Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The standard trick, again has a good analysis of the standard intelligence technique, used this time by Israel to spread the preposterous story that the attack on Syria was an American nuclear attack.  The story flew around the blogs, but it was so silly I didn’t even bother to mention it.  The Israelis arranged for an anonymous source to launder the story by passing it first to Al Jazeera, which reported it, carefully noting the sources.  The Jerusalem Post then picked up the story, citing Al Jazeera (thus providing credibility as it came from an Arab source), but, of course, deliberately confusing the identity of Al Jazeera’s sources.  A nice summary of the standard trick:

“The aim of this post is to show how Israelis create their own stories in media, convincingly attribute them to other sources around the world and later distribute the as ‘news’ items when they really are nothing but 100% Israeli inventions designed to manipulate the political arena and public opinion. In short, Israel creates the news and the political circumstances that are needed in order to carry out its objectives. Israel invented without a shred of evidence the story of Syria’s nuclear facility and the USAF’s collaboration and attributed the ‘news’ to one of the world’s most important sources of news, namely Al Jazeera. Of course the Israelis failed to say that Al Jazeera was also quoting Israeli sources . . the very same ones who probably invented the story.”

Note how this works.  Al Jazeera was extremely careful in describing its sources.  The Israeli source, an Israeli businessman who requested anonymity (of course), provided the information that the attack was American and nuclear, and was on a Syrian nuclear site.  A separate Palestinian source, relying on a Syrian source, simply stated that the attack involved six planes, and expressed no opinion on the nature of the Syrian site.  The Jerusalem Post cleverly conflated the sources, making it appear that the Arab source backed up the American and nuclear parts of the attack, and that the Syrian site was a nuclear site.

It is too bad that we now have to read newspaper reports as carefully as we read contracts, and assume we are being lied to, but the level of deception is so high that we cannot afford to take anything at face value.  At least the amount of effort used by the Israelis in spreading these tall tales tells us that Israel is still extremely nervous about what it tried to do in Syria.