Syrian Blog Hoaxer Says Sorry, but Anger Remains
A 40-year-old American man living in Scotland said Monday he's sorry for posing as a Syrian lesbian blogger who offered vivid accounts of life amid revolt and repression in Damascus, a still-unraveling hoax that has exposed the difficulty of sifting truth from fiction online.
Tom MacMaster said he created the fictional persona of Amina Arraf and the "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog to draw attention to conditions in a Middle East convulsed by change.
"I never meant to hurt anyone," the Edinburgh University grad student wrote in a long apology on the blog. The university said it had suspended MacMaster's computer privileges while it investigated whether he had breached its rules.
And as the deceit unspooled, a second blogger known as Paula Brooks, who posted some of the fraudulent Arraf's comments on a lesbian news site, admitted to being a man who had adopted a fake lesbian persona.
The Washington Post reported late Monday that "Brooks" was a 58-year-old retired U.S. air force member named Bill Graber.
"Лесбиянка в Дамаске", описывающая ужасы кровавого сирийского режима под завывания запандых СМИ, оказалась 40-летним американским "вечным студентом", проживающим в Эдинбурге, по имени Том Макмастер.
А вот примерно так обращаются с подобными вечными студентами американские силовые ведомства (из самого правдивого кино последних лет, "Beavis and Butthead Do America"):