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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


 

Massacre in Syria?


The Huffington Post currently has a huge red headline splashed across its front page, reading "HORROR: SYRIAN TROOPS SLAUGHTER 100," together with a picture showing...five armed people walking down a street (a picture taken in an unknown place, on an unknown day, proving absolutely nothing about any massacre). Did this happen? It is of course possible, but believing it based on the evidence in the article (which I believe is an AP article, although it's not labeled as such) certainly requires a lot of faith.

There are three "sources" in the article. The only "primary" source is "one villager who is an anti-government activist [who spoke to] The Associated Press by telephone." In other words, this person could have been anyone, calling from anywhere. The other two "sources" are the "head of the British-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" (that is, some one with no personal knowledge of the events, but who is claimed to have "corroborated the account of the witness," even though his source of the information is completely unknown and may well have been the same person, which would negate any "corroboration") and "The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group," whose source of information is also completely unspecified.

What is noteworthy, compared to protests after the elections in Iran from which pictures and videos and tweets were being uploaded continuously, is the singular lack of any such hard evidence from Syria. Are we to believe that none of the people in the villages where massacres are allegedly occurring have cell phones and the ability to send pictures or video out to the world? Clearly that isn't the case, as the picture noted above proves. The "witness" tells AP that 56 villagers were buried, something that would be a rather observable event, yet no actual evidence is presented.

You'll search in vain to find any such skepticism in the Western media, however, aside from standard boilerplate about "can't be independently confirmed" placed as far down in the article as possible.


Why stop here? There's more...

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