Friday, July 23, 2004

Scoop and Journalistic Standards

With the NZ Government quite rightly irate at the Israeli Government's attempts to misuse NZ passports and the prospect of David Irving's visit plus the ongoing trouble in Israel/Palestine there is plenty of material for people of various political persuasions and motivations to work with.

Scoop has run an interesting story by Selwyn Manning - NGOs Claim Israeli Agent Barkan In North Korea.

Manning claims that not only is Barkan, one of the missing agents, in North Korea - which would in itself be disturbing - but also that Barkan's presence there is part of an Israeli programme to help North Korea build a "security fence" to keep North Koreans from escaping their regime. That would be an extraordinary finding and would be enormously damaging to Israel's reputation. If it was true.

But a closer look at Manning's story gives cause for concern about the accuracy and motivation of these allegations.

Far from being the product of the impressively sounding "NGOs" plural, these allegations originate from just one "NGO" calling itself "Global Protect All Children". A little googling produces very little information on this "NGO" but what one does learn is that one of the few people associated with it is a Yoichi Clark Shimatsu. Now Mr Shimatsu turns out to have some rather odd views about Jews and was one of a number of sources for conspiracy theories linking the last Space Shuttle crash with supposed nefarious Israeli actions:

Anti-Semitic shuttle conspiracy theories swamp the Internet.

Manning conveniently never states who his source is, but an "NGO" whose organiser spreads conspiracy theories about Jews is perhaps not very reliable. It is a concern that given the serious nature of these claims Manning offers nothing else as evidence.

It is hard to know what to make of his statement that this "NGO" is "closely linked to New Zealand intelligence networks". Such a relationship would make this organisation most peculiar. If this was true.

This is the second of such flimsy stories from Scoop. The first can be found on David Irving's web site:

Israel Agents Send NZ Message Via Asian-Based NGOs.

The question is why is Scoop making such accusations on very little evidence and when what little evidence they have comes from such dubious sources?

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