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Altered image

Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 13:20 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008

We seem to have been caught out, along with other media outlets, by an image handed out by the Iranians of its recent missile tests which had apparently been digitally altered.

We were alerted to it by an e-mail from a reader, though it appears that a blog, LGF, was the first to spot it. We removed the picture from our site while we checked it out, and then wrote a story about it (which you can read here).

The image had initially come to us via the AFP news agency, who later issued advice to news organisations that it had been "apparently digitally altered".

Various ideas were put forward as to why the image might have been altered, but basically we can only guess.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Funny how this is bottom of the page news. I rather think that if the US had been found digitally altering pics of Iranian weapons the conspiracy theory comments would be flowing thick and fast.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ah, but Mr Sym, as the Americans are the good guys, we'd be a bit more surprised at them doctoring photos for propaganda purposes, wouldn't we?

    As several people pointed out on CiF yesterday, when they opened up a blog on this story, it's actually a fairly amateur photoshop job. I'm somewhat surprised nobody picked up on this sooner - particularly given the source of the picture...

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    DrKF77 is correct about the amateurish job done. I am a professional retoucher with 10 years experience. That job was so clumsy I can't help thinking that it was deliberately created and then diseminated worldwide, appearing on the front pages of nearly every major publication. NO self-respecting retoucher with any experience at all would deliberately pass that off in an attempt to dupe the world. One would think the Iranian Republican Guards would be more media savvy than that. Its appearance and wide distribution is HIGHLY suspect. That all these media outlets passed it on so quickly with little scrutiny is another example of how controlled media is by those pulling the strings.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm curious about your use of the word "basically" in your final sentence. AS a journalist, please can you tell me how the meaning of the sentence is altered by its presence?

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm surprised to see a link to a LGF blog here. I thought the bulk of their viral spam was aimed at Digg. Does the BBC also link to other extremist hate groups?

  • Comment number 7.

    There's probably some software out there that can quickly detect whether images have been photoshopped...

  • Comment number 8.

    Who would have thunk it,

    The BBC reporting facts without even checking them. Although at least they are saying where they got the info from this time.

    It is also good to see peter-sym preempting any theories as to why it as been done. Without guys like Peter we would have to think for ourselves and that just wouldn't do.

    When the US had been found tampering with evidence or changing truths, it doesn't even make the bottom of the page (Gulf of Tonkin etc, etc, etc).

  • Comment number 9.

    It`s a little bizarre, but then again it is Iran. The lgf site has a link to Getty images which has a gallery of all the images released by Iran, along with accompanying text. The text claims that the image in question showed a mix of medium and long-range missiles; yet another image of the long-range missile on its own shows it rising vertically, not at an angle.

    My guess is that Iran is trying to `big` itself up. These were medium range missiles actually fired one at a time; the altered image copied one attempt three times to make it look more impressive. (The Iranians also said the tests took place at night, so this image may be from an earlier exercise.) It`s possible the tests weren`t a successful as the Iranians are claiming.

    As for the quality if the Photoshopping? It`s Iran; they’re not noted for their fashion and digital design industries.

  • Comment number 10.

    If this is the extent of their Photoshopping skills, I daren't imagine how they will "wipe Israel off the map".

  • Comment number 11.

    Now why would anyone with an ounce of brains take anything coming out of Iran at face value?

  • Comment number 12.

    Makes one realize that every bit of "news" coming out of the Middle East should be carefully checked.

  • Comment number 13.

    Why should I be surprised that a biased "news organization" (and I use the term in its loosest sense) wouldn't hesitate to publish images that are obvious forgeries without bothering to seek corroborating evidence of their authenticity if it suited their own political agenda? CBS's Dan Rather did the same with a forged letter about President Bush late in the campaign four years ago and was forced to resign over it. CBS news was badly discredited. And there was the incident surrounding Jason Blair at the New York Times who not only caused his Editor to be forced to resign but discredited the once highly regarded paper to the point where it is now of little more esteem than a supermarket tabloid rag. Of course I don't expect anything like that to happen at BBC. As a quasi-government supported quasi monopoly, it is unaccountable to anyone. It can publish whatever it likes, truths, half truths, truths out of context, distortions, or outright lies with no consequence. As a technocratic dictorship, Britain's public at large is helpless to fight back, to make demands that substantial changes occur. But having no real experience with democracy, it hardly occurs to them that they even have a right to make such demands. As for being held in high esteem, BBC lost that in my eyes a long time ago.

  • Comment number 14.

    MarcusAureliusII: Have you not noticed previous consequences the BBC has faced for publication? Hutton? The whole queen-walking-out-in-a-strop thing?

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't see why the BBC is blamed here.
    Intelligence guys whose job it is to study photos like that either didnt pick it up or didnt bother to tell anyone?

    Military reports went out refuting the number of missles launched, but no mention of this photo?

    The Iranian foreign minister just gave an interview claiming US propaganda infiltrating Iran over the last 30 years. Maybe this is some of that? :)

    Need some.

  • Comment number 16.

    Ed Lyons;
    I am aware of both the Hutton report and the incident with the queen. Isn't there something else, some sort of government report about BBC it has desparately and so far successfully managed to quash, to keep out of the public's hands?

    But where have improvements been made? I see nothing of substance that is different. Merely superficial. A new facade, a public relatons makeover. No real consequences.

  • Comment number 17.

    So the BBC made a mistake and in the idea of "transparency" come clean with said mistake ... and they still get people having a go at them? Come on guys - fair is fair: you can't say you want more transparency and then when given it complain again.

  • Comment number 18.

    Pigsonthewing - er, you've caught me out. Basically it doesn't add anything. I was taking a break from our usual grammatical rigour.

    Wonketydonkety - we linked so people could see the relevant post.

    MarcusAureliusII - I'm sorry we have lost esteem in your eyes. We are publicly accountable - directly through the BBC Trust and you can read its terms of reference here. As for publishing an "obvious forgery" - both we and AFP alerted people to it as soon as we became aware - and I don't see how that would be serving any political agenda.

  • Comment number 19.

    To be fair to the BBC they can't check every image sourced from external agencies. One would expect you take a certain amount on trust when getting images from a big agency like AFP and you would be more careful with images from random strangers or people with their own agenda.

    It's good it's been corrected though.

  • Comment number 20.

    Alex (#19) - precisely.

    The way some commenters on BBC blogs seek to exploit every little thing as a weapon with which to attack the BBC is fast approaching the stage of self-parody.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.


    Whilst I probably disagree with you in every way about the BBC and their ability to report the state of our world honestly, I would like to applaud you for being, once again, the only contributing editor who bothers to read and respond to the comments on their blog.

    This time?

  • Comment number 24.

    After having 2 posts censored I am tempted to withdraw my appreciation of you Steve.

    It is a very bad sign that you felt the need censor them.

  • Comment number 25.

    More likely the moderators censored them, Hank.

    I don't know if the blog moderators are in-house or part of the outsourced company that moderates most everything else for BBC Online - since blog comments have been tied into the DNA system though, it's reasonable to assume the latter.

    The connection through the DNA system also likely means entries here are read in isolation, not contextually.

    We're not exactly talking the most objective moderators in the world, here - they are, after all, peers to moderators who think calls to euthanise and force sterilise people with disabilities aren't "objectionable" :P

    Before you lay all the blame at Steve's door, you might at least find out if he was the one decided those comments should be blocked.

  • Comment number 26.

    My god,

    Moonwolfe are we about to agree on something.

    At no point would I imagine Steve is sitting moderating every comment, so please don't worry, I am still of the Hope that Steve is a good'un.

    Obviously you cant read my censored comments but what is odd is that they only contained questions I have already posted. I checked the rules closely and can see no reason they would be 'moderated' apart from 'other exceptional circumstances'.

    Which kinda scares me on many levels

  • Comment number 27.

