“دماوند پر از برف، تهران پر از حرف”
All my sympathy is with the brave young people in the streets. But we should be careful of rumor-mongering.
Here are some examples. Watch this note, because I will continue adding to it, and others are encouraged to pitch in.
On the other hand, if what I thought was a mere rumor turns out to be correct, I’ll not delete it but cross it out.
So here we go:
Click here to see the rest of the article.
- Here is a purported June 15 protest in Tabriz against the elections being stolen. Look at time 53 seconds. Here, it is dated June 14. And, not to be outdone, here it is dated June 13. There you will see two soldiers in camouflage with their hands behinds their backs standing, taking it all in. Ooooooops! No slogans, no nothing. Just a big crowd of Tabrizis welcoming their candidate. Here’s a shot of the crowds listening to Musavi during his campaign stop in Tabriz. He even slips in a word or two in Turkish.
- This, according to Nico Pitney on HuffPo, purports to show “Azerbaijani protesters” being “attacked by Islamic Republican” police. But if you look at the video, it shows an obviously exasperated individual attacking a heavily-armed policeman in the presence of his comrades, and them responding by beating the crap out of him. I’m not defending the police and their tactics, nor am I condemning this individual, but let’s get the facts right. There were no “protesters” in sight, just one lone very angry man. .
- Here is a lie of the counter-uprising. Thanks, boingboing.net.
- Another purported demonstration in Tabriz. Turns out it was really from Khomeinishahr near Isfahan, from three months ago.
- Yet another demonstration in Tabriz, this time allegedly held June 22. Funny thing about this video. Only two sightings of Musavi posters (1:13 and 3:36), and very fleeting ones at that. No slogans against repression, but plenty of Azerbaijani nationalist slogans. (“Haray! Haray! Men Turk am!”, etc.) And no sign of the security forces. Do the people who posted this video think its viewers are complete fools? And… to crown this fiasco, the video bears a striking resemblance to this video. posted June 11, well before the elections even took place.
- (UPDATE June 30, 2009) Another phony story from Tabriz, alleging that the Tabriz branch of the Voice and Vision had been set on fire. Actually, this happened in 2006 during the riots against a cartoon in which a worm was depicted as speaking Azeri Turkish. In fairness, this site contains the disclaimer, “iReport is a user-generated site. That means that stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.” Such rumors were picked up by the marginal websites, but also by more legitimate ones.
- This is a bit of gallows humor brought to us by Ahmadinejad’s lackeys.
- (UPDATE June 30, 2009) Here’s a classic to watch for. In the picture, you see a horrified crowd of Iranians with a bloody corpse being carried along. The text says, some poor fellow had been killed
…according to obtained reports. The reports are still preliminary, but at the time of the incident the regime’s forces were present on the scene and immediately took the body of Mostafa to an undisclosed location. His family has still not received his body.
First, what “obtained reports”? You have the picture of the bloody corpse! Second, the regime’s forces “immediately” took the body? Then what were these kids doing carrying it around? Oh, and third, if you read anything by the Organization of People’s Mojahedin, assume that it is a bald-faced lie. Too bad these and these and these (a pro-Mojahed Twitterer) guys picked up this story (without attribution).
- (UPDATE July 2, 2009)More People’s Mojahedin BS about the Tabriz bazaar. They claim that it had gone on strike Wedneday, July 1, over the government’s proposed value added tax. There was a bazaar strike over the VAT, but it was … in early October.
- (UPDATE July 2, 2009)More comic relief from Ahmadinejad’s cut-ups. Taking a page out of O. J. Simpson‘s book, they’re diligently searching for Neda’s murderer.
- (UPDATE July 2, 2009)
There is a new subgenre of YouTube videos about the Iranian uprising purporting to show “Arabs” beating up Iranians. They are distinguished by the high quality of the sound track on the Arabic. Frankly, any ten year old could mix in an Arabic voice into a video’s sound, but I have not been able to locate the original videos and clinch the argument that they are frauds.
Of course, there is the marginal possibility that one or all of these videos is legitimate.
Can anyone say what dialect of Arabic is being spoken?
The following are posted by havabord (Hava Bord is a location in Shiraz), a YouTube member based in Germany.
June 23, 2009
June 24, 2009
Comment: The people who are recording this video call the attackers “Israeli”; presumably they could hear the “Arabic” being spoken by the goons. Or would they simply use this catch-all epithet for heartless brutality on people speaking Arabic?
June 28, 2009
The justly-celebrated Robert Fisk has some interesting comments on this theme on his valuable blog. Here is an object lesson in why you should fight rumor-mongering: Because you have a lot more credibility when you tell the truth. Case in point: Mr. Fisk’s refusal to reject out of hand the document which supposedly shows that Musavi won. His case for accepting it is intelligent, but he does not try to press it further than the evidence suggests.
(UPDATE July 30, 2009)
Here is a fine summary of false rumors and misinformation.
And here is some sound advice about how to keep your material from being used for disinformation purposes. The author is one of those who believes that the whole movement in Iran has been teleguided by the Americans, but it’s still useful.