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Reuters: Nigeria’s Arrow Head of Counterinsurgency is not the “mastermind of infanticide”

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Reuters: Nigeria’s Arrow Head of Counterinsurgency is not the “mastermind of infanticide”

By Dr MS Abubkar

Ever since his retirement from the Army into private life as a farmer, diplomat, security consultant and now a politician, countless numbers of chiefdoms, emirates, think tanks, NGOs and newspapers have come out to publicly identify with Buratai. He is at the moment the recipient of not less than 28 traditional titles across the country. Newspapers and magazines across the country are still sending letters of award notification to him most of which he has declined to accept. I’m sure the soldier-diplomat didn’t lobby for these awards and recognitions because there was no need for that. In fact, he is the shy type who doesn’t really crave for fanfare and publicity but this is a country in dire need of credible leaders to inspire and give people hope. Nigerians now know that Buratai tried his best as COAS and for that many of them are coming out to show their appreciation to him. This is good because it will encourage the present service chiefs to do more. The awards and recognition Buratai earned were because he is a patriotic Nigerian, an outstanding soldier, a heroic infantry general, and one of Africa’s best Army chiefs. The retired General did not meet all of his goals as COAS, but he came close. Nigeria prospered under Buratai, who improved the Army. No leader who values teamwork will let such a talented Army officer go. Thus, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCON, designated him a special envoy to Benin.

Since the Ambassador was sixteen and the President a military governor, they had known each other. That was in 1975. God reunited the President and MNJTF Force Commander Buratai in N’Djamena in 2015. They met 40 years later, which in Sacred Scripture denotes new life, growth, transition, a change from one huge duty to another, etc. Mount Sinai gave Moses the 10 commandments after 40 days. Isaiah (Jesus the Christ). Masih ad-Dajjal will travel the world in forty days: one year, one month, one week, and one day. Gabriel revealed this to Muhammad at forty. Amb. Buratai honourably served his Fatherland and President Buhari. Nigerians recall how a former Army commander and close friend overthrew the President in August 1985. However, in Buratai, we saw a professional soldier who was completely loyal to constituted authority, a soldier who believes in democracy and the will of the people, even when the forces of darkness sought to suffocate our democracy and when the President left the country for an extended period of time to seek medical attention.

Amb. Buratai is a rare gem. I’ve come to the conclusion through introspection that God elevates men like them to lead, direct, and carry out his will in every generation. Study individuals that fought for our country’s independence, such as the late Dr Nnamdi Aizikiww, Sir Ahmadu Bello, and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. They mainly had been born in the 1920s. However, the majority of those who battled for the country’s unity in 1967 were children of the 1940s. Generals TY Danjuma and IBB, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, President Muhammadu Buhari, General Yakubu Gowon, and others in that bracket (1937-1942). We condemn them in the daytime and at night, we swarm there. Have you ever noticed how Nigerians who had condemned IBB were now praising him on his 80th birthday? My point? The 1960 generation will dominate this nation once the 1940 generation passes away. I co-edited Nigeria at 60 last year. There are sixty Nigerian achievers that were born in 1960 inside the compendium. Mallam Nasir el Rufai, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Prof. Charles Soludo, Dr. Salamatu Hussaini, and Amb. Buratai is among these Nigerians. No matter what, these individuals from 1960 will guide us and steer the affairs of this country. Among the military generation of the 1960s, Amb. Buratai stood out. Only his commitment to quality, sacrifice, and perseverance has brought him the widespread respect he now enjoys. The President was only won over by excellence, expertise, and devotion.

Now, this brings us to a calculated attempt by Reuters to discredit the Nigerian military and most especially General Buratai who is the arrowhead of Nigeria’s counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations.  Countries like Brazil, Korea and even the Federal Government of Nigeria recognized the sacrifices made by General Buratai and honoured him with the national honours of Commander of the Federal Republic. The Nigerian Army, I was reliably informed, is going to bestow a special award to General Buratai at the forthcoming COAS Conference in Sokoto. Yet, Reuters single-handedly disagreed with this line of thought and wrote that General Buratai and other patriotic generals like General LEO Irabor and Faruk Yahaya, the COAS are nothing but murderers. What Reuters accused the Nigerian military of committing is sacrilegious and I don’t think it is necessary to quote any portion of it here. All I can say is that Nigerians must see this as a calculated attempt to run down the only institution holding this country together as one and keeping it safe. The kind of war the Nigerian military fought is what has taken the United States and her allies decades to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria without any success despite the superior technology and resources at their disposal.

Reuters, now Thomson Reuters, became Britain’s main newswire in 1851. Toronto shelters it headquarters. In 1847, former bank clerk Paul Julius Reuter started the agency with Berlin book publisher Reuter and Stargardt. Reuter distributed radical leaflets in 1848. He became a translator in Paris that year. He started an electric telegraphy and carrier pigeon news service in 1849. He created Reuter‘s Telegram Company two years after arriving in England. The London-based company first delivered commercial news to banks, brokerage firms, and leading enterprises.

London Morning Advertiser was the agency’s first newspaper client in 1858. Newspapers grew Reuters‘ customers. Newspapers valued Reuters‘ ability to break global news, such as Lincoln’s 1865 assassination. The telegraph enabled Reuter’s global news organization. The Newspapers Association (PA), which represents Britain’s regional press, bought Reuters in 1925 and took full ownership. The PA sold half of Reuters to Britain’s national press, the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association, in 1941. In 1947, Australia and New Zealand’s daily newspaper organizations became co-owners. Reuters provided content and photographs to newspapers, news agencies, and broadcasters. It reached practically all of the world’s main newspapers and thousands of smaller ones in most nations directly or through national news agencies. Reuters has 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in 200 locations.

