Egypt Lies I Read on Twitter: Debunking Rumors and Misinformation on the #Jan25 Uprising

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51 Responses to “Egypt Lies I Read on Twitter: Debunking Rumors and Misinformation on the #Jan25 Uprising”

  1. travtastic says:

    Until I see video of this man writing that sign and swearing under oath that he believes it, it’s totally possible that he was just positioned there for a cool photo.

    • EndGame2012 says:

      In regards to your comment about the possibility of this photo being staged. First, how could you even begin to think that a reporter and a civilian would be interested or have the time to stage a photo of a sign that is liken to pretty much every other sign out there?

      Second, this man was shown walking around with this sign on http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

  2. Jack says:

    This seems like a good start at getting to the bottom of the museum looting rumors:

    First, regarding the looters at the National Museum:

    Those were the guardians of the museum, our own people. Some have apparently by the police before their coats pulled out not to be recognizable as policemen. A second group of offenders is then entered from the back of a fire escape through the skylight. The destruction gave it all on the first floor, where there is also the treasure of Tutankhamun.

    And why does she believe the guards, who protect some of the most valuable objects in our global heritage, did it?

    El-Saddik: They are paid very poorly. I wrote the fingers crooked and asking for more money for these people. All for free. A security guard earns about 250 Egyptian pounds, or 35 € a month. We have about 160 security guards plus several dozen police officers who are basically conscripts in police uniforms. These policemen earn even less./blockquote>

    • EndGame2012 says:

      MY GOD MAN! How stupid can one person be. Besides everything the other people said about this being a well known and often used tactic, there are also reports from people on the ground in Egypt coming in all over the web saying this is happening. What counts as proof to you? And what is hearsay to you? Dozens of people reporting that the police are doing this is not hearsay. You need to get yourself caught up with the information my friend. So far I have heard from at least a dozen different sources that men identified as police are looting and burning, and I have been personally tweeted reports of the same from even more people.

      In reply to your theory that citizens are picking up ID’s from police and using them; THEY HAVE PHOTOS YOU DIP! You saying that people are stealing police identification, going home to take pictures of them self and photoshop their own faces onto the ID’s? Come on now…

      It is a FACT that the police where ordered to disban from the streets, remove uniforms, leave their guard posts at the prisons, harass civilians, burn and loot civilian buildings, and to attack the pyramids. I know this is a FACT because unlike you I’m not a hyper skeptical moron.

      Lay off the kool aid kid.

      • Jack says:

        How stupid can one person be.

        Let’s see! Welcome to BoingBoing! “EndGame2012″ seems to have started posting on Boing Boing right this very moment. First comment! Right after “travtastic” seemingly disappeared when I posted links to valid reportage on the museum looting.

        Onto the supposed “stupid”:

        In reply to your theory that citizens are picking up ID’s from police and using them; THEY HAVE PHOTOS YOU DIP! You saying that people are stealing police identification, going home to take pictures of them self and photoshop their own faces onto the ID’s? Come on now…

        I never said that “citizens are picking up ID’s from police and using them.” I never even implied it. And please do not call me “YOU DIP” when you cannot even read my posts or even understand the concept of reporting that verifies claims and provides evidence to backup those claims.

        For example, did you see my post where I provided a link to an article that interviews the former Egyptian Museum director and she provides more evidence than gossiping Interweb tweets? Here it is!

        The title of this post is:
        Egypt Lies I Read on Twitter: Debunking Rumors and Misinformation on the #Jan25 Uprising

        The last line of this post is:
        Have you seen other lies, untruths, misconceptions? Please share in the comments.

        Okay, how about you provide the links to verifiable outside sources that can backup your claims that the looting stems from “agents” hellbent on undermining a revolt?

        Lay off the kool aid kid.

        ??? I love this thread. A wonderful example of the insanity one faces when one asks that claims be substantiated with facts to dispel rumors and gossip.

        • EndGame2012 says:

          I quote
          “So you are now telling me all these people who say “IDs” of “counter agents” could not have grabbed one of these “IDs” or at least take a photo?”

          Seems like a solid implication to me. You once again ask another reader to re-read your posts, yet you seem to have forgotten them yourself…

          As for proof, there is plenty of reports, it’s only a matter of if you want to be skeptical about them. Bottom line is where there is smoke, there is fire. When your in check, you sacrifice a lesser pawn. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is exactly what any dictator would do when put in his position.

