About a week ago, Pravda posted an article about the death of a NATO employee. Yves Chandelon had committed suicide on December 22nd, but the Russian outlet’s interpretation of the event read like a noir novel.

According to the post, Mr. Chandelon was NATO’s chief auditor tasked with investigating terrorist finances. A mysterious man who had important inside knowledge and had apparently discovered strange dealings from NATO or the US with some of the militias and murderous thugs that run around in Syria. The circumstanced of his death were also, as it seems, greatly suspicious. He was known to have three firearms in his name, but the alleged suicide was not committed with one of them. What’s more, he’s said to have told his entourage that he felt threatened some weeks prior to the incident. Finally, Mr. Chandelon’s body was found in the city of Andenne, over 62 miles from Lens, the city where he lived,  and nearly 87 miles from his place of work in Luxembourg; a place he had no business being.

The story has been picked up by a number of news sites, all playing the same tune, suggesting that it’s all just too suspicious and “obviously” it’s nothing but a cover-up. It’s clear that he knew too much and had to be taken care of.

What movie was that, again?

The thing is, Yves Chandelon never was a “chief auditor” for NATO and his job had nothing to do with terrorists. “Mr. Chandelon was responsible for executing the NSPA (Nato Support and Procurement Agency) audit program of work only, which focused solely on NSPA responsibilities, and did not include any activity associated specifically with counter-terrorism, or money laundering,” a NATO official said on Wednesday. Nor was he such a mystery, as it took me less than an hour to confirm with NSPA’s public affairs officer that he was indeed their Auditor General, charged with internal auditing.

As for the ludicrous claims of “how was he shot in the right side if he was left handed,” there is the coroner’s report to dispel them.

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Sure, Pravda might be onto some huge conspiracy, a Jason-Bourne-like drama, with an unknown fallen hero, trying to uncover the great secrets of mischievous agencies.

Most likely, an unfortunate and tragic event, of a man taking his own life, has been dragged into a devious propaganda offensive and spun into a shady plot.

The bottom line is, we, as consumers, have been trapped in the midst of an information warfare, where everything is fair game and the end justifies the means. It’s increasingly difficult to tell reality from fabrication, and click-baiting titles and stories prey on our decreasing attention span. If anything, take everything with a grain of salt. Question big “revelations” and, my own rule of thumb, use Fox Mulder’s motto, “Trust no one.”

Image courtesy of USNI