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How The New York Times
Lied About Egypt
by Jared Israel and Samantha Criscione
We charge that the media falsified
coverage of the conflict in Egypt, and we prove it in the case of the
top human rights columnist for The New York Times, Nicholas D.
Kristof, showing that his eye-witness report and video about the
fighting between anti-Mubarak forces and their opponents in Tahrir
Square February 2 constitute unbridled deceit.
Part 2: To see a
world in a grain of sand and mendacity in a thumbnail
Embedded video: "Meeting Mubarak's Supporters,"
by Nicholas D. Kristof and Jaron Gilinsky, The New York Times,
February 2, 2011
[May 5, 2011]
The other parts of the series are:
A picture can refute a thousand lies"
3: Better lying through technology"
"Part 4: The videographer's art, enfin"
To be posted shortly
In Part 1 we stated
our thesis: that the Western media has deceived the
public about the
recent and ongoing Egyptian upheaval, including the role of Western
This is of great importance because Egypt has by far the largest
population in the Arab world; because it controls the Suez
Canal; and, most important, because, before January 25, it was the key Arab
opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas, and the sworn enemy of
the Islamist Regime (IR) in Iran.
We argued that, fortunately, we can combat misinformation about
Egypt by checking news reports against the media's own images, which
can provide evidence to expose falsification.
The New York
Times has played a leading role in falsifying the record about the
world-shaking events in Egypt. As a case study of Times coverage,
in Part 1 we began to examine Nicholas D. Kristof's February 2,
2011 column, "Watching Thugs With Razors and Clubs at Tahrir
Square," showing that, based on the photo Kristof chose to
illustrate his column, Kristof lied.
(Part 1 is posted at
In Part 2, below, we turn to Kristof's video, "Meeting Mubarak's
Supporters," showing how, even before the video
starts, Kristof is guilty of deceit. In Part 3, we prove that
Kristof doctored a photo to deceive and to cover-up the deception.
In Part 4 we show that Kristof doctored his video footage; and yet,
despite that, Kristof's video disproves the claims he makes in his
column and, indeed, in his video.
Did we say Kristof
uses the video to deceive before the video begins? Now that is
greatness; but then we are talking about The New York
Mr. Kristof's video: dishonest before it starts
Kristof uses his video to
misinform before it begins by means of the thumbnail image he has
represent the video.
Below is a screenshot of that thumbnail as it appears
on Kristof's Times page,
next to the beginning of his column:
As Kristof and his New York Times
editors are aware,
people expect a
thumbnail to be a still shot taken from the video itself, or at
least to be an image accurately reflecting the
Therefore readers would assume that this threatening image
swarming over a tank, while a
light glows ominously in the background,
depicts "Mubarak's Supporters," whom Kristof will be "Meeting" in the video.
Because one assumes a thumbnail foreshadows the content of a video,
works like a subliminal advertisement, orienting readers to believe the charge Kristof makes repeatedly in his
Times article, including in the paragraph adjacent to the thumbnail (as seen above), that:
"I was on Tahrir Square, watching armed
young men pour
in to scream in support of President Hosni Mubarak
and to battle the pro-democracy protesters."
[Our emphasis -- TENC]
-- "Watching Thugs with Razors and Clubs
at Tahrir Square," by Nicholas D. Kristof 
And, as Kristof tells us
during the video itself:
"Mubarak today seems to have
sent in the thugs to try to restore his role to Tahrir Square."
-- New York Times video, "Meeting Mubarak's
"It seems to be an effort to
create violence by these provocateurs and thereby perhaps create a
pretext for a crackdown... [Hence the
significance of the men standing on the tank -- TENC]"
-- New York Times video, "Meeting Mubarak's
Since Kristof, representing the very influential
New York Times, is making a serious accusation here --
indeed, he is making the main accusation that clinched ordinary
Westerners' opposition to Mubarak -- it is is important
that this thumbnail communicates a lie.
Pro-Mubarak? Anti-Mubarak? Why quibble?
In the first place, the thumbnail is not a still from the video.
