Thursday, 21 August 2008

How big was the lie?

Yesterday the BBC reported: 
“Russia has issued new, reduced casualty figures for the Georgian conflict, with 133 civilians now listed as dead in the disputed region of South Ossetia.”
But how many civilians did Russia earlier claim had been killed in South Ossetia? In that BBC story it says Russia initially claimed 1,600 had died. A later story said “initially, however, Russia suggested more than 1,500 people had died in the conflict.” The BBC‘s memory of the Russian claim seemed to be diminishing. Wind back again, not to the earlier of those two BBC stories, but to AP on August 11th:
“Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, said more than 2,000 people have been killed in South Ossetia since Friday, most of them Ossetians with Russian passports.”
From 2,000 to 1,500. BBC News seems to be viewing past Russian claims through backwards binoculars.

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