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471 comments

They're not that stupid (5, Insightful)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672081)

I know "US Government Caught Manipulating Wikipedia" is a cool title, but seriously, does anyone think the US government, the CIA or the Vatican would be stupid enough to get caught if they actually wanted to influence a wikipedia article?

They'd probably at the very least get their 'operatives' to go home, get one of those free AOL CDs (etc), and do it from a public IP range.

What's more likely is that this is someone who got bored at work (at the Vatican etc), and decided to put their personal opinions in. The nature of their work usually implies their beliefs are coincident with that of their employers.

As for TFA, it states "One has to wonder how reliable an encyclopaedia is when it peddles government propaganda in an almost Orwellian manner"; Seems a bit like FUD to me. The whole point of wikipedia is that it is constantly peer reviewed. If things are incorrect, people will eventually correct them - I fail to see how that's Orwellian. If anything, changing pages in this manner actually brings MORE attention to the issue [wikipedia.org] .

Re:They're not that stupid (4, Funny)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672181)

I know "US Government Caught Manipulating Wikipedia" is a cool title, but seriously, does anyone think the US government, the CIA or the Vatican would be stupid enough to get caught if they actually wanted to influence a wikipedia article?

This US government? Abso-fraking-lutely.

Re:They're not that stupid (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672231)

Stupid? It must have been one of Ted Steven's [wikipedia.org] congressional aides/pages.

"Series of tubes!" SNORT! That sound's like a congressman's view of his page staff.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Use /. moderation on wikipedia (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672281)

Except that 'constant peer review' means that if two people disagree on which facts are pertinent to an entry. The last person to get bored gets their version to stand.
I've had this happen so very rarely edit.
What is needed is a /. style moderation and karma system so that any peer can review it without having to change it and indicate to other which are the best entries and editors.

Re:They're not that stupid (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672331)

This is the same government that allows low-level employees to take home vast amounts of personal taxpayer information unencrypted on their laptops. The government is absolutely stupid enough to get caught.

The government is vast and composed almost entirely of low-paid operatives. I have no problem believing they could try something like this and get caught. I have a hard time believing in the government as shadowy cabal that is capable of concealing vast conspiracies for years or decades at a time.

Re:They're not that stupid (2, Insightful)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672597)

I agree that shadowy cabals are unlikely, however you don't need a shadowy cabal to conceal a secret. It would be as simple as whichever department wanted to make such changes doing it from home instead of the office. I would assume that anyone with enough skill to edit a wikipedia page would also know what IPs are and that they're traceable.

Re:They're not that stupid (2, Insightful)

Leftist Troll (825839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673077)

I would assume that anyone with enough skill to edit a wikipedia page would also know what IPs are and that they're traceable.

I think that's an extremely poor assumption to make.

I don't imagine your average bureaucrat has any concept of what an IP address is.

Re:They're not that stupid (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672615)

As in: Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from evil. And you simply don't need a shadowy cabal to be incompetent. Any low level government incom^H^H^H^H^Hemployee can be left to his own devices and the government will quite naturally come to resemble an evil cabal. It's just your average garden variety emergent property.

Re:They're not that stupid (3, Funny)

ZeroFactorial (1025676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672949)

Indeeed, I thought the title should read "Government caught with their pants down"
Unfortunately, Bill Clinton ensured that this phrase would never carry shock value ever again.

Re:They're not that stupid (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673049)

Huh, I would have thought that the Kennedy brothers would have prevented that phrase from ever carrying shock value again, so don't give up hope.

Re:They're not that stupid (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673009)

This is the same government that allows low-level employees to take home vast amounts of personal taxpayer information unencrypted on their laptops. The government is absolutely stupid enough to get caught.

The government is vast and composed almost entirely of low-paid operatives. I have no problem believing they could try something like this and get caught. I have a hard time believing in the government as shadowy cabal that is capable of concealing vast conspiracies for years or decades at a time.


Heck, all it would take is for Mr. Government Operative outsourcing his wikipedia edits/editors to their home so that they can telecommute and edit wikipedia from as many different ISPs as possible. Just pay the low rankers somewhere from 2-3x min. wage and give them a secrecy oath and presto you've got your wikipedia editing organization. If you really wanted control of wikipedia, you'd bribe/black mail the admins to delete articles that you don't want appearing.

Re:They're not that stupid (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673013)

The government is absolutely stupid enough to get caught.
Get caught doing what? Editing "the encyclopedia anyone can edit"? There is a "rule" aginst this?

Re:They're not that stupid (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672429)

I know "US Government Caught Manipulating Wikipedia" is a cool title, but seriously, does anyone think the US government, the CIA or the Vatican would be stupid enough to get caught if they actually wanted to influence a wikipedia article?

More importantly, do any of them feel that threatened by Wikipedia that they have to try and manipulate it? Are they expecting Wikipedia to foment revolution or call into question their very existence? And do they realize that pages tend to be archived all over the place, so that even if they do manipulate entries, the original entries are no doubt floating around somewhere?

Re:They're not that stupid (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672441)

but seriously, does anyone think the US government, the CIA or the Vatican would be stupid enough to get caught if they actually wanted to influence a wikipedia article

Yes. You've seen too many movies.
 
No, there's no need for sources, you'll have to take my word for it.
 
(because I say so.)

Re:They're not that stupid (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672565)

You are seriously over-estimating their ability to understand technology. How many "classified documents" have been released with redaction that could be removed or circumvented? PLENTY! And on topics that are more damning than the one mentioned in the article.

yes, they are (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672631)

Congresscritter says "jump," an intern doesn't ask "how high."

neither will one or two members of the permanent staff, for that matter.

