Friday, July 16, 2010

Taliban-Trained Gorillas

A few days ago, via WorldNetDaily:
WASHINGTON – Afghanistan's Taliban terrorists are training monkeys to shoot American soldiers with automatic weapons, according to British and Chinese media agencies.
In the Taliban stronghold of Waziristan, journalists took pictures of some "monkey soldiers" holding AK-47s and Bren light machine guns.
The official People's Daily in China explained the emergence of "monkey soldiers" as just another facet of "asymmetrical warfare."
On the basis of the Chinese report, Taiwan television produced the following serious (though amusing) animation of just how they would go about training monkeys to fire weapons.

Heh. Of course, it is not true, a GammaSquad discusses, citing Jeff Schogol of Stars and Stripes:
Military rumor investigator Jeff Schogol got in touch with a named NATO spokesman, who said that “We have absolutely nothing that leads us to believe that this tale could be even remotely based in reality.” A primatologist pointed out to him that the picture appears to depict an African baboon and not one of the rhesus monkeys which actually live in central Asia, that you probably couldn’t train a monkey to steadily hold a weapon, and that the sound of the gunfire would “certainly scare most animals and make them stop.” Oh, also: It turns out the gun in the photo is a toy:
So why would the Chinese media agency, of the official Communist party of China, come up with this nonsense? My thoughts are as follows.

Either they don't really care, as they won't have to print any retractions, and this makes for an entertaining story, so they doctored the relevant photos and ran with the story.

Or, the reporter on this simply misunderstood a legitimate news report. There are many such reports. For example, from Time Magazine:
Taliban Guerrillas Adjusting to U.S. Marine Strategies
or here:
Five well-armed and well-trained guerrillas of the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Taliban Movement of Pakistan) launched the attack on the consulate with rocket propelled grenades.
A Chinese reporter might have been scanning foreign news sources to recycle, and saw that there were trained gorillas of the Taliban movement. He then looked up gorillas, phonetically, in a Chinese-English dictionary, and discovered that it meant monkeys. That would be my guess, at least.

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