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War and Terrorism

Violence on TV

by on Apr.16, 2015, under History, Media, War and Terrorism

The Viet Nam war brought home the horrors of the battlefield in a way that we had never seen before. vietnam_exe The rules of war hadn't changed. There were atrocities committed by both sides. viet_napalm Napalm didn't respect allegiance, and the U.S. used it with abandon. viet_monkprotest In protest of the war, peaceful monks went on hunger strikes ... or immolated themselves. viet_kidsoldiers In the 60's and 70's, when these pictures were taken, we still had first amendment protections in the U.S. To find out what was really going on, newsmen and photographers went into the jungle, putting themselves in great danger. viet_mylai They exposed the My Lai massacre when the government tried to cover it up. They were there from the beginning of U.S. involvement viet_embassyfence and hung around until the end, witnessing and photographing the abandonment of the U.S. embassy, and many of our desperate allies. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The vivid depiction of blood and gore resulted in massive protests across the nation. viet_protest_generations Disaffection spanned generations and race. The government reacted. Wounded Kent State student John Cleary is attended to by other s The Governor sent the National Guard in to quell a protest at Kent State University, resulting in 4 student deaths. Dean Rusk, U.S. Secretary of State, called the war "the first struggle fought on television in everybody's living room every day." If the U.S. government learned anything from the Vietnam War, it's that suppressing coverage minimizes dissent. The new paradigm is the "embedded reporter". Instead of just letting the journalists and photographers have the run of the country, they are assigned to a military unit, where they have food, shelter, and can be kept safe, and see the war from the point of view of their benefactors and protectors. em_reporter It also controls the flow of information. There's no way to file stories or send pictures without the cooperation of the military. em_geraldo Even when the networks and new services send their best, they are still hampered by military censorship. jarecke01 When embedded journalist Kenneth Jarecke came across the scene on February 28, 1991, he felt compelled to document the burned-out Iraqi military convoys and incinerated corpses. One of his colleagues asked why he wanted to photograph such a distasteful scene. “I’m not interested in it either,” Jarecke recalls replying. He told the officer that he didn’t want his mother to see his name next to photographs of corpses. “But if I don’t take pictures like these, people like my mom will think war is what they see in movies.” As Hermanson remembers, Jarecke added, “It’s what I came here to do. It’s what I have to do.” jarecke2 Straying from the press pool was against the rules, but Jarecke was determined to get his pictures. And when government censorship failed, the media censored itself. The media took it upon themselves to “do what the military censorship did not do,” says Robert Pledge, the head of the Contact Press Images photojournalism agency that has represented Jarecke since the 1980s. The night they received the image, Pledge tells me, editors at the Associated Press’ New York City offices pulled the photo entirely from the wire service, keeping it off the desks of virtually all of America’s newspaper editors. It is unknown precisely how, why, or by whom the AP’s decision was handed down. jarecke3 Time Magazine received the picture, and the editors fought to publish it, but Managing Editor Henry Muller refused. Photo Director Michele Stephenson says it was, to her recollection, the only instance during the Gulf War where the photo department fought but failed to get an image into print. War is hell, and we need to keep reminding ourselves. The Atlantic has a more in-depth account of Kenneth Jarecke.
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Crossing The Line

by on Jul.30, 2014, under Animals, Culture, History, Racism, Religion, War and Terrorism