    Unless they're the "questions you've already posted" several bazillion times* already, in which case the "Are considered to be ‘spam’, that is posts containing the same. or similar, message posted multiple times" rule probably kicks into place.

    My guess would be the posts ask why the BBC didn't fact check x, y, z, WTC7, or something else, whilst it has posted this particular mea culpa?

    I think dotconnect was being generous (in general terms) about the automatic presumption of the BBC being a governmental propaganda shill by posters being "rapidly approaching" self-parody, to be honest.

    Bear in mind, I'm one of the first to note that the BBC got defanged by the government with Kelley and shows an abject tendency towards public self-flagellation for the slightest *perceived* bias.

    I think it's important to be scrupulously balanced and *honest* between complimenting and criticising though.

    As for guesses as to why altered images would be promoted by the Iranians, I would guess (as Steve notably refrained from doing here) that it was more chest thumping posturing in response to Israel's own chest thumping posturing with the exercise over the med a week before the missile test.

    Which does beg the question: With so many parties intent on putting their own spin on events, aimed at each other rather than the public, which is more "responsible" for broadcasters to aim for: reporting each side's attempts equally, or just ignoring them?

    The picture was externally sourced, and whilst it's easy for some people to say "damn, that was an obvious fake!", it raises another question: Why aren't any of the those commenters the ones to have "broken" that fact first?

    Guess it wasn't *that* obvious to the experts :P

    Hindsight is great, but it tends to only give you a view of one part of the anatomy :P

    *Contextual mathematics disclaimer: "bazillion" being any number larger than 4

  • Comment number 28.


    Post 8 on impossible conspiracies should tell you the question i asked and I hope you will agree its not that outlandish a question.

    I could point out that you have outlined your own 'conspiracy theory' there but the second censored blog didn't ask the question so your theory half answers my problem

    I have to agree with you again on other matters though,well kinda.

    I don't think there is much sinister of conspiratorial about the images, I care not who spotted them just that the BBC didn't spot them and they do employ picture editors and journalists who are paid to be observant. Their inability to do so, I would suggest is more to do with competence than conspiracy. Yes the fake is obvious when you look at it but if your being paid to look at it, surely you should spot it.

    The self parody approach is a new one and a fair point, the level of accusation is comical at times, just as comical as the refusal to answer even the most basic of questions.

  • Comment number 29.

    This really highlights the problem of media organisations being far too dependent on one or two press agencies. Articles are often reproduced almost verbatim.

    This also results in everyone missing certain stories that the few big press agencies also miss. Of course, readers can write to the BBC to tell them about stories they have missed, but sadly they are often ignored, as was the case with the assault on the award winning journalist Mohammed Omar. The BBC only covered the story many days later.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'd have to agree that limited sources hobbles news organizations, especially national ones.

    We've seen a few blog posts by editors asking if so-and-so items should be reported (with the associated criticisms that there was too much/not enough coverage).

    I'd imagine whoever handles news "tips" is bogged down with so much, that "important" items are delayed in being picked up - not to mention there's always likely to be a delay *while* fact checking is carried out, or people are approached for more information, on-the-record comments etc.

    It's perhaps one of the pitfalls of online news that "instant news" has become an expectation.

    But instant news is more prone to errors, and when errors are jumped on with such fanatical glee, it's a lose-lose scenarion, I think.

    This photo, and the one during the Israel-Hezbollah war of "edited smoke", are perhaps good examples - the demand for "speed", to "scoop" others, versus accuracy and examination.

    Which is why editors get paid a lot*.

    As for your comment about refusal to answer questions, Hank, I think it probably boils down to "the question is nonsensical" - most of your questions are definitely weighted with their own conclusions built in - the "So, when did you stop beating your wife" style.

    When a question is predicated upon a flawed *presumption* to begin with, it becomes a fruitless exercise to respond, because any response only serves to feed the flawed presumption by giving it an appearance of legitimacy and validity.

    So to bring it back into the topic at hand, asking why the BBC didn't spot the pictures were manipulated before they published them makes sense, but look at comments #1, #5, your own #8 here, and especially #13 and #16.

    I'm impressed with Steve's willingness to actually read the comments and respond.

    I'm not so sure if I would do the same in his position, it'd kind of chafe to have implied accusations about my integrity thrown at me as often as he and others do that proffer no real "evidence" to support them.

    I'm wondering if Steve would like to comment on whether or not there's any changes in practices with regards to pictures supplied in the future by Iran (or anywhere else for that matter) through bureau news organizations in the future as a result of this?

    *Yes Steve, that was sarcasm :P

  • Comment number 31.

    c'mon moonwolfe, he changed his story, i was just asking why, thats not nonsensical. if someone says something one day then another the next, his story has changed. I am just asking which time was right.

    its not a skewed or impossible to answer question

    Please check and you will find I generally only ask really simple questions

    peter powers client is?

    for example

    Or ask for clarification of 'facts' like comment 8 or

    Where did the No.30 bus footage come from when we were told the cctv system was not even on?

    or ask why stories are not being reported.

    No coverage of Iran cut off from internet?
    No coverage of puppy throwing marines?

    for example

    My theories may be wild but the questions hardly are.

  • Comment number 32.

    You keep asking the same questions over and over anywhere you can, even when they're completely off-topic, or at *best* linked so tenuously they make no sense whatsoever.

    I'm not going to encourage you to try to derail another thread by responding - especially since both of your no coverage points are demonstrably false.

    You have at least four conspiracy-related blog entries to bring such things up in. I live for the day there's an Editor's Blog entry that you *don't* manage to twist comments around to your pet topic.

    If you're that desperate to keep going on, can I suggest Blogger, LiveJournal, or similar?

  • Comment number 33.

    I think it is ironic that the BBC, the self proclaimed best news gathering organization in the world admits it made a mistake about openly available material of military interest and that this does not constitute a lie when it has taken what seems to me to be a consistant and strong editorial position that both the British and American governments lied about the intelligence they supposedly gathered about Iraq having WMDs to justify the invasion of Iraq. BBC made a mistake but they lied. BBC's failure to see through an obvious fraud a minor slip while the UK and US's inability to pierce an impenetrable security network whose penalty for betrayal is death by torture an unimportant detail. If th is is not the height of hypocricy then tell me what is.

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh moonwolf

    And i thought we were going to get on too.

    You get very angry about my questions don't you.

    Yes we there four other blogs where I can post, but in case you missed my point Steve is the only one who ever seems to read and respond.

    So I thought i would try here.

    His blog was about the BBC making a mistake and owning up to it, my question was about a mistake, its not that far off topic.

    And I do have a blog, of course, its just that only about 6 people read it, but thats not the point of a blog. Oh, and i need no encouragement from you to respond, you should know that by now.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    Mr. Herrmann, thank you for responding to my previous comment. Now perhaps you will answer this question. Is there a report about the BBC that it is trying to keep from the public? I think it has something to do with its supposed bias in the way it reports news of the Middle East.

  • Comment number 37.

    Its called the balen report, and the bbc have even been to court to make sure we can't read it, and yes it regards their editorial bias in middle east reporting.

    I have no doubt this will be called a conspiracy theory

  • Comment number 38.

    "Alleged" editorial bias, Hank. Yes, even when the report is commissioned internally.

    There is a blog post here on the BBC website somewhere about the report. Think it's in the BBC freedom of information blog, 'Open Secrets'. You might want to take your concerns there.

    And if mine and your posts get deleted, please.... no need to suspect a conspiracy! It will merely be because we both drifted off-topic, and the moderators decided to pick us up on it.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am not at all happy about this correspondence.
    The “Altered Image” that seems to be worrying people is really the BBC.
    I sincerely hope that before too long the BBC is once again regarded, by almost all people, with the highest respect.

  • Comment number 40.

    Dear Moderator,

    I do not understand what was wrong with my post #35 - why did you censor it? - was it really defamatory?

  • Comment number 41.

