Spread the Word: A cowardice act by a reporter

Nick Meo was an embed journalist from the UK who was recently in the Khandahar area embedded with PMT and ETT mentors of TF Phoenix. I have been alerted to some terrible articles he wrote about that experience. Articles full of lies, slander and twisted truths. Articles that pump his own ego and try to make him seem more than he is, but at the same time show him as a coward by jumping on a medevac helicopter to leave the combat area rather than ride back, and he was not even wounded.

Please feel free to try emailing him at nick.meo@telegraph.co.uk, or you can try emailing the newspaper at telegraphenquiries@telegraph.co.uk if the address for Nick does not work. Let them know what you think of his lies, twisting of the truth to make it feel worse and his utter dis-respect for the American soldiers that protected him. You can also make an international call to 0800 316 6977 and let them know how you feel.

I hope you read this entire blog, send the link to your friends and spread the word to other blogs, etc. Nick Meo and the editors of telegraph.co.uk need to know this type of reporting is not appreciated, respected or wanted by citizens of this world.

Here are some of the lies and terrible things he has said, as noted by the ARSIC-South Public Affairs Officer (PAO):

  • Mentioned that our National Guardsmen, deployed with the 27th Brigade Combat Team, who have been deployed from their homes since January, are a ‘territorial army’ and a “part-time soldiers” shows how little you know about our soldiers deployed here in southern Afghanistan. National Guardsmen across the United States of America can be deployed for plethora missions- they range from federal active-duty for missions abroad and for state missions that may include snow storms, ice storms, hurricanes, floods, and much more.

  • Referred to a “dreadful Mohican-style army haircut” as you referred to Maj. James Becker, the PMT Team Chief, which I found wholly disgraceful and uncalled for. I don’t know what you think Maj. Becker did to you, to deserve a statement like that, but I was embarrassed for you for making such a statement- especially about a man and soldier who is professional and as hard-working as Maj. Becker. Maj. Becker helped save your life and you should be grateful you had such a soldier leading the convoy you were on and the soldiers in his Police Mentor Team.

  • Referred to Spec. Mitch Chapman as a New York Army National Guard soldier. Had you actually researched anything about Spec. Chapman, you would have easily learned Chapman is from the Illinois National Guard, but alas, you probably didn’t feel the need to properly research anything for your article, as is obvious from reading it.

  • Quoted Spec. Chapman as saying he had never driven a Cougar vehicle before. In fact, Spec. Chapman had just spent a week on Kandahar Airfield attending training to know how to properly drive the Cougar vehicle.

  • “I didn’t talk to him before we set off, which in a way I am now grateful for. Less than an hour later he was dead.” How low can one go, Nick? I was appalled to read the statement where you referred to Cpl. Scott Dimond, who was the gunner for your vehicle- providing security for his fellow soldiers, the convoy, and of course you, a reporter. Is this how you honor a fallen soldier of ours- by being thankful you never met him? Cpl. Dimond was out there risking his life for his fellow soldiers and you, and he was killed in action doing that job. Cpl. Dimond was an excellent soldier and you would have been lucky to have met him. Dimond was the standard in the United States Army- professional, met and exceeded standards, was proficient at his job, worked hard, and was always there for his fellow soldiers- a stellar soldier by far.

  • You wrote many inconsistencies in your story- ranging from accounts that our soldiers used flares and then later said they didn’t have flares or night-vision “cameras”. In one sentence you reported that our men fired flares at drivers who didn’t move. Then, later- half-way through the article, you mention our soldiers had no flares or night visions “cameras”. Then, later, you wrote that “a sergeant switched on a night-vision camera.” Which is it?

  • You Portrayed our soldiers with descriptives such as: panicky, fearful, and scared.  But, based on the video clips that you provided us, of the event, and a sworn statement you wrote- we have a clear picture that our soldiers, in your own words, “were conscious and talking.”  That doesn’t sound like screaming to me- which also wasn’t shown in the video you have of our men.  It seems to me you were trying paint a portrait of a situation that was not true; to dramatize a situation that wasn’t how you pretended to see it.

  • You provided more inconsistencies about small-arms fire “some distance” away and then you tried to pretend that our men were pouring out excessive fire.  For instance you wrote: “The British would have regarded this level of fire as excessive, and perhaps even trigger-happy.”  If the enemy is down-range, as you also described at one point in your article that they were, then using any type of firing at the enemy would guarantee the Taliban wouldn’t be able to come close to you and you’re alive today to vouch for that method.

