On January 21, CKUT Radio McGill’s “Under the Olive Tree” program, a self-described “Canada-wide Palestinian community radio show” based in Montreal at McGill University, lent credence to bizarre claims of Israeli culpability for the notorious 2004 Iraqi prisoner abuse atrocities at Abu Ghraib.
At the conclusion of the program, the host (who prior to this segment had called Israel an “apartheid state” eight times) stated the following:
“The former American military chief of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq reiterates that Israeli involvement in the US-run facility, where hundreds of Iraqi suspects were tortured and sexually abused by US soldiers and interrogators was rampant.
This shed further light on the scandal that has served as a controversy-magnet for Washington ever since its emergence in 2004, the retired US army colonel Janis Karpinski says that Israeli agents were recruited by the US military at Abu Ghraib to interrogate the prisoners suspected of attacking US forces in Iraq.”
To listen to the full two minute report, please click here or on the play button immediately below. Click here to listen to the entire hour-long program.
Though not mentioned by the CKUT host, this “information” came directly from Press TV, Iran’s state funded propaganda tool. A “news” network which features Holocaust denial, spreads hate against Jews, gives platforms for anti-Israel incitement, and which is best known recently for its blood libel where it alleged that there’s an Israeli conspiracy to kidnap 25,000 Ukrainian children in order to harvest their organs.
Though not disclosed by this CKUT host, he read directly from Press TV’s report entitled “Israeli hand in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib exposed” almost verbatim. At no time did this host give attribution for his troubling sources nor did he bring any facts to substantiate these grave charges.
With respect to Press TV’s claims, retired US army colonel Janis Karpinski first made these allegations in 2004, which at the time were immediately rejected by the Israeli government as unfounded. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s offices emphatically denied her information saying that there was “no basis whatsoever to the reports.” Karpinski has since been discredited.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this allegation before. On May 4, 2004, CBC National correspondent Neil Macdonald filed a report from Washington about reaction to the Abu Ghraib abuses in Iraq. Midway through his report, he introduced a former U.S. diplomat who declared: “Israeli intelligence was operating in Baghdad after the war … The question should be: Were there any foreign interrogators among those … recommending very, very bad treatment for the prisoners?”
That former U.S. diplomat was a pro-Palestinian propagandist and an anti-Israel lobbyist named Eugene Bird, and his claim of Israeli involvement in Abu Ghraib was absurd. After receiving scores of complaints, then CBC ombudsman David Bazay admitted that “the May 4 report did expose The National to the appearance of bias.” CBC apologized on-air and then CBC News editor-in-chief Tony Burman reassured viewers that the CBC had “modified our editorial processes and procedures to ensure that this situation is never repeated.”
The CBC’s clarification which aired on May 7, 2004 read as follows: “A clarification now about a story we told you about on Tuesday. In a report on the U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners we included a comment from a news conference by retired American diplomats criticizing U.S. Middle East policy. A representative of the group suggested that Israeli intelligence might be linked in some way to the abuse at the prison.The fact is there is no evidence that Israel was involved in what happened in the Iraqi prison. The comment from the diplomat should not have been included in the report and we regret the error.”
To view the on-air clarification please click here or on the image below.
“Under the Olive Tree,” a program featured on CKUT airwaves, deserves to be condemned for outrageously insinuating that Israel was responsible for the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib. CKUT’s own rules and regulations dictate that programming must aim to “present a fair, accurate, and well-informed account of events and issues…” and that if complaints are deemed valid “programmers may be warned, suspended or removed from their on air positions in accordance with the station’s Disciplinary Procedures…“ How You Can Make A Difference:
Please register complaints with the head of CKUT’s programming committee, Courtney Kirby, at email@example.com or (514)-448-4041 ext. 6788. Please refer to the January 21 edition of “Under the Olive Tree” expressing concern that this program lent credence to bizarre claims of Israeli culpability for the notorious 2004 Iraqi prisoner abuse atrocities at Abu Ghraib without any supporting evidence. Call on CKUT to conduct a formal investigation and to issue an on-air apology.