Iran's (Spoofed) Missile Threat



In the "bark is worse than its bite" category, the New York Times has an awesome web piece today on the apparent manipulation of yesterday's Iran missile shoot.

Of course the event got everybody up in a lather about Iran's capability and came darn close to a signing ceremony with SecState Rice and the Czech foreign minister on missile defense cooperation. But to me they sort of looked like '50s-era model rockets. Whoooo...scaaaaary....

[Photo from New York Times online.]

Anyway, sharp-eyed photogs have noticed that the smoke billowing from the launch can be attributed to three rockets, not four. And a photo later distributed by the AP shows three rockets with a fourth launcher that looks like it might have been a dud (or another Photoshopped image).

As news spread across the world of Irans provocative missile tests, so did an image of four missiles heading skyward in unison. Unfortunately, it appeared to contain one too many missiles, a point that had not emerged before the photo appeared on the front pages of The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers as well as on BBC News, MSNBC, Yahoo! News, and many other major news Web sites.

Agence France-Presse said that it obtained the image from the Web site of Sepah News, the media arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, on Wednesday. But there was no sign of it there later in the day. Today, The Associated Press distributed what appeared to be a nearly identical photo from the same source, but without the fourth missile...

For its part, Agence France-Presse retracted its four-missile version this morning, saying that the image was apparently digitally altered by Iranian state media. The fourth missile has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test, the agency said.

So, looks as if the Iranians are trying to get a rise out of America and the Europeans with a little artistic license, I guess. And one has to wonder whether that country's threats are really credible.

-- Christian

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