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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 09:11 am
The Age’s Jo Chandler investigates Zombie:
Who is the Zombie behind zombietime.com?
He claims to be a “photoblogger” who lives in San Francisco. For fun, he attends protests by people of opposite political inclinations to his own — the extreme left. He turns their placards against them, takes photographs and posts the images on his site.
He’s evil! At least Jo gets Zombie’s location right; Martin Chulov had him based in Florida.
In this vein, his happy snaps of the 2006 World Naked Bike Ride are well worth a look. But recently he has turned investigator, challenging photo agencies such as Reuters over the alleged manipulation of images and — infamously — arguing that the bombing of an ambulance in Lebanon was a hoax.
Last month, another right-wing blogger (“Blonde Sagacity, the conservative that liberals hate to love”), claimed a rare interview with the Zombie, in which he chatted about his anonymity, his tricks to obtain pictures (sometimes the camera is hidden, sometimes he plays tourist), and his motivations.
“The anti-war movement is really an anti-American movement,” he told Blonde.
Zombie is tricky and motivated by wrongness! Chandler—no relation to Raymond, evidently—next turns detective herself:
Just how successful the Zombie has been in spreading the message is not clear. The site technorati.com — which measures the connections and mentions that build credibility in the web — show it as a low-wattage player.
Yesterday it had 955 blog posts, while Melbourne conservative Andrew Bolt had 4260, and the influential US Drudge Report more than 41,000.
If Zombie is such a “low-wattage player”, why all the attention from the Age and the Australian? Including another report in the Age—an attempted debunker debunking by Sarah Smiles:
Ahmed Fawaz sits in a wheelchair in a sweat-stained hospital gown, smoking a cigarette in sweltering heat.
He was discharged from a Beirut hospital this week after losing his leg when a Lebanese Red Cross ambulance he was in with his family came under an Israeli air attack in south Lebanon on July 23.
Which leg, Sarah? His left, as claimed by Martin Chulov, or his right, as shown in an image here?
The attack on two ambulances ferrying mildly injured people from the village of Tibnin to Tyre was widely reported by international media, including The Age.
But Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has condemned press coverage of the incident, suggesting it was a hoax. He appears to have drawn his conclusions from right-wing US website zombietime.com that debunks all reporting on the incident using available press photos and television footage as “evidence”.
The scare quotes indicate that Zombie got everything wrong.
An Israeli army spokesman told The Age yesterday that the army had not yet established what happened and the incident was under investigation.
“We were in a war,” the spokesman said. “It takes time to find out exactly what happened and whose fault it was and why. We are not saying it was an accident or that we take responsibility. We only say that the incident in question occurred in an area used to fire hundreds of rockets into Israel … The army warned the population in the area to stay clear of rocket launching sites because we intended to operate there against activity by Hezbollah terrorists.” It is believed that the Israeli army’s investigation will rely on images and video footage taken by Israeli drones.
That investigation will make for interesting reading. Smiles continues:
While some reporters wrote that an Israeli missile ripped a hole in the roof of one ambulance that was directly hit, the zombietime.com site argues a missile would have caused much wider damage. It argues the hole appears to be where there was an existing circular vent, with rust on some of the exposed metal showing that damage to vehicle happened before the reported time of the attack.
Excuse me, but is there any doubt about this vent-hole location?
However, Red Cross volunteers manning the ambulances and Mr Fawaz insist the hit was caused by small weapons fired from unmanned drones that they heard circling above after the attack.
The Age’s original report mentions no drones, only “Israeli planes overhead”, and claims: “The roar and smash of the missiles shattered the night. Both ambulances were hit, directly and systematically, by Israeli bombs, the medics said.”
The Age visited the yard where the bombed out ambulances are now parked. This reporter saw the ambulance that Mr Fawaz was in. It appeared to have been hit by a weapon that punctured a huge hole through the back. The zombietime.com only shows the picture of the second ambulance that had a smaller puncture through the top where there was a pre-existing vent in the centre of the vehicle.