Re:They're not that stupid (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672689)

It matters because even today the general public doesn't seem to remember the criminal level of fraud perpetuated by this administration. Most importantly, criminal charges have not yet been brought against Bush and Cheney.

Bush/Cheney did claim that there was an Al Qaeda / Iraq connection and that Iraq had WMD, and that this posed a clear an present danger to the security of the United States. But then when faced with contrary information, e.g., from Joseph Wilson that Iraq was not in fact trying to obtain Uranium from Niger, Bush/Cheney attacked Wilson (by revealing his wife Valerie Plame was a CIA operative), instead of revising their public story.

Later Bush/Cheney nefariously blamed "intelligence failures" when in fact they knew better than anyone else that there was no credible threat from Iraq. Cheney was encumbered by a conflict of interest because, in classic Washington revolving-door style, he was re-entering politics having just served as CEO of Halliburton who ended up profiting heavily from the Iraq war. This is absolutely relevant!

Bush, as commander-in-chief, is guilty of Dereliction of Duty by both starting an unnecessary war based on lies, and then grossly incompetently managing that war. The deaths of American service men and women were absolutely avoidable because they war was unnecessary and avoidable. Abusing power, and abusing the trust and dedication of military personnel by getting them killed unnecessarily is absolutely criminal and cannot go unpunished.

The death of every American serviceperson and Iraqi civilian due to the war in Iraq is an individual charge of manslaughter against Bush.

There should also be criminal repercussions for the lesser, but still significant crimes, of distracting the US military away from the war against terrorism (in Afghanistan) to a distraction in Iraq, right when the US was most vulnerable to terrorism (after 9/11). The enormous waste of money is also criminal mismanagement.

Don't be dissuaded or intimidated by misinformation on Wikipedia, the rabid invective of idiots on FOX News, or snide comments on slashdot. Seek Justice. Seek the removal from power of Bush/Cheney from office, their arrest, and prosecution.

Thank you to those in high positions at the Pentagon who have spoken out against these crimes, usually after retirement. But those still serving in high positions of military responsibility have a continuing requirement of their positions to enforce military law with regards to the commander in chief.

Re:They're not that stupid (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673035)

Cheney was encumbered by a conflict of interest because, in classic Washington revolving-door style, he was re-entering politics having just served as CEO of Halliburton who ended up profiting heavily from the Iraq war.
You're being too kind. He retired in name, but he was still on the payroll [senate.gov] until last year [villagevoice.com] .

Beyond the conspiracy theories is a simple fact (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673109)

Anyone with any agenda can manipulate Wikipedia. There are no real credentials, just a few rules. I'm surprised that there hasn't been more argumentative revising of various entries. The medium is rife with contentious possibilities. That one political school of thoughts and its agents would manipulate content is no surprise at all.

Seeking justice implies injury (we probably have that, and you cite several likely cases) and the need to remedy that injury.

Doing that, getting justice, means removing anonymity for the full editing process-- which can be done with lots of software. Then we can pick, perhaps by color or another annotation, which version we want to see; left wing, right wing, centrist, socialist, green, and so on. We'll know the content by its source and judge from there. Until then, please don't be surprised by media content swaying on public forums.

Call Your Bribed Senator NOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672817)

at 1-800-ALQ-AEDA [huffingtonpost.com] and demand the arrest, detention, trial, conviction, AND
sentencing of the world's biggest gunrunner [whitehouse.org] .

Thanks for your activism.

PatRIOTically,
K

Yep (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672915)

The alarmist bent is high with this one. First of all, Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia designed to be edited by people. If you don't want that to happen come up with a different model...
More to the point, someone with a "House of Representatives IP Address" does not represent the US Government in its entirety and could be anyone from the lowliest page of a pro-war Republican up to the House party leader. At this point it's just speculation and looking at the changes they are far from subversive.

Re:They're not that stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672973)

I wanna see some heads roll!

Re:They're not that stupid (2, Funny)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672981)

The whole point of wikipedia is that it is constantly peer reviewed. If things are incorrect, people will eventually correct them - I fail to see how that's Orwellian.

Easy! The previous entry said "The U.S. has never been at war with Iraq."

The current entry says "The U.S. has always been at war with Iraq."

Whoa, whoa, whoa (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672097)

Wait. Hold the phone.

You mean individuals within the government can edit "the encyclopedia anyone can edit", too?

*Pause for stunned silence*

Or do we only let people not affiliated with governments edit Wikipedia? Or perhaps only from home?

Or perhaps we'd prefer that governments edit Wikipedia from unattributable IP addresses...?

Or could it be that a person with a "House of Representatives IP address" is actually acting of his or her own will, making what they feel are appropriate changes to a Wikipedia article, which can be vetted, reversed, modified, and discussed, as can any change on Wikipedia?

How does one person with a House IP equate to "US Government Caught Manipulating Wikipedia"? The biggest surprise about this story is that it didn't read "Posted by kdawson". Seriously, is this the kind of politically-charged meaningless garbage that passes for front-page material on slashdot now?

Oh, wait, I guess I must speaking for the government now, and not myself. Perhaps this post is even propaganda...after all, anyone who works for "the government" can't possibly have their own views and beliefs, some of which might even differ from others [weeklystandard.com] . Oh, it's the Weekly Standard, so it doesn't count? This whole article is couched in assertions such as it being "bizarre" to make a connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.Except that such a connection was explored in various ways for a decade, long before Bush was in office.

