[Marxism] Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Thu May 31 19:43:14 MDT 2012

On 05/31/2012 09:43 AM, Eli Stephens wrote:
> Ooops! Too bad the author of this speculation failed to note that in fact,
> the majority of those killed in Houla were NOT killed with heavy weapons at
> all, but at close range.
It sound like to really didn't read my piece before commenting on it,
but here it is again, from my comments to the blog:

    /Some of the killing was done with heavy weapons. We know Assad's
    forces did that because only they had heavy weapons. Most of the
    people were killed by small arms and knives, but they were part of
    the same target./

    /One theory, backed up by a mountain of eye-witness testimony, says
    that the same force that did the shelling and had the tanks, then
    sent in, as would be expected, ground forces, that finished people off./

    /The pro-Assad theory is that it was ATGs that finished off what the
    Assad forces started, making it some sort of joint operation. That
    begs a number of questions 1.) why would Assad's opposition target
    their own people, and at the same time as Assad? 2) Where were
    Assad's ground forces and why didn't he send them in after he killed
    by shelling. Why was there no big close-combat battle between these
    alleged ATGs and the Syrian Army?/

    /So far, NATO has no role, and wants no role, in Syria. People who
    focus on that scare, people who peddle the fake BBC picture to cast
    doubt on what really happened in Houla and people who like to
    pretend that there isn't a mountain of real evidence of Assad's
    responsibility for the slaughter of peaceful protesters are
    objectively pro-Assad and a very low form of human being./

> The author seems to believe that no attempts at disinformation could
> possibly come from the "activists" who are routinely quoted in the Western
> corporate media. 
Where is your head? Because I question one attempt at disinformation you
jump to the conclusion that I believe no attempts at disinformation is
possible. Well that is a much easier position to critique because it
would be absurd if I held it.

Now I have a question for you and others that argue that publishing this
fake photo, for all of 90 minutes according to the BBC, was a purposeful
act by the BBC:

The BBC has very extensive inventories of images of atrocities, owing to
their long history of reporting on such things. Why would they
purposefully pick an image they didn't own, and image already publicly
available on the Internet and already publicly identified as being from
Iraq in 2003? Do you really think they are that stupid? There are much
better examples of purposefully media misinformation including from the
BBC. I personally have no doubt that they published what they thought
was an image from Houla and they pulled it as soon as it was exposed as
a fake. One could argue that they were so hot to tar Assad with a
massacre that they didn't do the fact checking they should have done.
One could argue that they shouldn't publish any uploads from Syrian
activist until they can verify the fact themselves. This will certainly
be the view of the regime that won't allow them to verify the facts for
themselves. And its supporter too, I might add.

As I said in the diary, I think sowing doubt and mistrust for these
activist-journalist was the real target of this disinformation
operation, and the more I look into it, the more I suspect a pro-Assad
setup. I have been doing some work on the timeline of this fake photo
and it makes for interesting reading. First, this all took place in the
middle of the night. The BBC editor claim it was only up for 90 min. ,
the photographer says he spotted it on the BBC website, at 3am, and a
number of screen shots from various timezones were taken while it was up
and have been circulated by pro-Assad websites to imply that every
report about the Houla massacre is as fake - I think that was another
target of this operation.

I have also been trying to trace the origins of this Iraq picture being
IDed as Houla. I now know it was circulated that way via Twitter before
the BBC got hold of it. It was retweet at least 50 times. I think I have
even IDed Tweet Zero
<https://twitter.com/Azizshalan/status/206816180877537280>, but would
like to check more before I name names. Interestingly, this fake picture
from Houla appears to have shown up on Twitter just minutes after a real
picture <https://twitter.com/ismail_yasa/status/206812698569211906> from
Houla started being tweeted and retweeted 958 times.

The trick of it is that you are less likely to question evidence of
something that you already know to be true. Someone can make you a
"gift" of such evidence, then expose it and used that to entirely
discredit you and imply that your whole proposition is as false. The BBC
editors already had ample evidence that a massacre had occurred in
Houla. They didn't need a picture to prove the massacre, they needed a
picture to illustrate the massacre and in our 20 min new cycle world.
they were a sucker for this trash. I believe Dan Rather fell victim to a
similar setup with regards to some forged records that actually told the
truth about George Bush's military record.    
> Unfortunately for that thesis, those activistshave been
> repeatedly caught with their pants down, claiming the death of various
> Syrian government officials who turned out to be alive, and have also been
> the ones propagating the absurdity (routinely and dutifully quoted in the
> corporate media) that it is the Syrian government which has on several
> occasions now bombed MILITARY INTELLIGENCE HEADQUARTERS of its own
> government, and killed members of its own military (and not just the
> "grunts" in the field) to discredit the opposition.
> What activists are you talking about and why do you think they can be 
> all lumped together? More importantly, why are you pushing the view that
>  because a few self-described "activists" promote false info that all 
> info from activists should be discounted?
What activists are you talking about and why do you think they can be
all lumped together? More importantly, why are you pushing the view that
because a few self-described "activists" promote false info that all
info from activists should be discounted?


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