The UN: hoist by its own computers
You gotta love it: a computer error reveals another shabby UN action, this time a coverup of the explosive allegations of a connection between Syrian President Assad's family and associates, and Hariri's assassination in Lebanon:
The United Nations withheld some of the most damaging allegations against Syria in its report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, it emerged yesterday. The names of the brother of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and other members of his inner circle, were dropped from the report that was sent to the Security Council.
The confidential changes were revealed by an extraordinary computer gaffe because an electronic version distributed by UN officials on Thursday night allowed recipients to track editing changes.
Isn't the modern age wonderful?
I know those editing programs. I've done some free-lance editing, and have been required at times to track my changes. It's a nifty little thing where your edits show up in blue or red or whatever color you happen to choose. When you send the document, there's a version that looks normal, and then with one magical click the removed material suddenly appears--usually with a strikeout line though it--and the additions leap into color. Very helpful for the top editor to see what you've done and how you've done it, without having to perform a laborious line-by-line comparison.
But computers are such funny things--one little click of the mouse and you can make the Mother of All Errors. You can send an e-mail to the wrong person--to spouse instead of lover, to boss instead of friend. Or, in this case, the wrong version of an e-mail to the wrong person. Big trouble in either case, private or public.
Or sometimes your computer just takes over, and ups and does it all for you. Mine once went on a rampage and sent copies of what was, thankfully, a fairly innocuous and even boring e-mail of mine out to four or five randomly selected people from my address box, including someone with whom I'd had only business dealings. I apologized for my computer's wild ways, but unfortunately it kept happening over and over every few days, to the point where the business person asked me to stop harassing her, and I had call in some sort of computer doctor to advise me on how to fix the glitch.
So I can feel the UN's pain--not! It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of scoundrels, in my opinion. The UN's long long record of kissing up to tyrants, of anti-Semitism cloaked as anti-Zionism, and of rampant corruption, has made me deeply distrust nearly everything they do. So this coverup of the possible Assad connection is not a surprise, and the computer faux pas gives me no end of satisfaction.