So did the Age’s initial report. We’re looking at another shift in the story here. As dipole observes: “It appears Smiles is advancing the ‘wrong ambulance’ theory, already addressed by zombietime. In particular she appears to be contradicting Chulov’s current story.” The Age doesn’t run an image of this more-damaged ambulance online—if anyone cares to scan a shot from the print edition, please forward it to me.
Based on photos of the ambulance’s exterior that do not reveal any blood, the site suggests that Mr Fawaz incurred his injury elsewhere and was “paraded before the cameras as a victim of an Israeli missile”.
Exterior? Try interior.
While the interior of the ambulance has been gutted, a Red Cross volunteer who was in the same ambulance as Mr Fawaz said he did bleed onto his stretcher, but not excessively as his leg had been cauterised.
Yes. By the huge fire.
At a speech on the Gold Coast this week, Mr Downer relied on the limited and selective images on zombietime.com to criticise journalists for poor reporting on the war in Lebanon.
Zombietime ran more pictures than the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Australian combined.
“After closer study of the images of the damage to the ambulance, it is beyond serious dispute that this episode has all the makings of a hoax,” he said.
For Mr Fawaz, 41, a mechanic from the village of Tibnin, life without his leg is no hoax.
Again I ask: which leg?
Mohammed Hassan, 35, a Red Cross Cross volunteer in the ambulance with Mr Fawaz when it was hit, said three volunteers fled to a nearby building after the attack.
Mr Fawaz’s elderly mother Jamila crawled out of the vehicle while the volunteers carried Mohammed, Ahmed’s son, who was unconscious. They could not reach Mr Fawaz with rockets from drones hitting around the ambulance and the building they were in.
“If (Alexander Downer) thinks it was a hoax, he should come and see the ambulances himself,” said Sami Yazbek, the head of the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre.
Which ambulance? The one Fawaz used to be in, or the one he’s now claimed to have been in?
Mr Fawaz, who slipped in and out of consciousness after the blast, remembers hearing the sound of a drone whirring above him when he came to. “It sounds like a motorcycle.”
Soon after, through the door of the ambulance that had been blasted open, he recalls seeing a second strike on the ground.
“It was a drone because if it was a warplane we wouldn’t be alive,” he said.
Initial story: it was a missile attack from Israeli planes. Blogger response: couldn’t be, because everyone would be dead. Subsequent story: it was a drone.
When he came to after the blast, he remembers reaching for his glasses that were knocked to the back of his head, adjusting them and then feeling a sense of malaise. “I put my hand on my leg and I couldn’t feel it,” he said. “I tried to take the cord of the IV drip to tie up my leg to stop it bleeding, but I couldn’t manage it.”
Just as well the magical cauterising drone stepped in at that point to staunch his blood loss. Andrew Bolt has much more on this ever-changing saga.
UPDATE. And more from Dan Riehl, particularly on the left/right leg confusion.
He appears to have drawn his conclusions from right-wing US website zombietime.com that debunks all reporting on the incident using available press photos and television footage as “evidence”.
Talk about an own goal, that “evidence” would be the press reports would it not? Debunk the debunker whilst disowning that which was originally debunked in order to show that it was true in the first place. Absurd.
- i strongly suspect zombie is a chick and i think she fessed up on littlegreenfootballs or made a comment to the effect: ‘why do you think they always smile in the pictures?’. so why is zombie always referred to as ‘he’? genderless pronoun?Posted by drscroogemcduck on 2006 09 02 at 01:08 AM • permalink
- This incident is making me realise how sloppy, biased, and just plain bad the mainstream media is. I guess it must have always been this way, but before blogs we were none the wiser.Posted by daddy dave on 2006 09 02 at 01:09 AM • permalink
- “Low wattage?” I hate to sound provincial, but being published in the Australian ain’t exactly Vanity Fair here in the States, so don’t be putting on airs, cobbers…Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 09 02 at 01:23 AM • permalink
- #3 As an informavore—and a speaker of English—I would venture to say the reference to Zombie as “he” is following a convention of longstanding.
