Photographer Tyler Hicks, from the New York Times:

The Americans face the hard job of trying to tell local farmers from Taliban insurgents, who have gained strength across southern Afghanistan. The Americans set up a base, then probed into villages. They were soon ambushed. The Taliban can easily persuade or coerce villagers to assist them. They arm the villagers or equip them with radios. Almost any man is suspect. During one raid, which was typical, the Americans separated the men. Homes were searched, and the men were marched to the base for questioning.

Here.

Issue #2 now online, featuring:

Legendary photographer Bill Owens, Disposable Hero, Michelle Caplan, Keith Johnson, Josh Cochran, Jason Olson, Mario Ruiz, Olive47, Andrew Faulkner, and Seizer (photos by Nicholas Miramontes).

Here.

From the New York Times:

“Let’s see, Lance Corporal Tussey, shot in the thigh.

“Lance Corporal Zimmerman, shot in the leg.

“Lance Corporal Sardinas, shrapnel, hit in the face.

“Lance Corporal Wilson, shrapnel in the throat.”

“That’s all I can think of right now,” the captain said.

So it goes in Ramadi, the epicenter of the Iraqi insurgency and the focus of a grinding struggle between the American forces and the guerrillas.

Here.

From Wooster Collective:

Artist: Tano Location: Division Street

Here.

From the BBC:

According to reports on a Somali news network, gunmen arrived to close down the cinema in the town of Dhuusa Marreeb in central Galgadud district, where a crowd had gathered to watch the Germany-Italy World Cup semi-final.

Some of the football fans began to protest and according to reports, the gunmen fired in the air in an attempt to disperse them.

When this failed, shots were fired at the demonstrators and two people were killed.

Here.

From the Washington Post:

Ali Iman Sharmarke, a businessman and radio journalist in Mogadishu, said he believed the Islamic militias would lose power if they grew too strict in their interpretation of religious law. “People will hate them as they hated the warlords,” Sharmarke said from Nairobi. “The moderates will not fly with bin Laden.”

But Jamal said it was increasingly apparent that outsiders — bin Laden, the United Nations, the United States, the African Union, Ethiopia, Eritrea — were shaping events, rather than Somalis.

“It looks like the interests of the Somali will not be looked after,” he said. “The situation is really very, very bad right now.”

Here.

From the Ironton Tribune:

Robert Alex Szatowski, aka WWE and ECW champion Rob Van Dam, and Terry Michael Brunk, aka Sabu, also a former ECW champion, were pulled over on U.S. 52, near Patrick Street in Hanging Rock at about 10:15 p.m. The two were apparently driving from their performances at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena earlier in the evening.

According to the OSHP, Szatowski was initially stopped for speeding. When troopers approached his vehicle, they smelled marijuana and performed a search. Troopers found the wrestler in possession of 18 grams of marijuana and five Vicodin, prescription pain pills. Brunk was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and also had nine pills that were not immediately identifiable, but were known to be controlled substances, according to the OSHP. Both were cited and posted bond at the scene.

Here.

June 2006 issue of Crisis Watch, from the International Crisis Group:

Tensions and violence escalated in Israel/Occupied Territories as the Israeli military launched operations into Gaza following the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants. In Sudan, implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement faltered as rebel divisions widened. Insecurity along the border between Chad and Sudan increased as government forces and Chadian rebels renewed fighting. Efforts to resolve the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea were dealt a setback when Eritrea refused to attend a meeting of the International Boundary Commission in The Hague. For North Korea, U.S. intelligence reports suggesting Pyongyang is preparing to test intercontinental ballistic missiles caused widespread alarm. And in Macedonia the campaign for the 5 July general election was marred by violence. The situation also deteriorated in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Guinea, Morocco, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), Senegal and Somalia.

Here.

Richard Clarke and Roger Cressey, from the New York Times:

There is, of course, another possible explanation for all the outraged bloviating. It is an election year. Karl Rove has already said that if it were up to the Democrats, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would still be alive. The attacks on the press are part of a political effort by administration officials to use terrorism to divide America, and to scare their supporters to the polls again this year.

The administration and its Congressional backers want to give the impression that they are fighting a courageous battle against those who would wittingly or unknowingly help the terrorists. And with four months left before Election Day, we can expect to hear many more outrageous claims about terrorism — from partisans on both sides. By now, sadly, Americans have come to expect it.

Here.

From the Moscow Times, Chris Floyd on Ron Suskind’s new book “The One Percent Doctrine”:

But perhaps the most revealing moment in Suskind’s book is a brief vignette that captures the quintessence of Bush’s callous disregard for the American people — and the regime’s strange, preternatural calm in the face of imminent attack. In August 2001, while Bush dawdled on his Texas dude ranch, the entire national security system was, in Tenet’s words, “blinking red” in expectation of a major terrorist strike. On Aug. 6, a CIA official brought the infamous “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” memo to Crawford and read it out personally to the president. In response, he got nothing but a snide dismissal: “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”

Here.