  • You made plenty of overt and overzealous assumptions when you wrote about U.S. Soldiers firing their weapons into the night.  For example, the comment: “Could be Afghan homes out there” and “although God knows what it really was” when referring to a bunker the men fired upon.  Assumptions as far as a reporter is concerned are worthless in this situation; assumptions by trained soldiers, deployed to the most volatile region on the country -southern Afghanistan, are ingrained through training and working the battlefield day in and day out.

  • The “demanded my camera as evidence” comment is exactly what you expected when our Investigating Officer came to see you the very next morning after the incident…You might recall this as the moment when you first bold-faced lied about having any footage of the scene…. Then, when asked by the Investigating Officer you said no, you didn’t have any footage.  But, when pressed further, you caved in, admitting you did in fact videotape the scene after the attack.  Luckily, we were forewarned that you in fact did that, by our soldiers who stopped you on the scene.  You were videoing the death of a soldier and a comrade; no wonder the men were agitated with you.

  • “I wasn’t wounded,” you wrote… “ so I asked to go aboard the Black Hawk…”  You were so scared yourself and yet you can be so judgmental about U.S. soldiers.  You made our soldiers, doctors, and emergency care technicians waste their time on taking care of you when you admit you were fine.  Atrocious.

  • The statement where you claimed I (the PAO) said you were deceased is an absolute lie, but I know you wanted to use that type of lie so that your claim about you, a journalist, would receive accolades from your fellow journalists, editors, and other bosses, and be seen as an absolute journalistic hero is in fact wholly false…..The part about a post-it note is also just as false, but typical of the drama you were trying to create in your story.

  • In addition to all of this, Nick, you were provided a rare opportunity to attend the ramp ceremony honoring Cpl. Scott Dimond on his decent home.  When you were asked if you wanted to attend the ramp ceremony, your reply was that if you couldn’t cover the ceremony, by writing about it, then you didn’t want to attend at all.  It’s so disrespectful, despicable really.

  • In the third paragraph (of the second story) you wrote that four members of Easyrider’s PMT team were killed in a Cougar MRAP- False!  If you did the proper research that you should have done, you would have known that the it was members from a different PMT team that were killed in June in and they were in an MRAP, not the Cougar MRAP.  Obviously researching the facts for your story is just simply lost on you.

The link to the articles are:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/3223963/Afghanistan-The-night-I-was-killed-in-action-by-a-Taliban-ambush.html
and
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/3223981/Flush-with-opium-cash-the-Taliban-is-better-organised-and-more-dangerous-than-for-years.html

UPDATE- My buds over at Blackfive.net have also written a blog entry about this guy. Check it out at http://www.blackfive.net/main/2008/10/if-you-are-in-t.html#more

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19 Responses to Spread the Word: A cowardice act by a reporter

  1. David MNo Gravatar says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/22/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. JBNo Gravatar says:

    Which is worse a ““dreadful Mohican-style army haircut” or a “cheezy Brit mustache” ? Inquiring minds want to know !

    Most notable about these articles were they were “all about me” (the reporter). I’ll sleep much better knowing HE’S safe.

  3. TomNo Gravatar says:

    I am sure his next story will be about all the great British accomplishments in Afghanistan: Musa Qala, Garmsir, Kajacki, Lash Ke Gah, Sangin? All complete total failures due to their failure to fight. Major Becker is a great soldier and leader and was out taking the fight to the enemy unlike the Brits who stay cocooned in their FOBs.

  4. Jon WNo Gravatar says:

    “Brits…stay cocooned in their FOBs”? Criticise Nick Meo if you must, Tom, but don’t parade your ignorance.

  5. BenNo Gravatar says:

    Who is the coward ? Inviting people to rally against a journalist who has written something you dont like. Nick Meo is Nick Meo. Who the fuck are you brave warrior ?

  6. Joseph OGERSHOKNo Gravatar says:

    Thank for “The rest of the story.”

    I have posted it at: http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/672198221/m/8170050402001

  7. Pingback: Afghan&Military Blog » Blog Archive » More on the Nick Meo Saga

  8. CJNo Gravatar says:

    Ben, you wouldn’t understand if it was explained to you with colorful pictures and broken down phonetically. You’re free to go back into your mom’s basement now.

