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Thursday, 31st July 2008

An Online Hoax Becomes a Source About a Suspect

An Online Hoax Becomes a Source About a Suspect

It was not hard, in the end, to figure out that the Web site was a hoax, however tantalizing the site was for reporters eager to fill out details on the fugitive life of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader reincarnated as a hippie guru of alternative healing.

Any public search of the site, dragandabic.com, which was named for the identity Mr. Karadzic assumed, could have revealed that the Web address was registered after Mr. Karadzic was arrested last week on charges of war crimes. And, oddly enough, a returning visitor would notice that it was being updated while he was in jail.

Still, the site with a brief biography, conveniently in English and Serbian, along with some favorite Chinese proverbs became, in the days after the arrest, a prime source of information for newspapers and Web sites around the world, including news agencies like Agence France-Presse and Reuters and publications like Le Monde.

On Wednesday, in a first and pretty much virtual interview, a person who claimed responsibility for the site said that was exactly his intent.

Source: New York Times

Hat tip: Caryn Baird


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