Obscuring Mass Murder

As Israeli siege warfare cuts Gazans off from both electricity and communications, we’re seeing the lights go out in Gaza in more ways than one, writes Caitlin Johnstone.

Al Jazeera screenshot.

By Caitlin Johnstone


Israeli ground forces have ramped up activities in Gaza in what anonymous U.S. officials are reportedly telling the press is a “rolling start” to the long-anticipated ground invasion.

Israel has also crippled Gaza’s largest telecommunications service, which had been the enclave’s last remaining contact with the outside world after Israel knocked out all the others. Humanitarian organizations and mainstream press outlets now say they have lost communication with their contacts in Gaza in a level of information blackout we’re unaccustomed to seeing in modern times.

“This information blackout risks providing cover for mass atrocities and contributing to impunity for human rights violations,” Human Rights Watch correctly notes.

And I’m going to go ahead and say that’s probably not just a convenient coincidence for Israel. A genocidal massacre in total darkness works very much to the advantage of those doing the massacring.

As Israeli siege warfare cuts Gazans off from both electricity and communications, we’re seeing the lights go out in Gaza in more ways than one. 

The light has been further dimmed by the rampant killing of journalists by the Israeli military. Wikipedia, whose notoriously rigged editing system tends to skew information in the favor of U.S. information interests, still currently lists 17 journalists killed by the IDF in Gaza and another one in southern Lebanon in this current onslaught. NPR lists the numbers a bit higher, while conveniently declining to say who did the killing.

An Al Jazeera reporter named Wael Dahdouh lost his wife, son, daughter and baby grandson to a single Israeli airstrike in Gaza, saying “They’re taking their revenge by killing our children!” on the air while kneeling over the body of his dead son. He had reportedly moved them south of Gaza City following an Israeli evacuation order, believing it would keep them safe.

According to Reuters, the IDF is now telling both the Reuters and AFP news agencies that it cannot guarantee the safety of their reporters if they continue operating in the Gaza Strip. After Israel’s historically unparallelled assault on journalists these past three weeks, this can only be interpreted as a threat.

As we have discussed previously, Israel has been suffering for years from an increasingly worsening PR crisis as the ability to share and circulate raw video footage of its abuses emerged with the arrival of smartphones and widespread social media access. 

During a 2021 video appearance for the International Festival of Whistleblowing, Dissent and Accountability, Israel-based journalist Jonathan Cook made some remarks that I find myself contemplating frequently as Israel scrambles to shut all the lights off in Gaza. Cook described the changes he’s seen as smartphones and internet access made Palestinians less dependent on the work of sympathetic activists and gave them the ability to directly share footage of their own abuse.

Here’s a quote:

“Sadly most corporate journalists paid little attention to the work of these activists. In any case, their role was quickly snuffed out. That was partly because Israel learnt that shooting a few of them served as a very effective deterrent, warning others to keep away.

“But it was also because as technology became cheaper and more accessible?—?eventually ending up in mobile phones that everyone was expected to have?—?Palestinians could record their own suffering more immediately and without mediation.

“Israel’s dismissal of the early, grainy images of the abuse of Palestinians by soldiers and settlers?—?as ‘Pallywood’ (Palestinian Hollywood)?—?became ever less plausible, even to its own supporters. Soon Palestinians were recording their mistreatment in high definition and posting it directly to YouTube.”

Israel is perhaps more acutely aware than any other government on earth of how disadvantageous it is to have your crimes recorded in the light of day and shared with the world. That’s why it shut the lights off in Gaza: because murderers don’t like witnesses.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from CaitlinJohnstone.com.au and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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20 comments for “Obscuring Mass Murder

  1. Susan Siens
    October 29, 2023 at 16:05

    Think about Germany in the 1930s and 1940s as you watch the meat puppets on TV supporting genocide. This is a horrible time but also a very instructive time to watch so-called good people casually talk about the deaths of thousands of Palestinians. Hannah Arendt wrote frankly about Jewish cooperation with Nazism; Jewish leaders herded people into cattle cars and Jewish criminals often ran the camps. (They used to actually teach these things in Israel.)