          Here is one report that was written only 30 minutes ago (or so).
          http://www.twitlonger.com/show/8fflmc

          You can also listen to audio reports of similar accounts on the Aljazeera website here:
          http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

          As far as tweets from the ground, they are no more or less valid than ANY other reports coming in about ANYTHING. At this point your left with using your brain to put two and two together. If you have been following this event closely you should have had enough information to make that calculation easily.

          To admin: I’m sorry I did not actually read your commenting policy before posting, I doubt many do because most rules are the same everywhere. I had no idea you had such strict rules on what can and cannot be said. There are many times I feel people who constantly post the same dribble need to be put in place with some harsh words.

          By the way I have no idea how my being a new user on this website has any bearing on this topic. Nice try though.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        EndGame,

        Read the Comment Policy, then adhere to it.

      • Jack says:

        To try to add some sanity here, this is what I saidin comment #18:

        So you are now telling me all these people who say “IDs” of “counter agents” could not have grabbed one of these “IDs” or at least take a photo?

        I can not almost understand how someone in a blind-rage might read that and think that someone photoshopped their face into an ID. But if you please re-read it you might understand I never said that.

        Let me make it clearer.

        ALL of these reports claim that people have seen police officers WITH their IDs looting. Seems crazy. One second they ditch their uniforms and yet they not only keep their IDs but display it prominently enough that gossip-hounds can see it.

        So let me reword my skepticism:
        If all of these people saw police officers, can ID them, even SAW their IDs, then why isn’t there at least ONE photo of these supposed rogue agents—a photo of the whole person, with said ID—on the Interwebs?

        You’re telling me dozens of people have seen this? And not one of them shot cellphone video or took a picture of the police officers to show the world that Egyptian police were behind the looting? You are telling me hundreds of people are physically guarding the museums and not one of them could have taken a picture of a looter?

        That is what I meant.

        And if you still don’t understand, I am sorry for your lack of comprehension in the midst of your blind rage. I’d sugge

        • EndGame2012 says:

          *sigh* Wake up man seriously, wake up.

          Taking your route… I want solid proof that ALL reports claim to have seen ID’s. That was never stated and isn’t true. Not all of them claim to have seen ID’s.

          Why would they keep their IDs? Because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to tell each other apart from citizens if separated… duh.

          Why arn’t their any pictures? I’m sure there are plenty which will hit the web once they get the internet back. It is extremely difficult for them to get any information or video out right now, and I doubt people are running around with cameras just happening to be in a spot to take a picture of these ID’s.

          Your asking things like this is some kind of organized game they are playing over there.

          For YOU to talk about incomprehension is hilarious. Maybe you should start paying attention to what’s going on instead of demanding people read your posts a million times until they agree with you.

          • Jack says:

            Welcome to BoingBoing! The title of this thread is:
            Egypt Lies I Read on Twitter: Debunking Rumors and Misinformation on the #Jan25 Uprising

            I am not asking that trolls agree with me. Nobody is. But I am posting again because it’s fairly breathlessly astonishing to me that you (1) read what I wrote and 100% completely misinterpreted it and (2) you miss the whole point of the original post which clearly states:
            Have you seen other lies, untruths, misconceptions? Please share in the comments.

            The point of this post is not to prove any one person right or wrong but to prove facts instead of spreading rumors. Provide facts and dispel rumors with such facts so the truth can be presented and justice can be served.

            And in that case, can you please read my comment #36 where I explain how I 100% never implied that some elaborate Photoshopping of IDs has happened?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I recall setting my location Tehran in my facebook account in 2009 when I was in Nepal. I did that in response to a facebook group that called me to stand for human rights and democracy in Iran. This time around, I guess, similar is happening with Egypt. Despite the power, social media are not and will not be the credible source of information.

  4. Kevin Kenny says:

    That Fox News graphic kind of shows them caught between Iraq and a hard place.

  5. jaytkay says:

    And then of course, there’s this hit piece, with hundreds of retweets

    Mis-labeling Iraq as Egypt is a “hit piece”? Why?

    • Courtney says:

      I’m pretty sure “hit piece” is referring to the popularity of retweeting it. Kind of like how American Idol is a “hit show” even though it sucks.

  6. Jack says:

    There are many times I feel people who constantly post the same dribble need to be put in place with some harsh words.

    By the way I have no idea how my being a new user on this website has any bearing on this topic. Nice try though.

    You come out of nowhere, post for the first time, instantly launch into personal attacks on others, and in this response you have not even read what I said previously. I already explained what I wrote and how someone in a blind rage might misinterpret.

