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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:09 pm 
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You just gotta love that New York Times. They can't help themselves. :lol:

- Bill
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Photo fakery at the New York Times
January 16th, 2006


Is a fake staged photo fit to print? What if it staged in a way that makes the US forces fighting the War on Terror look cruel and ineffective? The evidence argues that yes, it can run, and in a prominent position - at least in the case of the New York Times website.

It appears that the Times, once-upon-a-time regarded as the last word in reliability when it comes to checking before publishing (which makes them so much better than blogs, of course), has run a fake photo on the home page of its website. The photo has since been removed from the home page, but still can be seen here.

The picture shows a sad little boy, with a turbaned man next to him, a little bit further from the camera, amid the ruins of a house. Other men and boys peer in from the background. The photo is captioned
Quote:
“Pakistani men with the remains of a missile fired at a house in the Bajur tribal zone near the Afghan border.”

The story it accompanies is about the apparently failed attempt to take out al Qaeda’s #2 man al Zawahiri, with a missile attack from a Predator drone.

“How sad!” readers are encouraged to think. “These poor people are on the receiving end of awful weapons used by the clumsy minions of Bush. And all to no avail. Isn’t it terrible? Why must America do such horrible misdeeds? Bush must go!”

The only problem is that the long cylindrical item with a conical tip pictured with the boy and the man is not a missile at all. It is an old artillery shell. Not something that would have been fired from a Predator. Indeed, something that must have been found elsewhere and posed with the ruins and the little boy as a means at pulling of the heartstrings of the gullible readers of the New York Times.

Others have noticed the fakery, too.

Ned Barnett is an expert on military technology, and frequently serves as a contributor to The History Channel on mil-tech issues. He has plenty of experience researching military ordnance. He told me:
Quote:
“Based on my extensive experience in researching military technology, I can verify that this is a 152mm or 155mm artillery shell – unfired – and by the looks of it, fairly old. It also looks like it has a fuse in it, suggesting that the guys in the photo are either ditch-water dumb or have a death-wish.

“At a glance, it’s hard to tell the exact caliber – 152mm or 155mm (they’re so close) but the Soviets tended to favor 152 (going back to WW-II) while we and the Brits, the French and most of the rest of the non-Soviet world (including, oddly, the PRC) preferred the 155. For all intents and purposes, they were functionally identical (but were not interchangeable). In caliber, this is also virtually identical to Naval 6” rounds (routinely used by the Brits, the Imperial Japanese Navy and the USN), but of course, it’s unlikely that the Pakistanis would unearth a Naval round not widely used since Vietnam (much more common in WW-I and WW-II) hundreds of miles from the nearest salt water.

“These shells could fire high explosive (HP), chemical white smoke (white phosphorous – aka “Willie Pete” – a smoke-producing shell that’s also hideous if you get the WP on you, as it burns on contact with air and nothing much will put it out), armor-piercing and semi-armor piercing – even poison gas (there’s much evidence that Saddam used French 155 shells for poison gas purposes against the Kurds, and possibly the Iranians). They are very common, and have been so since WW-I. They remain common throughout the world as one of the “standard” artillery sizes. To me, this looks like a HP shell, but the proof would come in interpreting the markings (that yellow band, plus stenciling).

“Small-caliber artillery comes in a casing with the propellant and shell in the same package – like a very large rifle bullet – but larger artillery has the shell (seen in the photo) packed separately from the propellant charge (which is generally in silk bags or other combustible containers). Rockets of all calibers also have integral propellant. The pictured shell does not have integral propellant, so it couldn’t possibly be a rocket (by the way, the standard ex-Soviet rocket caliber was 122mm – noticeably smaller than this puppy).

(A “decent basic primer” on artillery shells can be found here.)
Quote:
“Just as this one does, all artillery shells have markings (usually colored bands) which show the cannon-cockers at a glance what kind of shell they’re loading (blue for practice, other colors for different types of “live” shells). Somewhere I have an old standard reference on Soviet markings (and another on standard US markings), but they’re buried in my library, so I can’t immediately ID who made this shell.

“The make, however, is immaterial. The 152/155mm artillery shell has been in common, world-wide distribution since at least 1918. While it doesn’t look old enough to be of even WW-II vintage, that’s no guarantee. When it comes to artillery shells, most countries are pack-rats. At the time of their fall, the Soviets still had stockpiles of WW-II era shells, and they worked. (In Vietnam, most of the bombs we dropped from airplanes had been manufactured in ‘41-’45.) They don’t wear out, and as long as the fuses are live, most of the shells will be, too.

“Bottom line: the “provenance” of this shell, given it’s location in the world, could be Soviet (or ex-Soviet), [PRC] Chinese, British, French, American, NATO, Yugoslavian, Warsaw Pact (Czech, most likely, if WarPac), or as a long shot, potentially (though unlikely) even Imperial Japanese. In short, absent a manual on color-bands and a close look at stenciling, there’s no way to tell who made the damned thing. Nor is it important.

“The New York Times claim that it was the remains of a rocket is nonsense. Rockets are frail, light-weight, flimsy things (for obvious reasons). Artillery shells are robust, mostly cast steel (the explosive weight is really rather small considering the overall weight of the shell), again for obvious reasons. Take a look yourself. In addition, artillery shells have bands that grab onto the rifling of the cannon barrel – this is obvious (the lower segmented brass-over-white-paint band) on the shell in this photo. Rockets do not have this, as they use fins or directional exhaust nozzles to spin-stabilize themselves.”