John McWethy, national security correspondent for ABC News, reported the story on August 25, 1998:

Before the pharmaceutical plant was reduced to rubble by American cruise missiles, the CIA was secretly gathering evidence that ended up putting the facility on America's target list. Intelligence sources say their agents clandestinely gathered soil samples outside the plant and found, quote, "strong evidence" of a chemical compound called EMPTA, a compound that has only one known purpose, to make VX nerve gas.

Then, the connection:

The U.S. had been suspicious for months, partly because of Osama bin Laden's financial ties, but also because of strong connections to Iraq. Sources say the U.S. had intercepted phone calls from the plant to a man in Iraq who runs that country's chemical weapons program.
Oops.

No link was ever really substantive, but there were links, and that shouldn't be surprising in the region. But that isn't even the point.

Those who want to paint all these issues as black and white, or say that some official or another "lied" about complex issues related to WMD in Iraq, OIF, etc., are the ones who are effectively the liars -- by ignoring everything that doesn't neatly support their own political positions. They lap up the new Iran NIE like it's gospel, while simultaneously writing off anything else that doesn't support their own views as lies. How convenient...and disgusting, for people who fancy themselves as enlightened intellectuals.

Re:Spin, Abuse, Spin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672299)

Welcome back, Dave. After reading this post, you'd make ole Joe [wikipedia.org] proud.

I doubt the house has many IP addresses, and I think/hope their primary concern is serving the people ... not trying to alter how we view them.

There's also this core belief that if you have any kind of bias due to what you do in your life, you shouldn't be altering those Wikipedia pages. Should you edit your own Wikipedia page? Certainly not. It's scandalous that a government employee is busy trying to edit something that is probably ok'd and welcomed by the community into anything else. Because they have what's called a conflict of interest.

Keep working on your spin though, you'd make a great senator.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672389)

The word used was "manipulate" not edit, and it's appropriate. The edits done were done to inject a partisan element into what had been a more neutral article. If the edits had been purely informative, then they'd have been legitimate.

Your comment is akin to saying "Wow, you mean someone entered a public library that everyone is allowed to enter" when in fact the charge is that the person went in and set fire to the books.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672503)

Looking at the examples of the edits shown for the summary [wikipedia.org] , I don't see anything that is inaccurate, much less partisan. I do see things that people who don't agree with OIF and/or the current administration, especially the sort of folks who think literally everything that supports their position is true and everything else is a trumped up "lie", won't like, though.

In fact, every single edit I see on that page, save for perhaps the one in the first paragraph which is a little over the top, makes the article more factually accurate, if that's what we're interested in.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672687)

Notice the edits like to use the Fox News style "some say." That's what Fox News does to interject unsourced opinions into their stories.

The Fox News reporter might say something like this "Some say that Nancy Pelosi is sexually attracted to Laura Bush." The reporter didn't say it, a named source didn't say it, no SOME said it. Who's some? The trick here is that the reporter managed to get his own opinion into the story under the guise of journalism.

Journalists are journalists because they source the facts in their stories. Encyclopedias do as well. What this house office did was to just interject their own opinions into the article without sourcing them by using the old standby "SOME SAY."

Count the instances of the word "SOME" in the edits you see. The edits were intended to corrupt the article with unsourced opinions.

Actually... (2, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672911)

The changes that insert some also tend to put alleged on it. The edit linked took some data that was written that could be considered putting the invasion of Iraq in a bad light and softening it up with 'somes' and 'alleged', to make it seem like less strong/credible statements.

Note also, the first edit, where the edit takes existing 'alleged' out of the picture.

Basically, the spin on the article pre-edit was things showing the invasion in a bad light were presented more like hard facts, while the elements that were put forth as justifications were relegated to mere allegations. The edit reversed the situation to make the anti-war points allegations and the supporting points factual.

The last bit of substantial edit looks like arguing in the body of the article. Nothing was removed, but what was added looked more appropriate for the Talk section rather than to end up with a paragraph that states something followed by a statement essentially declaring that paragraph to be irrelevant to the article subject.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672923)

First, it is factually correct to say "some say" instead of "it is so" in so many of those places. Because the article's older edit makes it appear as if it was unequivocally correct that any such links had been disproved, when that is simply not the case at all.

Substantive links that would justify an invasion on their own with no other reason or purpose were disproved. But various links existed nonetheless.

I included a link that showed the government found Al Qaeda ties in Iraq years before Bush took office. Just because someone doesn't source and cite everything with endless streams of URLs from people who have nothing better to do than construct their own perfect view of the world on Wikipedia doesn't mean it's not still true. If there are no sources AND is not true, it will most certainly be reversed in short order.

Unfortunately, the simple fact is that most people who regularly edit Wikipedia are very likely to prefer the article's older form, which ignores the nuance and difficulties of acknowledging there actually were ties, since it doesn't fit into the neat little box of "everything the administration says or does is a lie". Don't get me wrong: I think Wikipedia does a fairly good job. Damned good, in fact. But there is a LOT of bias in a lot of articles, and it's no surprise that bias tilts toward the views of majority of the demographic doing most of the edits.

Just because a little number isn't floating in the air next to one of the edits doesn't make it untrue. The fact of the matter is that all of these edits were actually increasing the accuracy of the article, weasel words and all. Using weasel words is sometimes the only way to quickly update an article where people are making sweeping statements and conclusions that are, quite simply, incorrect. So yes, "some people" believe that any ties to Al Qaeda were disproved. But that's not correct. At all. By all rights, that entire section should be rewritten to accurately represent the situation.

I think the last edit sums it up:

Such a link was never suggested by President Bush or the Bush administration as a justification for the invasion [emphasis mine]; rather, that such a relationship existed at all is seen as compelling.

