September 28, 2007

The Mis-Information War Heats Up

Lawhawk writing today revisits the interesting case of Reuters reporter Noor Mohammad Sherzai who quoted him or herself, extensively in a story about US Forces in Afghanistan defeating a suicide bomb attack.

Here is the press release from the COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE- 82COMBINED PRESS INFORMATION CENTER Afghanistan:
Double Suicide Attack Averted by ANSF

Afghanistan –Two failed suicide attacks resulted in the death of four attackers and one non-combatant at approximately 9 a.m. today in Bati Kowt District, Nangarhar Province.

A suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device that was reportedly targeting Afghan National Police detonated along Highway One killing the bombers, the driver and two passengers of the vehicle, as well as a non-combatant who was in the area when the vehicle exploded.

While securing the site of the S-VBIED attack, ANP were attacked by an insurgent dressed in an ANP uniform wearing a suicide vest. The attacker was engaged and killed by ANP and Coalition forces on site.

During recovery activities at the blast site, a crowd began converging on the road near the site when a truck which was initially assessed as an additional VBIED was identified heading toward the crowd. Out of safety concerns for the individuals in the crowd and the ANSF and Coalition elements on scene and in accordance with Coalition escalation of force procedures a Coalition servicemember fired two well-aimed warning shots away from the crowd into a nearby canal to disperse them.

The truck, which turned out to be a responding fire-and-rescue vehicle, had brake failure which caused the driver to lose control and crash into other vehicles already on scene.

Four Afghan investigators were injured in the vehicle accident and were evacuated to local medical facilities by ANP on scene.

The incident is currently under investigation.
Here is Noor’s report as posted by Lawhawk:

BATI KOT, Afghanistan (Reuters) - U.S. troops opened fire on civilians near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Thursday after a failed suicide car bomb attack on their convoy, a Reuters witness said.

There was no immediate comment on the reported incident either from U.S.-led coalition forces or from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).The witness said three suicide bombers in one vehicle attacked a convoy of U.S. troops in the village of Bati Kot, 15 km (9 miles) east of Jalalabad, but none of the soldiers was hurt.

Two of the bombers were immediately killed in the blast. The third, dressed in a police uniform, survived only to be shot dead by troops, the witness said.

A fire brigade vehicle arriving at speed at the scene then suffered brake failure and
rammed into the U.S. vehicles. Troops inside then opened fire, wounding a number
of bystanders.

"I saw everything," said Reuters correspondent Noor Mohammad Sherzai. "I saw the suicide bomb attack ..."I saw the fire brigade vehicle rushing to the area at top speed, somehow its brakes failed and hit one police vehicle and coalition vehicles, then the Americans started firing at the people and everyone lay flat on the ground and then fled the area."

Sherzai said a number of people had been wounded in the attack, but he did not know how many.

"I ran away to save my own life." Sherzai and other reporters at the scene said many shots were fired and Afghan police were among those fleeing the scene.

"I was running away as fast as I could, but some of the police overtook me," Sherzai said. The police, he said, "were very angry because the Americans were shooting and wanted to shoot back but others stopped them".
Its obvious that Noor's report and the press release from CJTF-82 each describe the same scene however Noor's report is much more damning to the American Forces on scene. Lawhawk continues:
Sherzai says that there were other reporters at the scene. Let's examine that for a moment. Is there any other wire service carrying reports of an incident that appears to be similar to this one?
I believe Lawhawk is on the right track here and that Noor is nothing more than a Taliban shill reporting events with an decidedly anti-American twist in an effort to sway public opinion against Coalition Forces. We’ve seen this in stories recently most notably the Blackwater incident in Baghdad where sympathetic reporters and politicians have taken the opportunity to paint Coalition Forces with the paintbrush of discrimination and contempt towards Iraqis.

They can’t win this war, so the enemy is taking every opportunity to shift the advantage back in their favor. Obviously doctored stories like this could go a long way in supporting their lost cause and giving them some assistance form those locals who are “on the fence” about which is the right direction for their country. We as a force can not allow it to go unchallenged.

As others are wont to say…developing.

Trackbacked by:
This is fascinating, and encouraging. Updated - With more facts about the Blackwater shooting! from Pros and Cons

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