posts about or somewhat related to ‘war’

When I graduated from university, I worked in ministry of women affairs for six months and I was working on criminal cases. One day when I was crossing the Puli Sokhta bridge, I saw addicted people under the bridge. They were laying there, and their situation was unbearable. When I saw this, I thought: the women who are suffering from a problem, at least they know that they are human beings. They are not forgetting their own personalities. But these people, they get this sickness, they forget who they are. So, that made me think to change my field.

Shabnam S., a 25-year-old woman from Afghanistan, in The Therapist.

The piece is part of a series by Jeffrey Stern, a grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, called Afghanistan: On Its Own, in which Stern chronicles how vulnerable groups (women, minorities, youth, businesses dependent on foreign presence) are preparing for the withdrawal of foreign troops this year.

Shabnam, for example, writes about how jobs including her own are funded by foreign money:

Nowadays, people are graduating with good grades from universities. They go and search for jobs, but they cannot get them. For my own job, funding is provided by foreign countries. Once 2014 comes, foreign forces will leave and it is concern for all. We are all concerned, scared. But with all these challenges and with all this thinking that comes to our minds, we still try to believe that even after the foreign forces leave Afghanistan, we can stand on our own feet. And that we should still help these people on our own, somehow. But we understand that we are losing our budgets.

And the other concern we have is that, right now, there are organizations working against drug sellers, working against people who are importing, using, producing drugs, but when the foreign forces leave, there will be insecurity. And that insecurity will increase the rate of drug sellers and drug users and drug importers. That’s a big concern, because it is a big problem for us, we will have even more people addicted to the drugs. Now, there are organizations who are taking care of child labor, street children and other children, but in the future there won’t be such a thing. That will make more children drug users.

See the other pieces in the series, published in Foreign Policy, here.

Homs 2011 v Homs 2014
Via @_amroali. Select to embiggen.

Homs 2011 v Homs 2014

Via @_amroali. Select to embiggen.

Drones

By Matt Bors, via @KenRoth. Select to embiggen.

Meanwhile, in Syria

Over the last five days the Syrian government has driving into rebel-held Aleppo in order to reclaim the territory.

This video, from a Syrian activist, alleges to show what happened this morning (GRAPHIC).

According to Doctors Without Borders, “Airstrikes in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo have killed at least 189 people and wounded 879 people since December 15, according to local medical sources, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. Among the injured are 244 children.”

Related: Syria ‘abducting civilians to spread terror’, UN says, via the BBC.

WAR-TOYS
Via Wired:

At the Spafford Children’s Center for in East Jerusalem, L.A.–based photographer Brian McCarty watched as a little girl made a crayon drawing of a dead boy. She carefully colors in a red pool of blood around his body. It was a drawing that McCarty would later use to stage one of his photographs for WAR-TOYS, a series that recreates children’s memories and fears of conflict in the Middle East with toys.
“Play can become a mechanism for healing,” says McCarty. Drawing on the tenets of art and play therapy, which help children express emotions in non-verbal ways, he sees WAR-TOYS as providing witness to the often unseen impact of armed conflict on children, while serving as part of these children’s therapeutic process.

According to Wired, McCarty worked with children on the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and hopes to collaborate with others on this series in Afghanistan, Sudan and Colombia.
Image: Resilience, by Brian McCarty, via Wired. Select to embiggen. Read through for more photos and the rest of the story.

WAR-TOYS

Via Wired:

At the Spafford Children’s Center for in East Jerusalem, L.A.–based photographer Brian McCarty watched as a little girl made a crayon drawing of a dead boy. She carefully colors in a red pool of blood around his body. It was a drawing that McCarty would later use to stage one of his photographs for WAR-TOYS, a series that recreates children’s memories and fears of conflict in the Middle East with toys.

“Play can become a mechanism for healing,” says McCarty. Drawing on the tenets of art and play therapy, which help children express emotions in non-verbal ways, he sees WAR-TOYS as providing witness to the often unseen impact of armed conflict on children, while serving as part of these children’s therapeutic process.

According to Wired, McCarty worked with children on the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and hopes to collaborate with others on this series in Afghanistan, Sudan and Colombia.

Image: Resilience, by Brian McCarty, via Wired. Select to embiggen. Read through for more photos and the rest of the story.

fotojournalismus:

Pro-military crowds and supporters of the former president, Mohammed Morsi, pelt each other with rocks, fireworks and firebombs in street battles near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt on Oct. 6, 2013.
[Credit : Emad Abdul Rahman/AP]

fotojournalismus:

Pro-military crowds and supporters of the former president, Mohammed Morsi, pelt each other with rocks, fireworks and firebombs in street battles near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt on Oct. 6, 2013.

