Misquotes and Lies Guardian Style Part II


This is a guest post by an anonymous CiF Watch reader.

There are some other interesting features of McGreal’s original story, which readers might think give an insight into his methods. In what follows, all emboldened text is added by me.

The story (on the internet at least) begins with a picture of the signature page of an agreement dated 3 April 1975.

As can be seen above, this is described in the caption to the picture as: “The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and P W Botha of South Africa.”

The sub-editor who presumably composed that must have gotten the idea from the article itself, which includes these two statements by McGreal:

“The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.

and

“Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: “It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement… shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party”.

(Notice in passing that the agreement is called “Secment”. Remember that word.)

In his subsequent article giving details of the documents on which all this is based, McGreal gave a web link to three pages of the agreement (which is apparently four pages long, so once again, incomplete), and himself described it thus:

(Notice also how he calls this the “Israel-South Africa agreement”. More on that later.)

In fact, if you take time to inspect it, the document is not a “military agreement”, nor is it a “broad-ranging agreement governing military ties”, nor is it an “agreement governing the military alliance” .

It is nothing more nor less than a “secrecy agreement”, i.e. an agreement that the parties agree to keep their dealings secret.

Here’s a snapshot of page 1 and page 2:

As you can see, Section 1 has been redacted with a marker. However, a little image enhancement shows that it states the following:

“This Agreement will be referred to as Security and Secret Agreement (SECMENT).

Section 2 contains a (redacted) definition of “secret information”, which is the subject of the agreement.

Section 3 states that “the very existence of this agreement as well as any other agreement relating to the activities defined in clause 2 hereof [i.e. the secret information] ……shall be secret…”.

The rest of the agreement appears to provide the machinery for the secrecy regime agreed on. Thus Section 4 describes the procedures by which secret information will be shared. We don’t have the third page, but we can be absolutely sure that if it contained a word setting up military ties or a military alliance, McGreal would not have omitted it.

It is thus a secrecy agreement providing that future agreements, if any, and future dealings, if any, between the parties are to be kept secret. No doubt each signatory to this agreement did not want the other party to put the information about their dealings into the public sphere. And obviously it was an agreement between the Ministers of Defence of both countries. And no doubt they had many reasons for not wanting their future dealings to be publicised.

“Secrecy agreements” are widely used wherever negotiations take place between different parties, be they private or public or governmental, and where the participants do not want the information which is to be exchanged, and the details of negotiation and co-operation, to be disclosed to public view.

I would imagine that every country in the world which has military dealings with other countries has a “secrecy agreement” of this sort to govern its relationship. For example, I have read in the paper that Britain supplies arms to many countries, including, I think, China and Brazil. If McGreal were to obtain a copy of the undoubtedly existing “secrecy agreements” between Britain and China, or Britain and Brazil, does anyone rate his chances of persuading his newspaper to proclaim that it had acquired a copy of the “broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between Britain and China”, or the “agreement governing the military alliance between Britain and Brazil”.

Don’t put money on it.

If you recall I mentioned you should keep in mind the characterisation of what we now know to be a secrecy agreement as the “Israel-South Africa Agreement”. The Israel South Africa agreement is referred to in Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s book “The Unspoken Alliance Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa”, the basis for McGreal’s story, in the following terms:

“[Peres and P.W. Botha] also signed the original ISSA (Israel-South Africa) agreement, according to Dieter Gerhardt, then a high ranking South African naval officer, who saw the thick document when it was circulated for discussion throughout the South African military establishment…Gerhardt recalls the original ISSA agreement that Peres and Botha produced as “a very detailed layout of how they were going to cooperate on a technical level” and how each country would store spare weapons and parts for the other.” (pages 80 and 81)

So clearly the secrecy agreement and the Israel-South Africa agreement described above are two entirely different documents.

I said you should also remember the word “Secment”. Now let’s revisit the quote in which McGreal refers to this secrecy agreement, and see what use he makes of it:

“Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: “It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement… shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party”.