    The U.S. casually talks about genocide when it is NOT genocide and plays along when it is genocide. How can anyone be surprised at the Nazi murders of nine million people? As Howard Fast said after the fascists (aka the American Legion) stormed the concert in Peekskill, New York, he no longer had to ask why Germany engaged in mass murder.

  2. CaseyG
    October 29, 2023 at 14:53

    I think that I shall never see—-” ——-a nation more horrible than thee. :(

    1948—I recently found out about NAKBA….who knew that in 1948 Jewish people would charge into Palestine and grabing and stealing land and murdering Palestinians. 1948 until now——75 years of Israel murdering Palestinians.

    Why did America give so much military aid that ends in murdering Palestinians. I will never understand that—but Netanyahu and company—you are the most awful of human beings. Stealing land and pushing Palestinians into the sea. : (

  3. October 29, 2023 at 08:36

    Yes ma’am, that’s right.

  4. Michael Johnson
    October 29, 2023 at 01:06

    Elon Musk,” Social platform “X,” hmmmm. I think “thank yous” at this time are a bit premature.

  5. October 28, 2023 at 22:33

    The “Israel” of 1948 is NOT in any way, shape or form the Israel of the Bible, except having stolen the name. Understand and accept that fact, and the world begins to make sense.
    Who then were the Israelites (note the spelling, please) of the Bible? It won’t take much research to learn Biblical Israel migrated out of the Mideast to two major migrations, both of which went around the Black Sea & up into Europe. Once in Europe, the ten Northern tribes spread out into Europe forming Countries. vast numbers having gone West & crossing over the Caucasus Mountains, hence being called Caucasians. The tribe of Dan settled in what was known as Danmark (land of Dan), but now known as Denmark. The kingly tribe of Judah settled in what was greater Germany, etc.
    The Bible makes more sense when you know who the major players are… do you own research.. the information is out there… just look.

    • October 29, 2023 at 20:26

      @ Leonard??
      I’ll second that motion Good Sir?.
      As Usual EA??

    • October 30, 2023 at 00:17

      Where have you gotten this information about the migrations of the ancient Israelites? From reliable sources? Or from sources that most people would consider to be reliable? If it is true it is certainly not well known.

      The information you give about the migrations of the ancient Israelites to me sounds very suspiciously like information that might come from some religious sect or cult, or from some preacher or some self-appointed prophet or some cult leader. Am I wrong or mistaken for thinking that?

  6. Neo Sandinista
    October 28, 2023 at 21:32

    Israel in recent days has attacked (verbally) the UN Secretary General, and the UN General Assembly.

    I’m trying to recall if Saddam Hussein ever did even that. Hitler withdrew from the League of Nations, so I guess Israel only gets a 9 out of 10 since they haven’t gone quite that far in telling the whole world to go bleeeeeeeeeeeep itself.

    The whole world is watching, and not on censored corporate western ‘news’.

  7. Neo Sandinista
    October 28, 2023 at 21:17

    If you notice, the ‘news’ currently exhibits one aspect of a propaganda system. One of many, but a specific one you can identify.

    There is always a focus on one story. The revolt in the Gaza Prison (open-air type) becomes the focus, and the War to Make Europe Safe for Swastikas drops out. Poof, its gone. This is a symptom of a propaganda system, where the important thing is the message or the narrative. The ‘news’ is then compiled around this narrative. If it doesn’t fit the narrative, its not important.

    An old school news organization still had a Kiev bureau reporting on Ukraine. The Tel Aviv bureau might take over the front page, but the Kiev bureau was still reporting and could now be found back on page 8 above a big sofa ad. But it did not disappear. The ‘news’ at a Daily Planet was more of a collection from bureaus around the world. It did not have a searchlight-like focus.