Terrorist-friendly media outlet

Reuters‘ “value-neutral approach” includes not using the word terrorist. After 9/11, it was criticized. Reuters‘ editorial policy: “Reuters may talk about terrorism and counterterrorism without naming particular occurrences. Reuters does not label individuals, organizations, or events as terrorists without attribution.”

After using two doctored photographs by Lebanese freelance photographer Adnan Hajj, Reuters was accused of bias against Israel in its 2006 Israel–Lebanon coverage by Ynetnews. Reuters cut relations with Hajj and withdrew his photos from their database in August 2006.

Myanmar convicted two Reuters journalists of acquiring state secrets while investigating a Rohingya village massacre in 2018.

Any news medium that can comfortably condemn and ridicule the Nigerian military after the successes it got against the Boko Haram insurgents is a terrorist-friendly media. There is no sitting on the fence as far as this issue is concerned. You are either for the insurgents or for the state. I recognized that there are challenges with governance and human rights; these are structural problems that the politicians need to address and fix but as for the military they are doing their best to adhere to international best practices.

Misinformation and propaganda expert.

Three Reuters journalists, Jack Stubbs, Raphael Satter, and Christopher Bing, wrongly used the image of an Indian herbal medicine entrepreneur in an exclusive report headed “Obscure Indian cyber business spied on politicians, investors worldwide” on June 9, 2020. Indian police investigated the individual whose image was wrongly used for nine hours after local media took up the news. Reuters said its reporters mistook the man for alleged hacker Sumit Gupta since they share an address.

The C.I.A. has used a distinct and much larger network of newspapers, news services, periodicals, publishing houses, radio stations, and other institutions it has controlled to influence world thought. Some C.I.A. agents may still travel the world as correspondents for obscure trade publications or business newsletters.

Tom Braden, a syndicated journalist, and Cord Meyer Jr., a Yale campus leader before joining the C.I.A., led its propaganda effort. C.I.A. The South Pacific Mail in Santiago, Chile, provided cover for two operatives: David A. Phillips, who became chief of the C.I.A.’s Western Hemisphere Division, and David C. Hellyer, who resigned as Copley’s Latin American editor to join the agency.

Other newspapers on whose staffs the C.I.A. is claimed to have put agents over the years included The Guyana Chronicle, The Haiti Sun, The Japan Times, The Nation of Rangoon, The Caracas Daily Journal and The Bangkok Post.

And before the 1959 revolution The Times of Havana, owned by a former C.I.A. man, contributed to the “cover” of Mr. Phillips by signing him on as a columnist.

C.I.A., Reuters and Propaganda

The C.I.A. had agents in several international news services, including LATIN, a Latin American agency owned by Reuters, and the Ritzhaus organization in Scandinavia.

The Associated Press and United Press International had C.I.A. agents in their overseas offices, but Reuters, a British organization, was a potential target of the British Secret Intelligence Service.

However, insiders alleged the C.I.A “borrowed” British “assets” inside Reuters to plant news items. Asked about the much‐publicized remark by William E. Colby, the former Director of Central Intelligence, that the agency never “manipulated” Reuters, one official said that “it wasn’t manipulation since Reuters knew” that the C.I.A. was planting the reports and that some were phoney.

Reuters‘ North American managing editor Desmond Manerly called such claims “old-hat crap.” He observed that Reuters‘s managing director, Gerald Long, had requested evidence of tampering but received none.

The Foreign News Service, operated or extensively financed by the C.I.A., published stories by exiled Eastern European journalists. The stories were sold to 300 newspapers worldwide in the early 1960s, including The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Herald Tribune.

Boleslaw Wierzbianski, a former Polish Minister of Information and the onetime leader of the news service stated that as far as he knew, the C.I.A.’s only participation was financial and the agency never tried to control the service’s output or use it as a cover.

Conclusion

The CIA promotes US national interests covertly, hence I have no issues with it. What I want to emphasize is that the Nigerian military and by extension General Buratai and other senior brass of the Nigerian military want no harm and in no way constitute any threat to the interest of the United States or the G8 and NATO. I have read through the US Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa (May 2022) and I can attest to the fact that the Nigerian military aligns with the strategy notably on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. It is in the best interest of the US to collaborate and cooperate with the Nigerian military to stabilize Sub-Saharan Africa. As the US Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa pointed out, the interference of China and Russia in Sub-Saharan Africa is a major threat to that of the United States and already countries like Mali, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso and most likely Cameroon are in that camp. The United States cannot afford to directly or indirectly support anything that will undermine the Nigerian military because it is the most potent instrument required to stabilize the Sub Sahara African region.

My clarion call to fellow Nigerians is to heed the call of the National Anthem: “…the labour of our heroes past (and present) shall never be in vain.” We must not allow Reuters and any other fifth columnists to run down our military institution. This does not mean that our military institutions must not be scrutinized or criticized. What is unacceptable is heinous allegations of human rights abuse like infanticide and the killing of children and women. Our military is very professional and they know what is the two cardinal principles of proportionality of force, and distinction.

Dr Abubakar is a member of the Global Antiterrorism Accreditation Board and a Certified Antiterrorism Specialist (CAS).

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