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Entries in Picture (5)

Friday
Feb102012

Marine Corps in Trouble Again over Questionable Photo

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Marine Corps, already in hot water over a video showing four of its members urinating on what are believed to be the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, is again facing criticism for a photograph that seems to glorify the Third Reich.

The snapshot, which was taken 18 months ago in the Afghan province of Sangin, show members of a scout sniper team posing in front of a flag with what looked like the Nazi SS log.  The SS stood for the Schutzstaffel, originally Adolf Hitler's bodyguards that grew into Germany's all-powerful police force during World War II.

According to Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton, Calif., the flag was only symbolizing the scout sniper team but was nonetheless unacceptable to the Marine Corps and those in the photo are no longer with the service.

However, that explanation did not suffice with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which wants a full investigation into the matter.

Mikey Weinstein, the group's president, said former Marines have contacted him to express their disgust with the photo, which appeared online, adding, "Heads need to roll and this needs to be fully investigated.  This is a complete and total outrage."

Weinstein said he contacted both Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the head of the Marine Corps.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun172011

Photo: Kissing Couple at Vancouver Riots Goes Viral

Rich Lam/Getty Images(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) -- Just who were those two young lovers? And how did they get caught up in such a kiss, right there in the middle of the riots in Vancouver, British Columbia? There was anger and violence all around them -- the Vancouver Canucks had just lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of hockey's Stanley Cup finals.

The picture of them, by Vancouver freelance photographer Richard Lam, has gone viral on the Web. One headline called it "love among the ruins." Even the young man's father put up a Facebook post: "Hows that for making love not war!"

But they now say the story is not what people thought.

The lovers were identified as Scott Jones of Perth, Australia, and Alex Thomas, a recent graduate of the University of Guelph in Ontario.

"The riot police ran on top of us," said Jones in a telephone interview with ABC News. "They ran us over.

"We were knocked over, and I was just trying to calm her down, because as I'm sure you can imagine, she was somewhat distraught."

Jones said he remembered kissing Thomas, and was completely surprised by the photograph.

Brett Jones, Scott's father in Australia, said the couple was not hurt. "Alex is a little sore on the leg, but otherwise okay," he said.

Scott's mother, Megan Jones, was interviewed by Australia's Channel 9. "I knew it was him because he doesn't have a lot of clothes with him and he always puts on the same thing."

At the time of the interview, she had not reached Scott yet, and said she thought her son had been photographed in an amorous moment. "It is something he would do, that's our boy," she said. "He has always lived in his own world, he's special like that. He doesn't always connect with what going on around him."

Lam, the photographer, said he didn't think about the picture because there was such violence around him. Almost 150 people required hospital treatment and close to 100 were arrested in the riots that followed Wednesday night's game.

Police struggled to contain the crowd with tear gas as fires erupted in busy downtown intersections. Storefronts were smashed by looters grabbing everything in sight.

The city's mayor, Gregor Robertson, described the rioting hockey fans as "hooligans."

Meanwhile, the photograph of the young couple has spread worldwide -- even though the family now says Scott Jones was just trying to comfort Alex Thomas.

"He was certainly trying to look after her," said Brett Jones.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May042011

The Young Wife Who Defended Osama Bin Laden

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The woman who the White House said charged U.S. Navy SEALs in an apparent desperate last ditch effort to protect Osama bin Laden has been identified as bin Laden's youngest wife, a woman nearly half his age.

The woman, identified by a passport found inside the al Qaeda leader's compound as 29-year-old Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, was in the room when the SEALs took the final, fateful shots at 54-year-old Osama bin Laden and was herself shot in the leg when she rushed, unarmed, at the special operators. She was treated for her wounds and is in custody in Pakistan, officials said.

Fatah, bin Laden's fifth wife and the only one left living with him in the house, had been gifted to the al Qaeda leader from a Yemeni family when she was just a teenager and later had three children with him. Of his other wives, he had divorced one and three others had moved to Syria.

To former high-ranking CIA analyst and former FBI counterterrorism official Phil Mudd, it's not surprising that she apparently was willing to risk her life for the man the U.S. has been hunting for more than a decade.

"He is, in the al Qaeda context, an honorable man and he's viewed in their context not as a terrorist but as a statesman," Mudd told ABC News. "I would be surprised if this guy would sacrifice a wife for this operation, but I'm sure she was willing to get in front of a bullet for him."