And indeed it was.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673095)

The overall tone of all the edits were definitely partisan spin, without contributing any facts. However, reading the before and after also makes clear that there did already exist a somewhat opposing spin.

Probably, you can logically argue the injection of 'alleged' phrasing in any controversial point as making a statement more universally true rather than presenting it as true. However, the edit clearly demonstrated they only wanted to put alleged around points they didn't like, *and* wanted to remove the weakening 'alleged' term from a point they did like. Both the article pre-edit and post-edit seemed to be using alleged to weaken points that the editor didn't like.

The last bits didn't remove data, but read more like a debate that should be in the Talk section as to why a paragraph or two is irrelevant to the article. The post-edit seems confusing 'here is data point A, with respect to the invasion of Iraq. However, it had nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq'.

Particularly the first edit, though, points to some right-wing nut who happens to be in government, and not a conspiracy. I would imagine a conspiracy would have written more clean, less bitter sounding stuff.

Close (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672551)

Your comment is akin to saying "Wow, you mean someone entered a public library that everyone is allowed to enter" when in fact the charge is that the person went in and set fire to the books.

Actually, it's more like going into a library and stealing books you don't want anyone to read. Which I gather is a real problem at libraries.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (1, Insightful)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672731)

What the edits did was change some statements from being absolute statements "it was the case that X" to more a more guarded statement of "some claim that it was the case that X". The effect was to give a greater sense of uncertainty to an issue that has been hotly debated.

Now I happen to think that some of the edits went a bit too far in that direction. But to call the edits partisan or manipulative just because they gave the benefit of the doubt to Bush is going too far. And comparing it to book burning is way over the top, given that no information was even removed from the article.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672451)

Your post would have been good if it hadn't turned into a shrill, idiotic right-wing troll.

Lapping up the new Iran NIE? Christ. What a loser you are. I mean how big of a fucking loser do you have to be to want to go invade yet another country and kill another half million people, when the two countries you've already invaded are both gone to hell in a handbasket.

Fucking idiot.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (-1, Offtopic)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672721)

Yeah, they are lapping it up. And you're the perfect example of what I'm talking about: something you disagree with (or, probably more accurately, don't understand)? It's then a "shrill, idiotic right-wing troll".

And yes, hordes of people who are criticizing the CIA for destroying the interrogation tapes, after even the White House told them not too, can't get enough of the November Iran NIE, which was largely produced by HUMINT from that very same CIA, as probably the largest contributor to the relevant information in this NIE.

Also, I have no idea, at all, where you get out of anything that I said that any of this argues for an invasion of Iran to kill "another half million people". (Where was the first half million? In Iraq, where even when you take literally everyone who died for any reason, related to the invasion or no, it's even hard to have that kind of number stand up to any kind of scrutiny? Or perhaps we should look at the figures from human rights organizations, who said that about 50,000 Iraqis died each year as a direct result of Saddam's corruption of the UN programs meant to help his people? Or maybe we should just pull the wool over our eyes and pretend that the US wanted to indiscriminately kill as many innocent Iraqis as possible, since that, you know helps our mission oh-so-much? Anything but the truth.)

I imagine the recent stories about Iraq being significantly calmer on the whole, with progress being made in formerly-troubled areas, and a marked uptick in indicators of progress really get under your skin. That's the really disturbing part: you'd probably prefer that Iraq completely collapse on itself, with no care or regard for the Iraqi people, just so you can feel comfortable in your smug and arrogant beliefs, in which you selectively pick anything that supports your view and discount anything that doesn't as lies, instead of realizing the world is a hell of a lot more complex.

And keep in mind that whether Iran is currently actively pursuing nuclear weapons development is separate from Iran's continuing enrichment activities, and being in continuing violation of NPT and UN provisions. There are few logical reasons for Iran, given its own easy, local access to cheap energy sources, to continue its nuclear research, with its comparatively high associated costs and difficulty, for supposedly "peaceful purposes".

Even if it is presently accurate that Iran is not currently involved in a major project to specifically produce a nuclear weapon, it does not mean that Iran doesn't still represent a danger on that front. Indeed, some are asking why Iran is viewing this NIE as a "victory". I think the answer is clear: this will be trumpeted by many as proof that some in the US were "wrong" on Iran, leaving Iran more free than ever to continue its nuclear research, which will - no matter its ostensible purpose - bring Iran closer to a nuclear weapon.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672535)

Whenever you see a long post defending an inappropriate action made by a boneheaded government employee, you know daveschroeder must be in the house.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672611)

There is no need to talk about conspiracies and manipulation on both sides.

It might appear that the ip in question is an outgoing proxy or something. The ip address 143.231.249.141 [wikipedia.org] appears to have made thousands of contributions and the editing pattern looks as though it would be multiple persons editing. For example there is a case where the contributor from the IP in question admits he's a staffer in Albert Wynn's office [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (2, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672707)

You are quite right. I don't think there is an article on Wikipedia that isn't edited with some kind of bias. Each subject is seen through the eyes of the writer, whether they hold views as an individual or are representing the views of some organisation they are associated with. To truly edit an article with no bias whatsoever requires a familiarity with absolute truth. Perhaps only in the fields of mathematics is this possible and even then there is some scope for interpretation.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672711)

Now why did you have to go and ruin a good article by bringing some reason and light into it.
Orwellian propaganda is in the eye of the beholder.
Really if the edits had been negative then a lot of people wouldn't have a problem with it.

