Monday, July 14, 2008

Skyking - Skyking Do Not Answer!

A great article on those who have their hands on the nuclear button.


-Steve Douglass

I wish i could do this to my cranky Epson printer.

CNN Breaking News: Insurgents Attack In Waves in Afghanistan.

Published with permission.

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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan authorities released further details Monday of the insurgent attack at an outpost in eastern Afghanistan which killed nine American soldiers and wounded 15 others.

U.S. Marines on patrol in the town of Garmser in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Defense ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said Sunday's attack in Dara-I-Pech, in the far eastern province of Kunar, involved 400 to 500 militants. At least 100 were killed or injured, he said. The casualties also included four Afghan National Army soldiers.

The attack was the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since June 2005, when 16 American troops were killed -- in the same province -- when their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

During the fighting, insurgents used homes, shops and a village mosque for cover, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said. ISAF troops, along with members of the Afghan army, responded with firepower.

A U.S. official confirmed to CNN different numbers about Kunar. The official estimated that 200 insurgents participated in the Kunar fight and American officials up until now have not confirmed the numbers of insurgents killed. Watch more about the attack on the coalition base »

The official added most of those killed in action occurred just outside the base, when a group of insurgents overran an "observation point" -- a slightly elevated platform with a small number of troops.

"It is quite common for them to attack our outposts," said NATO spokesman Mark Laity. "But this was a larger scale attack than normal. This was not a new tactic. They usually get defeated. We are very, very sad that we lost some people but again, their attempt to take that base failed."

Meanwhile, U.S. military commanders in the region have asked the Pentagon to send hundreds of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), designed to withstand strong explosives, as quickly as possible to its troops battling the Taliban, a senior U.S. defense official said.

The MRAPS, which are the newest armored vehicles, have a V-shaped hull that helps deflect the blast of a roadside bomb. Defense sources said the request could include between 600 and 1,000 MRAPs.

Until MRAPs began arriving in Iraq in large numbers in 2007, troops had limited protection in armored Humvees. The last several months has seen a rise in the number of U.S. and NATO troop deaths from roadside bomb blasts in Afghanistan.

On Monday a roadside bomb killed six Afghan guards who were accompanying a vehicle of a U.S.-based private security firm, the Afghan defense ministry said.

The guards, working for the Texas firm U.S. Protection and Investigations (USPI), were struck Sunday near the town of Gereshk in the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, Gen. Azimi said.

No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attack. But Azimi said it bore the hallmarks of the hardline militant group, the Taliban.

USPI is based in Houston, Texas, according to the company's Web site. Last December, Taliban fighters ambushed a USPI-operated convoy carrying fuel bound for U.S. military bases in western Afghanistan. Fifteen Afghan employees of the firm were killed in the attack.

On Saturday, a teenager detonated his explosives-laden vest outside an Afghan National Army camp, killing himself and three others.

In another Helmand attack, a coalition member was killed by a Sunday roadside bomb, the U.S. military said.

Since the start of coalition operations in Afghanistan, 470 U.S. troops have died, including Sunday's casualties.

Helmand -- where Monday's roadside bombing occurred -- is an important front in the war against Islamic militants. It is considered the the world's largest opium poppy growing region, and that trade has helped fund insurgent activities.

Newspapers worldwide issuing "corrections"

Iran Missile Photo

July 10, 2008

By Daryl Lang

It was an arresting image: Four missiles arcing skyward in near perfect symmetry, perhaps a prelude to war. It was ominous. It was also a fake.

Newspapers and Web sites around the world were duped into running a propaganda photo handed out by the Iran Revolutionary Guard that turned out to have been digitally manipulated. The missile launch was real, but one of the four missiles in the image apparently wasn't.

The problematic image was distributed Wednesday by Agence France Presse, which said it obtained the photo from Sepah News, the house organ of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Video footage shot from the same angle and a second photo that is nearly identical show just three missiles, not four. AFP issued a correction Thursday saying, "The 2nd Right missile has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test."

By then it was too late. The image ran on many online news sites Wednesday. On Thursday, it ran on the front pages of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the Boston Globe.

Several newspaper editors said they are planning follow-up stories and corrections for Friday's editions, and some have already posted corrections online. The Seattle Times, for one, was considering a front-page correction, said director of photography Barry Fitzsimmons. Other papers were planning stories and corrections inside the paper.

"This kind of stuff is misinformation and intentionally done to fool people," said Chicago Tribune assistant managing editor for photography Torry Bruno. "We don't feel too good about it. We're going to be as transparent as possible in tomorrow's paper," he said, adding that the paper planned to run something longer than a standard correction.

Photo editors in the U.S. variously blamed themselves and AFP, a respected photo agency, for not catching the photo.

"AFP should have caught it, really," says Tim Rasmussen, assistant managing editor for photography at the Denver Post, which ran the photo on A1. "It should never have gotten past them."

But another Post editor was miffed that he failed to catch it. "Oh, I hate days like this," said Ken Lyons, the paper's front-page photo editor. "It was right there in front of me. I should have seen it."

In 2003, Lyons was among the first editors to spot a manipulated image from Iraq by Los Angeles Times photographer Brian Walski. Lyons, who worked at Orlando Sentinel at the time, refused to run Walski's image when it was transmitted to his newspaper.

Catching some of the heat Thursday was Getty Images, which distributes AFP in the U.S. Getty director of photography Pancho Bernasconi says the AFP content arrives through an automatic feed and Getty does not edit it.

Some newspapers made it clear in their captions or credit lines that the photo was provided by the Iranian government. Others did not. The Denver Post ran the image as its lead art and credited it to AFP/Getty; the Baltimore Sun ran the photo on page 1 and credited it to Agence France Presse.

Early Thursday on the East Coast, more than 12 hours after the AFP image had been distributed, the Associated Press moved a nearly identical photo showing three missiles. It appears to have been photographed a fraction of a second apart from the AFP image. In a news story, the AP said it obtained the photo from the same Iranian Web site from which the AFP obtained theirs.

The first person to call foul on the photo appears to have been the political blog Little Green Footballs, which spotted the manipulation Wednesday. It took until Thursday for word to spread widely through sites like The Drudge Report and The New York Times. The AFP correction ran shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday on the East Coast.

The Iranian photo manipulation case has some parallels to the 2006 story of Adnan Hajj, a Reuters photographer working in Lebanon who was accused of transmitting two manipulated photos. One showed extra smoke in an image and one showing a jet firing three projectiles instead of two. Little Greet Footballs and other blogs spotted Hajj's photos first, and Reuters ran a correction soon after and launched an internal investigation that led to the firing of an editor.

Lyons, of the Denver Post, said it is no consolation to him that many other papers – including local rival The Rocky Mountain News – also ran the four-missile photo.

"I take absolutely no comfort in that at all," he says. Lyons was also reflective about how much stronger the picture seems with the one extra missile. "The thing I've been asking myself all day is, Would we have run it if it were just the three?"


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