If the prisoner is an Israeli soldier, he gets the corporate media's undivided and wholly sympathetic attention. Instead of being portrayed for what he is - just another mindless cog in the murderous military machine that's strangling Gaza and putting the boot into the West Bank - we get the following:
"His father described Gilad Shalit's ordeal as '1935 difficult days and 1935 difficult nights'. Held somewhere in Gaza for the past 5 years without any contact with international human rights organisations or his family, the young soldier has suffered as a pawn in the conflict between Hamas and Israel." (The price is high for the pawn in the Hamas Israel fight, Ruth Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald, 13/10/11)
And just so you know Shalit's the corporate media's pin-up boy here, he gets not one, but 3 photos: a solo shot, one of Dad standing beside cardboard cutouts of his son, and one of "relieved Shalit supporters." Oh, and there's a "Diary of a hostage" covering the years 2006-2011.
Israel's thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, of course, remain faceless - but for this brief reference:
"Key among [Palestinian prisoners] is whether Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is on the list of those to be released. Serving 5 life sentences for his involvement in the murder of Israeli citizens, his release has long been Hamas's key condition for the release of Shalit." (ibid)
Just how many sleepless nights Barghouti's wife and children have had since his incarceration in 2002 is of no interest to the media whatever. And, needless to say, there are neither photos nor diary for this freedom fighter, no doubt because the Israeli version - 5 life sentences for involvement in the murder of Israeli citizens - is gospel for the corporates.
Sadly, even if all of the Herald's monkeys were put to work tapping away on their keyboards from now until the end of recorded time, there's no way they'd ever come up with the following:
"Barghouti contended that the Israeli authorities had no legal authority to arrest him (sighting the Oslo II agreement of September 1995 which gave PLC members parliamentary immunity from arrest by Israel), and no legal right to try him in Israel (sighting the 49th Article of the 4th Geneva Convention which prohibits the transfer of a protected individual or individuals from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power). He insisted from the outset that his was a show trial whose result was a forgone conclusion, held at the behest of Israeli political leaders who wanted to criminalise and blame the Palestinians (and ultimately PA president Arafat) for 'terrorism', while ignoring their own 36-year- old policies of occupation and illegal settlement that underlay the violence in the first place. 'My show trial says more about the sorry state of Israeli morality than it does about me. I pity the state of Israel - the Middle East's 'only democracy' stooping to fabricating charges in a show trial aimed not at truth and justice but rather to appease the Israeli masses who refuse to see any connection between their own brutal policies and the cycle of violence Israelis and Palestinians are now experiencing. Like President Arafat, I have become a scapegoat - my trial simply a public relations event by a morally bankrupt and visionless Israeli leadership desperate to cover up its own inadequacies. And I pity the Israeli people, lied to and misled by a Prime Minister promising peace and security and who has failed miserably in delivering either. I categorically reject the authority of this criminal court of occupation and I will not dignify the ludicrous claims against me by responding to them. If my trial were truly a search for truth and justice, it would be Sharon and the Israeli army behind bars - it would be the criminals of occupation who have perpetrated war crimes against the men, women and children of Palestine over the decades, who continue to violate UN Resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention with impunity'. (It is not I who is on trial in Israel, 3/10/02) 'We have been suffering under your sinister military occupation for over 36 years during which you killed us, tortured us, destroyed our homes and usurped our land. You made our life an enduring hell. We have an inherent moral and legal right to resist your occupation of our country. If you were in our shoes, you most certainly would do the same as we are doing. You would resist'. (Denouncing a show trial, Al-Ahram Weekly, 2/10/03) So from the beginning of his trial on 5 September 2002, Barghouti refused to recognise the authority of the court to try him, dismissed his defence counsel, and declined to plead on or contest the charges against him. Instead he issued his own 54-count indictment, charging the state of Israel with gross human rights violations on behalf of the Palestinian people, including violations of numerous UN resolutions, and took every opportunity to turn his trial into a trial of Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories." (Palestinian Biographies: Marwan Barghouti, lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com)
And another thing:
"[Israel] is also battling diplomatic isolation after... its decision to continue with its expansions of settlements - considered illegal under international law." (ibid)
Is it just me or do you too get the impression here that Pollard's phrasing - considered illegal under international law - allows enough wriggle room for a certain other point of view such as 'God says it's OK, OK?'.
Why didn't Pollard simply put it this way: '... its decision to continue with its expansions of illegal settlements'?
Or is the Herald under someone's thumb? Stupid question.