    How nice that you can easily find what you are looking for on the internet. So now that I've found it, lets talk about BBC's altered image. I am of course referring to the Balen Report that claims BBC's reporting has been biased against Israel. Why doesn't anyone want to talk about it at BBC. Why does BBC pretend it doesn't exist?

    I knew there was a skeleton in BBC's closet it didn't want to come out. So how about it Mr. Hermann. You want to know why my opinion of BBC is so low? Because not only is BBC biased, but when its own internal audits prove it, it does its best to squash it just like the worst tyrants in the world it editorializes incessantly against. In other words, it is not merely BBC's lack of objectivity but its hypocricy that adds insult to injury.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hank_Reardon and Moonwolf - moderation on most BBC News blogs is currently done by an external company which also does the moderation for the rest of the blogs and messageboards within the BBC, and also 606 in BBC Sport. They moderate according to BBC guidelines - so the House Rules are decided by us.

  • Comment number 43.

    Cheers Steve

    Its the inconsistency that causes me confusion.

    Especially when i read some of the posts that get through, I read one today calling folks "brown nosed retards" and the other day one which was just an advert looking for Pyschological test subjects, e-mail address and everything included.

    Both I would think break the house rules but i managed to read them both, yet it took me three attempts to make a post, which I still find hard to see what was so wrong about the text i had to remove and the text i removed was not in the same league as 'brown nosed retards'.

    Do the BBC spot check the performance of the external company with regards to House Rules?

    Cheers for joining in again Steve

  • Comment number 44.

    Why is a picture the centre piece in this story?

    Isn't the real problem here that it is pretty pathetic for anyone to get excited about Iran wanting to be able to defend itself?

  • Comment number 45.

    Thanks Steve,

    Hank, the moderator company is renowned for allowing through controversial posts, primarily foaming-at-the-mouth ones on HYS.

    Some people think it's because the company agrees with those posts, others make a case that they allow controversial posts through to foment discord, as it means better numbers.

    No offence, Steve, but the House Rules are subjective *and* have a built in exclusive discrimination.

    Read any past HYS about veterans, or people with disabilities (especially the ones a while ago about deaf kids, and the one about a brit version of Ashley X).

    So I'm kind of saddened that the same company is moderating the blogs too - it's not exactly confidence boosting given posts that advocate involuntary euthanasia or sterilization of people with disabilities get allowed through *in large numbers* on associated relevant threads, and aren't considered "objectionable".

    Hank, you need to read the URL the "Post Comment" button sends you to when you submit a post, if the page doesn't show your comment is awaiting moderation right after posting it.

    The BBC comments system uses keyword blocking to prevent "bad words" from getting through, automatically (on top of the subjective moderation).

    So if your post contains a bad word, it won't be submitted. There's just no error message to say that happened.

    Debunkers, debunking, and debunked are such keywords :)

  • Comment number 46.

    Only two people would benifit from the pictures being altered.

    The americans, because then it would allow them to stir up the rest of the Western world to have a go. Yet another country with american troops in.
    The Iranians, just to be able to boast that they could do it.

    Looking back at the history of the two there is not much to choose between them, but I think that I would put my money on the yanks purely because they are a creeping death when it comes to world domination.

    Oh and the lower case, when mentioning americans and yanks was intentional.

  • Comment number 47.

    The Americans wouldn't really benefit from it that much.

    There's several reasons why the US isn't in any position to escalate, but the most practical is - the US and UK don't have enough manpower or materiel to engage in a third front.

    Iran is much more likely to have motive to alter the images (not to mention the images came *from* Iran to begin with).

    The US would have lots of data that helps them to know how effective the testing was, from imagery to recon to electronic footprints - missiles tend to be rather "noisy" electronically, something Iran would know well.

    So if the Iranians know this, they likely know western intelligence services will know the pictures were faked right from the start. The question then has to be, who were the pictures really aimed at.

    With oil at $140 a barrel and rising, Iran has a vested interest in keeping the public of the west aware of the risks to the oil flow - the west can't effectively counter that propaganda without revealing its own methods and sources, so Iran is simply resorting to the same sort of FUD aimed at the public that the west engaged in to justify going into Iraq.

    It worked the last time to get you to support hitting Iraq, it stands to reason it'll work again from the other side to keep you from supporting going into Iran.

    Tom Clancy was been prescient :(

    I'm still hoping Steve will take a moment to tell us if the BBC's internal policies with regards to external image checking has changed as a result of this incident, or if it's been mentioned elsewhere to offer a link to that.

    Overall, at the end of the day, I don't think the BBC (or anyone else) can be blamed for a faked image slipping through, given the sheer scale of images they have to go through on a regular basis.

    Whilst it's easy for the public to spend its time browsing the news and being able to concentrate on the small volume that makes it to publication, the news teams of the world can't be that narrowly-focused.

    I actually suggested a HYS whinge-fest opportunity to ask "Who stands to benefit from the pictures of the Iranian missile tests being faked" - it was rejected. I guess it wasn't sexy enough :P

  • Comment number 48.

    "I actually suggested a HYS whinge-fest opportunity to ask "Who stands to benefit from the pictures of the Iranian missile tests being faked" - it was rejected."

    You should have re-worded it...

    "Now Muslims are trying to impose their fake pictures onto us. What's your view? We'd love to hear from you...."

    (Sit back and wait for the servers to collapse under the strain of a million comments)

  • Comment number 49.

    *cracks up*

    I'm semi tempted to post that on my own blog (with credit, of course, for the idea!) just to use it in future as a proof-of-stability example for prospective customers (I own the servers).

    Although, I have a sneaking suspicion the majority of posts would simply be a cut and paste from other similar topics, or just these little nuggets discovered by El Reg: (ASFW) (ASFW)

    It's funny ... I left the UK for the US before the Chav phenomenon took off, but I keep thinking I can get to see what they're like just by exposing myself to 3 or 4 pages of HYS posts.

    And I *used* to think PMQT was the most childish boorish pile of bad debating possible!

    (Oh, mea culpa, I still do, but HYS comes a close second, jointly with anything relating to The Osmonds)

  • Comment number 50.

    It's easy to get BBC's goat. All you have to do is mention either of two subjects.

    1. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report.
    The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report.
    The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report.
    The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report. The Balen report.

    2. There is no reason to believe that Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping. There is no reason to believe Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping. There is no reason to believe that Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping. There is no reason to believe Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping. There is no reason to believe that Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping. There is no reason to believe Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping. There is no reason to believe that Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping. There is no reason to believe Alan Johnston didn't fake his kidnapping.

    Fair and balanced? Not by a long shot. Tass was more fair and balanced than BBC. BBC is openly biased against Jews, against Israel, and against America. It is a biased hateful voice of an inferior civilization in a state of terminal decline whose only remaining thread of hope is to trick its citizens into joining a monsterous tyrannical superstate that will rival the Soviet Union in its monopoly of power over every one of those unfortunate enough to be caught in it and when they start to flee...the jailers will lock the exit doors from the inside just the way the Soviets did.

    You can only delete this posting once but it hardly matters. You can't alter the image I have of you as seen through the clarity of my own eyesight. That will remain until the reality of BBC changes.

  • Comment number 51.

    Steve Hermann #8
    I'd fire and replace that outside contractor who censors your blog posters if I were BBC. How he let #50 get by is beyond explanation. Every other time I've mentioned either subject, it was deleted. So BBC proved it would allow these words to be posted...once. Now how about discussing it.

  • Comment number 52.

    MarcusAureliusII, post 50.

    The singling out of a certain BBC reporter in the way you have is not only, as you say, "unfair and unbalanced", it's also in pretty poor taste. I won't be remotely surprised if your post is deleted just for that alone.