    But I will also say the links you provide above prove 100% of nothing, so the whole concept of this thread is seemingly beyond your grasp and you don’t understand and can only say “Bottom line is where there is smoke, there is fire.” Who is the “Mariam Hussien” and what does that long Tweet mean? It’s simple an op-ed piece from someone in the midst of a crisis but no facts linked. Not even touching on the museum looting.

    Do I deny there is trouble in Egypt? Hell no! Major trouble. A revolution is happening. No denying.

    Is this thread posted to “debunk rumors” and you are ignoring that? 100% yes. And it seems the concept of what rumors/gossip are in comparison to facts/evidence is completely lost on some.

    So please: If someone has a picture or has a link to a MAJOR NEWS SOURCE that connects the police or Egyptian government to the looters, please help “debunk the rumors and misinformation” and provide facts to clear the air.

  7. Jack says:

    Since some choose to have ignored it before, here is a link to a art news blog with reporters in Egypt sending regular updates with an art/museum focus:
    http://hyperallergic.com/17896/egyptian-museum-looted-by-own-guards-memphis-looted/

  8. andygates says:

    Of course the lack of photos gettin’ out might be something to do with the massive freaking internet block. Just a suggestion.

    • Jack says:

      Perhaps, but if there are photos, videos, audio, documents, etc that are true smoking guns, don’t you think someone would take them to on-the-ground reporters and they would instantly become a “scoop” and thus the lack of an Internet connection directly is compensated by the weight of the material and the desire for a news outlet to have an exclusive?

      Nah. That never happens.

  9. travtastic says:

    I’m all for giving and receiving solid information, but I’m also not terribly concerned about giving the benefit of the doubt to people shooting civilians in the street.

    When it comes down to it, ordering the cops to loot and whatnot is a classic false flag tactic, and I would be extremely surprised if it wasn’t true.

    • Jack says:

      When it comes down to it, ordering the cops to loot and whatnot is a classic false flag tactic, and I would be extremely surprised if it wasn’t true.

      I hear in yet another cut of the first Star Wars film, it’s revealed that “agents provocateur” actually allowed the rebels to destroy the Death Star so as to show the Rebels to be dangerous terrorists.

      This was all a power-grab on the part of Darth Vader who in Empire Strikes Back was hoping to get his son and join him and destroy the Emperor. First Vader kills off Grand Moff Tarkin, and then the Emperor. Clear proof that the Empire was in on it from the beginning!

      I mean, who would design a vent on a battle station that requires one missile to destroy it? REALLY THINK! IT WAS ALL A SETUP FOR VADER TO GAIN CONTROL OF THE EMPIRE.

      PS: Vader flies away at the end of the first Star Wars film while his wingmen all die. WHY!!!! Clearly a conspiracy!

      Wake up citizens of the Republic!

      • travtastic says:

        Ha, I get it!

      • travtastic says:

        I know, I know, you’re trying to be witty. In reality though, you’re just some snide dude who doesn’t understand that people in power will work through any means necessary to keep it.

        Oh hey, did you know 9/11 was caused by Chinese Space Lasers?!? I believe that, because I’m your conception of some sniveling, paranoid conspiracy hound.

        But I know, Occam’s Razor. Anyone who would kill dozens, if not hundreds of people, would never stoop so low as to break some shit and scare people.

        • Jack says:

          Maybe you should actually read what I wrote. The only reports of the Egyptian Museum being looted by “agents” are coming from pure hearsay, gossip and not much else without one ounce of proof.

          You also miss the point that in less than 5 days, a popular revolt began and is nearing an end with a complete shift in government being imminent. If suddenly Mubarak starts to truly act out on his own citizens it would be shocking and counter to all we are seeing now. He seems to only have the police on his side as far as thuggery goes. The military is very clearly on the side of stability and the citizens and has done nothing to act against them.

          So this is really all paranoia. Asking for facts is not unreasonable and rational.

          • Church says:

            The only reports of the Egyptian Museum being looted by “agents” are coming from pure hearsay, gossip and not much else without one ounce of proof.

            Well, there’s not an ounce of proof either way, so that’s a push.

            Is there actual looting? From what I’ve heard so far the ‘looters’ were more intent on destroying mummies than stealing.

          • Jack says:

            Well, there’s not an ounce of proof either way, so that’s a push.