Re:Whoa, whoa, whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672759)

The U.S. had been suspicious for months, partly because of Osama bin Laden's financial ties, but also because of strong connections to Iraq. Sources say the U.S. had intercepted phone calls from the plant to a man in Iraq who runs that country's chemical weapons program.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait...hold the phone. One man who works for the government of Iraq means is the same thing as the government of Iraq?

Sorry dude, had to throw it back at you. Playing the same game you are, I could say that the one man in the Iraqi chemical weapons program had his own agenda and sympathies toward Al Quida that were not supported by the Iraqi government.

Besides which...didn't you neo-cons complain that Clinton blew up an aspirin factory. That means the man in Iraq was just giving chemical advice to help cure headaches.

Hey, it's our friend in intelligence! (0, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672819)

Hi Dave, long time, no propaganda. Glad to see you are still defending the honor of our government. How's that paying these days?

You can cry crocodile tears all you want. We are not going to stop pointing out that people like you get paid to try to make the populace think a certain way. You will never post anything here without me questioning your motives and pointing out what you do. You may as well take your propaganda machine elsewhere for all the good it will do you. People here are too smart to be fooled by your sophistry.

Have you ever written anything critical of the status quo? Would you be fired if you did?

P.S. Wondering why I talk to Dave like this? Read his home page. You don't even have to read between the lines.

I was right there with you up 'till the end (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673081)

This is definitely old news. The edits happened in 2005, the article completely blows it out of proportion (the URL is "bush censors wikipedia" which is pretty ridiculous), and anyone who's been paying attention already knows that Congress-critters and their staffers love to edit wikipedia.

So kudos to you for pointing that out.

However, then you run off on a rambling and weird digression and into some random defense of the Iraq-war hawks.

You make a sound argument in trying to link Iraq and Al-Qaeda, except that you overlook the fact that outside of the western world, Al Qaeda is (and has long been) quite popular. So, yes, there may have been some limited contacts between the Iraqi government and Al Qaeda, but as far as anyone can tell they were never substantial. Nor were they ever of the same scale as support from other countries that we currently count as allies in the Farce on Terror.

As far as the cruise-missile attack you referenced, I don't things are as cut-and-dry as you present them. Here's the wikipedia article on the bombing of al-Shifa [wikipedia.org] . (I know the wikipedia isn't the strongest source ever, but this pretty much jives with what I remember from the news at the time.) There may have been some Al-Qaeda influence, and they may have been using the plant as cover for a nerve gas experiment, but almost 10 years later there's no evidence for either of those things. And there's absolutely zero evidence that Iraq was in any way involved.

So, yes. The intelligence services were concerned about Al Qaeda even before Bush took office. They thought there may be a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. But saying that without also saying that we had far more intelligence linking Al-Qaeda to countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt is disingenuous. It's a lie by omission. Especially in the case of elected officials using classified information to build public support for a war of aggression.

Now, let's address this NIE thing. The reason why the new NIE on Iran has been so well received is that it fits well with what the rest of the world has been saying about Iran. You may remember the run-up to the Iraq war, the Bushies were saying that Iraq was "this close" to a nuclear bomb and that they had vast stockpiles of chemical weapons (WMDs! WMDs!) Meanwhile, everyone else (including people who would know [wikipedia.org] ) was saying the exact opposite. We ignored the nay-sayers (that is, pretty much the whole world) and trusted our intelligence services and our leaders and we got exactly what we deserved (an unending war of occupation, costing countless Iraqi, American, and "coalition" lives, not to mention mortgaging the USA to the hilt).

Is a nuclear Iran a threat? Maybe. But it's a huge leap of faith to go from "we have no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program" to "If Iran had nuclear weapons they could be dangerous" to "we need to start a preemptive war with Iran". Which is exactly what the Bush administration did in the case of Iraq. The difference in this new NIE, as far as I can tell, is that the people who put it together took explicit measures to prevent the administration from making that cognitive leap again.

*waves hand* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672101)

These are the wiki articles you're looking for...

These are the wiki articles we're looking for...

Nothing to see here, move right along...

Nothing to see here, move right along...

Wrong (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672103)

There is no evidence that there is a government policy to screw with Wikipedia. Claiming that the US government is manipulating Wikipedia due to some IP numbers matching vandals is like claiming that the University of Washington is manipulating Wikipedia for the same reason.

Line 42 (2, Funny)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672417)

It is alledged by some that there is no evidence that there is a government policy to screw with Wikipedia. Claiming that the US government is manipulating Wikipedia due to some IP numbers matching vandals is believed by some to be like claiming that the University of Washington is manipulating Wikipedia for the same reason. This of course does not disprove a relationship aimed at bringing harm to the United States.

There, the house of representatives fixed that for ya.

I would also like to point out the date on the edit linked in the article:
Revision as of 17:49, 12 August 2005

Re:Wrong (1)

Ziest (143204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672549)

A whois of the IP address show that the address is assigned to the U.S. House of Representatives. It has been about 15 years since I was last at the congress building but I would guess that they don't allow just any random person to wander into the building, jack into the nearest network port and hack away. I bet they have lots of security people guarding the doors, checking badges, looking for Osama bin Laden, eating donuts, reading the sports page, etc.

Oh, you wikiophiles (3, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672111)

You and your precious online encyclopedia. The one that can be edited by anyone. The one that contains absolutely no bias. It's so cute.

mod parent funny (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672453)

If he's a troll Stephen Colbert, the person not the character, is a Right-Wing Republican.

I don't understand... (2, Insightful)

Celarnor (835542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672133)

Why aren't we embracing their changes and using the fact that they've changed it as a historical fact in and of itself?