    As for BBC bias, it's a far bigger issue than we could ever get into in this thread without going completely off-topic. One report is not the end of the story (as I'm sure you'd have agreed, had it reached the opposite conclusion). I could easily bring up counter-arguments. The amount of anti-Muslim bile allowed on platforms like HYS would never be permitted if it was about Jews, the lack of suficient challenge to the orthodoxy of the war on terror, the huge coverage afforded America compared with Europe and the rest of the world, the wall of silence from the BBC when Israel bombed the Syrian plant last year.... And on that last one, we since learn they were abiding by Israel's news blackout (unlike another UK news broadcaster which covered it as it happened). You think the Beeb would have abided by a Palestinian-requested news blackout had it instead been them that launched the operation?

    Lots more could be added, and that's the point - it could go on and on. This isn't the place for any of that discussion. This is about discussing a digitally altered picture of the Iranian missile tests, and a BBC editor being honest about the fact that they were caught out just like all the other media outlets.

    If you have such animosity towards aspects of the BBC, why not make an official complaint? That would be a rather more mature way of dealing with it than spamming editors blogs. (Repeated off topic discussion IS generally classed as spam.)

  • Comment number 53.


    Perhaps you see it as off topic. The topic is the fairness and objectivity of BBC period. Not just the topic of this thread but of this entire blog site about BBC editors. "...a site where we editors, from across BBC news, will share out dilemmas and issues."

    Well now that seems like a dilemma to me. To pretend that you are a fair objective reporter of the news but put certain topics for discussion out of bounds including one that is about an independent government commissioned manditory report that says you are anything but fair and objective.

    I knew my original posting would get deleted. I was surprised it was allowed to be posted the first place. I'll bet someone's head will be on the chopping block for that.

    As for WHYS, venomous comments of all stripes are allowed but I'd say the balance is exactly the opposite you suggest on the topics you mentioned.

    BTW, the inordinate amount of reporting about the United States of America and its people in comparison to other nations is IMO due to BBC's obsession with it. There have been times when I felt at least half its employees where here in the US. I've even wondered how many of them are looking for jobs and homes here.

  • Comment number 54.

    MarcusAureliusII (52) wrote:
    "The topic is the fairness and objectivity of BBC period. Not just the topic of this thread but of this entire blog site about BBC editors"

    The concept of going off-topic applies in relation to threads, not to the editors blog area as a whole.

    If I was to start posting in this thread about, say, the WTC7 conspiracy documentary, under the insistence that it was all connected to Steve's original post at the top through the over-arching issue of "trust in the BBC", then I would expect to have my post deleted.

    For going off topic.

    It's not that difficult to understand now, is it?

  • Comment number 55.

    dotconnect, my posting was deleted because it specifically mentioned two topics which are taboo on nearly EVERY BBC web site. I will enter a post below which is a one phrase reference to one of them and watch how it is deleted. Don't try to cover up for them, I'm not buying it. Censorship is censorship. This is not about lack of civiliity or breaking house rules. It's a matter of substance.

  • Comment number 56.

    The Balen Report.

  • Comment number 57.

    Wow, # 56 lived at least for a time. Maybe the fact that it was posted on a different shift with a different censor allowed it to get through. But the next one which will be one sentence that covers the other topic won't.

  • Comment number 58.

    Based on the evidence I've seen, I do not find it credible that Alan Johnston was kidnapped.

  • Comment number 59.

    And people wonder why so many staffers at the BBC seem to never read or participate in the blogs :P

  • Comment number 60.

    I'd still like some explanations.

    In reference to item #1, I'd like to know what is in the report and why BBC won't release it.

    In reference to item #2 I'd like an explanation as to why 15 combat ready Royal Marines were so obviously frightened and traumatized as seen on Iranian TV after only a few days in Iranian government captivity while the individual in question isolated and alone in the hands of an unknown terrorist group (that's how BBC characterized them in their initial report of the incident) did not appear traumatized on TV within about a day or so after his re-appearance in public following four months of assumed captivity.

  • Comment number 61.

    And the relevance to the pictures of Iranian missile tests being faked, and it being posted about here, is ... ?

  • Comment number 62.


    Isn't it obvious? Alteration of images to mislead those who see it by having them believe what you want them to is expected from some governments, especially a tyrannical dictatorship like Irans but it is the very antithesis of what an news reporting agency is supposed to do. That makes BBC's forgery if it is that far more serious than Iran's. It's not just a matter of the pot calling the kettle black, it's a matter of a black hole calling the kettle black. Do as we say, not as we are.

  • Comment number 63.

    There's a problem with your logic.

    The pictures from Iran were "proven" to have been forged.

    Your comments relate to something that not only hasn't been "proven", but is totally subjective *and* comparing apples to oranges.

    A bunch of Marines held by a government with a history of disappearing people at will and whim, compared to a civilian held by a terrorist group that not only has a vested interest in keeping an "asset" like a hostage alive, but especially a journalist who can "report" on their behalf are two totally different environments.

    Moreso when you consider the relative reputations *and* the amount of international pressure that was brought on Johnson's captors - I'd be amazed if they *didn't* treat him "well", relatively speaking.

    And *that's* giving you the benefit of the doubt with regards to the behaviour you say was exhibited.

    If you're going to promote theories based on supposition and prejudice, then no, the BBC doesn't have to respond to it, any more than they'd "have" to respond to accusations they're covering up aliens on Earth.

    It's the "so when did you stop beating your wife" debate all over, time and again.

    And it's worth noting that the BBC *did* report on Kelley - the Government's reaction seems to be a pretty good indication that the BBC *is* independent and willing to report on things that the Government would really prefer they didn't.

    There'd be little point in forcing a pseudo-quisling Trust to control of the BBC if it *wasn't* independent, after all.

    It's ironic, loads of people want to slam the BBC for making unfounded, unproven, unsupported, or otherwise propaganda reports - whilst in the process, those same people use unfounded, unproven, unsupported, or otherwise propaganda arguments to shore their accusations up.

    Fixing the world is all well and good - but you really should fix back at home *first* don't you think? You're living in a society that's managed to sleepwalk itself into a totalitarian democracy style of governance.

    And, have you considered that your own opinions of the integrity of the BBC might be the desired *result* the Government wants? If it can manage to dent that integrity enough, the BBC becomes less of a threat with reporting those embarassing bits.

    If you *really* want to slam the BBC, how about noting that their online presence isn't as disabled friendly as they'd like to claim?

  • Comment number 64.

    Moonwolf, you are straying off the topic. It may have been more suitable on a different thread such as the one on accountability but I chose this one.

    Most of what you say flies in the face of the facts or makes no logical sense.

    There is no proof one way or the other about the suggestion I made. Only the evidence of my own eyes seeing the reporter after he reappeared in public and comparing him to those we know were held captive for a compartively short time combined with BBC's unwillingness not just to discuss it but even allow it to be posted led me to my conclusion. But there is still no hard evidence one way or the other and as far as I know, nobody else has advanced this theory. The evidence is all circumstantial

    The capture of 15 Royal Marines was by a government which had assets to lose such as a retaliatory attack by a military power far stronger than itself. Had it harmed the marines, there is no telling what terrible price that govenment might have had to pay among its own people such as when the RAF started bombing downtown Teheran.

    By contrast, if a terrorist group held this reporter, they'd have nothing to lose by killing him. After all, the reporter Daniel Pearl of the WSJ went to Pakistan to tell al Qaeda's side of the story and was brutally murdered by them for his efforts on their behalf. Don't ascribe rational logic to Islamic fundimental terrorists. They may not be stupid when it come to knowing how to kill people but they are crazy.

    BBC doesn't have to respond or post anything. It is there site and they can run it any way they like. But if they practice arbitrary censorship and refuse to discuss particular matters, then they act in a way that cannot help but arouse strong suspicion that they have something they want to hide very badly.

