Monday, April 09, 2007

Micro-ReutersGate in Diwaniyah

The trouble in Diwaniyah has finally come to a head, with forces being diverted from elsewhere to clean the militias out. But more about that elsewhere.

Reuters has bungled a photo caption, in itself a quite trivial event, but IMHO illustrative of Reuters poor quality. Reuters stringers are apparently covering the operation, and Reuters shows this picture and captions it "A soldier from Bolivia patrols a street in Diwaniya".

A soldier from Bolivia patrols a street in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, April 7, 2007. U.S. forces launched an air strike in Diwaniya on Saturday as U.S. and Iraqi troops seeking to return the volatile Iraqi city to government control fought sporadic gun battles with Shi'ite militiamen.
Reuters problems with suspect stringers and negligent basic fact checking has been noted previously ("Reutergate"). Here is another example, though this may be news to Reuters :

- there are no Bolivian soldiers in Diwaniyah, mainly because
- there are no Bolivian soldiers in Iraq, mainly because
- Bolivia is not currently taking part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, mainly because
- Bolivia has never taken part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

There are soldiers from El Salvador in Diwaniyah, part of MND(CS). Bolivia, Costa Rica whatever, I mean what's the difference, right? Course, some of us instincitively realize that the pseudo-narcostate pseudo-marxist Morales lead Bolivia is entirely unlikely to deploy to Iraq, but Reuters highly paid editors obviously needed to do some googling. Unless they think that a Bolivian born soldier serving in (for example) the US army, justifies a tagline like that. But the soldier is 100% most assuredly not from Bolivia in any way.

The soldier is Latvian, although Latvian participation in the Coalition of the Willing may also be news to Reuters. That a pale north european looking guy is patrolling in Diwaniyah may have been a clue, but the key diagnostic features are the unique Latvian large pixelled digitial desert camoflague and the custom H&K G36 (Compare the Reuters foto with these at Lv MoD).

Good morning Reuters. Try buying a clue.

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