Conflict photographer risked his life in Mosul, then shared all his pics for free

Kainoa Little spent April and May documenting the harrowing battle of ISIS-held Mosul, and when no one wanted to buy his photos, he published them free of charge. His reasons were particularly cool: Read the rest

NRA calls for clenched fist in response to the "violence of lies"

America's right, the source of most terrorist acts in the country, loves to see violence from the left because it justifies its thirst for more. This instinct is on full show in this NRA recruitment ad, where spokesperson Dana Loesch seethes at political protesters and promises a "clenched fist of truth" for people screaming about "racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia."

Hey, at least the NRA has a clear idea of its base, something you can't say about, say, the Democratic Party.

What strikes me, though, is a shibboleth of the NRA's totalitarian character, one usually associated with the academic left: the idea that speech is violence ("the violence of lies") as a justification for silencing it. (Some differences remain: the left's weapon of choice is, per the NRA, "political correctness," whereas the NRA's weapon of choice is rifles.)

As Black Lives Matter's Deray McKesson writes: "If I made a video like this, I'd be in jail."

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Photographers captured shots of mortar exploding in the instant before their deaths

A mortar shell exploded during a training exercise in Afghanistan in July 2013, killing four Afghan soldiers and a U.S. Army photographer, Specialist Hilda Clayton. Clayton was training one of them in photojournalism, and both were shooting as the shell exploded.

The photos were released by the U.S. Army today. Clayton's is below, the unnamed student's above.

The photos were published with the permission of the Clayton family.

The Army said that "not only did Clayton help document activities aimed at shaping and strengthening the [US-Afghan] partnership but she also shared in the risk by participating in the effort."

The visual information specialist, who was from the US state of Georgia, has had a photography award named in her honour by the Department of Defense.

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U.S. drops 'mother of all bombs' on Afghanistan, largest non-nuclear bomb in arsenal

CNN is reporting that President Trump is now implementing the “bomb the shit out of them” portion of his campaign promises.

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Trump orders missile strikes on Syria. Russia calls it 'aggression,' international law violation

You knew it was coming. Trump's first war. It ended up being Syria.

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Fascinating documentary on combat photojournalist Catherine LeRoy

"The Hill Fights" is a clip from Jacques Menasche's film on the life and work of Catherine LeRoy, best known for covering the Vietnam War in all its unvarnished horror. Read the rest

Apple finally allowed drone strike alert app, then removed it again

Josh Begley doesn't give up easily. After 12 rejections, Apple finally allowed his app Metadata+ to be sold on iTunes. But what the App Store giveth, the App Store taketh away. Read the rest

Anarchist bitcoin hacker flies to Syria to join a 4-million person anarchist collective the size of Massachusetts

Amir Taaki is a well-known anarchist bitcoin hacker whose project, Dark Wallet, is meant to create strong anonymity for cryptocurrency transactions; when he discovered that anarchists around the world had gone to Rojava, a district in Kurdish Syria on the Turkish border, to found an anarchist collective with 4,000,000 members "based on principles of local direct democracy, collectivist anarchy, and equality for women," he left his home in the UK to defend it. Read the rest

Anti-Trident activists poster London with "Become a Suicide Bomber" spoof naval recruiting ads

Artist Darren Cullen (previously) created the posters, which read, "The crew of our nuclear submarines are on a suicide mission. To launch their missiles means death is certain, not just for them, but for the millions of innocent people those bombs will obliterate, and for the rest of us too." Read the rest

Haldeman's papers show Nixon conspired to extend the Vietnam war to improve his presidential chances

A newly discovered collection of notes written by Nixon aide HR Haldeman reveals that during Nixon's 68 presidential campaign, he illegally conspired to convince the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to scuttle the peace talks run by Nixon's political rival, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Read the rest

Interview with a captured ISIS commander

There's no question of ISIS batallion leader Abu Taha's guilt. But Taha's is a nom de guerre, so when Taha is executed for killing dozens of Iraqis, Malik Khamis Habib dies with him. Rotting in a jail cell, what is he thinking? Kim Dozier, returning to the middle east after being critically wounded there, interviews someone few would sympathize with but everyone can now understand.

