Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Seeing is believing, the saying goes.

But some bloggers are rather stubborn. And silly.

Remember yesterday's bombing in which unknown terrorists tried to blow up a US embassy vehicle but instead killed three innocent Lebanese motorists?

Well, according to the writer at Beirutspring, a normally rather clever blog on Lebanon, the US embassy car was carrying diplomatic licence plates.

Or, as Beirutspring writes: "An large explosion in the Karantina Area in Beirut targeted a car with an American embassy plate. No Americans were killed."

Yeah right...

I was at the scene of the bombing and, of course, saw the US vehicle. Either I am turning mental, or Beirutspring strongly supports ignorance. Because the number plate of the US vehicle I saw was very much a regular Lebanese one. You know, white with blue.

So I posted a picture of the car (including a view of the Lebanese number plate) on my blog. I also posted a video (in which you can see that the embassy car carries a regular plate). And I wrote down my eye witness account describing the vehicle and its numberplate.

Well, most of us would be convinced by this, I believe.

Not Beirutspring guy though.

Especially since Beirutspring blogger himself linked to my little video of the aftermath of the attack, I was surprised to learn he had not corrected his mistake. So I wrote a comment on his blog, informing him that it really wasn't a diplomatic number plate.

I mean, why create rumors, confusion in a part of the world where everything is already a conspiracy and conspiracy theories are more popular than, let's say, the Da Vinci Code (oops, wrong example, Da Vinci Code is banned in Lebanon).

Beirutspring's response to my comment: "This blog only". What he meant was, well, only harryzzz mentions the civilian number plate, nobody else. Of course Beirutspring knows better, as he doesn't even live in Lebanon, let alone visited the scene of the attack....

And this is exactly the problem with most of the (political) bloggers in this world. They actually never do anything. They don't report, they don't leave their house, they don't call, they don't investigate.

The only thing non-journalist bloggers have, is their opinion.

So they endlessly write opinion pieces for their own blogs and mix it with vague rumors or "facts" they find on the Internet. Like the "fact" that it was a diplomatic number plate. Really, I wouldn't be surprised if Robert Fisk is gonna write a 1800 page book called: PITY THE DIPLOMATIC VEHICLE - a short history of plate manipulations by the CIA in Lebanon.

So if a picture, a video and an eye witness account aren't enough, what then is enough? I really don't know. Recently the Iranians claimed an American made video of Iranian speedboats in the Perian Gulf was fake, and in the Dutch village where I spend my childhood, most people still think the landing on the moon was done in a studio. Remember my video, a couple of months ago, of the Flying Terrorist in Nahr al Bared camp, northern Lebanon? After I put it on youtube, it generated not only hundreds of thousands of hits, but also almost a thousand comments.

Some of these comments read: Yes, i know this video, it is an Israeli attack on Gaza.

Anyhow. Blogs are great if you want opinion, but for reports and facts....please stick to the real media not to some guy who only sits behind his computer.

By the way: The license plate of the US embassy vehicle is: Liban - B 192994

Harald Doornbos

Right click and open in a new window the Beirutspring story HERE


Tarek Hoteit said...

thank you for your original blog item. I referenced you on my blog

Mustapha said...

Chill out man,

I was too lazy to watch the video and the information I originally got (number plate) was from .

Anyway, I'll fix the problem. I hope you keep visiting.


RML said...

Harryzzz, you hit the nail on its head. Private blogging is all about opinions but once people start referencing facts, they better have these facts straight.

And are you really telling me the landing on the moon wasn't taped in a studio?! :o

m.p. said...

what is a moon?

Harald Doornbos said...

Thanks man, free cake when you get to Beirut!

nothing personal, sorry to have used your blog as an example in my tirade. But the rumor/conspiracy/lack of facts ideology in, especially, the Arab world does much more harm to the region than any American policy or invasion.

Of course I will keep on reading your blog! cheers and , please, no hard feelings...

thanks and expect landing on the sun soon by Belgium scientists...the sun too hot you say...oh, no - they go by night!

Menno said...

Iranian speedboat incident may have been a case of "Filipino radio monkey" See:

ella said...


There are blogs and then there are blogs.
Referring to the Iranian speed boat incident - some of the newspapers in IRI were writting that the boats could not be Iranian because they did not fly the flag. Iranian blogger, Kamangir, living now in Canada, put the photo and video of similar boats from official IRI site. These boats also did not fly the flag during IRI military exercises in Persian Gulf last year.
There are many other bloggers who try to correct mistakes or do reference facts. You are right that one do need to be careful not to believe everything one read on blogs.........but, Harald, you are now a blogger too :-)

Harald Doornbos said...


true I'm a blogger. But also a professional journalist...As you must have noticed by now, I hardly ever write about things that I haven't seen or checked out myself. It's up to the reader eventually who to believe - the guy on the side line or the guy in the field.


m.p. said...

well, really, i'd rather say you're a journo who recently decided to divulge information on a blog. and i have read your pointing out that this is a blog, and that you take more liberty here than in a press article.

i thought this to be a an honest and correct approach and i like that you do it and how you do it. your blog is quite complementary to the news, and it's also more news.

keep it up, man.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
zerolando said...

I wouldn't blame people for misinformation, or their irresponsible handling of news bits simply because those who are supposed to be role models in this department, handle news irresponsibly and spit propaganda all day long. I did too believe that the car had an American Embassy license plate, because a TV reporter who was at the scene mumbled something about an American license plate that was taken off later on Live TV.
Even today, major newspapers just rushed into publishing front page news about How Syria is denying entry to Food supplies to Lebanon. As it appears, the news is not completely true. Talk about professionalism !