Vyacheslav Fedchenko watched in horror as a Stinger missile fired by Afghan mujahedin struck a Su-25 fighter jet and the pilot, Konstantin Pavlyukov, parachuted out high above the Bagram Air Base.
“It was so close to Bagram that everyone saw it,” said Fedchenko, who was at the base at the time. “The worst thing is that we couldn’t get to him.”
Helicopters attempting to rescue Pavlyukov faced fierce enemy ground fire, leaving the pilot to pull his final maneuver, one that would later earn him the posthumous award of Hero of the Soviet Union.
“He blew himself up with two grenades when they tried to capture him and took the bandits with him,” Fedchenko said by telephone from Barnaul, in the Altai region.
The 22 men bowed down before Allah and pressed their arms and shoulders together and chanted. They closed their eyes. They melded into a single body.
And in their unity, they seemed unfazed by the ultranationalists who days earlier had firebombed this city’s only mosque for the second time in a week.
Outside the mosque, the scars of the attacks were fading but visible: the spray-painted swastika, the white paint slopped over racist graffiti, the ugly rant scrawled on a rear gate — “Death to blacks! Glory to Russia! Forward Slavs!”
But as the worshipers rose from their prayers, slipped on their shoes and headed out into the night, they voiced few fears about lurking thugs. There were no guards posted in the courtyard, no locks on the front gate.
“We’re a part of this society,” explained Rustam Batrov, 28, the Yaroslavl Mosque’s imam. “This is our motherland. We’ve been here for 500 years. We aren’t immigrants.”
There is a further reason why Baron Cohen causes injury and offence. Under Stalin’s forced collectivisation in the 1920s, about half the ethnic Kazakh population were deported or starved to death. In the early 1940s, entire populations of “anti-Soviet” peoples – including Tartars, Chechens, Ingush, Volga Germans and Koreans – were dumped in the Kazakh steppes. The one positive outcome of the forced population movements is that Kazakhstan has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world. Just over half of the 15 million population are ethnic Kazakhs, about 30% Russian, and the rest from a dozen different nationalities. There are more than 100 different ethnic and religious groups.
Given what we have been through as a nation, racial and ethnic tolerance is regarded as a practical necessity and part of our contemporary identity. It is no exaggeration to say that the stability of the modern Kazakh state depends on a shared recognition that we must do nothing to disturb the harmony among this complex mosaic of peoples. Consequently, Kazakhs generally do not care for racial slurs or think much of those who indulge in them.
The Soviet collapse spawned 15 new countries that are now established members of the international community. However, economic, political and ethnic disparities also gave birth to a series of far less known unrecognized republics, national aspirations and legacies. Jonas Bendiksen, a Norwegian and Magnum’s youngest photographer, started his “multi-year project about states that do not actually exist”. “Satellites” is a photographic journey through the scattered enclaves, unrecognized mini-states, and other isolated communities that straddle the southern borderlands of the former USSR. The itinerary goes through places such as Transdniester, a breakaway republic in Eastern Europe, Abkhazia, an unrecognized country on the Black Sea, the religiously conservative Ferghana Valley in Central Asia, the spacecraft crash zones between Russia and Kazakhstan, and the Jewish Autonomous Region of Far Eastern Russia.
As they rushed the house, Navy corpsman Alonso Rogero was hit in the stomach and Lance Cpl. Ryan Sunnerville in the leg. Grainy, shaky film of the incident shows Sunnerville hopping on one leg, still firing his M-16. Marines and insurgents exchanged gunfire from no more than 20 feet. From inside the building, the insurgents also threw grenades.
The insurgents had hoped to spring what is called a Chechen ambush, named after the rebels who have fought Russian troops for years. The tactic is particularly successful when tanks cannot be used.
The strategy, Marines determined later, had been to wound Marines attempting to enter the building. When other Marines came to help them, an insurgent sniper down an alleyway would pick off corpsmen, radio operators and officers. And when enough Marines or vehicles were gathered, insurgents would fire rocket-propelled grenades.