            Let me try again. Revolt starts on the 25th. It’s now the 30th. And the end is in sight with a truly radical change in government in the works. The revolt has a tremendous popular support across all ages and economic groups. Even religion is not a factor: Everyone except the police are on the side of the people. Also, since the police are reviled, their weapons have been stolen and being used by the people to police neighborhoods that have no police presence to protect them.

            So you are now telling me all these people who say “IDs” of “counter agents” could not have grabbed one of these “IDs” or at least take a photo?

            Like I said, if it’s proven when the dust settles that the “looters” were “agents”, fine. But at this rate I don’t see it based on the points above.

          • travtastic says:

            I really don’t get where you’re coming from here. This is an ongoing event, and it’s all gone down in a matter days. This isn’t an episode of CSI, use your judgment. Do you think it’s likely that a dictator would do such a thing? Do you honestly think it doesn’t happen in other places?

          • Jack says:

            Please reread everything I wrote. I have not discounted the concept, but I do believe the level of signal-to-noise on this specific case is a tad off balance given how quickly other bits of information would be revealed.

            I mean, unlike Iraq, the citizens are protecting the Egyptian Museum so there is a clear pride and passion and people who are proud and passionate and ready to punish anyone who would damage their history. So given this heightened level of awareness what do we have to support the “agent” side of things? Gossip, rumors and not one ounce of anything else.

          • travtastic says:

            Oh hey there. I can assure you that we all have the ability to read and comprehend all of your comments. So you can stop beginning every one of them with a plea to read them all over again.

          • travtastic says:

            Oh no, heavens no. You haven’t discounted the concept. You just alluded to the fact that I’m a conspiracy nut because I said “I would be extremely surprised if it wasn’t true“.

            I’m sorry, I only read each one of your comments four times. It’s been a busy night.

          • Anonymous says:

            In case you weren’t following, the SAME exact thing happened in Tunisia, and It’s VERY likely it will happen again somewhere else in the world while people protesting against another dictator.

            The point is to spread chaos and accuse protesters, this is a very old and well-known technique used by oppressive regimes.

            I’m very surprised that you are surprised at all. I hope you’re not expecting the government to provide evidence of its plan so send the thugs!

  10. Jack says:

    Right over here on BoingBoing some folks are claiming looters at the Egyptian Museum are actually
    “agents provocateur”:
    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/29/reports-of-damage-an.html#comment-1011275

    Pretty confident that is paranoid nonsense. Unless it can be proved otherwise?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yeh, I guess it’s all about what’s most likely, in situations where confirmed reports are difficult to access. I have been speaking regularly to a friend who lives in Mahalla, which I understand is quite a way from Cairo. Things are much quieter where she lives, but she has many friends in Cairo protesting, and her ‘sources’ are saying the looters were often (not all the time) either police themselves, or escaped prisoners – some believe up to 100,000 have escaped, and some believe they were deliberately released just befor the police disappeared. It wouldn’t be an unusual tactic, from what I hear from people there or familiar with life in Egypt.

  12. JayByrd says:

    The really good coverage has been coming from al Jazeera, which I’ve been watching on Link TV on Dish Network this weekend. It puts all American TV news to shame, which is why al Jazeera English is effectively censored by most cable corporations.
    The coverage from the Big Three plus CNN and MSNBC has been a day late and a dollar short, but then they have to parachute in clueless reporting teams because they no longer have foreign bureaus.

  13. Shart Tsung says:

    I was looking at that map and was like …..wait. That’s not even close to accurate, Fox needs to step down. Let’s rise up against them, also Comcast.

  14. Deborah says:

    The Fox News photo that has come back to haunt them, is an actual screen grab from the July 27, 2009 edition of Fox News. (confirmed) It is definitely not photo shopped. Even though it should probably not be posted as a current Fox News mistake, it is authentic none the less.

  15. petsounds says:

    From http://www.smh.com.au/world/looting-linked-to-mubarak-as-cairo-unravels-20110130-1a9q5.html

    The former presidential candidate Ayman Nour, who is the leader of the Tomorrow Party, said he had seen unequivocal proof that many looters were thugs backed by the regime.

    ”We have been able to identify these men as members of the Interior Ministry. We have seen their ID cards,” he said.

    ”They are working to make chaos, to make people afraid of the protesters.”

    Mr Nour said it was highly suspicious that the police were suddenly nowhere to be found.

    Of course this is again hearsay, but it’s no less relevant than your opinion. I understand your call for clarity on information, but I see more opinions than factual debunking going on in this article.

