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Guest Thinkers

Speculation to Fact

Major newspapers employ individuals who fact check their articles, including the opinion pieces of columnists, yes? Someone please enlighten me if this is not the case. I have written a few op-eds, some of which have even been published in newspapers and I always had to provide some documentation for the facts I had in the op-ed.

So I was more than a little surprised to read this paragraph in a column by David Aaronovitch in the Times Online: Three weeks ago two former inmates turned up as senior al-Qaeda figures in Yemen, one of whom had subsequently been involved in bombing a US embassy.

It has never been proven that either al-Shihri or al-‘Awfi the two individuals that are being referenced had anything to do with the embassy bombing. There has been speculation on the part of anonymous security officials, who didn’t seem to know anything about either of them until they turned up in a video on jihadi websites, but no one has presented any definite proof. I am pretty convinced myself that the two had nothing to do with the attack.

There is already enough fiction being confused for fact when it comes to reporting on al-Qaeda and other like-minded groups that it only confuses the affair that much more when there is a deliberate or, at best, careless eliding of the two.


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