11 January, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media
Ignoring or downplaying Western crimes is a standard feature of the corporate Western media. On rare occasions when a broadcaster or newspaper breaks ranks and reports ‘our’ crimes honestly, it is instructive to observe the response from the rest of the media. Do they follow suit, perhaps digging deeper for details, devoting space to profiles of the victims and interviews with grieving relatives, humanising all concerned? Do they put the crimes in perspective as the inevitable consequence of rapacious Western power? Or do they look away?
One such case is a report that American-led troops dragged Afghan children from their beds and shot them during a night raid on December 27 last year, leaving ten people dead. Afghan government investigators said that eight of the dead were schoolchildren, and that some of them had been handcuffed before being killed. Kabul-based Times correspondent Jerome Starkey reported the shocking accusations about the joint US-Afghan operation. But the rest of the UK news media have buried the report.
After details of the massacre first emerged, Afghan President Karzai sent a team of investigators to the alleged scene of the atrocity in the village of Ghazi Kang in eastern Kunar province. Assadullah Wafa, a former governor of Helmand province, led the investigation. He told The Times that US soldiers flew to Kunar from Kabul, implying that they were part of a special forces unit:
“At around 1 am, three nights ago, some American troops with helicopters left Kabul and landed around 2km away from the village. The troops walked from the helicopters to the houses and, according to my investigation, they gathered all the students from two rooms, into one room, and opened fire.” (Jerome Starkey, ‘Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children’, The Times, December 31, 2009; www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/Afghanistan/article6971638.ece)
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