Posts Tagged 'photos'

Declassified Photos of Area 51

Photo: CIA (via Pangloss Films)

Area 51, a.k.a. Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake or Homey Airport, is a military base in Nevada that the government has never been too keen on acknowledging. So when the very secret A-12 spy plane crashed in 1963, the feds rushed to cover it up. But now those images have been declassified by the CIA, and National Geographic has posted them for all your commie eyes to see.

Source: National Geographic

Mother Jones’ Photos Causes Release of Thousands of Inmates

Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

California prisons are overflowing with inmates, who are packed like sardines into unsafe and unsanitary conditions at nearly double the system’s capacity. Because of the overwhelming volume of people, in one prison an inmate had been dead for several hours before officials realized it. Mother Jones published this piece and accompanying slideshow of the conditions at several prisons in the state, which helped to play a major role in a recent Supreme Court decision to release thousands of inmates.

The photographs in this sideshow provide a glimpse of those extreme conditions: the E-beds (emergency beds) stacked in gyms and dayrooms, the tiny holding cells for mentally ill inmates. All of these photos, some of which were taken by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, were entered as evidence in the California prison case. Three of them (here, here, and here), were appended to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, suggesting that they had played a role in convincing Kennedy and four other justices to endorse the plan to downsize the state’s prisoner population.

Source: Mother Jones (via Boing Boing)

Rare Photos of James Earl Ray Surface

Photo: AP Photo/Shelby County Register’s office

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, and last week a cache of photos of King’s killer, James Earl Ray, were released by the Shelby County (TN) Register’s Office. The photos, along with old documents and letters, were housed in a Memphis warehouse and recently uncovered.

As the AP reports,  the photos, taken by Memphis photographer Gil Michael, aren’t revealing or shocking, but they are interesting to see given the significance of the event. Most have never been seen by the public before. The Shelby County Sheriff at the time, Bill Morris, had the photos taken to show that Ray was not being mistreated while being booked. You can see nine of them on the website of the Commercial Appeal.

By the way, if you’re ever in Memphis, the Lorraine Motel has been turned into the National Civil Rights Museum, and it’s well worth a visit. In addition to other artifacts and memorabilia from the time, they’ve preserved the room King was staying in before his murder.

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

Facebook, Photos & World Domination

It’s not like we need any more posts telling us how massive and influential Facebook is. But this fascinating Pixable infographic explains that there are 60 billion photos on Facebook now, making it the largest photo sharing site in the world. If that doesn’t quite sink in for you, consider: Photobucket has 8 billion, Picasa has 7 billion and Flickr has 5 billion. (Whoa.)

By summer 2011, it is expected that number will jump to 100 billion.

750 million photos were uploaded on New Year’s Eve weekend alone.

Other fun facts: women do more looking, uploading and tagging than men when it comes to photos, everyone prefers looking at photos of women, and no one prefers looking at pics of your baby. (Kidding! Made that last one up!)

Threatened With Arrest

Last week I wrote about a confrontation between myself and the LAPD while legally photographing a crime scene where a man had been killed. During the encounter LAPD officers berated, bullied and threatened me with unlawful arrest for supposedly obstructing their investigation. At no point did  I encroach on the crime scene, or cross police tape to photograph the incident. I was well within my legal rights granted to me by the US Constitution and LAPD’s Media Relations Handbook.

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