AP to Protest U.S. Military Censorship in Afghanistan

American military in Afghanistan provided the Associated Press with an unfortunate, yet easy-to-cover subplot in the aftermath of a battle that led to the death of 16 Afghan civilians.

Amir Shah writes from Kabul:

A freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and a cameraman working for AP Television News said a U.S. soldier deleted their photos and video showing a four-wheel drive vehicle in which three people were shot to death about 100 yards from the suicide bombing. The AP plans to lodge a protest with the American military.

The U.S. military blamed its troops’ unfortunate reaction, in which Afghan civilians were killed, on a “complex ambush” by Taliban militants. The deaths of the 16 civilians will undoubtedly hamper the U.S.’s efforts to redouble their forces while making nice and contributing positively to the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

Carlotta Gall has been delivering the straight gravy from Afghanistan for years for the New York Times:

The shooting sparked demonstrations, with local people blocking the highway, the main road east from the town of Jalalabad to the border with Pakistan. And there were differences in some of the accounts of the incident, with the Americans saying that the civilians were caught in cross-fire between the troops and militants, and Afghan witnesses and some authorities blaming the Americans for indiscriminately shooting at civilian vehicles in anger after the explosion.

No matter whose account you believe, the Taliban’s expected “spring offensive” is on. Two British troops were reported killed in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

troops in Afghanistan 2007 international by country

Graphic of active multinational military force in Afghanistan, 7 feb, 2007, via NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

Thoughts + a Song

* Can anyone tell me why Google Reader doesn’t have a search/filter function?

— considering the nature of The Google, I suspect that either a) I’m missing something or; b) this will be resolved by the end of the weekend.

cartoon by RJ Matson.

* The new Secretary of Defense is both demanding and accepting resignations. I wouldn’t call this refreshing — the last SecDef would deny any wrongdoings to the grave, but the Walter Reed scandal could have been handled months ago and only know that it’s been uncovered is action being taken. You go to war with the hospitals you have…, right?

So, Robert Gates, or Bob, as the case may be — I dare you to take preemptive measures and have Halliburton/KBR etc pay us back some money so we can have welfare and education in the States. And democrats, support the troops — but don’t support the contractors!!! Even the troops can’t stand them (not the individuals, but the contracting corps w/ non-bid, cost-plus arrangements). Ok, so I did just watch Greenwald’s Iraq For Sale.

Exhale.

And now, some music, from the new Arcade Fire release, Neon Bible

Iran: NYT Reporter Beats the Drum — Again

The New York Times reporter who in 2002 co-authored several articles with Judith Miller that contended with near certainty that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is parroting propaganda once again.

Michael Gordon, whose reporting in 2002 was instrumental in the Bush administrations argument to invade Iraq, and has since been famously proven false, is back at it — this time using weak sourcing to report Iran’s involvement in supplying bombs in Iraq.

Bloggers on both the right and the left are interpreting the U.S. government’s rhetoric as straight posturing, while the top story of the day — and believe it or not, the top issue this morning on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (where he is in the process of tearing Douglas Feith a new one) remains, ironically, the inspector general’s damning report on the Bush administration’s self-manufactured intel providing the definitive argument for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Is the Times already anxious to turn the page to Iran, days after Congressional Republicans appalled many legislators including at least 7 on the GOP, by effectively stifling a proposed debate/review on the Iraq War?

Greg Mitchell breaks down this “breaking news,” — as sourced by “civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies” — for Editor & Publisher:

Saturday’s New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the “deadliest weapon aimed at American troops” in Iraq.

The New York Times is running with Gordon’s report just weeks after Gordon was castigated by the paper for stating the following on the Charlie Rose Show:

“So I think, you know, as a purely personal view, I think it’s worth it one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we’ve never really tried to win.

While failing to explain why we’ve been led to believe for so long that a Sunni-led insurgency is rife with IEDs (Iran is predominantly Shi’a), Gordon provides a bullhorn for Def. Sec. Robert Gates’ claim: “I Can Prove Iran’s Role in Iraq. Flip for more on Feith.

UPDATE: Dan Froomkin has further analysis on the media’s varied coverage and response to what was apparently a highly secretive and questionable display of “proof of Iranian involvement in Iraq” in his Monday column.

Continue reading “Iran: NYT Reporter Beats the Drum — Again”