    BBC is not merely independent, it is unaccountable. Were it a commercial network, it might lose the support of its sponsors. Were it not a quasi monopoly sanctioned by the government, it might lose its audience to its competitors. But that is not the case. What's more it lives on its reputation. It was a far better and fairer reporter of the news a generation or two ago than it is today. It is notable for its simultaneous reporting of the news and editorializing it to the point where they are all but indistinguishable.

    Talking about my "back home" is one more effort to divert attention away from what is being discussed. That is a different topic.

    There is no such thing as totalitarian democracy, that is clearly an oxymoron by anyone's definition in either language.

    I don't know what you are talking about when you say the government wants to discredit BBC in my eyes. If there are embarrassing facts that come out such as the government paying hundreds of millions in bribes to Saudi Princes for 40 billion dollars in weapons contracts and then trying to block the courts from investigating it, it doesn't matter whether or not the BBC is held in high esteem, those accusations will stand or fall on their own once they are made public.

    I also don't know what your last remark about disabled friendly means. I don't know what it has to do with the topic at hand either. BTW, I was not talking about the Hutton Report or Dr. Kelly. Read my previous postings to know which one it was.

  • Comment number 65.

    I seem to remember faked images of iraqi crowds cheering a us victory and I am sure I remember the new york times or washington post enlarging the nose and ears of a politician.

    Faking pictures is something they all get up to, the media, the governments and all that lies in between. The world is presented to us in a touched up, sexed up way and we all live in this illusion.

    and moonwolf, the BBC's role in the Death of Dr Kelly is one of the darkest days in their/our history and represented a massive shift in closing dopwn of our democracy. The outcome of the Hutton inquiry (whitewash) is that it was absolutley confirmed to us that the BBC had lost any sembalance of independance.

    Why they let the Govt. off the hook no one will ever know, but they capitulated and now offer us no protection from our govts. and no real information about the world, just whats in the lie.

    Which is why some of us feel the need to question everything they do and say.

  • Comment number 66.


    that one was really harmless too.

    I seem to find it a lot easier these days to get moderated.

    Am i changing or are they?

  • Comment number 67.

    If the system works the same way the rest of DNA does, Hank, then as soon as someone hits "Complain about this comment", the entry is hidden until reviewed by a moderator.

    It's been abused on some of the fora as a community pseudo-censorship, people using it to repetitively "hide" comments they object to.

    You're not officially "moderated" until the message says the comment was hidden *by* the moderators. Until then, you're just complained *about*.

  • Comment number 68.

    It wasn't me. I have never complained about a posting even once. Why should I. The more ludicrous it is, the easier it is for me to shoot it down.

    So Hank_Reardon, were the images of the crowds pulling the statue of Saddam Hussein down with the help of an American tank faked too? I noticed that BBC was the only major TV news network which did not cover it live. You can spout your nonsense all you like but that doesn't make it true.

    Most Europeans I've met are never bothered by the inconsistancy between what they say and those annoying things called facts. If the facts are inconsistant with their pet prejudicial theories, they simply argue around them by saying they are lies, unimportant, or unrepresentative of what happened. That's why I never take Europeans at face value. Their duplicity is a cultural thing. Those who can't reconcile it, often leave to live in other parts of the world.

  • Comment number 69.


    The picture i was referring to was a cover picture on the cover of London Evening Standard, on April 9th 2003. The headline was about about jubilant iraqis celebrating their 'Freedom'.A few days later they had to publish an apology admitting that they had altered the image to make it appear as though the crowd was larger.

    It's not nonsense, you can check in any reference library in the UK or even try calling those folks at the evening standard. I am sure they will remember the incident.

    Piers Morgan of the Daily mirror also had to quit as editor because he published faked photos too.

    You are doing your credibility a disservice by saying that it didn't happen and that to suggest it did is nonsense, it did happen,does happen and will continue to happen, deal with it.

    To help you with your problem of not trusting us Europeans, why not read and comment on a non-european website if you are so offended by us.

    I guess you can't hate all us Europeans that much as you have named yourself after one us.

  • Comment number 70.


    How could I have denied that the photo on the 2003 London Evening Standard was a fake when I never even heard of the London Evening Standard? The fact is that a lot of Shia and Kurds in Iraq were very happy that the Saddam Hussein Regime was over while many Sunnis were very angry about it. After all, 10% of the population had dominated the other 90%. Their joy at the time was genuine. It wasn't until their freedom did not buy them the peace and prosperity they'd hoped for that they became angry. But that is laid squarely at the feet of other Moslems who attacked them. Most Iraqis who died but not in combat were not killed by Americans. Perhaps things would have turned out differently for them if all of Europe and the rest of the world had been as enthusiastic and cooperative about overthrowing Saddam Hussein as they were about the overthrow of Hirohito and Hitler. I do not hate Europeans, I merely see them and accept them for what they are. My characterizations are based on a lifetime of watching and listening to them and having lived in Europe myself for almost two years. I'd say that's a more informed opinion than most other Americans have.

  • Comment number 71.

    I always get suspicious when people spell it "Moslems". Why does this spelling so often correlate with the writing of someone who appears to be portraying Muslims in a less-than-favourable light? Has anyone else noticed this?

    It reminds me of the correlation between people who use the word 'racialist' (instead of racist), and people who make points that appear to be just that - racist.

    The fact that either one is or is not correct is kind of secondary. It's the correlation that interests me.

    Perhaps it's an indirect correlation - e.g. age, in which people over a certain age were taught to spell it that way, and are also more likely to hold anti-Muslim feelings. Or geography, in which one geographical location is more likely to have been taught to spell it that way, and also more likely to hold anti-Muslim feelings. I don't know, I'm not pretending to. But I'm just curious to know if anyone else has picked up on this?

  • Comment number 72.


    So now I'm a racist because of the way I spell Moslems. Google gives about 3,890,000 hits for Moslem. Even the Encyclopedia Britanica spells it Moslem as does Webster's revised unabridged dictionary

    And people want to know why I do not take Britain or Europe seriously.

  • Comment number 73.


    Neither of those can be claimed to "spell" it *that* particular way - it's listed as a synonym, not canonical.

    And it's kind of disingenuous to try to use the number of pages on Google as somehow lending weight to your method of spelling it over the alternative, "Muslim" - if you want to play some sort of numbers game, Google reports over 79 million pages spelling it with a u instead of an o.

    To boot, Google provides a definition for the term if you search with a u - but not searching with an o.

    It's a valid question, especially if you look at the number of derogatory entries online that use that particular spelling (an o).

    Instead of responding as if your feelings are hurt, you could try *answering* the posts aimed your way for once.

    And when it comes to Iraq, it's worth remembering that many of the problems aren't specifically around the religion *itself*, but more about ethnic divisions.

    Not that you'd know it, if your sole source of information is Faux News.

  • Comment number 74.

    MarcusAureliusII: "So now I'm a racist because of the way I spell Moslems"

    (a) No - not unless you're one of these people who equates religion with race.

    (b) Even then, I didn't assert that you were Islamophobic. I made an observation about people who portray Muslims in a "less than favourable light" - which is what you've done. I don't know enough about you to judge you as "a" anything. (tsk! Pesky Brits/Europeans and their ability to handle nuance, eh?!)

    (c) What Moonlight said.

    Honestly. It's a good job I'm not prone to making sweeping generalisations about entire continents based on what you post, isn't it?

  • Comment number 75.

    Moonlight? I meant Moonwolf.

    Was typing that in the early hours....

  • Comment number 76.

    *grins* Someone getting my name right around here is a red letter day :)

    Still hoping Steve might jump back in with an answer to what changes (if any) the BBC is going to make to its vetting process of "professionally" sourced content (stories/imagery) because of this one slipping through.

    Not to mention I'm wondering if anyone's asked the Iranians to explain it all.

  • Comment number 77.


    you seem to have an understanding of the comments system.

    Could you explain the anomoly on the 'US party season' Blog (comment 9)

    I am confused

  • Comment number 78.

    And Europeans wonder why Americans ignore them.

