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This Just in From the BBC: Journalists May Not Call Israeli Killings of Top Palestinian Activists Assassination; a Conversation with Robert Fisk in Jerusalem, and Professor Noam Chomsky Onthe Language

August 07, 2001

Robert Fisk, wrote in Saturday’s The Independent:

In a major surrender to Israeli diplomatic pressure, BBC officials in London have banned their staff in Britain andthe Middle East from referring to Israel’s policy of murdering its guerrilla opponents as assassination. BBC reporters have been told that in the future they are to use Israel’s own euphemism for the murders, calling themtargeted killings.

BBC journalists were astonished that the assignments editor, Malcolm Downing, should have sent out the memorandum tostaff, stating that the word assassinations should only be used for high-profile assassinations There were, Mr.Downing said lots of other words for death.

Up to 60 Palestinian activists and numerous civilians, including two children last week have been gunned down byIsraeli death squads or missile-firing Israeli helicopter pilots.


  • Robert Fisk, reporter for The Independent.

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On Sunday the New York Times headlined that after six months, the Bush Administration was planning a change offocus. The Times explained that Bush would now focus his attention on a vigorous discussion of values, and anemphasis on themes that strike Americans in a more emotional, personal way.

As the Times rhapsodized about the Bush Administrations change in focus, the U.S. Navy continued bombing Vieques.The DEA resumed its aerial fumigation of Columbia. Condoleezza Rice continued to warn that the U.S. might bomb Iraq atany time. Colin Powell continued to insist that the UN bow to U.S. demands in its upcoming world conference onracism. And U.S. officials of all stripes continued to defend U.S. efforts to undermine or scuttle of internationalagreements on global warming, small arms, and biological weapons, and tobacco control.

We might be forgiven for asking just what has changed.


  • Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics at MIT and one of the leading critics of U.S. foreign policy. Heis the author of more than 30 books on U.S. foreign policy, political culture and the mass media, among them ??RogueStates: The Rule of Force in World Affairs, published last year by South End Press.

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