Islam is a paradoxical religion. Like Christianity, it has a history of using violence to advance the religion while preaching discipline and self-sacrifice. The Koran is the framework for Islam, just as the Christian bible is the framework for Christianity. And like Christianity, there are different sects of Islam. sunnishia It's hard to know how widespread some Muslim practices are, but people in the Western Hemisphere might find some of them discomforting. muslim_marriage The Prophet Mohammed had an 8-year old wife, so most Muslims wouldn't consider letting their daughters marry below that age. 8-year old Rawan from Yemen died on her wedding night. bachabazi01 Young girls aren't the only option available. bachabazi02 If you have enough money, you can have Bacha Bazi boys. bachabazi03 The boys are usually dressed in costumes, to dance and otherwise entertain their owner and his friends. Sex with young boys is neither considered to be homosexual nor illegal extramarital sex. cir015 Female circumcision is not practiced exclusively by Muslims but many of them consider it to be a cultural tradition. islam_hand Limbs, like hands and feet, may be cut off for various offenses, like stealing, or handling the wrong literature. It's usually done in public. muslim_stoned People are stoned to death for such things as sex outside of marriage, or associating with someone from another sect or religion. muslim_heads1 They behead their victims and proudly display their trophies. muslim_heads2 What could possibly be so horrible that it offends people like this? puppy_sibhusk The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth games recently held in Scotland features Scottie dogs, each representing a participating country. cgames01 Mohamad Sabu, the deputy president of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said, "Malaysia and all Islamic countries deserve and apology from the organizer. This is just so disrespectful to Malaysia and Muslims – especially as it happened during Ramadan. Muslims are not allowed to touch dogs, so the organizer should have been more aware and sensitive on this issue. It is hoped this incident can teach other Western countries to be more respectful in the future." cgames02 Dato Ibrahim Bin Ali, a far-Right politician, former MP and founder and president of Malay supremacist group Perkasa also called for an apology. "I think it is unbecoming. The hosts have not been sensitive enough – especially in a so-called knowledgeable and civilised society like Britain," he said. "It is shameful and has offended not only Malaysia as a Muslim country, but Muslims around the world." cgames03 We have it on good authority that Muslims don't like Scotland's other namesake famous product. whisky_springbank
A police force has apologized to Islamic leaders for the "offensive" postcard advertising a new non-emergency telephone number, which shows a six-month-old trainee police dog named Rebel.
The German shepherd puppy has proved hugely popular with the public, hundreds of whom have logged on to the force's website to read his online training diary. Police Poster Many Muslims believe that dogs are impure and therefore 'haraam' - or forbidden - except for use in hunting or farming, and that it is not hygienic to keep a dog in the house. They say that the "impurity of dogs is the greatest of animal impurities", and anyone who touches one must wash the body part that has come into contact with the animal seven times. puppies_sink We're not sure how that applies to postcards.
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by on Feb.24, 2013, under Crime, Culture, Family, Kids, Racism, Religion, War and Terrorism

Villupillai Prabhakaran, who was head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil EelamLTTE), was proud of his son, 12-year-old Balachandran Prabhakaran as any good father would be. He kept his work and his family separate. rp-grad When Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed by Sri Lankan troops, it brought about the end of the 26 year long insurgency. Ironically Prabhakaran's death also came a day after the LTTE made a momentous announcement that it had decided to "silence its guns" as the "battle has reached its bitter end". But the Sri Lankan military, determined to have a total victory over the LTTE, continued the last of its mopping up operations. SRI LANKA No Fire Zone_Balachandran Prabhakaran_1.jpg Twelve year old Balachandran Prabhakaran was taken alive by Sri Lankan forces, and was seen sitting in a bunker wrapped in a blanket. SRI LANKA No Fire Zone_Balachandran Prabhakaran_2.jpg His captors gave him a snack. Then the executed him. bp-dead2 The Sri Lankan government has always claimed that Balachandran was killed in cross-fire but Callum Macrae, director of the documentary No Fire Zone which captured pictures of the boy when he was alive says that the photographs "rule out' that possibility." bp-dead There were five bullet wounds to the chest, and it was suggested that he was shot at close range as part of his skull was missing. Sri Lankan Army spokesman Brigadier Wanigasooriya reported, "No substantive evidence have been presented for us to launch an investigation."
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Sticky Fingers

by on Jan.30, 2013, under Crime, Culture, Health, Racism, Religion, War and Terrorism

In some Muslim countries, citizens are subject to Sharia law and are frequently punished severely for crimes. Amputation, whipping, and death by stoning are options even for relatively minor crimes.


The privilege of carrying out the punishments also carries the burden of the effort. Throwing softball-size rocks and wielding a whip are exhausting activities especially while you're trying to impress a crowd.


No Muslim is safe from punishment. Even women and children are subject.


Muslims already have public relations problems with the Western world over these primitive methods. And Iran is showcasing its developing technology by adding a modern touch to the process.


By fabricating a few additions, these ordinary machine-shop items can be turned into a multiple finger amputation machine, no axe or machete necessary.


The candidate-for-rehabilitation is led to the machine by hooded figures where his hand is held down by a toggle clamp attached to a metal plate.