    A real news organization with reporters around the world just looks different from a propaganda organization with celebrity journalists pushing the narrative of the day. Only one is a part of a free democracy.

    Just another flaw in the Matrix. Look close, and you can see them.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      October 29, 2023 at 06:22

      Excellent observation about what has happened to journalism.

  8. Anon
    October 28, 2023 at 12:45

    Two overseas reporters featured here, both CN regs. As usual Caitlin truthtells, this time using Jonathan’s content so thanx all!
    As subject is Fasc-theid state Israel’s murderous coverup methodology, we reader’s get news personal to all journalistic sources mentioned above.
    Conclude our benefit: size of Earth’s theater!

    • Bailey Barnum
      October 28, 2023 at 21:38

      I wish the crowd in that theater would start throwing rotten fruit to get this farce off the state. The acting is wooden and terrible, the special effects just rely on blood, blood and more blood, and the writers haven’t got a clue. And the pyrotechnics look like they might set the theater on fire. Can’t we get some attractive, athletic dancers on the stage? Or maybe some acrobats? I always liked jugglers.

  9. October 28, 2023 at 11:58

    These crimes will harm Israel as well as decimating Palestine. They may well, along with the Ukraine debacle, usher in WWIII. Ultimately these are Biden’s crimes. He needs to be removed from power as a dangerous, inept loose cannon and he needs to be sent, along with Netanyahu, to the Hague to stand trial.

  10. Burt
    October 28, 2023 at 11:09

    I sit here in relative comfort trying to imagine what it’s like to be trapped in total darkness, the only light from bomb and missile explosions. No food, no water, no electricity – hoping to either survive the night or be killed as quickly and painlessly as possible. Unable to communicate with family, friends – loved ones in general – unknowing if they are dead or alive. My imagination is insufficient to wrap around the horrors experienced by those living and dying through this.

    • Geoff Burns
      October 28, 2023 at 20:18

      You have empathy, a quality that is apparently scarce among our “leaders.”

      • Robert
        October 29, 2023 at 08:54

        Yes, empathy is a scarce trait among our “leaders”. And the Biden Administration is filled with appointees that lack empathy. Starting with old Joe himself, a con man surviving and prospering 47 years in DC among people much smarter than him. Then we get to Blinken, Sullivan, and Vicky who are all smarter than Joe but probably even less empathetic than him. Joe can still briefly pull off the empathy thingy but the trio can’t.

        This country can recoup from 4 years of Biden and crew but 8 years of calamity would be too much to overcome. I have the uneasy feeling that 8 years it will be.

        • Valerie
          October 30, 2023 at 04:01

          “Yes, empathy is a scarce trait among our “leaders””

          Right Robert. And empathy is non existent among psychopaths.

  11. ray Peterson
    October 28, 2023 at 10:55

    And not to forget that the world has been
    witnessing the murder of journalists and
    their “rampant killing” since the
    imprisonment of Julian Assange.
    This too no accidental coincidence.

  12. gcw919
    October 28, 2023 at 10:40

    “As Israeli siege warfare cuts Gazans off from both electricity and communications, we’re seeing the lights go out in Gaza in more ways than one. ”
    We are indeed entering a new Dark Ages. We seem utterly incapable of resolving disputes without viciously destroying lives. The American gvt. bears DIRECT responsibility for this relentless carnage, allowing the Israelis to slaughter at will. The cry of Never Again has lost all meaning.

  13. Valerie
    October 28, 2023 at 09:05

    I just read this on Times of Israel:

    “Elon Musk announces that his satellite-based communications system Starlink “will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza.”

    Musk makes the announcement on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, in response to a statement by United States Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that cutting off communications in Gaza was “unacceptable.”

    Aid groups say they are unable to communicate with their teams in the Gaza Strip after phone and internet services collapsed during intense Israeli bombardment supporting the intensifying ground operation.””

    Thankyou Mr. Musk.

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