  9. Ken KestrelNo Gravatar says:

    I think CJ and Tom get your facts right. I have actually watched footage of gunbattles around Musa Qala where the British and the Taliban were going at it hammer and tongs. In fact the problems everyone is facing in Afghanistan is simply not enough boots on the ground. The Soviets had 100,000 troops on the ground and did not give a shit about collateral damage yet could not hold the whole of afghanistan.

    The Taliban are not dumb. They no longer stand up and fight instead they sneak around and use IEDs shoot and scoot ambushes. The US and ISAF simply do not have enough troops to clear Afghanistan of the Taliban. Furthermore the taliban have a massive rear area in Pakistan where they can run and hide when Afghanistan gets too hot. The border is long and porous.

    After all the Americans have not been able to catch Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar for over 5 years of trying. So please analyze things first don’t just spout off.

  10. CJNo Gravatar says:

    Ken, 100,000 Soviet troops equals 1,000 US troops, so we have quite a few. Besides, using your logic, we don’t NEED a lot of troops there since all the Taliban and AQ is doing is “sneaking around” and planting IEDs. How is more troops going to solve that?

    Do you know how long it took to find the Unabomber? It’s not exactly easy to track down ONE man. Personally, I don’t care. Osama is now living in the dirt and in fear. He’s a coward who must constantly travel to stay alive and is no longer focused on carrying out attacks on others. I would be surprised if he were actually still alive anyway.

    Oh, and when you provide a little “analysis” of yourself, you can start chastizing us for our lack of such. The Taliban are cutting their own heads off, as evidenced by recent news of Afghani uprising against them. We’re doing just fine, thank you very much. Feel free to go back to your coffee shop and smoke your hooka pipe.

  11. Ken KestrelNo Gravatar says:

    CJ, Counter Insurgency needs a lot of man power. That is why Petraeus needed a surge i.e. more men on the ground in Iraq. Right now the Americans and NATO need more men on the ground in Afghanistan. Counter Insurgency needs infantry a lot of it. Not Artillery. Not aircraft but grunts. That’s why Musa Qala has changed hands so often. There are simply not enough troops to garrison it. Whenever NATO take it, they have to move troops somewhere else and the Taliban sneak right back.

    Look at any map of Afghanistan, there is a long border with Pakistan. The Pakistan side is the Taliban’s rear area. any time things heat up they cross the border into Afghanistan.

    The Soviets could only hold the cities and never lost a town of any significance. They however could not hold the countryside. They used airpower and artillery indiscriminately but still the Muj held on. Right now the Talibs and Al-quaeda do not fight directly they use coercion, sneak attacks and just generally make life impossible for the local population. They then pin this on the Americans and NATO.

    Vietnam is smaller than Afghanistan and yet 500,000 US troops plus 1 million ARVN could not stop the insurgency. The US never lost a big fight in Vietnam and won most of the small ones too. However though it was a war, it was not about who killed the most enemy. It was about denying the enemy freedom to operate, freedom to intimidate the local population, freedom to perform bombings. Even with all that firepower and manpower, it was dangerous to travel alone on major highways and everybody moved about in convoys just like in Afghanistan today.

    The Talib are blowing up schools, shooting police chiefs, scaring the shit out of the local population yet they do not control much of Afghanistan and do not hold any major towns.

    Right now Afghanistan is not exactly a success story. If American soldiers can not even move between bases except in convoys, the Taliban are winning. This has to be turned around.

  12. JMNo Gravatar says:

    It seems that some want to attack the journalist because he did not write a glowing report of the ‘warriors’.

    To do this they pick on small inconsistent points in his story. Points that do not invalidate the substance of the first person account.

    The detractors suggest it is unconscionable that he is glad he did not personally meet a man just before he saw him killed. There are many brave leaders who wish the same, that wish they did not have the faces and words of the men haunt them. This is an honest opinion of a civilian.

    That’s what he is a civilian, who risked his life to do his job, just like you risk yours, except you carry a gun, and you have been trained, and you have experience.

    That a civilian does not meet your standards of bravado is not surprising. What worries me more is if you can’t see this from his perspective, how the heck are you ever going to under stand your real enemy or do any useful COIN work with the local population?

    As the last poster before me said, “Afghanistan is not exactly a success story. If American soldiers can not even move between bases except in convoys, the Taliban are winning.”

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