Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Reality-Based Community

When I first stumbled across this brief item titled "Anti-Syrian Propaganda Unmasked" over at the Arab Monitor, I thought it was a fascinating example of disinformation made up out of whole cloth:

From the Israeli media, the legend of the existence of a Syrian nuclear facility spread to Western news outlets. Today, the United Nations' General Assemby's First Committe was forced to admit that the legend of the alleged Syrian nuclear facility was the fruit of an error committed by the UN translation office.

So of course I googled "israel strike un translation office" and -- lo and behold! -- it turns out it's disinformation made up out of half-cloth:

The United Nations on Wednesday blamed an interpreter's error for an erroneous report that Syria said an Israeli airstrike hit a Syrian nuclear facility, a mistake that made headlines in the Middle East and heightened concerns over Damascus' nuclear ambitions...

The incident started Tuesday night with a UN press summary of the disarmament committee which paraphrased an unnamed Syrian representative as saying that Israel was the fourth largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations' airspace, and it had taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria.

Israel Air Force warplanes carried out a strike in northeastern Syria near the border with Turkey on September 6, not July 6.

The target remains unknown but widespread reports say it may have been a nascent nuclear facility, a claim Syria has denied.

Not quite enough to justify the Monitor's conspiracy theory, especially since Western media have been reporting the target as a nuclear facility since well before Tuesday. But at least there's a kernel of factual truth buried in there.

Posted by Judah in:  Media Coverage   The Middle East   

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