So the formerly authoritative New York Times has published a picture distributed around the world on the home page of its website, using a prop which must have been artfully placed to create a false dramatic impression of cruel incompetence on the part of US forces. Not only did the editors lack the basic knowledge necessary to detect the fake, they didn’t bother to run the photo past anyone with such knowledge before exposing the world to it.

There is an old saying in journalism about stories which editors really want to run: “too good to check.” It is plainly clear that the New York Times thought this story was too good to check. Their standard of “good” is painfully obvious to all.

Without the internet and blogosphere, probably they would have gotten away with it.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:26 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Why must America do such horrible misdeeds? Bush must go!”


Meta: I would consider these truisms unrelated to the matter.

Bill Glasheen wrote:
Without the internet and blogosphere, probably they would have gotten away with it.


Meta: While I disdain the word "blogosphere", I agree with you, and it's an awesome power for the common man to have.
Truly, the internet makes it even more difficult for one hide the truth when we have the ability to look at an issue from so many angles now.

As bad as the NYT can be,
Just be thankful you don't get the LA times.
All I can muster is....."UGH!"

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:59 pm 
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For those of you wondering what a 155mm howitzer is, here is a pic taken at the moment of firing. The 155mm is a serious weapon.

This particular weapon belongs to the Richmond reserve unit 'Hotel Battery' of the 4th Marine Division.

Image

It makes a very distinctive 'boom' when fired and the earth literally moves. The muzzle blast is enormous (Note the grass and weeds around the cannon... it is literally flattened by the shock wave). The anti personnel round has a kill radius of about 100 yards. If a hi explosive round was used on a home as shown in the original link above nothing would be left standing... it would be gone.



Rich.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:00 pm 
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Meta:

Be sure not to attribute quotes to me that are the work of Thomas Lifson.

That being said... I'd be interested in Dana's take on the matter. I'm always impressed with her professional view of the power, bias, and responsibility of the media in such situations.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:24 pm 
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Rich,

Quick question: How do the solders 'manning' such weapons 'make it' through the damn noise and ongoing concussions without turning their heads into jello?

I understand this is what happened to 2nd world war soldiers.

No ear protection even in the recent past.

During my infantry training we were not allowed to wear ear plugs on the rifle/machine gun range.

So at some point we could not hear the commands clearly which caused some serious safety concerns.

What good is a deaf 'quivering' soldier in combat?

This is what we caused with 'carpet bombing' in Iraq during desert storm?

How do the marines protect their ear drums?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:30 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Meta:

Be sure not to attribute quotes to me that are the work of Thomas Lifson.


Meta:
I know, I know.
I just hated the word "Blog" to begin with.
Blog, Blogging, Bloggers, Blogged.

It makes the mind conjure up images of the sound caused when one regurgitates something.

But I do like his concept of the "Anglosphere"
If for no other reason, than to define Japanese people have a restaurant called "Mosburger".

http://www.japaninyourpalm.com/Restaura ... burger.htm

And I might add, that despite the namesake, they are not flavored with various species of algae as one might suspect, but rather they taste shockingly good.
Similar in texture and flavor to an American Wendy's burger.
Minus the mystery meat, of course.
:)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:23 am 
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Quote:
Quick question: How do the solders 'manning' such weapons 'make it' through the damn noise and ongoing concussions without turning their heads into jello?

I understand this is what happened to 2nd world war soldiers.


My dad was in Italy during WW2 through Sicily, Anzio, Monte Cassino and up the boot as an artillery man and his hearing was gone in one ear and about 60% in the other.

In combat, no ear protection.

However, in training, ear protection is mandatory at Quantico. In fact, they wear ear plugs under the muffs on the range if under a cover. That is too much if you ask me. My gun instructor will not allow double protection as it is too hard to hear commands and warnings.

I have met a few seriously hard of hearing Marines though. One was a young martial arts trainer and he wore two hearing aids most of the time. Another was a LtCol who damaged his ears while on a morter crew and needed to look at your lips to 'hear' what you said.

Also, aircrew and ground crew double up on earpro. The jets and helos are unmuffled and it hurts to be near them.

The 50 cal Ma Deuce is really an ear buster as well. The muzzle blast alone will move you.

I am much more careful these days and carry a set of foam plugs with me when on base. Also, I keep them in my car and insert them if I am even near a range. Once damaged, the hearing is gone, and the accumulative effect eventually will get you.

Rich

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:44 am 
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Thanks Rich,

Pretty much what I suspected.

How about these new devices that enhance your hearing while at the same time shutting down high Decibels noise?

It would make a soldier much more combat effective, No?

When I was a registered trap shooter_ I must have fired a zillion 12 gauge shells. Even with foam protection I was developing tinnitus.

Doctor explained that noise can transfer through facial bones contacting the stock of the shotgun.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:51 am 
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Such is the domain of biomedical engineers. We started with those special ear muffs that got rid of constant frequency noise (the drone of a helicoptor) while allowing other noise to make it through. As we get more and more sophisticated with digital signal processing, the tricks we use can get better and better.

What I find interesting, Van, are the passages in Grossman's On Combat about how the body will alter hearing under severe stress. With some individuals, they do this automatically. This kind of "neural net" signal processing is IMO the wave of the future. ;)

- Bill


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