Adlesperger fired at the insurgent machine-gun position as he ran toward Rogero and Sunnerville. He helped the two up the outside stairway to the roof. As insurgents tried to storm the stairway, Adlesperger killed them before they could reach the roof. Shrapnel ripped into his face.
According to the filmmakers, however, there is nothing soft and helpless about the way the Musharraf administration handles Pakistani reporters. The documentary points the finger at the government for the murder in Hayatullah Khan, a Pakistani journalist who worked with PBS and whose reporting on a 2005 missile attack on a Qaeda operative embarrassed the Musharraf government. (The Pakistan army said that American forces had nothing to do with the attack; Mr. Khan published pictures of missile fragments covered with United States military markings.) Soon after, Mr. Khan disappeared, and last June his corpse was found, riddled with bullets and hands bound with government-issue handcuffs, in North Waziristan, a tribal region on the Afghan border.
Part 2 of Bob Woodward excerpts, Washington Post:
On July 15, 2004, Herbits sat down at his computer and wrote another memo, a scathing seven-page report titled “Summary of Post-Iraq Planning and Execution Problems.” Though he discussed the postwar planning and policies, and the tenure of L. Paul Bremer III as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, his real target was his friend of 37 years. The memo listed a series of tough questions:
· “Who made the decision and why didn’t we reconstitute the Iraqi army?”
· “Did no one realize we were going to need Iraqi security forces?”
· “Did no one anticipate the importance of stabilization and how best to achieve it?”
· “Why was the de-Baathification so wide and deep?”
“Rumsfeld’s style of operation,” Herbits wrote, was the “Haldeman model, arrogant” — a reference to President Richard M. Nixon’s White House chief of staff, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman.
Yes Men, from the fake site Halliburton Contracts:
Halliburton’s reputation as a disaster and conflict industry innovator will be cemented by the SurvivaBall™, a one-size-fits-all solution to global warming.
Over the next few days, the skin of his 6-month-old son, Salam, bloomed with blisters, which burst into weeping sores all over his body. The whole family suffered headaches, nosebleeds and stomach aches.
How that slick, a highly toxic cocktail of petrochemical waste and caustic soda, ended up in Mr. Oudrawogol’s backyard in a suburb north of Abidjan is a dark tale of globalization. It came from a Greek-owned tanker flying a Panamanian flag and leased by the London branch of a Swiss trading corporation whose fiscal headquarters are in the Netherlands. Safe disposal in Europe would have cost about $300,000, or even twice that, counting the cost of delays. But because of decisions and actions made not only here but also in Europe, it was dumped on the doorstep of some of the world’s poorest people.
So far eight people have died, dozens have been hospitalized and 85,000 have sought medical attention, paralyzing the fragile health care system in a country divided and impoverished by civil war, and the crisis has forced a government shakeup.
“In 30 years of doing this kind of work I have never seen anything like this,” said Jean-Loup Quéru, an engineer with a French cleanup company brought in by the Ivorian government to remove the waste. “This kind of industrial waste, dumped in this urban setting, in the middle of the city, never.”
Syrian arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar, profiled in the Observer:
Photographs furnish a stark reminder of just who Kassar is. One is of him shaking hands with Uday Hussain, Saddam’s brutal son, killed in the months after the invasion. Another photo shows the two men together with an Arab musician. Kassar says he met Uday when he was sponsoring the Iraqi football team.
In a cabinet nearby is a picture of him holding hands with Hassan Aideed, son of Farah Aideed, the now-deceased Somali warlord portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down. ‘A good man,’ says Kassar. (He has been implicated in shipping arms to Somalia, in violation of an international embargo.)
The warlord Aideed is just one of his eclectic group of acquaintances, and Kassar insists that, in fairness, there are many less controversial ones. On the mantelpiece is a photo of Kassar with a Spanish intelligence official and Mustafa Tlas, the former defence minister of Syria. Then there is the photo, taken at a gala fundraiser in Marbella, of him standing next to ageing country music singer Kenny Rogers.
