Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Axis three are one
Yesterday Bradblog demonstrated that CNN's website was using the same photo of some kind of compound in stories about two different nuclear programs in both Iran and North Korea. Atrios asked if this was proof that Iran and North Korea were one and the same country. According to the Institute for Science and International Security, the photos are of the gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility near Natanz, Iran.

Today, Bradblog has pictures discovered by EarlG (see comment 63 "Important Update"), an administrator over at Democratic Underground, of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty using a photo of the same facility in a story about the North Korean program last March. The filename of the photo used in the RFE/RL story is "Iraq-nuclear.jpg." Bradblog has all of the pictures nicely lined up for comparison here. Although funded by the US government, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is normally a highly dependable source of news for areas of the world that are not well covered by other American new media.

If the CNN gaffe was the whole story, it would be easy to believe that it was an honest mistake. But the RFE/RL angle is particularly disturbing. For one thing, they printed a different picture that the one CNN is using, so this is not a case of one mislabled picture circulating through news circles. Secondly, the RFE/RL is mislabled as yet a third country. All three countries are members of the "Axis of Evil" targeted by the administration as the sources of most of the evil in the modern world.

So what is going on here? At this point, I don't think it's conspiratorial to say it looks like they are all being fed information by the same source. Bradblog has communicated with both CNN and RFE/RL and requested that information (RFE/RL is run out of Prague, so it may take some time for him to get a response). At this point, I'd say the safe money will bet on the executive branch of the US government. At least, that's where I'm putting my money.

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