Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Ministry of Truth

The Obsidian Order is applying the commonsense test to photos taken by Ali Jasim of Reuters, Ali Al-Saadi of AFP and Khalid Mohammed of AP purporting to show a car exploding in front of a high school scheduled to be a voting center. These provide powerful visual proof of how 'insurgents' are winning in Iraq. The Obsidian Order observes that for openers, the car in the photos is not experiencing any kind of high-order explosion; it is simply burning. (Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds)

What do you see? A car on fire, apparently not close to anything flammable. We are told this is in front of a school, but we do not see the school. The fire looks like petrol, probably in cans in the back of the vehicle, set off with an incendiary WP shell (White Phosphorus - the white smoke and sparks). ... The key and blindingly obvious point: there are at least three photojournalists from different outfits there exactly at the time it goes off! Interpretation: ... this was staged

Staged? Staged? The Obsidian Order forgets that coincidences of this type are normal in Iraq. An AP photographer also happened to be around when Iraqi election workers were murdered on Haifa street. Some French journalists just happened to be present when 'insurgents' attempted to shoot down a DHL cargo plane. So why shouldn't three wire service photographers happen to stroll by when a car 'explodes' in front of an obscure high school building in Baghdad? But Chester is not to be persuaded that everything is on the up-and-up. He observes that the three wire service accounts differ from that provided by the Iraqi police.

One of the comments on the site says:

Fox news had the sequence on the TV tonight. FNC said the Iraq police had shot up the car and stopped it -- the car caught fire -- then apparently a bomb inside went off. When the camera pulled back, the police with their guns raised were in the near filed framing -- as if they had been shooting at the car.

So I am not sure what your point is. Looked to me like the Iraqi police got their man before he could reach the school. FNC said a school was the target, not that it was hit by the explosion.

Ah ha! There we have it! The reason the pictures look funny is because the Iraqi security forces killed the attacker before he could properly position his vehicle and the vehicle then sympathetically detonated. But wait! This is good news right? Iraqi security forces disrupted an attack. Then why does the Reuters caption under each photo read thus:

An Iraqi boy runs past a car just as it explodes in front of al-Nahdha High School which was scheduled to be used as a voting centre in Baghdad, January 28, 2005. Hours earlier in the same area in southern Baghdad, a car bomb exploded next to a police station, killing four Iraqi civilians, police said. REUTERS/Ali Jasim

Not only does Reuters refuse to acknowledge the success of Iraqi security forces in every single caption, but they instead mention a completely different bombing that was successful in killing innocents.

So what? The wire services have reported it and it must be true. The last posts have coincidentally dealt with Orwell's description of how totalitarianisms manufacture a media-generated alternative reality to suit their ends. In 1984 real events are never reported by the Ministry of Truth; false events are manufactured out of whole cloth. The Party knows that "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past". Thankfully, these falsifications happen only in fiction. The car really exploded as three photojournalists were strolling by, even though the pictures show it is just burning. Honest it did.