Nowhere in the video (or for that matter in the accompanying
Kristof meet or describe himself as having met men grouped on and around a tank.
Are the men in the image
at least actual
supporters of Mubarak? That is certainly the
impression conveyed by Kristof placing the video's title, "Meeting
Mubarak's Supporters," directly under the thumbnail, so that it
functions as a
However, if one examines
a larger version of the thumbnail, such as the one posted below, one
will discover evidence that
these men are
|We accessed the larger version
of the thumbnail image by
starting the video from Kristof's article at
choosing full screen
mode, and waiting until after the copyright information at the end,
video closes with the thumbnail image full-screen (1280 pixels
wide on our monitors).
To see a screenshot of the full-screen thumbnail, go
Let us look at a detail from the bottom right of the image above:
Do you see what is remarkable about
If not, please check out the
What is remarkable is that
there are men in front of the tank, and, with the exception of the man on our left who has a bandage on his
forehead, they are all bent over, apparently praying -- praying on a city street, in the midst of a violent political upheaval,
in front of a tank. Seeing this, we knew that the men pictured in
the thumbnail had to be Mubarak's enemies,
not, as Kristof was effectively telling us, his supporters.
How did we know this?
Why the men in the thumbnail had to be part
of an extremist anti-Mubarak faction
Don't all Egyptians pray?
Some do and some don't (and, by the way at least
10% are not Muslims),
and while it is true that a section of Egyptian society prays in groups
city streets (as opposed to
only in mosques or in their homes),
and does so organized in
rows, repeatedly prostrating themselves in unison like
in a military display ---
Ranks of men praying in the street in
paramilitary formation in Alexandria, stronghold of Egypt's
Muslim Brotherhood, during the holiday of
Ramadan in 2010. 
--- it is also true that a)
most Egyptians do
not pray in the street (although they may pray in mosques or in
their homes) and b) those who do pray in this manner are not thereby
proving they are necessarily more religious than others -- there are millions of religious
Egyptians who refuse to join these public demonstrations. Rather,
they are making a very dramatic indeed extreme political
statement; they are engaging in political aggression, threatening
passersby and motorists who do not join them,
effectively telling them:
'There will be more and more of us and fewer and
fewer of you; and in the end everything will be ours, and those who
have resisted will be sorry.'
|In Alexandria during
the holiday of Ramadan in 2010, the ranks of praying men were positioned
right up to a
passing trolley (above) thus forcing the driver to proceed very
slowly and forcing non-praying passersby (below) to walk in the
street on the trolley tracks.
(See footnote .)
Through this aggressive behavior, all the more
threatening because the men are organized in squads, giving the
distinct appearance of military organization, the
participants are saying, 'The streets belong to Islamism.' Not
to Islam, but to Islamism,
because again this is a political
statement, linked in Egypt and elsewhere to formations such as the
Muslim Brotherhood that have a great deal in common with the
clerical fascist movements in Europe in the 1930s. The
political-military character of this praying is particularly
apparent at political rallies, as in the photo below of
people prostrated in prayer in Tahrir Square following a sermon by
Muslim Brotherhood Mufti Yusuf Qaradawi during the February 4th
so-called "Day of Departure" demonstration:
|Photo showing men prostrated in prayer led by
Muslim Brotherhood Mufti Yusuf Qaradawi at the February 4, 2011
Tahrir Square rally. To see a Reuters photo of most
of the area of the rally, which
demonstrates that the great majority of men
were prostrated in
"Anti-government protesters take part in Friday
prayers at Tahrir Square in Cairo February 4, 2011. Tens of
thousands of Egyptians [Note: "Tens of thousands," not hundreds
of thousands let
alone millions -- TENC] prayed in Cairo's Tahrir Square for an
immediate end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, hoping
a million more would join them in what they called the 'Day of
The above photo is posted at
Copyright Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters
2011. It is reproduced here for educational purposes, for
Fair Use Only.