In English, thankfully, nouns and verbs are not gender-inflected. Thus it is easiest when in doubt as to the gender of the deponent, subject or object to simply use the masculine pronoun.
Not sayin’ it’s right, just sayin…
Personally, I have long thought using “they”, “their” and “they’re” would be a simple solution—despite the plural connotation—but that’s just me.
The real point is, what does Zombie’s gender have to do with anything?
“They” choose to remain anonymous, so be it.Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 09 02 at 01:31 AM • permalink
- I don’t know if this line of thought has been explored before, but if so many (in)credible journalists are going to absolutely insist that it was a missile that punched through the roof of the ambulance, then why couldn’t it have been a wayward Hezbollah missile? I’m sure an al-Qassam could be about as ineffectual as that missile appears to have been.
I know that doesn’t really fit with the painting-Isreal-as-evil-bastards scenario that moistens all of the Leftoid journalists. The ‘light the blue touch paper and stand back’ technology of the Hezbollah/Hamas weaponry means that they could go just about anywhere.
- I think what the mainstream media is realising is they are getting stung too often as being sloppy and biased. Gone are the days when it was only “your” ABC or one state newspaper.
I personaly saw a few dozen outright lies and distortions used by the ABC during my time as a detention officer. Im sure many others have had similar occasions where events you witnessed happen are reported from some parallel dimension where aggressors become the innocents when the media step in.
Then I got a decent internet connection and found a wide variety of innacurate and biased reporting being exposed all over the place.
All seemingly from a leftist slant.
I also note the usual “right wing” scare quotes from the reportes above.
Funny how come “Hezbollocks supporting”, or “Left wing” doesnt seem to ever get an outing in such a negative way.
I dont like, trust, or rely on the media, nor do i give it any greater credance than the man at the pub.Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 09 02 at 01:34 AM • permalink
- #5, Quite right, Richard—and yet our esteemed Foreign Minister may now be as well known as his boss after supporting the claims of NGO/media bias, based on the the “low-wattage” spotlight thrown on this issue.
Most ironic, of course, is Chandler’s reliance on blogs to compose her piece of fluff condemning same.Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 09 02 at 01:37 AM • permalink
- I regard this as a very important matter and would be appalled if it was shown the Israel military deliberately targeted ambulances engaged in transporting the wounded. It’s not a matter of “get a life” or just move on.
I too would like to see the photo of the second ambulance.
The ITV video at zombietime shows both ambulance and there appears to be no damage to the back of either.
If Zombie is such a “low-wattage player”, why all the attention from the Age and the Australian?
See also Antony Loewenstein?
Although I completely disagree with the point The Age is trying to make, at least they are choosing a side and entering the fight. That way, they will fall – hopefully hard. Historically, when Israel haas been libelled (Jenin, Mohammed Al-Durrah, Gaza Beach) yet it subsequently turned out the story was very very different, the media had already lost interest.
- That’s via Glenn Reynolds, I meant to add.
- Not really on topic, but I’ve seen UNITED 93.
It isn’t easy viewing, but I recommend it.Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2006 09 02 at 02:58 AM • permalink
- O/T times 2
pom police have arrested another 14 terror suspects.
On/T The ABC’s bias is amazing, I caught the 11.00 national news on the radio, they had the story of the iranian plane disaster.
However they then devoted almost as long pointing out that (I quote from memory so may be off in details)“The Iranian plane fleet is badly run down due to the crippling embargo imposed by the United States decades ago”
Funny how they can afford a nuclear weapons programme though?
Whos ABC???Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 09 02 at 03:13 AM • permalink
- # 17 –
That is just frickin’ hilarious. Little did I know that an obscure Iranian plane accident is the Fault of the United States of American and more Evidence of Our Intense Evilness.