    • Jack says:

      Of course this is again hearsay, but it’s no less relevant than your opinion. I understand your call for clarity on information, but I see more opinions than factual debunking going on in this article.

      Mideast politics contains more paranoia and gossip than true revelations of subterfuge and elaborate plots.

      And since the Mubarak government is set to fall, I’m pretty confident that any subterfuge related to the undermining of this revolution will be brought to light fairly quickly.

      Unless you are so cynical to believe that Mubarak can somehow survive this massive shitstorm.

      • petsounds says:

        Unless you are so cynical to believe that Mubarak can somehow survive this massive shitstorm.

        As a child I watched the Tiananmen Square uprising and subsequent brutual repression of the people there. I watched western governments, passively making statements about the courage of the Chinese students, do nothing when the communist regime massacred and jailed those students. The same sort of statements that these passive western governments are making now. Am I cynical about Egypt? No. My heart stirs for the deshackling of its people from Mubarak’s government. But those images I had as a child made me realize that the world is not a Disney movie. Those in power who have stayed in power for their own gain are like angry drunks, striking out at anyone who would take their bottle away. I cannot say what will happen, but I fear Mubarak will soon strike at his own people. And I fear that again western governments will act as if this is all a chess game.

        • Jack says:

          I cannot say what will happen, but I fear Mubarak will soon strike at his own people.

          Strike back with what? The huge barrels of shoe polish he uses to keep is hair nice, dark and shiny?

          The military is not on his side. Only the police. He’s lost and it’s inevitable that change will happen. Verifying the facts behind the chaos is not an unreasonable request.

          • petsounds says:

            Strike back with what? The huge barrels of shoe polish he uses to keep is hair nice, dark and shiny?

            The military is not on his side. Only the police. He’s lost and it’s inevitable that change will happen. Verifying the facts behind the chaos is not an unreasonable request.

            It’s hard to discern this from the Army’s actions up until now. At the 4pm curfew today, fighter jets and military helicopters flew low above the protestors. (video footage is available on the english Al Jazeera site). This was not a military air show, this was obviously an intent to disperse the crowd. Up until now, the military has not really tried to enforce the curfew. It appears that policy may be changing, and this is why I fear for the safety of the Egyptian people. I’m not sure what the internal dialogue is in the Egyptian army, but from the evidence I would say they are not exactly storming the presidential palace yet.

          • Jack says:

            Fair enough. But I see the use of air power as the only alternative the government has now that the police force has proven itself to be reviled, ineffectual and a cause of escalation in tensions.

            I’d rather have airplanes flying over the city than a larger force of tanks and APCs. I know that tanks and APCs are out there, but sending more out there would really be of a concern.

  16. Oliver Willis says:

    FYI, the Fox News graphic – while from 2 years ago – is very real:

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200907270040

  17. Anonymous says:

    How dare you question Twitter! I love Twitter! If you question Twitter’s veracity, you insult me! I insult you back, boingboing!

  18. Silversprite says:

    One of the odder aspects of this is the use of the (mainly) video game phrase “Game Over” by protestors in several of the countries.

    Some examples in pictures:

    http://silversprite.posterous.com/change-your-government-game-over

  19. sapere_aude says:

    I know this is somewhat off topic; but the photo above reminded me of something that I’ve been wondering about for the past few days: As I’ve been watching the Egyptian protests unfolding on TV and on the internet, I’ve noticed that a lot of the signs the protesters are carrying are in English rather than Arabic. Now, I’ve never been to Egypt; so I’m not sure how widely English is spoken there. But it does strike me as odd. I can think of three possible reasons why I’m seeing so many signs in English:

    1. English is more widely spoken in Egypt that I imagined it was.

    2. Many protesters are carrying signs in English precisely to get the attention of the Western (and especially American) press.

    3. Selection bias: American journalists are disproportionately filming/photographing the few signs that are in English rather than the many signs that are in Arabic.

    Anyone got any ideas about this?

    • travtastic says:

      Probably all three.

      1) English is spoken far more commonly than we tend to assume in the states, or even in the west. And remember, if all else fails, you only need one guy handy to make the signs for you, once you tell him what you want.

      2)They know how much support the regime has received from the US. They’re hoping to get Americans to understand why they’re fighting, and make it harder to be written off as fundamentalists. And aside from that, english is going to be your go-to language for international communications when you’re looking for a wide audience.

      3)Almost certainly.

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