Information Warfare: Atrocities On Demand

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January 7, 2009: The war in Gaza has a large Information War component to it. The Palestinians long ago learned how to deceive the Western media, portraying themselves as victims rather than ruthless terrorists. The most useful Palestinian tactic was the staged "atrocity" or "funeral." For the staged atrocity, they would escort Western reporters (or just use their own cameramen and reporters) to a carefully prepared site where "innocent civilians" had been killed or wounded by an "Israeli attack." Dead bodies, and real or fake "wounded civilians" would be available, as were victims fluent enough in English to give a heart wrenching (and well rehearsed) account of the tragedy. These events eventually became so blatant and obvious that the deceptions were quickly (thanks to the Internet) picked apart, and more (but not all) editors became wary of running this stuff without some assurance that it was real.

Same deal with the funerals, although these were unmasked via a famous Israeli UAV video, showing mourners approaching, with the deceased on a stretcher, held at shoulder height. Suddenly, one of those carrying the stretcher stumbles, and the "body" tumbles to the ground. The body then gets up and lays back down on the stretcher, which is again raised to shoulder height and the funeral procession resumes its sad, but newsworthy, journey to the waiting reporters.

Palestinian organizations also find that they can get unfavorable (to their cause) videos on sites like YouTube removed by just complaining to YouTube management. These videos are often, but not always, restored after someone points out to YouTube that they have been played by terrorist supporters.

Attempts to damage Israeli web pages have been mixed. This usually brings forth a more damaging retaliation. The Palestinians spend most of their Internet efforts on Arab language sites. There the messages in support of destroying Israel and the general use of terrorist tactics can be discussed more freely and confidently.

 


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