Shit, sometimes I think if we’re going to be held responsible for the whole world, we might as well take it over….Posted by NewSisyphus on 2006 09 02 at 03:19 AM • permalink
- I am tossing up to see which has been the most fun:
Mark Latham’s concession speech in October 2004,
Dan Rather trying to prove that the TANG memos were real,
Terry Macbeth Lane being sucked in by an Internet hoax, or
Alleged “journalists” spinning like tops and squealing like stuck pigs (to mix a metaphor or two) over the obviously fake ambulance/missile story.
Life is good for the RWDB’s.Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2006 09 02 at 03:34 AM • permalink
- RWDB = Right Wing Death Beasts? Verdad?Posted by NewSisyphus on 2006 09 02 at 03:42 AM • permalink
Just as long as a hugh hole isnt related to a goatse one…Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 09 02 at 04:04 AM • permalink
- #22, Si.
Ala deracha de la bestia de la muerte.
(courtesy of Babel Fish. I am about as Spanish as Genghis Khan)Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2006 09 02 at 04:27 AM • permalink
- #10 – Chris, I would have been appalled about ambolancing once – but not since it became common Pally/Hezbie practice to use them for ferrying fighters and/or ammo around. If you chuck away the rule book, as they have, what have you got to complain about when your opponents do the same.
The western media and the luvvies who egg them on have not the mental clarity to register this disturbing fact of life. They continue to bleat about every rule in every devalued rule book.
We are approaching the tipping point where winning is all that matters. Rules can be rehabilitated after the win.
- #23 The only visuals of the ambulances in situ that I know of are on that amateur video shown by ITV. I have a link, and grabs from the video on my blog
Both ambulances’ rear doors are up and not even bent. Ambulance C140 looks as if it’s rear door still has the window intact. If windows were even smashed in situ there is not one single shard of glass around the ambulances. Funny that.
- 17 – However they then devoted almost as long pointing out that (I quote from memory so may be off in details)“The Iranian plane fleet is badly run down due to the crippling embargo imposed by the United States decades ago”
My reaction to that was the same as yours. Bloody heck – the US is responsible for the lack of spares and maintenance for Russian aircraft? I doubt if the Iranians have any US aircraft. And what about the Europeans, who don’t have an embargo on Iran? This was a blatant example of out-and-out anti-US bias. Disgraceful.Posted by walterplinge on 2006 09 02 at 05:27 AM • permalink
- The U.S. embargo has also, of course, prevented all those satellite dishes from proliferating in Iran—forcing the regime to waste precious resources needed for the nuclear program on confiscating and destroying them.Posted by arrowhead ripper on 2006 09 02 at 05:58 AM • permalink
- That above comment referred to 17, 18 and 29…Posted by arrowhead ripper on 2006 09 02 at 05:59 AM • permalink
- Nobody else is picking up on this, but one of the Ambos claimed the rear ramp protected him from the blast. At zombietimes there is a rear view of the ambulance and there is no ramp, just what looks like a pull out step that if pulled out might protect the feet and lower shins from an explosion.
Otherwise, I’m surprised The Age has risen to the bait. Andrew Bolt’s Herald Sun must be beating them in the circulation stakes (They are the two Melbourne dailies).
- phil_b: i very distinctly remember that someone else did point out the ramp thing (as you say, there’s only a step, not a ramp at the back), I can’t remember who though (it might have been another commentator here).
at any rate, the ramp thing is yet another hole in the story – there’s more “hole” than there is “story”.
this is the australian version of the killian documents fiasco, quite frankly.Posted by benson swears a lot on 2006 09 02 at 06:34 AM • permalink
- If the ambulance was hit by something, the occupants would never know what it was and where it came from. No matter what they say, it could have been anything, including the blast from something not aimed at them.
Personally, I think the Israelis have a devious secret weapon that will do exactly the same damage as an axe-wielding maniac. I guess they´ll call it the “Tomahawk” missile.
- O.K. I’m afraid I must backpedal here and perhaps apologize to Ms.Smiles.
