Posts Tagged 'military'

Military Police Demand Camera

Despite this nice military policeman stationed outside Fort Leavenworth being all for First Amendment rights, his job apparently includes asking to see the photos protestors have taken of the post’s gates.

On the other hand, this video also shows that if you don’t kowtow to an officer’s unlawful demands and stand up for your rights some of them (like this officer) will back down because they most likely know what they’re saying to you is baseless nonsense.

Having a bunch of other people with cameras around you documenting the encounter also helps, so I wonder what the outcome would’ve been if the photographer was alone.

My guess is we would’ve seen a blog post describing how military personnel unlawfully arrested another person because they were practicing their First Amendment rights.

More “Kill Team” Mementos From the Front Lines

Photo: Rolling Stone

If Der Spiegel’s photos last week weren’t enough of a taste of the twisted stuff that went on with the “Kill Team” soldiers, Rolling Stone has just published 15 more. In the accompanying article, writer Mark Boal details how two soldiers, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and Pfc. Andrew Holmes, threw a grenade at, and then opened fire on, a teenage Afghan boy for the pure fun of it.

Then, in a break with protocol, the soldiers began taking photographs of themselves celebrating their kill. Holding a cigarette rakishly in one hand, Holmes posed for the camera with Mudin’s bloody and half-naked corpse, grabbing the boy’s head by the hair as if it were a trophy deer. Morlock made sure to get a similar memento.

 Because there were no repercussions for this killing, the soldiers in the 3rd Platoon were emboldened to go on a murderous rampage over the next four months and kill at least three more innocent Afghans.

Boal writes about the enormous cache of photos and video that was created by members of the platoon during this time, which was a clear violation of Army rules — you cannot take photos of the dead and you certainly can’t share them. (I’m not sure if there is specific rule about creating a clip of two Afghans being blown up set to rock music, but I’m assuming that’s also frowned upon.)

And the army, naturally, tried to cover it all up.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal and President Hamid Karzai were reportedly briefed on the photos as early as May, and the military launched a massive effort to find every file and pull the pictures out of circulation before they could touch off a scandal on the scale of Abu Ghraib.

The article is a must-read, and not in the way that “here’s more proof all military are bad.” Not by a long shot. But this behavior undermines everything the US says it stands for, and excusing and accommodating sociopaths in uniform is never the best policy. That the government does this time and time again is just so disheartening.

Der Spiegel Publishes Horrific “Kill Team” Photos

Via Speigel Online International

It is so odd that, despite being a free country with a voracious and independent media, here in the US we don’t publish photos of our military doing God-awful things. Because that, I guess, is just crossing the line.

German newsmagazine Der Spiegel doesn’t care about that line, and went ahead and published two photos of Army soldiers posing with the bodies of Afghan civilians they killed. (The magazine says it has about 4,000 images and videos total.) The Americans in the photos are part of a so-called “kill team” of 12 soldiers that enjoyed murdering unarmed civilians and are now being charged with war crimes.

A lot of defense hawks will claim the photos will provoke backlash, including targeted attacks on US troops, and that is why they shouldn’t be published. I say not committing atrocious thrill kills and then posing for trophy photos would be a better way to prevent backlash. (To reiterate, the soldiers took 4,000 pieces of photos and video to serve as momentos.)

A quick scan of the few major US outlets that ran the story, like the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, showed they used official army portraits of the accused men to illustrate the story.

Time to replace Bradley Manning with these “heroes.”

Via Speigel Online International

Video of Ft. Hood Shooting Ordered Deleted

Photo from the Fort Hood Sentinel

Earlier Friday under cross examination, Pfc. Lance Aviles said he used his cell phone to record the rampage inside the processing center but was ordered by an officer to delete both videos later the same day. Aviles was not asked if he knew why the officer ordered the videos destroyed.

Here’s a question for supporters of photographers’ rights as well as military experts: Can an officer in the military legally order a subordinate to delete photos or video that the individual captured using his own cell phone?

For most of us, we all know that nobody can order us to delete our images or videos from our cameras. It’s absolutely illegal. Once the image is captured, it becomes our property and the destruction of that property is a criminal act. The law is very clear.

But what if the same scenario occurs within the confines of the military where a strong chain of command exists and any acts of insubordination are strictly forbidden and punished? Can a subordinate refuse a superior’s order to delete his photos or video without repercussions? And does a soldier have legal recourse if he is forced to destroy his own property?

What if the soldier follows orders, deletes the video, but then retrieves the footage using file recovery software? Is that insubordination? Since the officer was never ordered not to recover the footage?

What do you think?

Source: Yahoo! news

Grab Your Cameras: Stop the War Machine

Photo by Shawn Nee / discarted

This Wednesday, the ANSWER Coalition is staging a rally at the Hollywood Military Recruitment Center in Los Angeles to protest the U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan that was launched nine years ago.

From their website:

On Oct. 6, veterans, anti-war activists, students, military families, and working people will converge on the Hollywood Military Recruitment Center to protest and take action.

We will be at the Military Recruitment Center to demand an immediate end to the U.S./NATO war on Afghanistan. We will also demand an end to the U.S. military preying on working-class youth, especially youth of color. Young people are struggling to get access to a college education, jobs, and benefits, yet the war machine continues to send them to kill and die in this criminal war. Military recruiters must get out of our communities!

So if you’re in the Hollywood area on Wednesday afternoon with a camera dangling around your neck, be sure to find your way over to the recruitment center for some protest fun.

Date: October 6, 2010
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Hollywood Military Recruitment Center
7080 Hollywood Blvd.
(Corner of Hollywood & La Brea)
Los Angeles, California 90028

For more details, click here.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Kaycee Olson Gallery

Jeff Sheng, the Los Angeles based artist responsible for the provocative photo series “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, will be exhibiting his work at the Kaycee Olson Gallery in Los Angeles.

Haunting and yet sad, the controversial series examines the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy by showing gay servicemen and women posing in their uniforms with their identities concealed—their faces obscured by a faint shadow, their partner’s hand, or the slightest tilt of the neck.

The images certainly evoke an impenetrable sense of loneliness and confinement, forcing the viewer to grapple with the silence and invisibility that these men and women must feel when in uniform.

The exhibit runs until October 23, 2010.

2685 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00am to 6:00pm

Photo by Jeff Sheng / Kaycee Olson Gallery

Photos From the Front Line

Photo by Reynaldo Leal

Marine Reynaldo Leal served in Iraq for two tours. He says he was never without three things: his rifle, his combat helmet and his Canon 20D. The interesting thing about modern war, he notes, is that all the soldiers have a camera now. So while the restrictions imposed by the military means we might not be getting the iconic images of Vietnam, we get a different view from the people actually fighting on the front lines. did a mini documentary on Leal and his camera here, and he gives some insight into photographing war.

You can see more of Leal’s work here.

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