Deja Vu, Redux

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I wrote about the Deja Vu experience I had with this latest news report from the AP about twenty Iraqi’s being beheaded yesterday:

Twenty beheaded bodies were discovered Thursday on the banks of the Tigris River southeast of Baghdad and a car bomb killed another 20 people in one of the capital’s busy outdoor bus stations, police said.

The beheaded remains were found in the Sunni Muslim village of Um al-Abeed, near the city of Salman Pak, which lies 14 miles southeast of Baghdad.

The bodies all men aged 20 to 40 had their hands and legs bound, and some of the heads were found next to the bodies, two officers said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Bob at Confederate Yankee became suspicious since the report stated that the two sources for the story were many many miles away.  One being 100 miles away from where the bodies were supposedly discovered for god sake.  He checked with his source at MNF-I and today we got official notification.

It was a hoax. 

The AP bought it hook, line, and sinker just like the burning six story.  Here is the report from MNF-I PAO:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Friday, news media reported a mass killing in a village near Salman Pak where 20 men were allegedly found beheaded. It now appears that the story was completely false and fabricated by unknown sources.

Upon learning of the press reports, coalition and Iraqi officials began investigating to determine if the reports were true. Ultimately it was concluded the reports were false.

Anti-Iraqi Forces are known for purposely providing false information to the media to incite violence and revenge killings, and they may well have been the source of this misinformation.

“Extremists promote falsehoods of mass killings, collateral damage and other violence specifically to turn Iraqis against other Iraqis,” said Rear Admiral Mark Fox, spokesperson for MNF-I. “Unfortunately, lies are much easier to state, the truth often takes time to prove,” said Fox.

Not all media reports can be immediately substantiated by Government of Iraq or Coalition Forces. They must go through a process to verify such claims, to include checking with various Iraqi Ministry’s, local police and security forces. Meanwhile, extremists have achieved their goal of spreading false information aimed at intimidating civilians and destabilizing Iraqi security.

Ultimately, media reporting based on verifiable sources will reduce the possibility of misinformation unnecessarily alarming citizens.

How often do you think this kind of thing happens?  After the Jamil Hussein episode the AP took to removing all names of their sources in an attempt to prevent people such as Bob and myself from making a big stink about their made up stories.  Instead of fixing the problem they just changed the rules a bit to keep the train rolling.

All because it tells the narrative they HOPE is happening on the ground in Iraq.

UPDATE

Reuters has the story:

Media reports attributed to Iraqi police of 20 decapitated bodies found south of Baghdad this week were untrue and may have been planted by insurgents to provoke revenge attacks, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

"Coalition and Iraqi officials began investigating to determine if the reports were true. Ultimately it was concluded the reports were false," the military said in a statement.

Local police, speaking off the record, said on Thursday that the bodies had been found dumped on the banks of the Tigris River near Salman Pak, about 30 km (19 miles) south of Baghdad.

But the Iraqi Interior Ministry later said that a team sent to the location with U.S. forces had found nothing.

This won’t stop them from printing any unsubstantiated story that comes their way tho, as long as it fits with the narrative they hope to tell in Iraq.