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All the News Fit to Print…or Distortion of History - By:Bruce G. Richardson
Sunday, 12.02.2012, 10:08pm (GMT+1)


The New York Times has long held that they publish “all the news fit to print.” But here we must be circumspect, cautious, deciding what is ‘fit to print’ is by its very nature a subjective decision made by an individual, most often an editor or publisher. Any individual with ego-centric beliefs, ideological values, political and or religious affiliation often times bring premeditated, illogical, and ill-informed bias to decisions rendered.

A recent article titled ‘Legend of a Commander Flourishes, But Can’t Repair Afghan Divisions’ by Ray Rivera, featured in the New York Times International, September 11, 2011 is a case in point. The article which commemorates the late Ahmad Shah Massoud as “a hero and the most celebrated hero of the Afghan resistance” represents a classic case of the distortion of history and of blatant, self-serving propaganda as well. Under international law, the proscriptions of ethical-academic construct and intellectual integrity, Afghanistan’s historical legacy is sacrosanct.

In recent times, no Afghan personality had heretofore been so celebrated…worshipped as a “Lion of the Panjshir”, a fictional portrait of an indomitable mountain warrior and cult-like status bestowed upon Ahmad Shah Massoud by the world’s intelligence agencies with a self-serving agenda and in consort and cadence with their co-opted media savants.

During the Soviet/Afghan War, Britain’s MI6 (intelligence agency) collaborated with journalist Sandy Gall and ITN/BBC to produce a documentary portraying Massoud as “the Tito of Afghanistan” an invincible mountain guerrilla resistance figure who was successfully resisting the mighty Soviet 40th Army. The elevation of Massoud to saint-like status by the intelligence agencies was a self-serving strategy to weaken the cohesiveness of the resistance movement and to secure the services of a factional leader who had control over the choke-point of Soviet logistics and re-supply, the storied Salang Highway with its adjacent precipitous mountain fastness, represented a formidable it not impossible terrain within which for the Soviets to wage war. Massoud served in a combat-support role for both the Soviet 40th Army and the ISAF anti-Taliban forces. As such, Massoud was afforded logistical and military support, weapons, ammunition and hard cash. Massoud’s soldiers were also known to have provided target coordinates to both Soviet and American air and artillery units using foreign military technology to destroy their perennial enemies and eradicate all competitors for any future leadership role in Afghanistan.

A small portion of a cornucopia of unimpeachable sourcing awaits historical researchers in corroborating the above and is available from four internationally acclaimed authors and scholars, and appears below:

(See: Afghanistan, Political Frailty and External Interference, Dr. Nabi Misdaq,2006, p.330n, also see The American Raj, Solving the Conflict between the West and the Muslim World, Eric S. Margolis, p.196,2008, Afghan Heroism and Tragedy, General A.A. Liakhovski, Soviet Military Advisor to Najibullah, 2000, Pashto translation by Muhebur Rahman, Afghan Cultural Association, Germany, The Hand of Moscow, Leonid Shebarshin, Director First Department KGB (Foreign Intelligence), 1992, pp. 177-214, translation by Professor Ian Helfant, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, Harvard University)

 It is no secret that the intelligence agencies of the world utilize contacts in the media to shape the narrative in order to sway public opinion and to preclude any investigation  and or reporting on covert or secret operations. The CIA has long been known to co-opt both the TV and print media for such purposes. Recently it was reported that the CIA has been funding (Hollywood) movie scripts that portray the U.S. Government in a more favorable light oftentimes during a state of war. A prioritized strategy first activated during the highly-unpopular Vietnam War.

Propaganda as a war crime: The term propaganda is here utilized with considerable aforethought. However, the facts surrounding the military record of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud have been raging for decades, both within and outside of Afghanistan. Were these vigorous discussions relegated only to a benign high-school environment, a debating class with no hidden or manipulative motive or agenda, the term propaganda would be excessive. But with the case as presented above, here propaganda serves as state policy or strategy and is extra-legal under international statute. (See: United Nations General Assembly Resolution 59 (1) and UN Resolution 110):

Freedom of information requires an indispensable element the willingness and capacity to employ privileges without abuse. It requires as a basic element discipline the moral obligation to seek the facts without prejudice and to spread knowledge without malicious intent. UN General Resolution 110 condemns all forms of propaganda, in whatsoever country conducted, which is either designed or likely to provoke or encourage any threat to peace, breach of peace, or act of aggression. The ethnic cleavage in Afghanistan precipitated by outside interference therefore requires no further elaboration.

The United States, with a Harvard Law Professor as President, is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court and is therefore immunized against, though undoubtedly warranted, currently codified sanction … Yet around the globe, in spite of their continuous, righteous verbal barrage about the inviolability of freedom, sovereignty and democracy… the US stands guilty as charged in the ‘Court of World Opinion.’

A brief quote from an internationally accredited and syndicated author who has covered wars around the planet for decades to include Afghanistan, Eric S. Margolis writes about the actual as opposed to the mythical and fabricated war record of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud and therefore serves as a relevant conclusion to this discussion and a catalyst for citing the New York Times for editorial, intellectual and ethical malfeasance as well. (See: American Raj, Liberation or Domination, Resolving the Conflict between the West and the Muslim World, p.196, 2008)

Margolis, Page 196:

“During the ten-year jihad against the Soviets, the Tajik military leader Ahmad Shah Massoud was lionized in the West as an heroic anti-Communist mountain warrior…the ‘Lion of the Panjshir.’ In reality, he had long secretly collaborated with the Soviet KGB and military GRU intelligence.

While pretending to fight the Soviets, Massoud actually devoted his main efforts to combatting the Pashtun Mujahideen, thwarting their efforts backed by Pakistani intelligence agents, to blow up the strategic choke point of Soviet logistics, the Salang Tunnel. Massoud also intrigued to convince Moscow to ditch its current puppet ruler, Najibullah, and make him the ruler of Afghanistan.”     

Bruce G. Richardson

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