And the political-military character of the street
praying is more apparent still when it is associated with fighting
and destruction, as in Kristof's
thumbnail image of men swarming over a tank at twilight or in the photo below, taken by a New York Times
photographer on January 28:
The caption under the picture
"In Cairo, an eerie silence fell in one
section of the city at midafternoon, as hundreds of
protesters began a prayer session in the middle of the
street. Protesters bowed their heads as smoke billowed into
the air behind them from the skirmishes between
demonstrators and riot police."
[Our emphasis -- TENC]
In fact, columns of smoke don't 'billow into the air from skirmishes'; they billow
from people setting things on fire,
which is precisely what
the so-called "protesters" did all over Egypt, especially during the period
from January 27 to January 31.
The anti-Mubarak people
in the New York Times
photo above are confirming the holiness
of their fighting and arson through prayer,
meaning they are engaged in
holy warfare, which for the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists is
the primary meaning of jihad. 
Since the start of the so-called "revolution" in
Egypt on January 25, the Western media
has published many pictures of men (and occasionally women) bent
prostrated in prayer -- at rallies; during or after fighting with
political opponents or with police; in front of tanks and other
military vehicles -- and in every case, insofar as the captions
have identified these people, they have been identified as "anti-Mubarak."
Never have we been shown
people identified as "Mubarak's Supporters" praying in the street.
As we will see in Part 4 of this series, when we discuss the content of
Kristof's video (embedded below),
the "Mubarak's supporters" whom Kristof actually does meet
in Tahrir Square express various views. Some chant slogans,
with those that are translated strongly supporting Mubarak. In partial contrast, a
man whom Kristof interviews says Mubarak should be allowed to finish
his term and leave in dignity. He tells the anti-Mubarak
people that they have been disrupting and
destroying Egypt and preventing ordinary people from sleeping or
going to work, and that, contrary to their wanton terror, Egypt needs a
smooth political transition, without destruction.
So "Mubarak's Supporters" voice various views, but
none express fanatical religious beliefs;
indeed none talk about religion. The same is true of those who argue
with the anti-Mubarak people in the Time magazine article, "Cairo Street
Similarly, we have watched hundreds of videos of the Iranian
demonstrations in 2009 and 2010 -- for Emperor's Clothes
collections ('playlists') of such videos, see footnote
 -- and we have never seen any
protesters praying in the street, let alone praying in
formation, prostrating themselves in unison. Yet the
overwhelming majority of the millions of people involved in the
Iranian demonstrations were Muslims, and undoubtedly many were
There is a
reason why some Muslims pray in
military formation in the middle of
and others do not,
are horrified by such behavior.
(See the Time magazine account of a
"Cairo Street Debate," footnote
). The reason is that Muslim-majority societies -- even
Iran under the Islamist Regime, as
we saw to everyone's amazement!
-- are sharply divided.
the conflict in Egypt, the Western media
has almost entirely
avoided discussing this great
between the Islamists (i.e., the people prostrating themselves at
rallies) and the non- or anti-Islamists, who oppose such political-religious manifestations.
Instead, the media has presented the anti-Mubarak forces
simply (and falsely) as democrats opposed to authoritarianism.
By way of
reinforcing this idea, the media widely circulated one particular
image, the burned out hulk of the building
pictured below, which, we were told, was the Cairo headquarters of
Mubarak's National Democratic Party: massive
(communicating, by the size of the supposed ruling party
headquarters, totalitarianism) and destroyed by so-called
"protesters" (communicating, by the extent of destruction, popular
fury at this massive supposed party structure).
|The above photo is from the
blog of one Phil Gribbon. We used it because it shows the
building's architrave (the part over the entrance) and because a
full-screen version is accessible. More on that in a moment.
Mr. Gribbon (or his wife, who took this picture, but whom
Gribbon does not name) captioned the photo ---
"NDP Headquarters and the
army man who didn't appreciate the idea."
--- the "idea" being the idea of taking the picture, and
"NDP" standing for "National Democratic Party," which, in step
with the media, is what the Gribbons called this destroyed
building. More on that in a moment, too.
The photo is posted at
Copyright 2011 by Phil Gribbon. Posted for educational
purposes, for Fair Use Only.