Depth of Field:
salt lake city, utah
My first real camera, Adam Richardson:
There are few products that have had as profound an effect on their category as the T90 had on the modern SLR, not the least of which is the interface paradigm that it introduced and which is copied almost verbatim on every SLR (and many point and shoots) on the market today, 20 years later. Some parts of it interface are common-place on many products beyond cameras as well, such as Blackberries.
NYT Book Review:
Bob Woodward reports that when he told Mr. Rumsfeld that the number of insurgent attacks was going up, the defense secretary replied that they’re now “categorizing more things as attacks.” Mr. Woodward quotes Mr. Rumsfeld as saying, “A random round can be an attack and all the way up to killing 50 people someplace. So you’ve got a whole fruit bowl of different things — a banana and an apple and an orange.”
Mr. Woodward adds: “I was speechless. Even with the loosest and most careless use of language and analogy, I did not understand how the secretary of defense would compare insurgent attacks to a ‘fruit bowl,’ a metaphor that stripped them of all urgency and emotion. The official categories in the classified reports that Rumsfeld regularly received were the lethal I.E.D.’s, standoff attacks with mortars and close engagements such as ambushes.”
In a nine-page memorandum, the two officials, Gordon R. England, the acting deputy secretary of defense, and Philip D. Zelikow, the counselor of the State Department, urged the administration to seek Congressional approval for its detention policies.
They called for a return to the minimum standards of treatment in the Geneva Conventions and for eventually closing the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The time had come, they said, for suspects in the 9/11 plot to be taken out of their secret prison cells and tried before military tribunals.
The recommendations of the paper, which has not previously been disclosed, included several of the major policy shifts that President Bush laid out in a White House address on Sept. 6, five officials who read the document said. But the memorandum’s fate underscores the deep, long-running conflicts over detention policy that continued to divide the administration even as it pushed new legislation through Congress last week on the handling of terrorism suspects.
When the paper first circulated in the upper reaches of the administration, two of those officials said, it so angered Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that his aides gathered up copies of the document and had at least some of them shredded.
September 2006 // Full site RE-design // New navigation // New work in all disciplines
Part one, excerpts of Bob Woodward’s new book, Washington Post:
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card was enough of a realist to see that two negative aspects to Bush’s public persona had come to define his presidency: incompetence and arrogance. Card did not believe that Bush was incompetent, and so he had to face the possibility that as Bush’s chief of staff, he might have been the incompetent one. In addition, he did not think the president was arrogant.
But the marketing of Bush had come across as arrogant. Maybe it was unfair in Card’s opinion, but there it was.
He was leaving. And the man most responsible for the postwar troubles, the one who should have gone, Rumsfeld, was staying.
In recent years, Al Qaeda has formed a special media production division called Al Sahab to produce videos about leaders like Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri, terrorism experts say. The group largely once relied on Arab television channels like Al Jazeera to broadcast its videos and taped messages.
Al Sahab, whose name means the cloud, has continued to draw on a video library featuring everything from taped suicide messages by the Sept. 11 hijackers to images of gun battles and bombings spearheaded by Al Qaeda and others, said Marwan Shehadeh, an expert on Islamist movements with the Vision Research Institute in Amman who has close ties to jihadists in Jordan and Syria.
“It’s getting to the point now where there are 800-900 attacks a week. That’s more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces,” Bob Woodward told CBS television in an interview to be aired tomorrow night.
The Pentagon’s latest quarterly report on Iraq, presented to Congress and posted on the defence department website on September 1, shows the number of attacks rising to 792 a week in August. However, that figure includes attacks on Iraqi civilians, infrastructure and Iraqi police as well as US and coalition troops. Iraqi civilians suffered the majority of casualties.
Woodward argues the administration routinely glosses over such news from the ground, as well as intelligence predicting further deterioration in Iraq, because they collide with Mr Bush’s convictions.