It illustrates what these critics of Israel have to resort to, to do their work:

1. The “offer of nuclear warheads” is based on a (so far, undated) draft document in which the words giving rise to this inference of an offer are actually deleted to show that they are wrong. This is ignored.

2. In order to get the inference up and running, not only are the deleted words treated as not deleted, but some additional words are added.

3. This inferred “offer” is then causally linked to a “secrecy agreement” which is misrepresented as constituting a “military agreement”, an “agreement governing the military alliance”, a “broad-ranging agreement governing military ties” and even the so-called Israel South Africa agreement (of which there is no proof of its existence other than the claims of Dieter Gerhardt, a former KGB spy who spied on Israel).

4. With a skip and a leap, or joining the dots as these conspiracy theorists like to put it, Israel offered nuclear weapons to South Africa pursuant to a military alliance between them.

72 comments on “Misquotes and Lies Guardian Style Part II

  1. Chris McGreal has a great profile,he used to work for the BBC,and then progressed to the Guardian, he worked as a merchant seaman.

    Being a merchant seaman in itself should have made him an expert on the ME.

    I wonder if he has any other credits besides being a blatant fabulist.

    BTW,you can’t respond to that post of his,typical Guardian.

  2. Amazing info AKUS. It is thought, however, SA had input into the Cheetah fighter, which looks almost exactly like the Kfir. They are, essentially, modified French Mirage.

  3. And I need to revise my earlier statement that the UK stopped supplying weaponry in the ’60s, which clearly was wrong.

  4. Ariadne. Thanks for the link.

    Rusbridger is obviously the one from whom all the crusades against Israel in the Guardian flow. Georgina was just a useful pawn in his manipulations to demonise Israel although I am sure he was just joss-ling her a bit rather than directing her.

    She didn’t need any direction.

  5. AKUS

    Making ibrows and raymonddelaunay look silly is not exactly a major achievement, is it? ;-)

    p.s. “Dotty” = “Bernadotte”?

  6. @ Yvetta Bagel

    Have you got a link to that 1996 story about the dodgy ad in the Guardian?
    Ta.

  7. Yoko, Pretzelberg, Gabor,

    Can we get on top of things and leave the personal views of each other away.

    This has nothing to do with with poor journalism at best…

  8. @ ItsikDeWembley

    Perhaps you overlooked that Toko was telling lie upon lie about me without me even posting here.

    If Toko would only shut up or fuck off, these threads would be a lot less clogged up.

    I’m sure you’ll agree.

  9. Well, its Memorial weekend here in the States – a weekend of sales and picnics – no articles by Neve Gordon required – and the Rolling Thunder cavalcade in DC when it seems to me that many in the US, unfortunately, seem to do their best to turn their backs on remembering the hundreds of thousands US soldiers who have died in various wars. So I may have time to dig a little deeper into Mr. McGreal’s past efforts.

    But this thought does occur tom, and, lacking a copy of “Oliver Twist”, I turned wiki and found:

    “Oliver, who toils with very little food, remains in the workhouse for six months, until the desperately hungry boys decide to draw lots; the loser must ask for another portion of gruel. The task falls to Oliver, who at the next meal tremblingly comes forward, bowl in hand, and makes his famous request: “Please, sir, I want some more.””

    which could be read as:

    The Guardian, which toils with very little substance, is a loser that must ask for another portion of gruel. The task falls to Brian Whittaker, who at the next meal tremblingly comes forward, bowl in hand, and makes his famous request: “Please, sir, I want some more.”

    Yes – they have been McGrueled.

  10. Advert condemned as anti-semitic

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against an advertisement which appeared in the Guardian in May. The advertisement was a message from the spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyed al-Khamenei, to Muslims on the occasion of Hajj. The complainants were the Inter Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism. The Guardian stood by its decision to run the advertisement. Alan Rusbridger, the editor, stated: “We did not think then, and we do not think now, that the advertisement was in any way anti-semitic or an enticement to racism or violence…This advertisement was delivered after a prolonged period of Israeli attacks on the civilian population of Lebanon which left 150 dead, caused a worldwide outcry and was condemned by the United Nations. It was hardly surprising in the circumstances that the language in the advertisement was vigorous and uncompromising” (Q-News, 06.09.96). [BMMS September Vol. IV, No. 9, p. 3]

    http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/1996/09September96.html

    My bold. Isn’t it reported as if the complaint had been dismissed!

