Afghanistan Kidnapping -or- Canadian Media DeathWatch
From the Counterterrorism Blog, a field report.
Tonight I had the displeasure of witnessing the DeathWatch in action. An Al Jazeera report, based on an unsubstantiated claim from an unnamed Taliban source, indicated a Canadian soldier was kidnapped in Afghanistan. Reuters repeated the unsubstantiated claim, which later morphed into an unspecified number of Coalition troops. Canada's Globe and Mail, in a rush to press, misidentified the lead Canadian Public Affairs Officer, Major Scott Lundy, as the "spokesman for NATO Special Forces" (the webmaster later corrected this and removed the reference to Major Lundy altogether.)
The Canadian media rushes into action, trying to get to the bottom of the story which very likely is a Taliban information operation. Cell phones are buzzing, reporters are pressing the public affairs officers for quotes. The DeathWatch was in full news-gathering mode. Media outlets in Canadian are requesting live interviews and quick columns from their reporters at the airfield. The Canadian forces are in turn conducting a headcount but discount the reports, as this have happened in the past. If this is a false report, as it likely is, the propaganda machine of al-Qaeda and the Taliban has succeeded yet again in manipulating the Western media into doing their bidding. The DeathWatch continues as I submit this post, and Al Jazeera is downplaying the reports of the kidnapping.