Why did you join ISIS? I asked.

“Someone from my neighborhood came to me. He explained we must make a change, that Shias were hurting Sunnis.”

Did you ever know a Sunni personally who was hurt by a Shia Muslim, I asked?

“No. Just rumors,” he admitted. ...

My translator pushed him to explain his role in dispatching car bombs. He later told me this brought back some bad memories for him, too. Sporting a 101st Airborne sweatshirt and reciting proudly the designation of the 3rd Infantry Division unit he’d also served, he explained he’d lost five U.S. battle buddies in a car bomb that hit his team years earlier. He’d been thrown 50 feet, escaping with a concussion, broken bones, and the sadness of a survivor. He knew this prisoner had dispatched such car bombs against Iraqis, and he too wanted to know why.

“What do you want me to say,” the prisoner asked. “I destroyed myself. I destroyed my family.”

He has a message for Americans, too. Read the rest

The real story of the Nazis' drug use

We've all heard that Nazi soldiers were fueled by methamphetamine. (This isn't uncommon in military history. For example, see the US army's use of "pep bills" in Vietnam.) But new research gets way more specific about the history of drugs in Nazi Germany. From CNN:

Now, meth, cocaine and even opiates have been referenced in association with German soldiers in a new book by German author Norman Ohler, "Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich," set to publish in the United States in March, but already released in other parts of the world, including the UK.

"Norman Ohler's Blitzed depicts the pervasive drug culture that allegedly developed in Germany's Third Reich," wrote Paul Weindling, a research professor at Oxford Brookes University, in an article in the journal Nature in October.

"Nazi officials took high-performance drugs such as methamphetamine hydrochloride (crystal meth) and cocaine. German military units and aviators were dosed with the patent methamphetamine-based drug Pervitin (manufactured in Germany from 1937) to improve operational efficiency. And drugs such as Pervitin and metabolic stimulants were tried out on students, military recruits and, eventually, in concentration camps," Weindling wrote. "Questions remain, however, over precisely how the drugs were tested, prescribed, distributed and used."

"What drugs were the Nazis on, anyway?" (CNN) Read the rest

Want to help Syria war victims in Aleppo? These NGOs and charities need your support now.

As the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo continues to grow, many people are looking for ways to help.

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VIDEO: Tension mounts as French forces try to halt progress of suicide truck

We interrupt your growing anxiety at America's emergent cyberpunk dystopia for a tense missive from the Syrian War. In this video, an explosive-laden suicide truck bears down on a position held (reportedly by French special forces with the SDF) near Raqqa. The perspective on the video makes it hard to tell, but the vehicle is well-armored and only seconds from putting the defenders in serious trouble. Bullets ricochet off; a missile sails past its target. It is not long before everyone is becoming quite alarmed at the driver's progress. What happens next, though, will probably not surprise you. Read the rest

Meet the WWI women who pretended to be rocks for the war effort

The Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps were a group of 40 woman artists from NYC and Philadelphia ("in perfect physical condition") who devised camouflage systems for fighters and materiel during WWI, testing their theories by hiding in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx -- where the local cops grew accustomed to having seeming rocks and trees spring to life as they passed. Read the rest

The coming fight over "nonlethal neuroweapons"

The Chemical Weapons Convention has a giant loophole in that it allows for the stockpiling and use of chemical agents in law-enforcement; with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming up next month, there's an urgent question about whether "neuroweapons" (chemical agents intended to pacify or disperse people) will become tools of law-enforcement and "defensive warfare." Read the rest

Done in your name: Survivors of CIA's torture-decade describe their ordeals

For nearly a decade, the CIA kidnapped people from over 20 countries, held them without trial or counsel, and viciously tortured them, sometimes to death -- but the only person to serve jail time for the program is the man who blew the whistle on it, and that's thanks in part to Obama's insistence that "Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." Read the rest

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