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Sunday, March 02, 2003
"Close, but no Cigar" Propaganda
This is almost as funny as when Iraq supposedly produced propaganda about how "Bart Simpson" was
sleeping with the wives of US troops while they were participating in the Gulf War. The Observer, a UK newspaper, claims that it was leaks a US Government memo with secret plans for "dirty tricks", such as surveiling UN deligates. Sharp-eyed folks such as Matt Drudge have already pointed out that there are all sorts of obvious mistakes, point to a forgery by a Brit.

For example, the date is given in European format ("31/01/2003" instead of "01/31/2003") and words like "favorable" have the British spelling (like "favourable"). I noticed that people on "The Observer"'s message boards claimed that the dates could be "explained" by the receiving computer setting the dates, but: (1) Any system I've ever used, the sending system sets the date field. Spammers love to take advantage of this, by-the-by dating mail forward a month or two can keep it at the head of your message list. (2) The article seems to say that the message that was being reproduced is the original, US gov't message not the one forwarded to the paper and (3) Rfc2822, the internet standard, seems to say that it is the sending computer that sets the date. Of course, who knows exactly what email system was supposedly being used. I suppose some wacky system could be involved.

Lesson to take home: it is trivial to forge email! If anyone would like mail from or or -- let me know. ;-) For that matter, why send it at all? Just use any text editor to create a mail message out digital whole cloth if you want.

posted by DRH 3/02/2003 12:56:00 AM

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