If you closely examine the ITV video of the first ambulance in the footage you will notice that there appears to be a large hole in the roof (not the back as Ms Smiles described) which reveals itself as a patch of sunlight on the floor of the ambulance (the sun being almost directly overhead).
Of course this does not answer the many other mysteries in this intriguing chain of events.
- As an attorney I often find it helpful when dealing with a complicated issue to list the possible categories an issue might fall within and then to determine which one the facts show it as falling into.
Many people who are just now beginning to read about the attack on the Lebanonese ambulance and the questions posed by blogs on the reporting of the incident might be asking what’s all the flack about?
Well, for many years now claims has been made of various war crimes committed by Israel against innocent people in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. It seems to me that these claims could fall under one of the falling categories:
1. Israel purposely targeted innocent people to inflict a great number of deaths and suffering.
2. Israel fought a battle but targeted civilians, not in an effort to intentionally kill innocent civilians, but nonetheless in a patently negligent fashion.
3. Israel fought aggressively in an action it did not seek out but, unfortunately, as a result of the fight, collateral damage was inflicted.
4. Israel did not inflict damage but an erroneous conclusion was made that it had, whether by a NGO or by the MSM, said conclusion arrived at through reasonable reporting standards and not under circumstances that show any bias or predisposition to accuse Israel unfairly.
5. Israel did not inflict damage but an erroneous conclusion was made that it had, said conclusion arrived at through shodding reporting by MSM or unsubstantiated claims by a NGO such as the ICRC.
6. Israel did not inflict damage but an erroneous conclusion was made that it had, said conclusion arrived at through purposely biased reporting by MSM or as a result of biased claims by a NGO.
7. Israel did not inflict damage but an erroneous conclusion was made that it had, said conclusion obtained through the manipulation by Hezbollah and allied parties and interests of the story with the cooperation, either knowingly or by gullibility, of the MSM for propaganda purposes.
Israel’s actions are being watched and judged by all the people of the world. If it is shown that it’s actions have been found to fall within category 1 or 2, support of the country and especially it’s actions in defending itself will decrease accordingly. The world can only witness Israel’s actions through news reports published by the MSM. Unfortunately very few of those are verified by other reliable non-MSM parties. Consequently, the world has little choice but to rely on the professionalism, neutrality, and objectivity of the MSM to do so in a impartial and transparent fashion.
Yet the articles on the purported attack on the Lebanese ambulance have drawn into question whether the MSM has fulfilled its responsibility in this area. The articles appear to have the intent to show that Israel’s actions fall within category 1 or 2. And yet inspection of the evidence would seem to indicate that they fall within category 5, 6 or 7.
If that becomes the case, then we must ask ourselves whether the MSM is fulfilling its responsibilities to the world in reporting the facts in an accurate and impartial manner. And further still, whether it has become a party to the war on the side of Hezbollah. This is a very grave issue.Posted by wronwright on 2006 09 02 at 07:21 AM • permalink
- There’s a ramp (like a tray) on both ambulances, still attached and still intact. Photos (=screen shots from the amateur video handed to ITV) 6 and 12 on my blog post linked above.
Both rear doors are still attached as well.
And while photo 16 shows what could be damage to the roof of ambulance Rego777/C140 – impossible to tell what – there doesn’t seem to be a big red cross on that one. If there wasn’t you know, not really newsworthy.
Remember, cameraman gave a run around of C140 and interior but not the roof, whereas cameraman only shows one side of C782 and climbed up to show the hole in its roof, smack in middle of big red cross!
What did cameraman know I wonder.
Of course we don’t know if ITV showed all of the video. But given their obvious anti-Israeli bias in this report, anything that would exonerate Israel would be cut out by them I am sure.
He turns their placards against them, takes photographs and posts the images on his site.
How DARE zombietime REPORT?!Posted by Rob Crawford on 2006 09 02 at 09:04 AM • permalink
- The more the media try to explain, the more they trip over their lies, as far as I’m cocnerned. The truth seems to be that they are trying to deny that they, at best, didn’t get the story straight.