[Credit : Emad Abdul Rahman/AP]

shortformblog:

So NowThisNews has an Instagram channel, and while they’ve been shooting a lot of video over this way, yesterday they posted something pretty mind-blowing. Here’s an Instagram infographic about civilian casualties in Afghanistan which is at once informative and well-produced. They’ve packed a lot into 15 seconds.

The 10th anniversary this month of the invasion of Iraq will remind most people of a divisive and dubious war that toppled Saddam Hussein but claimed the lives of nearly 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

What it conjures up for me is the media’s greatest failure in modern times.

Major news organizations aided and abetted the Bush administration’s march to war on what turned out to be faulty premises. All too often, skepticism was checked at the door, and the shaky claims of top officials and unnamed sources were trumpeted as fact.

Howard Kurtz, host, CNN’s Reliable Sources, Media’s failure on Iraq still stings.

Ten years is a long time, so for a quick refresher on what the press did and didn’t do at the time, take a look at this 2008 article by Dan Froomkin in the Nieman Watchdog Project.

Aleppo
Via the Times of Israel: This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Aleppo Media Center)
The Aleppo Media Center (English) is on Facebook.

Aleppo

Via the Times of Israel: This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Aleppo Media Center)

The Aleppo Media Center (English) is on Facebook.

The Mini Drone
Via Wired:

British troops in Afghanistan are flying a drone that’s shrunk down to its essentials: a micro-machine that spies, built for a solitary user.
This is the Black Hornet. Its Norwegian manufacturer, Prox Dynamics, bills it as the world’s smallest military-grade spy drone, with a weight of 16 grams and a length of 4 inches. Propelled by two helicopter blades, the Black Hornet carries little more than a steerable camera that records still and video imagery. (That is: It’s unarmed.) Now British soldiers have brought it to Afghanistan, as it fits in the palms of their hands. It’s supposed to be a drone for an Army of One.
“We use it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset,” Sgt. Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force told the British Ministry of Defence for a Monday announcement.

Image: British Army Sgt. Scott Weaver launches a Black Hornet drone from a compound in Afghanistan. Photo: UK Ministry of Defence, via Wired.

The Mini Drone

Via Wired:

British troops in Afghanistan are flying a drone that’s shrunk down to its essentials: a micro-machine that spies, built for a solitary user.

This is the Black Hornet. Its Norwegian manufacturer, Prox Dynamics, bills it as the world’s smallest military-grade spy drone, with a weight of 16 grams and a length of 4 inches. Propelled by two helicopter blades, the Black Hornet carries little more than a steerable camera that records still and video imagery. (That is: It’s unarmed.) Now British soldiers have brought it to Afghanistan, as it fits in the palms of their hands. It’s supposed to be a drone for an Army of One.

“We use it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset,” Sgt. Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force told the British Ministry of Defence for a Monday announcement.

Image: British Army Sgt. Scott Weaver launches a Black Hornet drone from a compound in Afghanistan. Photo: UK Ministry of Defence, via Wired.

For Syria’s war is characterised most strongly by absence and collective abandonment. Other than the protagonists and victims the arena is almost empty. There is no foreign military intervention. There are no NGOs or aid workers distributing food and blankets. The media is similarly self-exiled: very few broadcasters or newspapers commit journalists regularly, if at all. A handful of freelance photographers work inside the country, but none of the big names. The middle-aged bravehearts of Bosnia and Afghanistan have grown old and too soft for the hardships of Syria, while the economics of journalism have not allowed their replacement generation to prosper. That McCullin, still a prizefighter despite his years, had hauled himself out to that lonely war zone was inspiring in itself, legitimising the work of the few freelancers already there and challenging the absentees.

Anthony Loyd, The Australian. Parting shots.

That’s right: a 77 year old photographer named Don McCullin recently went to Aleppo to take his last set of photos, 15 years after his last war assignment. See the above article for an account of his trip as told by the much younger journalist in charge of his safety.

There’s no telling which photos from Syria’s revolutionary war will become famous and come to represent the conflict, if any do at all. For a great collection of pictures by other photojournalists in the country, see these. For more of McCullin, who is something of a legend in his line of work, see this bio and a portion of his photography from Vietnam and Lebanon.

Wait, Tolerate or Terminate?
The Atlantic with an important explainer to kick off the new year:


Over the past two years, the Obama administration has begun to formalize a so-called “disposition matrix” for suspected terrorists abroad: a continuously evolving database that spells out the intelligence on targets and various strategies, including contingencies, for handling them. Although the government has not spelled out the steps involved in deciding how to treat various terrorists, a look at U.S. actions in the past makes evident a rough decision tree.
Understanding these procedures is particularly important for one of the most vexing, and potentially most dangerous, categories of terrorists: U.S. citizens. Over the years, U.S. authorities have responded with astonishing variety to American nationals suspected of terrorism, from ignoring their activities to conducting lethal drone strikes. All U.S. terrorists are not created equal. And the U.S. response depends heavily on the role of allies, the degree of threat the suspect poses, and the imminence of that threat — along with other factors.
What follows is a flow chart… that takes us through the criteria and decision points that can lead to a suspect terrorist’s being ignored as a minor nuisance, being prosecuted in federal court, being held in a Pakistani prison, or being met with the business end of a Hellfire missile.