    If European was a race, then I'd be a racist.

  • Comment number 79.


    Your a confusing chap, i think we can take it as read that you hate everyone one who is not a right wing, flag waving, bomb loving patriot.

    You also seem have trouble making your mind up about things, one post you tell us that Great Britian is so insignificant that they are just the 51st state of the us, a colony,

    Then you tell us that you feel the war of independance is ongoing, i am guessing your level of vitriol aimed over the water is powered by your inferiority complex.

    But i guess your happy in your world, why not join up for the military and then your government will give you a gun and one day you might actually have the oppertunity to put your money where your mouth is and do some fighting on the ground.

    You will get to fire bullets at all those you hate, although i doubt they made enough bullets yet.

  • Comment number 80.

    MarcusAureliusII: "And Europeans wonder why Americans ignore them."

    Oh don't worry, I suspect very few Europeans lose any sleep over it!

    Even if what you say were true (that Amercans ignore Europeans), I'm sure a person prone to making similar generalisations as you could posit several reasons why that might be the case, none of which would reflect too well on 'Americans'.

    Personally, I prefer to take individual arguments on their own merit rather than remain at the easy but woefully over-simplistic level of only ever seeing issues in stark terms of 'them vs us'... as if the world were always to be viewed through the prism of tribes, of cowboys and indians, heroes and villains, Europeans and Americans...

    By all means recognize correlations and even make generalisations when you acknowledge them as such, but good arguments typically contain rather more than that, otherwise they barely rise above the level of kindergarten.

    The people taking part in the argument also have to be intellectually capable of grasping nuance, otherwise they're left with no option but to ignore the points and resort to simplistic tribal nonsense.

    Which brings us back to you. We can only speculate at the real reasons why you might have chosen to ignore the points in posts 73 and 74......

  • Comment number 81.

    I am guessing you hit complain button whenever you read something you don't like marcus.

    Which is also what you want to do with the nuclear button and iran.

    By a playstation if you are so button happy

  • Comment number 82.

    dotconnect, speculation as to the motives of posters is a fine art, beautifully enshrined in the world of Mike Reed and his eloquent dissection of netizenry at

    It is left to the reader to determine the appropriate definitions.

  • Comment number 83.

    I like it. ;)

    For a moment, I thought it was another Mike Read - even his self-portrait looks similar.

    (Which almost brings us back to the subject of Photoshop cloning... )

  • Comment number 84.

    Nice splice.

    It does kind of go to show just how easy it is to fake pictures.

    *hides her Poser/Photoshop collection*

    Glad you enjoyed the Flame Warriors :)

  • Comment number 85.

    Hank_Reardon #79

    I don't hate anyone. Don't confuse disdain for hatred. Think of the worst place in the world you can imagine. Say some backwards contemptable inhuman country like Sudan. Now imagine that Sudanese were constantly telling you why their nation was not only the equal of Britain but better. You'd regard them as a bunch of ignorant morons, right? Well that's how I see Britain and the rest of Europe. To me you are the equivalent of the Sudanese.

    Britain the 51st state? Not in your wildest dreams. NEVER! As for me joking that Britain was on a tight leash held by Americans, well you've only yourselves to blame. After all, it was Britain that labeled Tony Blair President Bush's poodle.

    I'm rather old for military service but I'd sign up....on the condition that my first assignment was to nuke Teheran....or London. Either one would do. Just kidding. I'd let London live. It's crueler that way.

    dotconnect #80

    "...none of which would reflect too well on Americans."

    Why should I care what you think of America? Most Europeans hate America about as much as they can already. I don't think I can make them hate America any more than they already do. But I see no harm in trying. Why do Europeans hate America? Because failure hates success. It is jealousy without limit. BTW, I am very prosperous and happy.

    Why did I ignore your postings #73 and #74 and not respond to you or moonwolf? Because those postings were inane.


    I have never hit the complaint button on a BBC blog site even once in my entire life. Why should I? If someone wants to make a complete ass of himself in public like so many who attack my postings and me personally do, why should I want the evidence of their foolishness removed? I'd be doing them a favor.

    Hank_Reardon #77

    "I'm confused."

    Finally something you said we can agree on.

  • Comment number 86.

    Oh marcus

    Dear dear

    I will start with your wild understanding of geopolitics. Stop thinking in terms of countries. If you you really believe that nation states still exist as beholders of any real power and influence you are further gone than i thought.

    You keep saying america this and america that, but who or what is this power that existas in america. Well we both know that in america money talks and he who controls the money controls america. So who controls the US economy, that will be the federal reserve, a private bank, a private bank owned by a consortium of london and european bankers.

    So yes blair is bush's poodle and bush is just the poodle to a bunch of chaps in pin stipped suits.

    I for one love americans, just as i love the people of tehran and sudan too. The americans I love are those who hear the words of the founding fathers and understand their meaning. The america you seem to love is the one run by the bankers of europe. (how ironic is that).

    You need to wake up and look at your own country Marcus. You are falling into fascism and letting the bankers steal your assets from underneath you. Its why they won't publish the M3 index, its why people are losing their homes and why banks are crashing. Your nation is being robbed and 'patriots' like you are willing the thieves on.

    I would like to think that one day the people of america will take their country back, and please understand Britian is much worse in terms of being fast asleep to the daily theft of our labours, but I would like to think america has hope.

    Then i am reminded for every Paul Rivera shouting the Bristish are coming their is one marcus shouting no they're not.

    My guess is your answer will be denail about the federal reserve and no reference to the M3 index.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hank Reardon, you were right, you really are confused.

    "Paul Rivera" Hahahahaha

    I think you crossed Paul Revere with Geraldo Rivera. Good one.

    So a lot of people who couldn't afford to buy a house got loans they shouldn't have and lived in them for awhile. Now they will have to move out and back into apartment houses. Eventually enough people who can will buy them and when they are gone, the builders will start building more of them again. In the meantime, the treasury will start to print money like crazy. If you think the dollar is weak now, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Not only will America no longer be able to buy European goods because they will cost too many dollars, they won't even be able to buy Chinese goods because they will be spending too much money buying gasoline and heating fuel. Now what do you suppose will happen when one fifth of the worlds consumer spending just shuts down? We've been through this before and worse and we survived that too. There's about 5 years of pain ahead for America. As for the rest of the world well you know what they say, when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches pneumonia. And I think you will find that it's still true.

    By the way, I think you should read the American Declaration of Independence. If I had to sum up what it said in two words it would be; "screw Britain." Judging from Justin Webb's blog site and his entry on alcoholism in Britain, it seems to be doing a pretty good job of it all by itself.

  • Comment number 88.

    So your still living the world of nation states then, you did say you were old i guess this not only your own age but also your mindset.

    Read the federal reserve act, it basically says ' we will just take your country from you' or read your bill of rights and start putting black lines through the amendments that have been decimated in the last few years.

    You seem very confident that America is just going to wade through the crashing of the ecomony. The last depression in the US saw 9 million die from starvation. But you deal with it how you wish, its your life, and its your country thats being destroyed.

    But maybe you are all for the amero and the NAU, who knows, your such a fascinating chap.

    Good luck to you, Marcus.

  • Comment number 89.


    I think many more will die of starvation in the next depression. This is especially true if the US is foolish enough to sign and try to implement a global warming treaty that mandates cutbacks of CO2 emissions as appears likely. This will put a big crimp on US agrabusiness output, the largest and most efficient producer, processor, and shipper of food in the world. In fact, hundreds of millions will starve to death. But they won't be in America. That will be in other parts of the world as food stores run out. You can see just from a small diversion of food crops to biofuels to cut back on US oil imports that the price of food around the world has risen very quickly. The increased price of oil has only made it worse. Now imagine if the cuts in food output in America were 10 times or 100 times as great. Growing, harvesting, processing, and shipping food consumes a lot of fossil fuel and produces a lot of CO2. It will be far easier for farmers to lay down their eqipment, sell their carbon tax credits to power companies, and take 9 to 5 office jobs. Much more total income with much less physical work. And as experienced businessmen, I think they will not have trouble finding work in our towns and cities.

