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Engineering Consent For An Attack On Syria
Truth behind BBC’s vicious tactic

By Press TV

May 29, 2012 -- Britain’s state-run broadcast BBC has been heavily criticized for using a fake photo of Iraqi dead children in order to sell a new NATO-led invasion, this time targeting Syria.

On May, 2012, the BBC published a photo showing several rows of dead Iraqi children to illustrate a recent massacre in the Syrian city of Houla.

As the BBC came under fire for trying to sell a NATO-led attack on Syria, a BBC spokesman has shirked responsibility for checking the authenticity of the image saying the image had been used “with a clear disclaimer.”

“We used it with a clear disclaimer saying it could not be independently verified”, said the spokesperson.

“Somebody is using my images as a propaganda against the Syrian government to prove the massacre”, said Getty Images photographer Marco Di Lauro whose photo was used by the BBC.

Independent media outlets have criticized the British media for turning into “a rolling propaganda mouthpiece for the claims of dubious anonymous ‘activists’”, as described by American journalist Alex Jones’ website prisonplanet.com.

Earlier in February, British newspaper The Independent also reported that “President Assad’s security forces have indiscriminately killed scores of newborn babies in Homs.”

However, documented evidence showed the source of the reports was a London-based organization calling itself ‘Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’.

Prisonplanet.com has accused the British media of trying “to sell a NATO-led attack on Syria” while analysts say the statement “it could not be independently verified” has turned into a trademark of media coverage of the events in Syria.

Oops, BBC: Iraq photo to illustrate Houla massacre?


May 29, 2012 - With the shock of the Houla tragedy ringing across the world, the BBC has released a story with a harrowing picture of rows and rows of children's bodies awaiting burial… But isn’t that post-Saddam Iraq?


Photographer Marco di Lauro who took the shot grabbed by the BBC says he nearly “fell off his chair” after finding the picture on the network’s website with a caption reading: “Photo from Activist. This image – which cannot be independently verified – is believed to show bodies of children in Houla awaiting funeral.

The picture was actually taken on March 27, 2003; it depicts an Iraqi boy jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad. The image, which is published on Marco di Lauro’s website, is part of his story Iraq, the Aftermath of Saddam.

Marco di Lauro takes photographs for Getty Images picture agency, his works have been published across Europe and the US. But the indication that the BBC picked his image from the internet, not from official stock worries him somewhat.

What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn't check the sources and it's willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That's all,” the photographer told The Daily Telegraph.

Someone is using someone else’s picture for propaganda on purpose,” he added.

A BBC spokesman says the picture, illustrating Sunday night’s story "Syria Massacre in Houla Condemned as Outrage Grows," was taken down “immediately” when the source was identified.

We were aware of this image being widely circulated on the internet in the early hours of this morning following the most recent atrocities in Syria. We used it with a clear disclaimer saying it could not be independently verified,” he added.

These words about information “which cannot be independently verified” have become a trademark of media coverage of the 14-month conflict in Syria. Before UN special envoy Kofi Annan brought his peace plan to the troubled Arab country, the Syrian government had remained reluctant to open borders to most international journalists.

But even now the bulk of information comes from people calling themselves opposition activists – via amateur videos uploaded to YouTube or eyewitness reports.

But sometimes it looks that the mantra “cannot be independently verified” serves as a disclaimer to publish information which wouldn’t stand a chance of ever being verified.


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