Wednesday, October 22, 2003

My name is Brian. And I am an individual based in the US with a keen interest in politics and at this point in time particularly in the war in Iraq. Among the vast variety of available news sources I am particularly interested to hear voices from Iraq itself, as it seems much of the debate about the best course of action there seemed designed to bypass the citizens of that country.

Like many people I came across the Salaam Pax blogger earlier in the year. I followed closely the "Is he real or isn't he?" debate. Were these really the words of an Iraqi in Iraq? Or was this someone pretending to be one, for a prank or for more sinister purposes. This has now been answered pretty conclusively in the affirmative. Salaam Pax has had a book published and draws a regular paycheck from the Guardian, one of Britain's most venerable newspapers. But it's important to note the tendency in cyberspace to attempt to portray a voice as "not real" simply because one does not like the message.

After an early mention in Salaam's blog in March, Riverbend, another Iraqi, this time a women, who blogs at began posting in August. If anything she is a more gifted writer even than Pax, and her use of the English language would put many native speakers to shame with its imagery and emotiveness. With her approval by Salaam Pax and her authenticity of emotion I have never harboured doubt as to the fact that Riverbend is a genuine Iraqi citizen in Iraq. I have seen nothing that would persuade me otherwise in her words.

Is she a fan of the US invasion? Not entirely, for sure. But is she a Baathist, a Saddam loyalist as some have tried to suggest? No dispassionate and serious view could support that contention.

But some who dislike her message have gone even further than making these suggestions in an attempt to discredit her. A foreign - probably American - citizen has produced a similar blog, almost stealing her name, but writing at - note the extra S. This blog is a shabby, poorly cobbled together collection of material plagiarised from various foreign sources. It is not a blog by any true defintion.

Let me be clear - if an Iraqi citizen approves the US invasion and wishes to write about it, I applaud them. I for one will be eager to read it. But this is not an Iraqi citizen. This I will demonstrate - if not beyond all doubt, at least beyond all reasonable doubt.

In all likelihood, this is the work of an embittered American who does not like what Riverbend writes. But who is too cowardly to debate it honestly. Instead this individual preferred to set up this spoiler site, and try to deliberately lead people to believe that Riverbend's message has changed by deceivingly misleading them to it.

This person even produced fake archives predating Riverbend's blog in an attempt to suggest that the fake site predated it. I can produce conclusive proof here that not only *can* archives be faked. But that in this case they have been.

I am very aware that I noted just above how people attempt to smear as "not real" those with whom they disagree. I do not agree with riverSbend. But my conclusion that he is not a real Iraqi is not based merely on that fact. It is supported by a mass of evidence which I will produce here.

At a later date I will post the evidence I have as to this person's identity and their malicious intentions. For the moment this blog looks like a lot of date entries stretching back to July (except for one joke one from 1999). Each entry since then is a dissection of the fake RiverSbend's corresponding entry for that date. I show here that over 99% of the verbiage assembled at that location was written not by a simple Iraqi worker as the author would claim but by foreign journalists writing for other publications. Their work has been plagiarised without credit

At this point this blog is intended to shame the fake riverSbend blogger into giving up the game. And to provide some amusement for those with a passing interest in just how desperate some are to silence a message that does not correspond to their own worldview.

If this site is closed down or no more entries appear my readers should conclude that I have been subject to assassination or kidnapping by the American CIA and act accordingly.

(Just kidding - actually the riverSbend site is so poor it was more likely produced by Saddam Hussein himself than US intelligence since it shows at least one member of the pro-invasion contingent in such a dismal light.)

Accept no substitutes.

Proof That Blogspot Archives Can Be Faked

Proof The RiverSbend Archives Are Faked

RiverSbend Plagiarises the New York Times