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View Poll Results: Should Newsweek Have Reported Both Accounts of the U.S.Treatment of Gulab?
Newsweek Should Not Report Negative Foreigners' Accounts About the U.S. Military 1 4.76%
The First Newsweek Account Was Appropriate, After U.S. Military Approved It. 0 0%
Newsweek Should Have Published Both Accounts, With Less Negative Details. 1 4.76%
Newsweek Should Report the Facts, Causing the U.S.Military to Reexamine It's Methods 19 90.48%
Voters: 21. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Should Newsweek Report U.S. Abuse of the Afghan Who Rescued the Wounded Navy Sea?

Quote:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12227623/site/newsweek/
A Friend in Need
The proud Afghan risked all to save a Navy SEAL. Now, feeling abandoned, he is facing death threats.
By Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai
Newsweek

April 17, 2006 issue - Even with all the troubles that followed, Mohammad Gulab says he's still glad he saved the U.S. Navy SEAL. "I have no regrets for what I did," the 32-year-old Afghan told NEWSWEEK recently. "I'm proud of my action." Nevertheless, he says, "I never imagined I would pay such a price." Last June, foraging for edible plants in the forest near his home in the Kunar-province village of Sabray, Gulab discovered a wounded commando, the lone survivor of a four-man squad that had been caught in a Taliban ambush. Communicating by hand signs, Gulab brought the injured stranger home, fed and sheltered him for two days and helped contact a U.S. rescue team to airlift him out.

Gulab has been paying for his kindness ever since. Al Qaeda and the Taliban dominate much of Kunar's mountainous backcountry. Death threats soon forced Gulab to abandon his home, his possessions and even his pickup truck. Insurgents burned down his little lumber business in Sabray. He and his wife and their six children moved in with his brother-in-law near the U.S. base at Asadabad, the provincial capital. Three months ago Gulab and his brother-in-law tried going back to Sabray. Insurgents ambushed them. Gulab was unhurt, but his brother-in-law was shot in the chest and nearly died. The threats persist. "You are close to death," a letter warned recently. "You are counting your last days and nights."

Gulab's story says a lot about how Al Qaeda and its allies have been able to defy four and a half years of U.S. efforts to clear them out of Afghanistan. The key is the power they wield over villagers in strongholds like Kunar, on the Pakistani frontier. For years the province has been high on the list of suspected Osama bin Laden hideouts. "If the enemy didn't have local support, they couldn't survive here," says the deputy governor, Noor Mohammed. Since the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, jihadists have been amassing influence through scare tactics, tribal loyalties and cash. A little money can purchase big leverage in an area where entire villages sometimes subsist on a few thousand dollars a year, and many foreign jihadists have insinuated themselves into the Pashtun social fabric by marrying into local families. "The enemy knows the culture and exploits it," says Col. John Nicholson, who commands U.S. forces along several hundred miles of saw-toothed borderland.

Al Qaeda effectively owns much of Kunar. "There is little or no government control over most of the mountain villages," says an Afghan intelligence officer in Asadabad, asking not to be named because of the nature of his work. Many local Afghan officials are afraid to visit their home villages. Fighters entering Kunar from Pakistan have grown increasingly brazen in their movements. "This year they are so bold, they are coming in broad daylight," says the Afghan intelligence officer. Around Gulab's home village, even the natives stay out of certain areas that have been staked off by the jihadists.

Fear wasn't enough to keep Gulab from helping the commando he found in the woods last June. The Afghan says he had heard about the previous day's ambush and knew that local insurgents were hunting an American who had escaped, but Gulab believed he had to do the right thing. Under the mountain tribes' code of honor—Pashtunwali, they call it—there's a sacred duty to give shelter and assistance to anyone in need. Using gestures, Gulab indicated that he meant no harm. The injured stranger signed back that he understood and lowered his automatic rifle.

Word spread fast among Gulab's neighbors that he had taken an American into the village's protection. The jihadists soon heard the same thing. Their commander, an Afghan named Qari Muhammad Ismail, sent the villagers a written demand for the fugitive. Gulab and other village men answered with a message of their own: "If you want him, you will have to kill us all." Sabray has roughly 300 households altogether. "The Arabs and Taliban didn't want to fight the village," says Gulab.

The next night, Gulab and his neighbors took their guest to a nearby cave. For two days they took turns standing guard with his weapon while a village elder traveled to the Americans in Asadabad, carrying a letter the SEAL had written and a piece of his uniform. Four days after the ambush, a U.S. military team finally arrived to secure the village. That night a helicopter carried the wounded man and Gulab to the U.S. base.

There, Gulab says, the SEAL thanked him and promised to send him $200,000 as a reward. The Afghan also claims that U.S. officers, knowing that he and his family would be in danger because of his heroism, promised to relocate them to America within two months. (The military denies such an offer was made.) All he has now is a $250-a-month job at the base as a construction laborer. "I sacrificed everything," he says. "Now no one cares."

