Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unicorns found in Iraq!

No, it's not quite that bad.

But it's getting there.

Heather Saul and the Irish Independent offer the breathless "Isis 'executes 150 women for refusing to marry militants' and buries them in mass graves."  We noted this nonsense in yesterday's snapshot:

MEE carries a write up which opens, "At least 150 women who refused to marry fighters belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group have been executed in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, the country's Ministry of Human Rights reported."
Do you believe it?
Anyone who presents it as fact should be a question mark in your judgment.
The so-called Human Rights Ministry in Iraq is a propaganda front.  That was true under Nouri, it's been true since Nouri.
They make statements rejecting claims of abuse by the government that news outlets uncover, that Human Rights Watch uncovers, that Amnesty International uncovers.
They've yet to expose any crimes committed by the government.
These days they concern themselves with what they say are the actions of the Islamic State.
The story may very well be true.
But it's coming from a propaganda outlet.
When did these events happen?
There it gets sketchy.
Okay, where did they happen?
Supposedly in Falluja.
Where the Iraq government is not in control.
So where did the details come from?
And the numbers?
At best, the ministry got some gossip they couldn't confirm.
But would the Islamic State, if they wanted 'jihad' brides, really target visibly pregnant women?
They're fundamentalists.
And yet we're supposed to believe, from the Ministry, that the Islamic State didn't just go after women to force into marriage, they went after pregnant women.
Extreme fundamentalism sees women as property to be taken by men.  Women have little standing in that view.  In one of the few times, with those types of people, when women do have stature?  When they're pregnant.
The story doesn't ring true.
The story was clearly not verified by the Ministry or the Iraqi government -- nor could it be.
But it is part of an ongoing effort to create alarm by the Iraqi government.
If the Iraqi government's looking for false tales maybe they could revisit the 90s lie about babies being tossed out of incubators?

To Saul and the outlet's credit, they do not present it as fact:

"Turkish media has reported."

"A statement released by the country's Ministry of Human Rights on Tuesday said"

"according to the Anadolu Agency."

"The Independent is attempting to verify the reports."

That's semi honest.


It looks like there's a statement and reports by Anadolu Agency and "Turkish media."

There's not.

There's a statement.

Anadolu Agency -- which is part of Turkey's media -- repeated the statement -- repeated as fact -- wasn't the Washington Post just hectoring Rolling Stone (over the campus rape story) about the need to be skeptical and how the press shouldn't run with one source?

Anadolu Agency did.

All they did was rewrite the statement from a government propaganda ministry but Saul and the Irish Independent mislead readers into believing that there's the government statement and there's reporting from Turkish media.

There's also the issue of placement.

What they can't verify, they run with.

Then, later in the story, Saul and the outlet note what AFP was reporting yesterday.  From AFP:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on Monday released pictures of the execution of 13 men described as anti-jihadist Sunni tribal fighters near the northern city of Tikrit.
Three pictures published on a jihadist forum and pro-ISIS social media accounts show the execution of the men wearing orange jumpsuits.
Local residents confirmed to AFP that a mass execution had taken place on a large roundabout six kilometers (four miles) east of the city of Tikrit at around 3:30 p.m. (1230 GMT).

Press TV has the story here.

Why would the Islamic State release the photos?

To inspire fear, as part of campaign of terror.

And the other incident, the 150?

Oh, that would inspire a great deal more fear.

So where are those pictures?

Suddenly, the Islamic State is press shy?

The killings in Falluja may have happened.

They may not have.

Nothing can be backed up and all you have is a statement from a Ministry with a long record of lying.

Apparently, what AFP reported wasn't horrible enough for either the Irish Independent or the Iraqi government.

We've said it before: The Islamic State is horrible enough, you don't have to invent things.

But when you do and they blow up in your face, that becomes a victory for the Islamic State because news consumers remember the lie and tend to discredit everything else you say on the subject.

Right now there's no proof of the 150.  I'm sure Barbara Boxer's making like Chicken Little over the rumor.  But currently, it's just a rumor.  It's a real shame that when there are verifiable executions -- multiple -- they take a backseat to a rumor started by a government ministry (with a track record of lying).

The following community sites -- plus and Jake Tapper -- updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is