  11. Pretzelberg, I’d have to email it to you from the site itself – you’d have to give me an email addy in order to do so. That’s how I transmitted something to JM.

  12. Ariadne

    The Guardian stood by its decision to run the advertisement. Alan Rusbridger, the editor, stated: “We did not think then, and we do not think now, that the advertisement was in any way anti-semitic or an enticement to racism or violence…This advertisement was delivered after a prolonged period of Israeli attacks on the civilian population of Lebanon which left 150 dead, caused a worldwide outcry and was condemned by the United Nations. It was hardly surprising in the circumstances that the language in the advertisement was vigorous and uncompromising”

    Thanks Ariadne.

    There we have it. Georgina’s ‘Fair and Balanced’ in print with Rusbridger name to it.

    a prolonged period of Israeli attacks on the civilian population of Lebanon which left 150 dead, caused a worldwide outcry and was condemned by the United Nations.

    In other words, Israel attacks civilians. This is how Rusbridger and his sycophants view the conflict in the Middle East. Absolutely no reference to Hizbollah attacks against civilian targets, (Haifa), in Israel. No reference to who started the conflict.

    No reference to Hizbollah’s threats. Never a reference to Hamas Charter.

    Just ‘Israel kills civilians’. Or. ‘Israel kills babies’

    This is the GWV.

  13. If Toko would only shut up or fuck off, these threads would be a lot less clogged up.

    Pretzel, it takes two to tango.

    I request that CiFWatch delete such posts involving profanity and attempts to censor others. Foul language is unacceptable.

  14. Toko LeMoko

    Pretzel, it takes two to tango.

    This is not tango – it’s you incessantly screaming barefaced lies about me. You won’t be requesting CiFW delete such posts, I take it.

    It’s easy: stop talking either to me or about me here.

  15. Pretzel, your words are documented on CiFWatch.

    You said:
    1. A CiF “Jews control the media” post shouldn’t be assumed anti-Semitism.
    2. CiF poster glemvalley had a point when he said “Jews control the media” isn’t anti-Semitism.
    3. Arab pro-Nazi agitation was just a matter of anti-colonialism.

    You also dismissed contemptuously Bataween’s article noting Obama’s seemingly anti-Mizrahi agenda.

    Denial of anti-Semitism encourages more, as the Halimi case showed. It is also extremely disrespectful of those (here and elsewhere) who have suffered the effects of anti-Semitism. Ascribing your behaviour to your innate contraranism is no excuse.

    I will drop the issue when you apologise both to the heavily-Jewish CiFWatch community and to Bataween.

  16. Toko LeMoko

    Pretzel, your words are documented on CiFWatch.

    Fine, no problem.

    You said:
    1. A CiF “Jews control the media” post shouldn’t be assumed anti-Semitism.
    2. CiF poster glemvalley had a point when he said “Jews control the media” isn’t anti-Semitism.
    3. Arab pro-Nazi agitation was just a matter of anti-colonialism.

    I never said any of those things!!!

    Why do you repeat these lies?

    Stop the lies and baseless smears and get back to the topic, for God’s sake.

  17. Here is an extract from Maurice Ostroff’s very trenchant and pertinent reply to Chris McGreal’s article to the Guardian

    “The above May 24 article demands a right of reply because it is blatantly misleading, as evidenced by the hero of the story himself, Sasha Polakow-Suransky. He is quoted as having uncovered evidence of an Israeli offer of nuclear arms to South Africa (SA), although he contradicted this claim during a TV interview with Al Jazeera, in which he said categorically that the alleged discussions in SA were not about nuclear arms. They were about the Jericho missile and there was no actual offer mentioned in the documents; South Africans only perceived there was a non-existent nuclear offer on the table. This is what was said:….”
    the full letter appears at

    http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id278.html

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