Michael Yon seems to run into trouble with the Public Affairs folks pretty much every time he heads out. Invariably he ends up writing an angry diatribe about how they are out to get him and he calls them names like crazy monkeys. Just recently another day, another Yon problem with the rules. It would be nice if that was the only issue with him, but he has another problem with bad sources. He has been posting a bunch of "news" from a source of his named Mustafa Kazemi. Lots of juicy stuff and Mike has been pushing it out in bunches while he sits on the bench. The problem is Mustafa Kazemi is not who he claims to be and Mike has just taken his stuff and failed to do even the simplest due diligence.
This is not the first time Yon has used information from sources he knows nothing about. Last year he revealed far too much info about security procedures at one of our bases in Afghanistan, ostensibly in response to an email from one of our troops. I sent him a message from my dead buddy with some more supposedly juicy info and Mike published it without a bit of effort to verify anything at all about the source.
Here is a screen cap from Mike's source detailing his background, quite the impressive character eh?
A military linguist, Infantry mortar man, Explosive Ordnance specialist and also trained in Close Quarters Battle. This is a serious dude. Except he isn't. Any of those things. At all. He is a liar and Yon used his information over and over again as a credible source. Mike published a piece from him about an Afghan kid who the Taliban murdered.
26 July 2011
Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
Over the past several days there have been news stories here in Afghanistan about the Taliban strangling an 8-year-old boy. The reports say that his father refused to turn over a police vehicle to the enemy, and so they murdered his son. Late last night, a courageous Afghan journalist named Mustafa Kazemi emailed an image of the boy that Mustafa said had been murdered. Afghans are enraged. They hate this behavior as much as we do. The boy appears to have had his eyes gouged out before being strangled to death. This image is graphic.
Mike has published a bunch of other reports (1, 2, 3, 4 and a bunch more that may disappear once this is published but we have screencaps) from this Mustafa on his Facebook page. All full of very interesting stuff that if true could be devastating. But in order to know that we would need to know who this Mustafa is. Well we don't and it doesn't look like Mike does either. One of our intrepid band of milbloggers decided to do the due diligence Yon didn't and as it turns out Mustafa has never been in the US military, and never been to any of the schools he claimed. He admitted as much to our friend, via Twitter and Facebook.
Just explaining you about my employment with military here because it wasn't possible on Twitter as it was open to everyone.
I was hired locally from Kabul and then deployed to Helmand. In Helmand I recieved some small training and I was said that this training package comes from US Army Infantry School. I recieved absolutely no document on the training inspite of insisting neither on employment. It was in 2005.
Because of this I have stopped putting my experiece on Internet because if anyone would ask for document or proof, I have nothing and I will be trapped.
Any other questions, I'm here.
I was given the title of PFC from my team leader. I don't know if I really was a PFC or not. I was just a local interpreter hired there and some slight training was given to me. I didnt finish the entire EOD course, I just listened to someone a couple days where he told me what to do when we confront an IED and safety measures.
I am a friend of Mike and am cooperating with him in news and stories from Afghanistan. He doesn't pay me anything for anything I am doing for him.
Why all these questions ********? Is it an official assignment or you're just trying to find out personally?
I blame the Army for not counting the locals as proper service members otherwise you'd have found something in your records.
I accept that I blew this out of proportion. I was a simple trep and shouldnt have called myself all those while I wasn't.
I hope your questions are over and I can continue my personal and comfortable life.
Well Mustafa, I don't blame the Army for your lies, I blame you. And I don't blame the Army for Mike using a source he failed to properly vet, I blame Mike. In the tiny bit of time I have spent looking into Mike's sourcing I have found he uses dead people and liars as sources. That doesn't speak too highly of the quality or validity of his work.
So tell us Mike where do you get your information? For all we know Mustafa could be on the other side, or a paid flack for the Afghan government, or just a dumb kid lying to make himself appear bigger than he is. But we don't know, Mike doesn't know and he just fed his audience a pile of garbage rather than do the work any decent journalist would do.