  • Comment number 90.


    We agree here, the coming months/years are going to be biblical in terms of the devastation they are going to cause.

    It's why you blindly encourage the same people who are doing it that i find confusing.

    And you are still thinking that nation states and the treaties they sign are the problem.

    It the banks stupid, its the think-tanks, its the NGO's.

    But you seem to be happy that you will survive the oncoming tyranny in the US, so maybe you are holedup on a farm somewhere with enough food, fuel and medcines for the next 5 odd years.

  • Comment number 91.


    Calling me stupid is neither accurate nor persuasive. As disappointing in debate as you are, this only increases my disdain for your arguments. Even so, I'll say this.

    The only real risk to American democracy comes from a WMD attack, especially a nuclear attack on an American city. This will prove that in our free and open society, the government cannot fulfill its primary function to protect its citizens within its own borders. If that day ever comes, no life on earth anywhere will be safe from American actions in the aftermath. Meanwhile it is not at all unprecedented for Americans to temporarily relinquish some of their freedoms in times of war to protect the rest of them. Even Abraham Lincoln suspended habaes corpus during the Civil War.

    If you want a real example of tyranny, look at Britain's government. Its citizens voted to enter a trade agreement and that was the last word they had. Now what's left of their sovereignty will be sold out to the EU superstate without a national referendum, without a public debate, and perhaps without even a vote by Gordon Brown's rubber stamp Parliament. And the population is so accostomed to being cowed by tyranny it barely puts up a whimper. In the US there would be blood in the streets, poltician's blood.

    Well the banks have blundered again and the government has spent way beyond its means again. After the disasterous mistakes the Federal Reserve and the Treasury made in the 1930s, they learned their lesson for dealing with this kind of situation. Much as many would like to punish the banks for their recklessness, that was exactly the wrong thing to do. Look for massive inflation, that is printing of large sums of money which will result in higher interest rates and a much weaker dollar. This solution has always worked. There will be losers in this to be sure, and winners. To be among the winners, you have to know how the system works to take advantage of it. I've already taken those steps in my own personal finances.

    America will be able to produce enough food to feed itself and enough products of all kinds to survive. What happens to other countries I can't say but frankly I'm rather indifferent to a greedy, envious, and vengeful outside world. I think they will get exactly what they deserve.

    BTW, if you think Barack Obama as President of the United States would be sympathetic to Europe, you really don't know much about American politics. His political friends are organized labor and free trade is not in their interest. He would likely follow a policy of strong protectionism. He'd also probably wind up using America's military might far more frequently and forcefully than a lot of people would like or think he will. He's got Pakistan set in his gunsights already. Iran could come first.

  • Comment number 92.

    Sorry, I just had to check to make sure the DNS exploit hadn't started redirecting the BBC Editors blog to the Usenet archives.

  • Comment number 93.

    Marcus i am the point of giving up here

    May i quote your ownwords here

    Look for massive inflation, that is printing of large sums of money which will result in higher interest rates and a much weaker dollar.

    They stopped publishing the m3 index years ago. Your economy is being crashed on purpose.

    I know many will survive, many will die and you good ole boys might drop a few big ones on the way. the point is none of this needs to happen if we would wake up to the problem.

    I at no point would say Britain is any better off at least you have/had a bill of rights. the Us has it's share of dark days but then I am guessing in your world Ludlow never happened

    But the debate is mute because the time of the nation states are over, those days are gone in geopolitics, you will need to start thinking up new ways of classifying those you want to bomb.

    And why you think i would be a supporter of barak brezinski i do not know, he is as bad as McCain, Brown, Sarkozy, Berlisconi and the rest of them.

    As for blood on the streets, it is already seeping through and its not the politicians blood.

  • Comment number 94.

    That's kind of (one of) the problems with the UK, Hank.

    You have 42 days detention without charge being enabled, councils spying on citizens for what are essentially *civil* issues, power-hungry jobsworths out to make a quick quid without any recourse for their victims (clampers), the most number of cameras per citizen, a polarized nationalistic citizenry (which, I'll grant, the US is rapidly developing), a government that is elected but is not accountable to the electorate, being told where and when (and if) you can demonstrate, a state-sanctioned religion, the most "banning" legislation of any "democracy", the abolition of innocent until proven guilty, the abolition of double jeopardy ...

    A totalitarian democracy - what others refer to as a "nanny state". (contrary to Mercus' assertion previously, that *is* a valid governmental definition).

    If the same threats to liberty were attempted to be enabled in the US, the citizens rights to own firearms would serve the purpose the second amendment had in mind - the ability of the citizenry to overthrow a totalitarian government.

    Hence, "blood on the streets of politicians".

    You (UK citizenry) can rail against the demolition of your basic rights as citizens and human beings all you want - but really, you have zero practical recourse to rectify the injustices perpetrated against the citizenry by the government.

    In the US, even under GWB, the citizens can still push back - that's why any erosion of "rights" has to be done through the back door - and even with that back door opening wider every day, it's still nowhere near as restrictive and punitive as the society you're facing.

    You're rapidly approaching the form of society we fight to prevent.

  • Comment number 95.


    you are another who is still thinking in terms of nations and countries. Whilst i am the first to admit that the UK is a nanny state and that we are the perfect example of asleeping population I am amazed that you see the us as an example of a free society.

    Maybe the view from the outside looking in is distorted when it comes to the state of the US.

    All the poiints you make about the uk are just as relevant about the US.

    power-hungry jobsworths out to make a quick quid without any recourse for their victims (clampers) can just as easily be compared to the US police who seem to be above the law when it comes to breaking it themselves (Jimmy Justice makes this point well.
    the most number of cameras per citizen can be equalled by the new fisa bill or by the wiretapping of the citizenry or copying of harddrives at customs.
    a government that is elected but is not accountable to the electorate, well if you are telling me the us electoral system is a democracy we are in trouble GWB stole one election and was up aganst a frat brother in the next.
    being told where and when (and if) you can demonstrate, reminds me of the free speech zones you have in the US

    a state-sanctioned religion, well you only included one nation under god in the last few years

    the abolition of innocent until proven guilty, we followed you in the ending of habeas corpus, military tribunals anyone.

    your points about the uk are transferable to the states. I think your patriotism is blinding you.

    Now please dont attack me saying that the UK is worse, we are much worse. But the slide towards fascism is happening much faster over the pond. We might be ahead of you but you are accelarating at an alarming state.

    As i said to marcus, look at the bill of rights and start going through it with a black pen where the right is no longer there.

    Your second amendment right is under attack in a major way, i thhink it is in cinncinatti that they have started taking guns away from folks because they have been profiled as someone who might make a crime. That sounds like you a prosecuting thought crimes to me.

    you have blackwater troops conducting domestic operations, they are armed with the latest crowd control weapons, miniguns, heat ray guns etc etc. The people are armed with light arms at best.

    You will not win a shooting war against your govt.

    the blood on the strret s in the us at the moment is that of people like the 16 year old kid who was walking home and woke up in a hospital bed with a broken back and a foot nearly snapped off and having been tasered 17 times. The police say he was threatening them but wuill not release the cop car cam.

    Or the critical mass cyslist who was attacked buy the cop and after spending 26 hours in a cell now faces assault charges.

    As i said the blood is seeping through.

    Telling me the uK is worse doesn't justify or help the problem over at your end

  • Comment number 96.

    It's ironic that anyone would bring up Jimmy Justice* on a thread about altered imagery, Hank :P

    Telling everyone else their problems (at least as you perceive them) doesn't really make up for the fact the UK is in a far worse state than pretty much anywhere outside of certain african or eastern european nations.