Wikipedia isn't just the article at any given point in time. It's the article throughout it's whole history, changes and differences intact. By it's very nature as a (mostly) amatuer-penned encylopedia, any given article is going to be filled with bias one way or another. Assuming that references exist throughout the history of the article, then you should be able to mostly eliminate bias by reading through the whole thing, changes by both sides and all.

Any rationale is blowing smoke! (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672167)

You think the U.S. Government will openly admit that the Middle East conflicts are all about a resource war? Throughout the last 2000 years, wars are usually fought over land and resources. Things are no different today, except that we will not admit it and instead cook up reasons (i.e., WMD).

Re:Any rationale is blowing smoke! (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672509)

Throughout the last 2000 years, wars are usually fought over land and resources.
Let's not forget for defense of those things (the US in WWI and WWII, France in WWI and WWII) and also for ideological reasons (terrorism, crusades, etc).

Re:Any rationale is blowing smoke! (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673075)

Wars are usually over general stupidity on at least one side. The nation that starts a war most frequently loses, in part because their government has made repeated miscalculations and miss-estimations, and they continue the same pattern through the actual war. Those mistakes do often reflect resource problems, i.e. the government screws up their economy, unemployment increases, inflation increases, the populace gets increasingly shrill, and so grabbing someone else's resources looks like a way out. Then the same idiots that 'misunderestimated' the impact of their last round of decisions 'misunderestimate' the resources they will have to burn trying to seize others, the chance of failure, and just how personally the other nation(s) will take it.

And you're surprised because...? (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672173)

From a blagh entry from two years ago [mcgrew.info] :

In 1979, the US Copyright Office granted a world wide copyright to the late Mr. Adams, who thought he still had plenty of time left. The copyright will not expire until you, too, are long late. The copyright was on a wholly remarkable book based on that radio play.

I never heard of the book. Indeed, nobody outside Islington (at least, nobody important) heard of it, either.

Also unheard of by anybody that matters is another book, called "Whackapedia". In many of the nerdier civilizations in the outer eastern rim of the internet, Whackapedia has already displaced the great Encyclopedia Britannica as the standard repository of all knowlege and wisdom, for though it has many ommissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it's free, and second, it has the words "FOO BAR" in large, friendly letters on its cover.

-mcgrew [slashdot.org] (latest blagh)

Why is it a bad thing? (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672185)

Why is it a bad thing if our government representatives, staff and employees are contributing to Wikipedia? Its no worst than yellow journalism or biased professors at a university. For that matter can't Saddam supporters contribute also? Biased information is great for historical reasons, all we really need is attribution so we can judge the bias ourselves.

At least they realize (1)

LParks (927321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672187)

At least the House of Representatives realizes they aren't in charge of Gundam.

Re:At least they realize (1)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672263)

Bah!

That just means you don't REALLY know what is going on in Area 51...

the whole alien bit is just to throw people off...

Except that this is old news (5, Informative)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672237)

as most of the edits took place in 2005 and were just recently noticed, and most of the edits are apparently fairly minor. Adding some "it is claimed" phraseology etc. here and there, where the underlying fundamentals of the article remained basically unchanged.


What I found more interesting is that apparently the Register doesn't like Wikipedia because they refer to it as "whackypedia", and the statement that the edits were made by a "Bush friendly" source inside the House. Maybe the Bush friendly angle is true -- the Register article asserts it to be so without quoting the edits or commenting, but there is no way to tell by an IP address.


Which tells me that the Register article is basically shoddy journalism. No fact digging, no fact checking, polemics instead of the who what when why where that journalism is supposed to accomplish. So -- with all due respect to GOOD journalism, and while not a Bushie or US Govt. fan, I have to say that this tidbit is yellow all under.

Re:Except that this is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672467)

"Which tells me that the Register article is basically shoddy journalism"

You didn't know that "El Reg" is the IT equivalent of "The Sun"?

Re:Except that this is old news (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672487)

Which tells me that the Register article is basically shoddy journalism. No fact digging, no fact checking, polemics instead of the who what when why where that journalism is supposed to accomplish.

That just about sums about everything that the Register publishes. Which is exactly why I usually don't even bother with them. They're the National Enquirer of the tech world.

The Register? The Inquirer, surely? (2, Informative)

GMO (209499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672811)

Er. Isn't the link to a publication called "The Inquirer", not the Register. Great fact checking, there...

Re:The Register? The Inquirer, surely? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673017)

Derr, you're right. Although I lump them both into the same family of useless "journalism."

Re:Except that this is old news (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672569)

Which tells me that the Register article is basically shoddy journalism.
The Register? Shoddy journalism? Wash you mouth out with soap!

Re:Except that this is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672577)

Take a look at this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/143.231.249.141 [wikipedia.org] . Review the dates, there are more recent ones that the time stamps say that it was edited at ~16:00 hrs. on Dec.12, 2007 (Today)...

Re:Except that this is old news (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672791)

I actually took some time to look at the diffs and they're all incredibly harmless and are actually building the articles up in a non POV manner. Basically just adding data about people, adding some tables to the articles, and filling in articles on baseball pitchers. Probably just a bored worker fixing articles he's interested in. And undoubtedly NOT the same editor from 2005.

Re:Except that this is old news (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672741)

"..Which tells me that the Register article is basically shoddy journalism.."

There's a little more background to this. The Register has had several dust-ups with Wikipedia in the past, culminating with Wiki deleting all references to "The Everywhere Girl", a meme which the Register was pushing.

Since then, each side loses no opportunity to insult the other. Fun, really...

