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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Sun Croatian Apology Busted

After the Super Soaraway Currant Bun splashed its now notorious “6 days to terror” story across two full pages of last Saturday’s edition, claiming that it was possible for someone to travel from Turkey to Paris “without passport”, its story unravelled in short order, and the paper has today issued a “Clarification”, to tell those Sun readers that have remained unaware that they have been conned just how sorry they are, honestly.
So, without further ado, here is the “Clarificationin its entirety: “In an article of 5th December, headlined "6 days to terror", we published the diary of Emile Ghessen, a freelance documentary maker and former Royal Marine, who said that he had smuggled himself from Turkey to Paris without using a passport.

We have since learned that we were misled about his conduct during his journey. Contrary to what we were told, and published, Mr Ghessen used his passport to enter and leave the Croatian city of Zagreb. This has been confirmed by the Croatian authorities. We also now believe that he made use of his passport at the other border points within Europe. His story did not, therefore, demonstrate that the borders of Europe had lax controls.

We apologise for publishing misleading information. We have now changed our policy regarding the use of freelance journalists in stories such as these”.

And thus the Sun has simultaneously managed to avoid any further questioning, while getting its apology, such that it is, totally wrong. Emile Ghessen had not “used his passport to enter and leave the Croatian city of Zagreb”. He had used it to enter Croatia at the Tovarnik border point, and had used it to leave the country at Zagreb Airport, which is around 10km from the city centre.

Moreover, it is no use the Sun whining about its having been misled. They could, and should, have contacted authorities across Europe to ensure that none of them had records of Ghessen entering or leaving their countries. They could, and should, have homed in on the weakest part of Ghessen’s account, his alleged train journey from Zagreb to Munich, which we now know he managed to bodyswerve - by flying.

It would have taken a matter of minutes to know that Ghessen’s claim about getting a train from Zagreb to Munich was false: there is no direct train at present, and travellers must change twice, at Villach and Salzburg. It would also have been easy to confirm that everyone crossing from Austria to Germany via Salzburg and Freilassing would have their passport checked - train operators were setting aside 15 minutes for these checks.

And, just to put the lid on it, the Sun could have found out that on the day Ghessen claimed he made his journey, part of the line - between Dorfgastein and Schwarzach-St Veit - was closed because of overhead line problems. That he would have had to endure another of those Rail Replacement Buses would have added a nice touch to his article. But he didn’t make that journey. So he never found out.

Has the Sun really changed its policy? Or have they just decided to pull the story, hope everyone forgets, and lie low until the next time they feel the need to run another slice of agenda driven falsehood and misinformation? What do you reckon, punters? As Our Graham used to say on Blind Date, the decision is yours.


Andy McDonald said...

By 'changed our policy', they mean 'Don't use him any more'. Well, at least until people have forgotten his name...

rob said...

It would be interesting to know who commissions "stories like this" at The Sun and whether the jounalist was given any instructions as Tim alluded to in his original blog.
One wouldn't have thought he committed such expense off his own back hoping to sell the story later.
Step forward Emile Ghessen and tell the real story in your own words. Could be worth a lot more than the original and get you work with other media if indeed The Sun have dispensed with your services. (You can never be quite sure with The Sun).

rob said...

Oooh! I forgot to mention Emile, Neil Wallis thinks it was "terrific journalism" so you have at least one expert fan to recommend you!

Anonymous said...

"Has the Sun really changed its policy?"?

Nah. It's still owned, edited, staffed, distributed and bought (in every sense of the word) by gobshites and cowards.

It's a disgusting far right propaganda rag of the worst type, despised by anybody with a sense of decency. It deserves all the contempt it gets.

It'll never change, weasel words of "apology" or not.

Rivo said...

I, too, would be interested in Mr Ghessen's response after being left so thoroughly out in the cold by The Sun's handwashing. I'd hazard a guess that he wasn't quite the totally independent operator they make him out to be, for starters...

You may be interested in reading what his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/emile.ghessen/timeline has to say on the matter. If his recent posts on there are to be believed The Sun altered his story to fit their own agenda. A not unlikely scenario, especially as other stories that carry his name, in the Daily Mail; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3257409/Former-Royal-Marine-went-school-Jihadi-John-swaps-rifle-video-camera-document-ISIS-atrocities-Iraq-Syria.html and his local paper The Exmouth Journal; http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/armed_with_only_a_camera_exmouth_s_emile_s_on_a_mission_to_bring_down_isis_to_save_his_family_1_4260307 have a very different tone to them...

Anonymous said...

1. How much have they paid Ghessen to keep his mouth shut?
2. You wonder whether the Sun will 'lie low'. Do they ever do anything else?

Arnold said...

"the use of freelance journalists in stories such as these”. Such as? Bullshit stories that piss off a foreign government that might have resulted in a complaint to the UK ambassador?