On another note, I heard a radio report yesterday, from Leabanon, praising the resilience of the Lebanese people, as they are rebuilding so quickly. Well, perhaps Lebanon wasn’t so utterly destroyed as first reported, eh?Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2006 09 02 at 09:57 AM • permalink
- Year 7: Homework.
Students will gather information from their own observations, from others and from the media. At all times be logical, rational and look at the facts.
But don’t be boring!
Your homework this week is to be thoroughly independent and imaginative. Deconstruct the facts and put them back together any way you think they should be. Reintegrate reason, our physical perception of space and form, the language; the way we see the world.
Be creative… and keep it real, man.
For fun, he attends protests by people of opposite political inclinations to his own — the extreme left. He turns their placards against them.
Yes, some of these protesters’ placards proclaim the vilest anti-semitism, but still, that’s no excuse to wrestle them from a protesters’ and assault him with them.
He takes photographs and posts the images on his site.
- “It was a drone because if it was a warplane we wouldn’t be alive,” he said
This changed story smacks of covering up a previous inconsistent lie. The speaker naively believes, apparently, that the smaller the plane, the smaller the bomb. Perhaps sop, but the IAF have used drones to pulverise cars in the past and do not waste their time with mere nuisance weapons.
Yet the reportor lets this pass unchallenged as the truth, even the second time.
- #20 Good summary fidens:
Jo Chandler and Sarah Smiles are “fine” “journalists” working for a “highly” “reputable” “news”paper. “Mere” bloggers calling into “question” their “judgement” and “besmirching” their “excellent” reputations will not be tolerated.
Mere rhetoric is all you need when you don’t care about the facts involved.
And Zombietime is right out of order posting photographs – and [gulp] commenting on them!
- Did the ICRC happen to mention how Israel got its missiles not only to cut flanges in sheet metal, but to drill screw holes in it? Thank heaven the roof of the ambulance was no thicker, or they would have had to develop a missile that could use a tap to cut threads in it.
- Italics fixed.Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 09 03 at 02:21 AM • permalink
- Huh? Try again…..Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 09 03 at 02:22 AM • permalink
- Too much wine and pleasant company…..I give up, and am off to bed…..Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 09 03 at 02:23 AM • permalink
- I have put my theory about what could have attacked both ambulances in my blog here: http://factsfictionmiddleeast.blogspot.com/2006/09/attack-on-ambulances-on-july-13th.html
IMHO it is very possible that the damage was caused by M789 HEDP rounds fired by an AH-64 Apache´s M230 main gun. For explanations, see my blog entry.
- Let me try.Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 09 03 at 05:34 AM • permalink
- Well, one of my favourite pastimes is shopping so I thought I’d take the train for novelty. Well, I was in the section near the doors and closed my eyes to have a little snoopy snooze, when all of a sudden I felt a presence like someone near me. ( Yes, it’s like the Blair Witch project). Well, I opened my eyes and there was this really,really scary lady standing over me, and know-one else was in the carriage. I wanted to scream, my mouth was frozen, she was about to mugg me and my handbag. I thought she was going to hit me. Luckily, the train came to a stop, I rushed out of the train, and went to another hoping she would not find me.
So be very careful ladies and shoppers when you go for a train ride in Sydney at 11 am for a shop. Sit in the guards carriage.
Also, my gripe: 3 Zambian men raping a 15 year old girl here in Sydney (Are they sending them back? Are they going to cry we are refugees and should stay to get away from the evil militia there?) Do they have free legal advice? Can we ship them out ASAP?
:The Islamic advisory board here in Australia pretending to be an Islamic government, and bagging our government. It is unable to separate the religion from it’s own political agendas here in OZ.
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How any *journalist* could find fault with that is beyond me.
Could someone please tell this American how this story is going down in the wider Aussie press? I’d appreciate it very much.