Re:Except that this is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672789)

theinquirer != theregister

Re:Except that this is old news (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672885)

What I found more interesting is that apparently the Register doesn't like Wikipedia because they refer to it as "whackypedia",
It's the Inquirer, not the Register. The Inquirer was formed after the founder of the Register left/was-forced-out.

The Inq has a real stick up their ass about wikipedia. But they do have some justification for it, articles about the Inquirer have been subject to some rather arbitrary edits by prolific wikipedia editors over the years. As a result, they seem to have taken the tactic of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and every article they publish about wikipedia is guaranteed to be scare-mongering.

However, what the Inq does have going for it is that they never ever sign NDAs and that they wear their biases on their sleeve. With that info, it isn't too hard for a reader to decide which articles they publish are total bullshit and which ones have real merit. And that's a lot more than can be said for sites like Tom's Hardware, Anandtech and their ilk.

It's a wiki article... (2, Insightful)

syntaxeater (1070272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672259)

And even if it was the House (big "if") that made the changes; it's not propoganda. If anything, most of the changes seem grammatical in nature. The changes to the context only made them seem more speculatory (which is exactly what they need to be when no citation is given).

Sorry, as much as I'd like to scream Foul Play on this one; I can't.

Re:It's a wiki article... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672697)

Are you kidding?

The changes fundamentally alter the facts presented in the article. If it said "fact A is true" before and says "It is claimed by some that fact A is true" after then whoever made the change is asserting that fact A is not established. That's a pretty serious change, given that these facts are undisputed by objective analysis.

Furthermore, consider this addition: "[Saddam's supposed involvement in 9/11] was never suggested by President Bush or the Bush administration as a justification for the invasion...." Is this what you call "grammatical in nature"? It seems to me that someone is attempting to declare (without citation!) that Bush never implied a connection between Hussein and 9/11 to drum up support. This claim is so ridiculous that I honestly don't know how you could call it anything but propaganda, let alone "grammatical"!

THIS JUST IN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672277)

Somebody edited Wikipedia! Film at 11.

Doesn't appear to be "propaganda" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672291)

Please RTFA. It doesn't appear to be propaganda. It doesn't even appear to differ all that much from the previous version. Did someone from the Inq submit this article for pagehits?

Idiots still don't get how the internet works (2, Insightful)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672295)

They don't realize that you can't hide stuff like this on the internet. Did it not even occur to them that it would be changed back five minutes later?

Re:Idiots still don't get how the internet works (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672621)

Did it not even occur to them that it would be changed back five minutes later?
Perhaps it did, why should they care? I'm not aware of any restriction on government employees contributing to Wikipedia, I do all the time.

Re:Idiots still don't get how the internet works (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672919)

They don't realize that you can't hide stuff like this on the internet. Did it not even occur to them that it would be changed back five minutes later?

It sounds like some one was cleaning up an article at work and improving the grammar/facts to it. Yeah, I can believe some people will go and massively screw the page up now just cause one individual from a US government IP made some really minor edits.

Democracy in Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672303)

I thought that democracy would never allow this.
Who needs Russian-type control over media when you can just edit the content directly.
 

One consolation here.... (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672339)

The edits were spelled correctly and the grammar was tolerable... I guess the culprit is not from the Oval Office.

The vatican? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672363)

First they molest little kids now they molest Wikipedia?

So what? (1)

WibbleOnMars (1129233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672407)

Okay, so certain institutions are editing Wikipedia.

Uh.... yes.... and your problem with that is....?

What part of "anyone can edit it" don't you understand?

Reads like a gossip column... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672449)

So "someone with a House of Representatives IP address" made a change in 2005 which favors the Bush administration. BFD - revert it. The "article" makes it sound as if GWB personally spends his time toying with "whackypedia" (term used in the article), trying to rescue his legacy.

Make up your minds folks - is Bush a borderline retard who can't pronounce nuclear without Cheney's hand up his ass, or is he a machiavellian mastermind with tendrils throughout all aspects of government and our lives? Bubba or black helicopters - can't be both.

Re:Reads like a gossip column... (1, Insightful)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672571)

Make up your minds folks - is Bush a borderline retard who can't pronounce nuclear without Cheney's hand up his ass, or is he a machiavellian mastermind with tendrils throughout all aspects of government and our lives? Bubba or black helicopters - can't be both.


My opinion? Bush is a borderline retard who can't pronounce nuclear without Cheney's hand up his ass, AND he's controlled by machiavellian masterminds with tendrils throughout all aspects of government and our lives. Just because the guy in the Big Chair is Bubba doesn't mean the black helicopters aren't there.

Hey, that's exactly what I was going to say (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672971)

Poor Bush supporters, crying and sulking and yelling, "No fair!" It must be like being the spouse of an abusive alcoholic. You secretly hate them, but if anyone else criticizes them, you have to lash out to protect them.

Wikipedia deemed harmful (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672473)

Wikipedia is so unreliable as to be worse than worthless, it is harmful. Many people are convinced that it is a reliable, authoritative information source, which it certainly is not.

New Slashdot Story Template (2, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672525)

[INSERT GROUP HERE] Caught Manipulating Wikipedia

This has now become so commonplace that it really shouldn't surprise anyone or even be considered news. Answer this question: they've been "caught" -- now what? Will Jimmy Wales declare war on the U.S. Government or the Catholic Religion? This isn't even going to generate enough interest in the mainstream media to become a blip on the national radar. I also imagine the average American or Catholic probably doesn't even know what Wikipedia is.

