Friday, 16 March 2012


Part I of the Guardian's slip into Hoaxdom! But did anyone complain last we heard? No! Will anyone complain when the Guardian stumbles on its own recent vomit? No!

"February 19, 2011: MacMaster posts the first item on the blog, pretending to be Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari. The first posts introduce the author as a lesbian of American and Syrian parents, born in the US and now living in Damascus.

February to April, 2011: MacMaster gives sporadic updates ....
May 7, 2011: Western media start to take notice of the blog. In Britain, The Guardian leads the coverage, reporting: “She is perhaps an unlikely hero of revolt in a conservative country..... The story is accompanied by a photograph purporting to be of Amina. In reality, the image is of Jelena Lecic, a Londoner, and has been lifted off Facebook.

May 2011: As the blog gathers pace and followers, The Guardian arranges a sit down interview with Amina at a café in Damascus but she fails to show up, ....

June 6, 2011: MacMaster posts message on the blog claiming to be from Amina’s cousin, warning that she has been kidnapped ...

June 7, 2011: The Guardian reports that the blogger “whose frank and witty thoughts on Syria's uprising, politics and being a lesbian in the country shot her to prominence” has gone missing. Another photo of Lecic accompanies the piece, again claiming to be of Amina. The same day, The Guardian receives calls from Lecic, and on of her friends, complaining that the photo is not of Amina but of herself. Lecic also calls the Press Complaints Commission, who persuade The Guardian to remove the photograph from its website. However, the newspaper replaces the image with the earlier photo of Lecic, believing this one to be genuine. By now, the photos of Lecic are all over the internet and numerous media organisations are reporting Amina’s “abduction”.

June 8, 2011: The Guardian removes all photos of Lecic from its website and reports for the first time that there are suggestions the blog is a hoax. US embassy officials raise concerns about the authenticity of the blog, claiming that they cannot verify any of the details contained in it – not even that Arraf is a US citizen.

June 9. 2011: News organisations around the world report that doubts hang over the reliability of the blog, fuelled by public claims by Lecic on the BBC’s Newsnight programme that the photos purporting to be of Amina are in fact of her. Lecic claims she has been placed in danger by being associated with a homosexual in Syria. The Guardian too begins to cast doubt over its own story.

June 10, 2011: The Guardian publishes a 1,000-word story exploring the ramifications of the blog, should it turn out to be a hoax. Other media, including The Telegraph, run stories questioning whether Amina exists at all. Speculation mounts that the author is actually a student at the University of Edinburgh after emails from Amina are traced back to the Scottish capital and an commentators point out that she hinted in an interview that she wanted to study there.

June 12, 2011: MacMaster posts an “apology to readers” on the blog, ................... The Guardian runs an apology to Miss Lecic, a full account explaining how it was duped by the blog and a page three story revealing that the blog was a hoax...."
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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