.] And Hamas is saying they didn’t operate there, that this is not real,” correspondent Greg Myre told “Morning Edition” the following day.
Lauren Frayer similarly reported Nov. 16:
Israel’s military, meanwhile, has been issuing videos produced – highly produced videos with music showing what it says is evidence of militant operations inside Al-Shifa Hospital . . . This is an Israeli military spokesman, Jonathan Conricus, giving a video tour of guns, grenades, uniforms he says Israeli troops found. Now, NPR can’t independently verify this. Human rights advocates say what Israel is showing us there doesn’t amount to a Hamas command center, which is what Israel has alleged.
As I said the other day, we have our own intelligence that convinces us that Hamas is using Al-Shifa as a command-and-control node and — and most likely as well as a storage facility — and that they were sheltering themselves in a hospital, using the hospital as a shield against military action and placing the patients and medical staff at greater risk. We are still convinced of the soundness of that intelligence.
Israel, meanwhile, has released a bunch of videos it says prove that Hamas not only operated out of tunnels under the hospital but that it brought at least three hostages into the hospital and, in fact, killed one of them there. They showed us hospital security camera footage and video recorded apparently by a robot that went into those tunnels. NPR hasn’t been able to independently verify any of that footage, though. (Lauren Frayer, Morning Edition, Nov. 20)