The media reported that this building was destroyed
as an act of protest on what they referred to as "The Day of Rage"
demonstrations, harking back to the infamous Weatherman "Days of Rage" demonstrations
in 1969 .
http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Cairo (Picture #1 of the
This photo is copyright Laura Bly/USA Today 2011. It is
posted here for educational purposes, for Fair Use Only.
The only problem is, in going through this building
room by room, destroying furniture and equipment, books and
documents, burning everything that would burn, the so-called
"protesters" were not directing their "rage" at Mr. Mubarak's party.
They were directing it at the government agency named on the
architrave of the building, which name is easily seen both in Arabic and
English in the detail below:
As the architrave makes clear, this building, the largest structure
the "protesters" destroyed in Egypt, was not the headquarters of the
National Democratic Party: it was the
headquarters of the National Council for Women,
a government agency internationally praised for its work leading the fight in Egypt for women's
rights and against the poverty that fosters oppression of women.
The fact that the so-called "protesters" burned it down; that none of
the "protest" leaders objected, during or afterwards; and that not one Western leader,
or any official at UNICEF, the National Council for Women's partner,
has even mentioned this monstrous act -- these facts speak volumes
about the real character of the so-called "revolutionary
transformation" of Egypt and the international sponsors of that
How much deceit?
Egyptians were sharply divided on the question of Islamism, as
evidenced by the fact that while some Egyptians passionately
supported the National Council for Women, others (the so-called "protesters")
attacked it in a "rage" and burned it down, and knowing that the ranks of the "protesters" were
manifestly dominated by people who prayed in military formation
on busy streets and at rallies, precisely as an
aggressive expression of their politics -- that is, as a threat -- we asked ourselves: why would "Mubarak's
Supporters," who do not bring up religion
in political argument, and who, in Egypt (as in Iran and
elsewhere), oppose the fanatical element in Muslim society, prostrate themselves in prayer in
front of a tank?
Far from being Mubarak's
supporters, the men in Kristof's thumbnail were
obviously adherents of Qaradawi's Muslim Brotherhood
and the like, the most extreme anti-Mubarak
as we did, that Kristof would be briefed on the nuances of the
Egyptian conflict before going to Cairo,
it would follow that he and his
editors understood the
significance of the men praying in front of the tank as well as we
did and therefore knew they were using
a threatening image of Mubarak opponents to represent
a video about Mubarak supporters, meaning
that, yes, they
were guilty of deceit.
But how much deceit?
What was this picture that Kristof used
as the thumbnail representing his video, entitled "Meeting Mubarak's
Where did he get it? We were sure we had seen it
somewhere before, but where?
Why didn't Kristof credit the
source? Was he anxious for people not to find the original,
either because of something he didn't want them to read in
the caption or because he had doctored the image?
If we found the original photo, would it reveal
substantially more dishonesty on the part of Kristof and the New York Times?
searched. And we found it. And it did.
-- Jared Israel and Samantha Criscione
Continued in "Part 3: Better lying through technology."
Supporters," video by Nicholas D. Kristof and Jaron Gilinsky, The New York Times,
February 2, 2011
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Footnotes and Further Reading
"Watching Thugs With Razors and Clubs at Tahrir Sq."
By Nicholas D. Kristof,
The New York Times, February 2, 2011
If you cannot access it at the above URL, go to
 The images of men praying in military formation in
Alexandria are cropped from screenshots of the video, "Millions of
Muslims in the street to pray: Ramadhan 2010; Alexandria (Egypt)." The claim
about "millions of Muslims" should be taken with a large grain of salt.
From our observation, since the strength of Islamism rests largely on
intimidation, and since the larger the numbers, the greater the
potential intimidation, Islamists routinely exaggerate their numbers by one
or two orders of magnitude: a very large crowd, perhaps in the tens of
thousands, becomes millions. The video is at
 As regards
jihad, there are right now two pressing questions: a) do Islamists such
as the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Western media describe as moderate,
advocate jihad and mean by that holy war and b) are so-called jihadists
independent forces, or are they proxy forces for Western establishments?