Several people assist in the project. Two hold down the blindfolded prisoner while another turns the crank that lowers the saw blade, severing four fingers.

shariasaw4aFor the crowd's entertainment, the bloody hand is held up for view, then dipped in iodine to reduce the chance of infection and make sure that the prisoner can still sense intense pain.

The man was found guilty of theft and adultery by a court in Shiraz.


With modern innovations like this, accidents like the one above can be avoided.

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The Wounds of War

by on Nov.13, 2012, under Health, History, War and Terrorism, Weapons

When you work in a dangerous environment, you accept that injuries may occur. No group us better aware of that than the military. Even when you know the threat, you can't cover every eventuality. You accept that there will be casualties.

Yet soldiers still put themselves in mortal danger to perform their duty.

In honor of Veteran's Day, we offer these safety tips for World War II soldiers.

Steel fragments from high explosives may result in death. If you are in close proximity to high explosives that have detonated, avoid them entirely.

Many small fragments are just as bad, if not worse, than single larger fragments.

While shrapnel wounds can be extremely messy, actually being the point of impact for a high explosive shell is far worse. If traumatic decapitation occurs, seek immediate medical attention.

Wounds like this were almost always fatal in World War II. Advances in field medicine and fast evacuation to a medical facility have made some severe injuries survivable. But not these.

Head wounds are frequently the most debilitating, since you only have one head.

It doesn't matter if your head is intact if you can't keep it attached, so neck wounds can be debilitating as well.

Chest wounds can be an issue because most people keep their vital organs there. Move them to a more secure location.

The more points of entry, the more likely that you'll lose a vital organ. Try to minimize defenestration.

Your guts need to be kept in a sterile environment at the proper temperature. Severe abdominal wounds can preclude this. Avoid the temptation to remove the protruding parts. Also, this is why you should always wear clean underwear. You wouldn't want the paramedics to think you're a slob.

Clear mines before walking through a mined area. Wounds to the lower extremities make it difficult to run, and thereby leave you more susceptible to other types of harm.

If the wounds are really severe, be grateful for the bits that are left undamaged.

Sometimes there's just not much you can do. The enemy always fights dirty.

Decades have passed since World War II. We're more civilized now. and we have more sophisticated weapons.

But war is still a pretty ugly business, especially when its in color.

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Wrong Hole

by on Nov.04, 2012, under Crime, Culture, Health, War and Terrorism

There are some places in the world where forcible rape is a daily threat to women. In socially conservative societies, it's not unusual to blame the victim; they didn't resist enough, or they dressed or acted provocatively. But people, men and women alike, are starting to fight back. There's the "Rape Axe", offered by a company in Zanzibar. It's designed so women can have an uncomfortable reminder of their vulnerability while ensuring retaliation against a rapist if the crime does occur. A pregnant rape victim in Turkey shot and decapitated her attacker, then left his severed head in the square of her local village, Yalvac. When police arrested her near to the severed head she said, "That is the head of one who toyed with my honor."

Nevin Yildirim, right, beheaded Nurettin Gider, left, in retaliation for rape.

If the community is tired enough they may decide to send a message.
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The Media Crusade

by on Sep.29, 2012, under Culture, History, Media, Religion, Technology, War and Terrorism

When mainstream media consisted of the printed page, and most people were illiterate, the church gained converts primarily by sending volunteers out into different parts of the world to persuade the native populations they encountered. God usually sides with the biggest battalion, and the crusaders weren't always successful, but they've mostly prevailed over time. Despite that, they still keep up the battle. The methods are more subtle now, but still pretty destructive to the societies in which they've infiltrated and make laws to suit their religious agenda.

Freehold, Iowa, home to Landover Baptist, is perhaps the most evolved example of the new Crusade.

The Church of England, anxious to show its relevance in the 21st century, has begun a campaign to raise the awareness of Jesus Christ and it looks like they've taken a page from the Landover Baptist godly media handbook.

Instead of religion at the point of a sword, they're simply trying to make Jesus Christ seem more human, they claim.

Church leaders admit the controversial campaign by Christian media group ChurchAds.net won't be to everyone’s taste, but hope it will make the Christmas story appeal to the younger generation, which, evidently, is amused by a doll that wees.

The previous year's campaign didn't resonate with the target audience either.

Arun Arora, the Church of England’s communications director, said: "We need to be re-telling the story of Christ’s birth in ways which engage creatively and positively with the public’s interest."

We suggest they try again: And skip the adolescent years.

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