How Americans Are Propagandized About Afghanistan
Continued from previous page
Several civilians were killed in Paktia Province on Friday when a joint Afghan-NATO force went to investigate a report of militant activity, but NATO and the Afghan police gave varying accounts of what happened. A NATO statement said the joint force went to a compound in the village of Khatabeh, in the Gardez district, where insurgents opened fire on them from a residential compound. Several insurgents were killed and a large number of men, women and children fled and were detained by the NATO force. Inside the compound, soldiers "found the bodies of three women who had been tied up, gagged and killed," the NATO statement said. The Paktia Province police chief, Aziz Ahmad Wardak, confirmed the episode but said the dead in the house were two men and three women, who he said were killed by Taliban militants. He said the killings took place while the residents were celebrating the birth of a baby.
CNN conveyed its version of events without the slightest contradiction or doubt, and the NYT simply ignored entirely the claims of the residents of the village -- notwithstanding the fact that serious conflicts about what actually took place were known from the very beginning. Consider, for instance, this February 12 article by Amir Shah of the Associated Press, who actually bothered to pick up a phone to determine if the Pentagon's claims were true before "reporting" them as fact; this is what Shah found:
However, relatives of the dead accused American forces of being responsible for the deaths of all five people when contacted by The Associated Press by phone.
A man who identified himself as Hamidullah said he had been in the home as some 20 people gathered to celebrate the birth of a son when a group of men he described as "U.S. special forces" surrounded the compound.
When one man came out into the courtyard to ask why, Hamidullah said he watched U.S. forces gun him down.
"Daoud was coming out of the house to ask what was going on. And then they shot him," he said.
Then they killed a second man, Hamidullah said. The rest of the group were forced out into the yard, made to kneel and had their hands bound behind their back, he said, breaking off crying without giving any further details.
A deputy provincial council member in Gardez, Shahyesta Jan Ahadi, said news of the operation has inflamed the local community that believes the Americans were responsible for the deaths.
"Last night, the Americans conducted an operation in a house and killed five innocent people, including three women. The people are so angry," he said.
The Pentagon's version of events was vehemently disputed from the start. But there was not a hint of any of that in the CNN or NYT "reporting," which simply adopted the press release claims of NATO forces. That Press Release, false from start to finish, claimed that "a combined force of Afghan and international troops last night found the bound and gagged bodies of two women and the bodies of two men during an operation in the province's Gardez district," and "members of the combined force found the bodies inside." Ironically, the Pentagon Press Release ended this way: "'ISAF continually works with our Afghan partners to fight criminals and terrorists who do not care about the life of civilians,' ISAF spokesman Canadian army Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said." On March 16 -- more than a month later, and only after a major investigative report about this incident was published by Jerome Starkey of The Times of London -- the NYT ran a story detailing the gruesome claims of residents about what really happened; click that link for the horrific details and to get a sense for how false were the Pentagon and U.S. media's original claims about what took place.