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October 19, 2002

Fabricated Indymedia quote blames Israel for Bali bombing?

Notorious anti-Israel site caught by blogger in Big Lie and Fakery!

An Indymedia post from Wednesday purportedly quotes an AFP article suggesting the C4 used in last week's Bali bombing originated in Israel:

(OCTOBER 16,2002) Police investigating the deadly bombing of a nightclub in the Indonesian island of Bali in which nearly 200 people died have found traces of plastic explosive manufactured in Israel at the site of the attack.
The discovery of the explosives suggests a sophisticated bombing operation. Reports from the French news agency AFP say that the head of Indonesian intelligence, Hendropriyono, has disclosed that the explosive was a type known as C4, tacked to manufacture in Israel.

- Indymedia, Israeli made C4 explosive used in Bali bombing.

However, the Indymedia post doesn't link to a copy of the full AFP article. A google search for various combinations of key words - Bali, C4, Hendropriyono, Israel - turns up nothing relevant other than the Indymedia article (which is syndicated on a number of regional Indymedia sites). e.g. Hendropriyono c4 israel. A search on the new Google News service, which indexes AFP articles via any number of affiliate news sites, finds zero hits.

The nearest AFP story I can find is this one, also from Wednesday. It quotes Hendropriyono, but the only C4 manufacturer mentioned is the US:

THE C4 plastic explosive used in the Bali bombing is a very powerful substance mainly manufactured in the United States but widely supplied to military forces around the world.
- AFP, C4 explosive a 'military issue'.

Tellingly, Indymedia's alleged AFP quote - indented to appear as a direct paste from a wire article - doesn't match the usual AFP style. AFP doesn't put the date in ledes, it puts the location, like this:

JAKARTA (AFP) Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has signed two emergency decrees to combat terrorism following the devastating Bali bombing, Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra said.
- AFP, Indonesia president signs anti-terror decrees after Bali blast.

Nor does the upper-case date match AFP style.

Now, that's not proof that the quote was fabricated. Some news services have a policy of altering wire stories to match their own style - for example the News Corp copy quoted above, which includes neither the date nor location in the lede. But it seems more than a little suspicious - particularly given that it followed just a few days after this Indymedia story, reported here on Monday, that alleges Mossad involvement in the bombing:

BALI, Indonesia (Sun Oct 13, 2002) - Mossad Bombs ripped through a packed nightspot on Indonesia's traditionally tranquil tourist island of Bali overnight in a Israeli staged terror attack, killing at least 182 people, many of them Australians.
- Indymedia, Mossad Bombs Kill Almost 200 in Bali Tourist Nightspot.

As with the Wednesday C4 article, it includes an indented quote with the appearance of a wire story - but no link or reference. Indeed, the article includes no information at all other than unsubstantiated allegations. Even by Indymedia's low standards both articles are far from credible, as the comments following the posts show.