Image: Screenshot, How Obama Decides Your Fate If He Thinks You’re a Terrorist via The Atlantic. Select to embiggen… But visit to explore.

Wait, Tolerate or Terminate?

The Atlantic with an important explainer to kick off the new year:

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has begun to formalize a so-called “disposition matrix” for suspected terrorists abroad: a continuously evolving database that spells out the intelligence on targets and various strategies, including contingencies, for handling them. Although the government has not spelled out the steps involved in deciding how to treat various terrorists, a look at U.S. actions in the past makes evident a rough decision tree.

Understanding these procedures is particularly important for one of the most vexing, and potentially most dangerous, categories of terrorists: U.S. citizens. Over the years, U.S. authorities have responded with astonishing variety to American nationals suspected of terrorism, from ignoring their activities to conducting lethal drone strikes. All U.S. terrorists are not created equal. And the U.S. response depends heavily on the role of allies, the degree of threat the suspect poses, and the imminence of that threat — along with other factors.

What follows is a flow chart… that takes us through the criteria and decision points that can lead to a suspect terrorist’s being ignored as a minor nuisance, being prosecuted in federal court, being held in a Pakistani prison, or being met with the business end of a Hellfire missile.

Image: Screenshot, How Obama Decides Your Fate If He Thinks You’re a Terrorist via The Atlantic. Select to embiggen… But visit to explore.

Instagramming Propaganda and the Speed of Experiencing War

One, via Michael Shaw:

[W]elcome to a media space in which we are consuming hostility and processing raw data and raw propaganda almost as quickly as the war correspondent, the fighter pilot, the governments, the diplomats and the antagonists themselves.

Two, via John Edwin Mason:

There’s always been more to war than bombs and bullets. Words and images are weapons, too. They’re the raw material of the propaganda that’s designed to strengthen friends and undermine enemies.

Propaganda has been a part of every war that history knows anything about, and creating and disseminating it has largely been the job of professionals — war doctors, priests, reporters, photographers, politicians, bureaucrats.

Social media and smart phones have let amateurs in on the action.

Three, via Stephen Mayes:

On trust and credibility, it is key to educate ourselves about what we are looking at. I triangulate. I read a bit of information here and there I try to find it elsewhere to validate it. As we saw with Syria, you can fall into a trap. You can read information on 10 blogs but it is all coming from one source. Unless you really dig, it is hard to validate. In the main I think we are all learning that right degree of belief and skepticism in how we treat text and image online. We may be fooled, we may make stupid decisions but we are educating ourselves about what to trust and what not to trust.

It’s not something you can teach.

Images: Selected images from Instagram gathered by searching Israel and Gaza hashtags by John Edwin Mason. Select to embiggen.

This is the UK’s Taranis combat aircraft. While the Ministry of Defence has stated that humans will remain in the loop, the Taranis exemplifies the move toward increased autonomy. © 2010 AP Photo © 2012 Human Rights Watch The South Korean SGR-1 sentry robot, a precursor to a fully autonomous weapon, can detect people in the Demilitarized Zone and, if a human grants the command, fire its weapons. © 2007 Getty Images

FJP: Last week we highlighted a Slate article that looked into the morality of war and robots. In particular, that autonomous war “machines are not, and cannot, be legally accountable for their actions.”

Today, Human Rights Watch released “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots,” a 50-page report arguing for the ban of fully autonomous weapon systems.

humanrightswatch:

Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Before It’s Too Late

“Losing Humanity is the first major publication about fully autonomous weapons by a nongovernmental organization and is based on extensive research into the law, technology, and ethics of these proposed weapons. It is jointly published by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic.

Human Rights Watch and the International Human Rights Clinic called for an international treaty that would absolutely prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. They also called on individual nations to pass laws and adopt policies as important measures to prevent development, production, and use of such weapons at the domestic level.

Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, and major powers, including the United States, have not made a decision to deploy them. But high-tech militaries are developing or have already deployed precursors that illustrate the push toward greater autonomy for machines on the battlefield. The United States is a leader in this technological development. Several other countries – including China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom – have also been involved. Many experts predict that full autonomy for weapons could be achieved in 20 to 30 years, and some think even sooner.

Read more after the jump.