    It decreases your effectiveness to point out the (perceived) problems of other countries when your own is going down the tubes faster than you can blink.

    If you can't fix your own country, you're really not in a position to criticize anyone else's.

    Especially when a lot of your perception appears to actually be based on little more than media soundbites (or, in the case of Jimmy Justice, YouTube infamy).

    Which, in its own roundabout way, brings it back on topic, with regards to the motivations any nation would have to release fabricated imagery to the world media.

    Telling people the US is on its way to becoming the mirror of the UK (a premise I disagree with) doesn't justify or help the problem over at *your* end.

    After all, the US didn't threaten to remove Alaska from the Union when it voted to allow marijuana unless it kept re-voting until the US got the answer it wanted - unlike the EU with regards to Eire :)

    The demise of nation states is only an issue with Europe - and it's not really a demise, just an attempt to create a huge superstate.

    *Jimmy Justice is the name of a YouTube regular/MSM "and on the lighter side of news" contributor, who runs around New York City with a camcorder videotaping various civilian employees of that city who he claims break parking laws, before berating them and posting the resultant video. I leave it to readers to decide if they agree with me he's the definition of "plonker" and/or a wannabe shock jock :P

  • Comment number 97.


    I know you see Jimmy Justice as a joke and thats your perogative, The point I was making was that the 'civillian employees' (can we not call the police the police) are being given a green light to ignore the law, this is one of the many signs of a totalitarian state.

    Making the upholders of laws immune to them is one of the many little tricks Hitler pulled in order to keep his Brownshirts happy.

    and to say he 'claims' they are breaking the law is disingenous, he tapes it so there is no claiming about it, a police car in front of a fire hydrant is a police car in front of a fire hydrant no matter how you look at it. It might be a small law but it is still the law.

    The demise of the nation state is just as relevant to you in the US, or did i just make up the Amero and NAU.

    You may not see the presence of Blackwater troops on the streets as a sign of your Country seeping towards fascism again thats for you to decide, you may think the legalisation of the sexual torture of children is not a lowpoint in US history (PDD51 if you look it up) again this is your understanding of the values of your country.

    I am just an outsider looking in

    I have no interset in trying to fix my own country, hence why I don't defend it, I am leaving the UK things are so bad here.

    My point is I don't defend it, it's indefensible.

    For the n'th time i am not claiming The Uk to be better than any other country, infact the US is much better. by definition you are/were the only truly free people on this earth because you have/had a bill of rights.

    Do i need to say this again.

    I am not defending the UK, its past the point of no return. This I know

    I just find it sad to see the one true home of freedom lose it after 200 years.

    I know you don't believe their is anything wrong with the US.
    For all I know America is becoming the country you want it to be.

    As a final view i know you are very pro military, what do you think about dick cheyney sounding out plans to have marines mocked up as Iranian gun boats and attack US ships in order to provoke a war.

    Is that the America you are so proud of.

    Like Marcus, I am guessing things like Ludlow never happened in your America.

    Please dont reply with 'its better than the UK', once again , I know.

  • Comment number 98.

    That's one of my "issues" with Jimmy Justice - they're not "real" police he catches.

    They're traffic wardens, sanitation enforcement, transit authority enforcement - all *civilian* employees, not sworn officers.

    It's a misrepresentation to call them "police", they work *for* the city, in NYPD, Port Authority, what have you.

    Hence my remark that it's ironic that you'd mention him in a thread regarding doctored images - his web videos are misleading and misrepresenting too.

    I know the video you're talking about - that wasn't a sworn officer, even if the side of the car had "NYPD" plastered all over it. Look at the light bar on top of the car, and the traffic warden's belt kit - she's not police, she's a civilian employee of Traffic Enforcement.

    Think traffic warden with a poseur car :P

    There are "issues" with the US, I'll readily agree. It's long been a facet of American government that the President is never his "own man", and Cheney has definitely taken the office of Veep and turned it into something worrisome.

    But, you notice the Supreme Court, even with two Bush appointees to it, is not giving the government a blank cheque - and even when it agrees, almost all of its decisions have been stated to be narrow in application.

    So the checks and balances are still there - unlike the UK where even if 42 days detention fails in the House of Lords, the government can turn around and invoke the Parliament Act to enable it regardless.

    US citizens are going through unknown wiretapping - but the UK has Phorm, a private company that will be able to monitor everything you do online from a *commercial* standpoint, whose records can then be subpoenaed by the government, bypassing the restrictions on RIPA.

    This potential is the subject of Congressional inquiry in the US, whereas the ICO in the UK shrugged and said "So?".

    So yes, I have faith in the system, because I keep in mind that this system was designed to prevent the very thing you're warning about.

    As for Cheney's plan? No way Marines would agree to it. If it *did* happen, it would have to be Illegals (from the intel sense not the immigration sense) or Ghosts, because no Marine would engage their own - even squids.

    Yes, I'm pro-military, though anti-pointless conflict. Most of us who were in the Gulf in '91 knew why we didn't invade Iraq then, warned that the same reasons from back then would be extant in 2003, and our fears were proven correct - almost every scenario we thought of that made it A Very Bad Idea™ has come about, including the resistance forces.

    We swear an oath to defend the citizenry of our country, as part of a volunteer force. To paraphrase Winston Churchill (and others), You sleep soundly in your beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do you harm.

    We *have* to trust the government's decision as to what constitutes a threat.

    But that's politicians for you, they never listen to the people they send in harm's way.

    Does that mean they get it right? No. But then it's up to the citizenry to correct the politicians - not for the military to decide what it will or won't do.

    As much as the citizenry condemns the military for obeying orders, because we have to do something most of you find psychologically abhorrent - killing people for a living - we condemn the citizenry for its cowardice in not doing something about the government if it's "so bad".

    It's the responsibility of citizens to keep politicians in line and prevent the abusive deployment of the military.

    If the military starts making that kind of decision for itself, you end up with Burma or Pakistan, a military dictatorship.

    Hence asking you and others on a previous thread why you're not standing beside Brian Haw.

    As for Blackwater playing in the US, I think you've been reading another conspiracy theory site.

    With the side note that the government has said all along that it doesn't fly "black helicopters".

    Apparently, the government says they're really dark green :P

  • Comment number 99.

    Blackwater have been operating domestically in the US in conjunction with the DEA. And they were contracted by FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    Thats mainstream news, moonwolf. Unless CNN, FOX and MSNBC are now conspiracy sites.

    And those will be the same marines who wont have agreed to the gulf of Tonkin Incident are they.

    You quote Churchill well

    You sleep soundly in your beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do you harm.

    And when another country wants to me harm I|will join the Military, Not because some rich people want more Oil and money and will happily see others die in the pursuit of it.

    You quote our Mr. Churchill, I'll raise you with your Foreign Policy Guru of the last 50 years, Ole Henry Kissinger who described The men of the US forces as "dumb, stupid animals to be used"

    Is the 42 day detention law really worse than rendition and the sexual torture of children. Maybe in your world.

    I am not standing next to MR. Haws because his is a protest. I have told you I have no interest in protesting. Really bad idea to lead a protest. How many of the signators of the declaration of independance were killed within the year, 22 of 24 or something.

    I was using Jimmy Justice as an example. But if you persist in denying the lawlessness of officials can you explain why Karl Rove is being allowed to refuse a congressional inditement.

    You should be outraged, He outed one of your defenders of the country to the enemy. But is above the law aparently, Immune from prosecution.


  • Comment number 100.

    And a point of fact

    the oath marines swear is

    I (state your name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God

    Interestingly article 6 of the code of conduct is

    I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free
    I will trust in my God and in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    from my understanding a real marine would be appauled even at the suggestion that

    "it would have to be Illegals (from the intel sense not the immigration sense) or Ghosts, because no Marine would engage their own - even squids."

    that was where you tried to justify flase flag attacks earlier.


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