Regarding the first question we would answer yes, they do advocate jihad
meaning holy war and regarding the second question we would answer, no,
they are not entirely independent; most are to a great extent Western
proxies. Looking at it differently, without Western aid they wouldn't have a
snowball's chance in hell (witness the situation in Libya. Very
good at burning buildings and mob attacks on individuals. Not good at warfare.)
In the TENC article, "Fact-checking the Muslim Brotherhood," Jared
Israel proves that Brotherhood founder
Hassan Al-Banna proclaimed armed
holy war the ultimate human activity; the primary meaning of jihad; and
a pressing necessity in modern society. You can read the TENC
piece, including selected quotes
from Al-Banna, at
http://tenc.net/facts.htm or you
can access Al-Banna's full text,
"On Jihad," at
What about today? Yusuf Qaradawi (or Al-Qaradawi), Mufti of the Muslim
Brotherhood, has ruled that participation in and/or financial support
for "defensive jihad" is mandatory for all Muslims. As Qaradawi makes
clear, "defensive jihad" means armed warfare to reclaim lands that were
once under the rule of Islamic law but are now in the hands of what he
calls "disbelievers." His examples: Chechnya, Kashmir and Palestine (by
Palestine he means the entire former Palestine Mandate territory,
including Israel.) See his comments in "Ask the Scholar," on Qaradawi's new website,
The particular column is entitled "Spending Zakah [obligatory charity --
TENC] Money on Jihad," at
Elsewhere, Qaradawi offers a much more extensive list of places that (he
decrees) need to be freed from the rule of "disbelievers," including
unspecified territories in China, Thailand, the Philippines, and various
cities and republics in the former Soviet Union. Quite a large part of
the world. Go to Chapter Three of "The Islamic Movement In The
Field Of Education And Religious Training," at
and scroll down to the subhead, "A Debate that We do not Need Today."
The debate in question is over "offensive jihad" (conquering lands that
were never under Islamic rule) vs. "defensive jihad" (conquering lands
that were at one time, even the distant past, under Islamic rule.)
Qaradawi favors "defensive jihad" until all lands once under Islamic
rule are conquered, following which it will be high time to talk about
conquering the rest, says he.
One would think from reading Qaradawi that he is fiercely independent of
Western influence, but that is an illusion. In practice, we see
the West either sponsoring and aiding jihad, as in Egypt, bombing in
favor of the jihadists, as in Libya, or effectively supporting the
Iranian jihadists against their opponents, as in Afghanistan and Iraq.
To read Jared Israel's arguments on this subject, see the following two
discussions on Potkin Azarmehr's blog:
(The original discussion in this case is no longer online, so we have copied and
posted the Google cache.)
(In this discussion, Jared's argument mainly begins in his second
In both cases Jared has multiple contributions, which you can find by
searching for his name.
 "Cairo Street Debate: When
Mubarak Foes and Backers Clash," by Rania Abouzeid, Time,
Monday, January 31, 2011, at
The Time article is posted with a commentary by Jared Israel, at
 Our playlists of videos on Iran are posted at:
 Jared Israel has written several articles on the
Weathermen, whose 1969 "Days of Rage" helped launch the gangsterization
of protest and dissent. See, for example, "A Nightmare of Human
Potential: Reply to Bill Ayers' New York Times Editorial," at
See, "UNICEF representative lauds role of NCW for women's
empowerment," Egyptian State Information Service (SIS), Friday, 03
December 2010, at
In case the post-"revolution" Egyptian SIS deletes this page, we have
archived a screenshot
Also, TENC reader Angie D. found a
most interesting United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on
its joint program with the National Council for Women (NCW). See,
The United Nations Development Programme, Office of the
Resident Representative, " 'Increased awareness on participation of
women in society.' A NCW-UNDP joint Initiative." Outcome Evaluation
Report, UNDP Multi-Year Funding Framework (MYFF) for Egypt, 2002-2006:
Outcome 5, August 2007.
This report can be downloaded as MS Word document at
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link to any person or Internet list. You may post any
TENC article on the Internet as long as you cite Emperor's
as the source, credit the author(s), and state the URL, which in
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The Emperor's New Clothes (TENC) *