The article asserted that new Stingers “signed out by the CIA recently” were given to Qatar for surreptitious re-issue to rebels in Libya in 2011, and that the Qataris passed some of the stock on to the Taliban. The Taliban then used one of the missiles to strike and disable a CH-47, according to the article, and the USG covered it all up.
All of this was presented as fresh spice in the stew of allegations about the United States’ involvement in Libya, and the Benghazi affair.
For supporting art, The New York Post published a judicially an aggressively cropped image, which had been stripped of its context visually and via a minimalist caption.
The photo shows what it shows: Two Talibs with what clearly do look like two Stingers. Impressive, right? Readers understandably might look at it and see evidence that the Taliban has new Stinger missiles, as the article claimed.
The photograph, as it happens, is not recent. It was shot by Saeed Khan in December 1999, during the standoff surrounding Indian Airlines Flight 814.
The airplane, in the Post’s image, was edited out. The caption — “Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles” — made no reference to the context or the time, which was two years before the United States began its ongoing military operations in Afghanistan. (The airfield shown is now an American base.)
Whatever the merits of The New York Post’s claims, they are not supported by using a 15-year-old photograph in a manner that could lead readers to believe that the photograph showed something it did not.
In a post that went live a short while ago, Eliot Higgins, aka Brown Moses, distances himself from the references to his work by Russia Today, the state-run English-language station that broadcasts material that reliably appears calibrated to be friendly to Kremlin views in formats that resemble news. The quarrel? In short, Russia Today misrepresented Mr. Higgins’ recent work to appear to make him and it appear to support the exact opposite of what his analysis said. And Mr. Higgins wishes to restate his position.
The sum of it all is this:
Early yesterday morning I received an email pointing me to three videos that had been posted on LiveLeak, claiming to show the Syrian opposition group launching the August 21st sarin attack. I posted the videos on my blog, and highlighted the dubious nature of the videos. Having spent the last two years examining videos from the Syria conflict on a daily basis, these videos appear suspicious for a number of reasons I detail on my blog post, and are totally unverifiable.
This has not stopped Russia Today using the credibility of my blog to give credence to this videos. This is a transcript of their 10am BST broadcast
Thabang Motsei - ……Meanwhile a prominent Syrian blogger known as Black Moses has posted footage allegedly showing chemical weapons being used by rebels. Let’s get the details from our correspondent Paul Scott here in the studio. “ Paul Scott - The blogger is a staunch critic of Damascus and a staunch critic of President Bashar al Assad’s regime and in the past he has monitored all sorts of news sources and claims and counter claims emerging from the Syrian Civil War to use it as a stick to beat the Assad Government with and implicate Assad in all sorts of atrocities. But it is interesting now that he has posted a video on this blog that suggests that it actually could be the Syrian Opposition that had been using these chemical weapons. It represent a slight shift in focus from what the narrative that the blog has been taking in recent weeks. Thabang Motsei - So this Brown Moses that we were talking about what are experts saying where the rebels could have obtained these chemicals from.
It is healthy to question and to argue, within the bounds of civility. Twisting someone’s words into the opposite of what they say is something else. Advantage, Brown Moses.