Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: SPOTTING DIS-INFORMATION, PROPAGANDA

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    Monday, October 30, 2006


    Research the allegations

    One way to determine whether an allegation is true or false is to research
    it as thoroughly as possible. Of course, this may not always be possible
    given publication deadlines and time pressures, but there is no substitute
    for thorough research, going back to the original sources. Using the Internet,
    many allegations can be fairly thoroughly researched in a matter of hours.

    For example, in July 2005, the counter-misinformation team researched the
    allegation that U.S. soldiers in Iraq had killed innocent Iraqi boys playing f
    ootball and then "planted" rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) next to them,
    to make it appear that they were insurgents.

    Using a variety of search terms in "Google," a researcher was able to find
    the article and photographs upon which the allegations were based. Because

    weapons did not appear in the initial photographs, but did appear in later
    photographs, some observers believed this was evidence that the weapons had
    been planted and that the boys who had been killed were not armed insurgents.

    The researcher was also able to find weblog entries (numbered 100 and 333,

    on June 26 and July 15, 2005) from the commanding officer of the platoon that
    was involved in the incident and another member of his platoon. The weblog
    entries made it clear that:

    * the teenaged Iraqi boys were armed insurgents;
    * after the firefight between U.S. troops and the insurgents was over,
    the dead, wounded and captured insurgents were initially photographed
    separated from their weapons because the first priority was to make sure
    that it was impossible for any of the surviving insurgents to fire them again;
    * following medical treatment for the wounded insurgents, they were
    photographed with the captured weapons displayed, in line with Iraqi
    government requirements;
    * the insurgents were hiding in a dense palm grove, where visibility
    was limited to 20 meters, not a likely place for a football game, and
    they were seen carrying the RPGs on their shoulders.

    Thus, an hour or two of research on the Internet was sufficient to
    establish that the suspicions of the bloggers that the weapons had been
    planted on innocent Iraqi boys playing football were unfounded.

    Finally, if the counter-misinformation team can be of help, ask us.
    We can't respond to all requests for information, but if a request
    is reasonable and we have the time, we will do our best to provide
    accurate, authoritative information.
    contact page:

    Check out the source:
    Look at the other storys on the site.
    Google the source name:
    Check ownership:
    Whois lookup:
    Check names of author: in Google, and
    See list of Propaganda sites:

    Is this the only site carring the story, If the story is true, other sources
    will be carring it. Google the story line.

    If it is only one news site carring the story it is suspect, even if they
    are the first to break the story, it will be carried later by others.

    If its in a blog, everyone is entitled to their OPINION, CHECK THE EVIDENCE

    When posting in forums I often confront insurgents when they post storys from Propganda sites posing as 'news'.

    What does one do when a major cable news presents insurgent propaganda as NEWS?

    they should do is report the story as enemy propaganda and explain the
    intention behind the propaganda. NOT REPORT IT AS IF IT WERE NEWS.

    When the cable news station reports it as news they are doing the work of the terrorists


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