All trivial matters have been set aside to pursue the biggest story in Chinese media.
As People's Daily Online put it: Monkeys trained as battlefield killers in Afghanistan
Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents are training monkeys to use weapons to attack American troops, according to a recent report by a British-based media agency.
Reporters from the media agency spotted and took photos of a few "monkey soldiers" holding AK-47 rifles and Bren light machine guns in the Waziristan tribal region near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The report and photos have been widely spread by media agencies and Web sites across the world.
According to the report, American military experts call them "monkey terrorists."
As a form of cruel political means, wars are launched to meet political goals through conquest, devastation, assaults and other means.
In a sense, the emergence of "monkey soldiers" is the result of asymmetrical warfare. The United States launched the war in Afghanistan using the world's most advanced weapons such as highly-intelligent robots to detect bombs on roadsides and unmanned aerial vehicles to attack major Taliban targets. In response, the Taliban forces have tried any possible means and figured out a method to train monkeys as "replacement killers" against American troops.
Analysts believe that apart from using "monkey killers" to attack the American troops, the Taliban also sought to arouse Western animal protectionists to pressure their governments to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
An American official responded that the Taliban forces have started training "monkey soldiers" after suffering heavy losses, implying that they have exhausted their tricks. Nevertheless, the Taliban believe that the emergence of "monkey soldiers" indicates that they have found smarter and more effective ways to cope with American troops.
Ironically, the initiators of "monkey soldiers" are the Americans. Between the 1960s and the 1970s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) trained massive "monkey soldiers" in the Vietnam War and dispatched armed monkeys to dangerous jungles to launch assaults on Vietnamese soldiers. Today, the Taliban forces have given the American troops some of their own medicine.
When armed animals enter interpersonal wars, what kind of world will we face? This cannot but arouse our reflections and concerns.
This article has sparked a firestorm of derision around the globe. Nobody can locate the "British-based media agency" circulating the report, and the general impression is that People's Daily got punked.
It seemed to be off the People's Daily website for a while, but now it's back.
Amazingly, this was not the first appearance of the story in People's Daily.
On June 28, People's Daily ran the first story:
Taliban trains 'monkey terrorists' to attack U.S. troops
Afghanistan's Taliban warlords have developed a bizarre way to deal with foreign forces: they have trained monkeys who love to eat bananas and peanuts to be killers.
Ironically, the idea of training monkeys to fight was first invented by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA in the Vietnam War initiated a program that used the peanuts and bananas as prizes to train some "monkey soldiers" to kill Vietnamese in the jungle, according to a report by British media on June 27, 2010.
It is reported that these monkey soldiers are mainly composed of macaques and baboons hunted at an early age in the jungle and sold to the Taliban. These monkey babies who lost their mothers are sent to a secret Taliban training base one-by-one to become killer monkeys. Taliban militants use a series of rewards and punishments to gradually teach them how to use the lethal weapons.
Recently, a British journalist went to Pakistan and Afghanistan border of Waziristan’s tribal region where he witnessed a few of the monkey soldiers armed with an AK-47 rifle and Bren light machine gun. Taliban militants in the past have strictly kept the program secret.
However, Taliban leaders have recently taken the initiative show monkey soldiers to tourists of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area. Apparently, the Taliban look on monkeys as "propaganda tools."
"If a person who loves animals knows the monkeys may be injured in the war, they might pressure the government to force the withdrawal of western forces in Afghanistan," said one Taliban insider.
A senior U.S. military source confirmed the existence of the Taliban monkey soldiers, military experts call armed monkeys "monkey terrorists."
At the time, Apple News' CGI department--legendary for its digital imagining of Al Gore's alleged sexual encounter with a masseuse in Portland--took on the killer monkey story, and added the detail that the monkeys were first trained with wooden guns before graduating to the real thing.
A Shenzhen outfit called China Time further amplified the story, stating that:
"The KGB let the secret out; the ex-Soviet Union also studied monkey training and the secret fell into the hands of the Taliban".
CIA specialists used peanuts and bananas and other rewards and punishments to train monkeys to use firearms as correctly as US solders, and also trained them how to discriminate enemy soldiers in the jungles of Vietnam and fire in the proper direction. KGB moles inside the CIA leaked the secret of the training of the "Monkey Army" to high levels in Moscow. Within a few months, the GRU, the military intelligence organization of the ex-Soviet Union had started to train its own monkey army. After the Soviet Uniion collapsed, those trainers of the "monkey solders" were suddenly unemployed. At that time they sold the secret of how to "train monkeys to become killers" to various military organizations. Now, it appears, they have also sold the "monkey training secrets" to the Taliban.
Rhesus monkeys are native to Afghanistan. However, the Western literature seems to be silent on the monkey army issue, Operation Banana, or any other variations, and there is nothing like a "June 27 report from a British-based media organization" touting the Taliban monkey-training-terrorism angle.
The fact that People's Daily would not only release so absurd-seeming and thinly-sourced an article, but would do so twice and in the face of widespread ridicule is a most interesting and puzzling story in itself.