After several requests for comment on Gulab's story, NEWSWEEK got an e-mail from Col. Jim Yonts, a public-affairs officer in Kabul. "The U.S. military undertook many positive actions toward this individual and the other Afghans of the area to show our national gratitude and respect," he wrote. "I can not discuss the issue of the U.S. Navy SEAL promising money, but I can tell you that there was never an expectation to arrange relocation for this individual or his family." The military has no authority to make such an offer, he explained. The SEAL, who remains on active duty, declined to comment via his attorney, Alan Schwartz, an "entertainment lawyer" in Santa Monica, Calif. Gulab only shakes his head: "Why would anyone else want to cooperate with the U.S. now?"
<b>Then....Newsweek reported, the U.S. military retaliated against Gulab for complaining about the personal costs for the risks he took by rescuing and sheltering the wounded....Navy Seal.</b>
Quote:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12773520/site/newsweek/
By Sami Yousafzai
Updated: 2:39 p.m. ET May 13, 2006

With Friends Like These...
Update: An Afghan who risked all to rescue a wounded Navy SEAL finds trouble with the Taliban—and the U.S. military

.....Late on Friday, April 14—the week NEWSWEEK's story appeared—Gulab's phone rang. The caller told him to come to the U.S. base at 11 the next morning, and Gulab barely slept that night, thinking the Americans were going to relocate him and his family out of danger. When he reported to the main gate on Saturday, he found a pair of U.S. soldiers waiting for him. <b>They checked his name—and then handcuffed and blindfolded him, hauling him off to an unlit room in a remote corner of the base. There, he says, he was placed in a cage so cramped that he could neither stand up nor lie down.

Hours later, two Americans and an interpreter entered the room and began interrogating him.</b> Most of the questions were about his life and his family, although Gulab couldn't imagine why. He was sure his captors knew exactly who he was, he says. They inquired about ties to al Qaeda, a question he considered insulting. Hadn't he saved an American commando's life? And the interrogators kept returning to the subject of his contacts with NEWSWEEK. They had searched him and found a NEWSWEEK reporter's business card with an Islamabad address. The interrogators kept asking when he had been to Pakistan and where had gone, although he told them he had not traveled to the Pakistani capital.

<b>Gulab says the session lasted more than an hour. It was only the first in a series that continued until the afternoon of the fourth day. Then the Americans told him he was free to go home. He had trouble walking after spending so much time locked up in a cramped cage. His captors never told him why he had been detained, he says, but before his release, one of the interrogators offered some advice: "Stay away from reporters. It will be in your best interest."</b>

NEWSWEEK has repeatedly asked the U.S. military to clarify the incident. Lt. <b>Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, a public-affairs officer at U.S. headquarters in Bagram, sent this reply via email: "Mr. Gulab was detained and questioned by coalition forces and released.</b> I can't discuss any details of why he was questioned but it was not related to his interview with Newsweek." The Pentagon has not responded to several requests for comment. The Taliban and its friends are not so reticent. After word got out that the Americans had locked up Gulab, someone left a message affixed to the wall of his brother-in-law's house. "This is your punishment from God in this world," the note said, "and a taste of what you will get on the day of judgment." Gulab continues to believe he did the right thing by saving the SEAL.
Is the U.S. Military/Intelligence complex, working under the directives and policies of the current administration, if this story is true, going to straighen out it's act sooner....or at all...because of Newsweek's two reports on Mr. Gulab, or should Newsweek have submitted it's first interview with Mr. Gulab to the U.S. Military Press Office so the initial complaints of Mr. Gulab could be scrubbed.

Will Newsweek's two Gulab reports increase the likelihood of the U.S. winning the "hearts and minds" of ordinary Afghanis?

I don't know if it is possible, but the chances of convincing Afghanis that supporting and cooperating with the U.S. Military, IMO increases because Newsweek published both Gulab reports....
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Old 05-16-2006, 06:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds to me like the military is more worried about sources to the media than they are the Taliban or Al Quida.

It most definately reeks of a signal to the press and their sources that no one over there is safe to speak out.

Along with the domestic wiretaps on journalists now, I am starting to wonder if this adminstration's real war is not against the "terrorists" but against the press leaking stories of how they are abusing their powers.
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Maybe we should rename the war on terror to the war on freedom....
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with you 100% that the media should not be concerned with censoring its beliefs to be in line with what the Government wants -- that's simply free press.

But damn man, that's one of the most biased polls I've ever read. You can tell simply by reading the questions where you stand on the issue.
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This may surprise you, but I voted on the last one in the poll.

People should be rewarded for saving American soldiers, not interrogated. Newsweek reported on facts, there's nothing wrong with it as long as it does not lead to endangering current operations.
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinnKai
I agree with you 100% that the media should not be concerned with censoring its beliefs to be in line with what the Government wants -- that's simply free press.

But damn man, that's one of the most biased polls I've ever read. You can tell simply by reading the questions where you stand on the issue.
That is the entire reason I did not vote in the poll - even though the last option fits my viewpoint best, the bias is annoying.
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
That is the entire reason I did not vote in the poll - even though the last option fits my viewpoint best, the bias is annoying.
Ditto. Host, you really need to change how you approach these threads if you want actual discussion. If you just want to rant and give your opinion, use your journal or something...
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