I don't get it (3, Insightful)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672559)

I guess I don't get this. Who can edit wikipedia pages? Everybody has an agenda or a conflict or they wouldn't be voluntarily editing these pages to begin with. Anybody who suggests they don't is running around with blinders on. Wikipedia represents a publicaly edited corpus of knowledge, that can be edited by *anyone* including ourselves, our government the media, conflicted individuals, etc. Of course it can be manipulated, isn't all of history? From wikipedia's about page:


"Visitors do not need specialised qualifications to contribute, since their primary role is to write articles that cover existing knowledge; this means that people of all ages and cultural and social background can write Wikipedia articles. With rare exceptions, articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link. Anyone is welcome to add information, cross-references or citations, as long as they do so within Wikipedia's editing policies and to an appropriate standard. For example, if you add information to an article, be sure to include your references, as unreferenced facts are subject to removal."


I don't see any rules against government, people editing their own pages, etc. Only that facts be added, if they aren't they should be removed.

Manipulating vs editing? (2, Insightful)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672649)

What's the difference? Wikipedia is supposedly self-editing, and self-correcting so what exactly do you mean by "manipulating." Every Wikipedia user "manipulates" content don't they?

What ? (1)

hoppy (21392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672765)

You mean USA invaded Iraq when there is no connection between Sadam and Al Qaida ? It's only on wikipedia you can find this. A such unreliable source of information. Everybody knows Alqaida gave Sadam invisible arms of massive destruction to destroy disneyland.

fiR5t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21672809)

Assholes, as they BSD had become (7000+1400+700)*4 Bought thZe farm.... munches the most

Underwhelming (2, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672835)

Wikiscanner's roster indicates a Vatican computer was used to remove references to evidence linking Ireland's Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to a decades-old double murder.

And here I was expecting some Dan Brownesque intrigue of large-scale controversial religious/historical edits. Anyone consider these "manipulations" are just some random user who happens to be on the network owned by the "manipulating organization"?

Primary Source? (5, Insightful)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672837)

I know that this insertion of propoganda was not appropriate but hypothetically speaking on the idea of US Government representatives writing in wikipedia, I'd argue this is a good thing (if they can follow the guidelines).

Maybe my understanding is off, but wouldn't the US government be the perfect entity to write encyclopedia article given that they are the primary source in the scope of their job? Would the US Forest Service agent who was present in the California Wildfires in 2007 be the perfect source to write (if he could be objective, and without bias) of the factual events of the fires, such as "At 8PM 27 fire engines from 6 counties began working on and achieved containment at 10PM". Or In a "perfect" system, would not an encyclopedia only contain factual data such as "On 12/12/2007, this person was quoted as saying ..." or "The current cost of the war according to the GAO is ". I'd rather hear it from "the horses mouth" than the condensed version from news organizations who report the news as it meets an agenda.

Even from elected officials, such as congressmen, I think it would be great to have themselves or staff or a Gov't official append their voting record to their wikipedia page. I think having a wikipedia page for every bill voted on in congress with a short summary, the bills sponsor, the committee's vote, and the houses of congresses voting record, along with any Congressional Record indexing information would be a very useful resource, and one that would give Wikipedia's flexibility and limitless nature (as opposed to a print encyclopedia) a real advantage.

Just having the data there is a valuable work as other contributors help grind the content down to a consensual view. Someone just has to get the ball rolling and if the original author does a great job, we'll get a solid article sooner than if we start with a crap one.

I'd say the only problem would be is that politicians and "neutral-point-of-view" don't usually go hand in hand, but you have a certain level of bias in any peice of writing.

The Inquirer? (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21672897)

Since when did articles from The Inquirer become a trusted source?

From my experience this "news source" creates many articles based upon speculation and rumors. Also, they "spin" the information to make it seem as if the article was entirely correct about the issue.

What's with the anti-Vatican swipe? (2, Informative)

Corporate Drone (316880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673033)

TFA mentions an edit to the page of Gerry Adams that came from a computer with a .va address: "Wikiscanner's roster indicates a Vatican computer was used to remove references to evidence linking Ireland's Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to a decades-old double murder."

Taking a look at the Wiki page on Adams, I see that not only the reference to evidence is gone, but also, any reference to the murder as well. Gee... a change that has stood up to public scrutiny within Wiki... hmm -- think that means that there was some basis to the edit?

Meantime, the edit is placed aside others which change W's name to "Wanker", a description of Rush Limbaugh and his audience to insults, and other juvenile character attacks.

Nice anti-Catholic hatchet job, there, dude...

oh noes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673061)

i'm in your comments thread posting with a united states government ip address

The maliable nature of history (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673091)

I'm on the fence here. Does technology make rewriting history easier or more difficult?

Sure, one can point to wikipedia being changed, but again, one *can* point to wikipedia being changed.

History has always been at the mercy of those in power. Sure you can argue abut the persistence of flattened dead trees and ink, but whole sale book burnings are the 3D equivalent of "rm -rf /"

The skeptical eye we hold for wikipedia is probably more healthy than a reverent eye for commercial encyclopedias. At least *we* all have a chance of correcting and detecting propaganda *and* we all respect and understand that wikipedia is always from a point of view. Like it or not, Britanica and others also have a point of view, and while they try to hide it, none the less it exists.

Statistically, wikipedia is just as accurate as the likes of Britanica, but wiki being what it is, we know not to trust it 100% without some verification.

I guess, the age old problem of "truth" being hard to find continues in the 21st century because the age old problem of people wanting to bend truth to their ideology continues into the 21st century.

It would be *really* cool to save whole copies of wikipedia every year and track the changes over time.
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