From the BBC:

Team manager Olaf Ludwig said: “We talked to the riders several times and even have their declarations of innocence in written form.

“At first we had no reason to doubt the riders’ statements, but that situation has now changed profoundly.”

Ullrich, Basso and Mancebo are unlikely be the last big names to be suspended from the Tour de France after organisers ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) revealed that they have been given a list of more than 50 riders involved in the probe.

Here.

From The New Yorker:

Most Americans, even those who follow politics closely, have probably never heard of Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David S. Addington. But current and former Administration officials say that he has played a central role in shaping the Administration’s legal strategy for the war on terror. Known as the New Paradigm, this strategy rests on a reading of the Constitution that few legal scholars share—namely, that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority to disregard virtually all previously known legal boundaries, if national security demands it. Under this framework, statutes prohibiting torture, secret detention, and warrantless surveillance have been set aside. A former high-ranking Administration lawyer who worked extensively on national-security issues said that the Administration’s legal positions were, to a remarkable degree, “all Addington.” Another lawyer, Richard L. Shiffrin, who until 2003 was the Pentagon’s deputy general counsel for intelligence, said that Addington was “an unopposable force.”

Here.

AP, from the New York Times:

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a strongly worded dissent, saying the court’s decision would “sorely hamper the president’s ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy.”

The court’s willingness, Thomas said, “to second-guess the determination of the political branches that these conspirators must be brought to justice is both unprecedented and dangerous.”

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito also filed dissents.

In his own opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said, “Congress has not issued the executive a ‘blank check.”‘

“Indeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary,” Breyer wrote.

Here.

From Magnum Photos, essay by Christopher Anderson:

Tensions in Gaza and the West Bank rise as Palestinian factions begin fighting with each other and violence between the Palestinians and Israelis takes a new turn.

Here.

From the Guardian:

Some people freeze, most run. I run. Away from the sound – a sharp, terrifying crack. Jesus. A militiaman’s gun has gone off accidentally, I think. A few steps up towards the speaker’s platform, away from the crowd, away from the gunshot, I glance back down. Martin Adler, the Swedish cameraman, clutching his side, falling. A few more steps. Martin is on the ground. His white shirt is stained with red. Flemming, his Danish photographer friend, is hunched over him.

That picture is so clear, even now, four days on. Perfectly composed – Martin lying still, Flemming crouched over him, looking skywards in shock. Both men in focus in the middle of the frame, everything around them a blur, overexposed.

Here.

From the Moscow Times:

No one knows the name of the boy, his age, where he comes from or what diseases may be flowing through his bloodstream. His anonymity is stark and, at moments, overbearing.

Seeking to help such street children overcome their invisibility, Belgian photographer Jorge Dirkx, working with Medecins Sans Frontieres, recently gave 15 of them disposable cameras and asked them to take pictures of their Moscow. The boy in the basement is just one of the many images to emerge from the month-long project.

Here.

From the BBC:

Joseph Kony, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague on war crimes charges, described himself as a freedom fighter and called for peace talks.

He said stories of LRA rebels cutting off people’s ears or lips were Ugandan government propaganda. He also denied his group kidnapped children.

“This is not true. I cannot cut the ear of my brother, I cannot kill the eye of my brother. I cannot kill my brother, that is not true,” he said.

Here.

From the BBC:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered special services to “find and destroy” the killers of four Russian diplomats taken hostage in Iraq.
The head of Russia’s security services immediately pledged to see Putin’s order carried out.

The Russian government confirmed the four men’s deaths this week, after an insurgent group released a video showing two of them being killed.

The group had demanded Russia leave Chechnya and release Muslim prisoners.

Here.

Very cool things happening with NoTxt. Get in on #2 while you can! You will be in good company.
Here.

From the New York Times:

Still, Hassan Dahir Aweys, of the powerful Ayr clan, has publicly told followers that God would forgive them for spilling the blood of any foreign peacekeepers who set foot on Somali soil. He has also said Somalis who hand over their countrymen to American operatives in exchange for cash are guilty of “selling us to the Jews.”

Mr. Aweys was appointed to lead a new 88-member council at a meeting of hundreds of Islamic leaders in Mogadishu on Saturday night. Earlier in the week, a delegation of Somali Islamists agreed to recognize and work together with the secular government that was formed in 2004 after long peace negotiations involving all of Somalia’s clans. That United Nations-backed government, based in the provincial town of Baidoa because Mogadishu had been considered too dangerous for it to relocate there, is struggling to gain a foothold.

Mr. Aweys has repeatedly declared that an Islamic state is the only answer for Somalia, which has effectively been in anarchy since its last government fell in 1991. Mr. Aweys is a critic of the secular government and a longtime foe of its president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

Here.

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