But bin Laden's children with Fatah are not his only offspring, as he was survived by at least 18 children. None of the sons, however, are in line to succeed their father for leadership of one of the most feared terror organizations in the world.

"Unlike a lot of Arab governments that are dynastic," said former White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant, "al Qaeda has not been and his sons have never played a real operational role of any significance. They did not appear to be groomed for leadership roles in al Qaeda."

During the 40-minute Navy SEAL operation that took bin Laden's life, the U.S. forces also found what one U.S. official described as the "motherlode" of intelligence in the compound.

The material, which includes more than 100 thumb drives and several cell phones, is being analyzed by U.S. intelligence officials in Washington, D.C. as well as Afghanistan and officials hope the information gleaned could help dismantle the entire al Qaeda terror network.

"After attack plans," said Clarke, "[they're looking for] the location of his deputies ... where the money is, where the money comes from, where does it live, and how big an organization is al Qaeda central these days? Is it really an organization anymore at all?"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May032011

Osama Bin Laden Unarmed When Killed, White House Says

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs during a daring raid on his compound in Pakistan, the White House said today.

"We were prepared to capture him if that was possible," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. But even though bin Laden was not carrying a weapon, Carney said he had "resisted" and several people in the compound were armed and firing at the American special operators.

"Resistance does not require a firearm," Carney said.

When the SEALs entered the room in which bin Laden was hiding, his wife charged them and was shot in the leg, Carney said. Bin Laden was then shot in the chest and head.

"U.S. personnel on the ground handled themselves with the utmost professionalism," he said. "[Bin Laden] was killed in an operation because of the resistance they met."

The decision to kill, rather than capture, came from commanders on the ground, Carney said.

Officials initially said that bin Laden had been among several people in the compound who took up arms and engaged in a firefight with the SEALs.

President Obama's counterterror chief John Brennan also initially said that bin Laden used one of his wives as a human shield and the woman was killed in the gun battle. That has turned out to be incorrect and officials attributed the mistake to the confusion that usually accompanies a fast-moving gun battle, or "the fog of war."

In a photograph released by the White House, the President and his top advisors – including a visibly tense Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – are shown watching a screen very intently in the White House Situation Room. What was on the screen at the time is not clear, but CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Public Broadcasting Service that Obama was not watching the Navy SEALs helmet-cam footage that showed the shots that took Osama down.

Like the White House's Situation Room, screens in both the Pentagon and the CIA were showing real-time footage of the compound – possibly footage from a circling drone -- creating not one, but three incredibly tense rooms in the highest echelons of U.S. security.

The operation began when two U.S. helicopters flew in low from Afghanistan and swept into the compound where bin Laden was thought to be hiding late Sunday night Pakistan time, or Sunday afternoon Washington time.

Two teams of SEALs slid down fast-ropes from the helicopters as soon as they were in position and stormed the compound. One of the helicopters stalled and made a hard landing just outside the walled compound before the SEALs stormed in. The Navy SEAL team on this mission was supported by helicopter pilots from the 160th Special Ops Air Regiment, part of the Joint Special Operations Command.

After what Carney called a "volatile" firefight, the SEALs killed bin Laden and at least four others with him. The SEALs alerted the White House through the cryptic phrase "Geronimo-E KIA" code. "E" stood for enemy and "KIA" for killed in action.

"Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn't know just exactly what was going on. There were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information. But finally Adm. [William] McRaven came back and said he had picked up the word 'Geronimo,' which was the code word that represented they got bin Laden," Panetta told PBS.

The SEALs words, however, were not sufficient proof that the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks was finally dead. As the evidence piled up -- verbal ID, face recognition analysis and DNA matches -- the White House debate continued.

Obama ended the discussion with a terse, "We got him."

Before they left, the SEALs gathered a trove of evidence from among bin Laden's personal possessions, from computer hard drives to CDs and papers. U.S. intelligence analysts are expected to pour over the information in coming days, hoping to turn information kept by the al Qaeda leader against the entire terror network.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May032011

Did Pakistan Know About Osama Bin Laden's Hideout?

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Tuesday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein echoed calls by other top lawmakers in Congress that Pakistan must answer questions about how Osama bin Laden could have lived in Abbottabad for up to six years.

“It does cause one to question how this kind of facility -- which stood out, which was close by a military academy -- could exist for the length of time it did exist. And we now know that bin Laden was there up to six years. That’s a substantial period of time,” Feinstein said at a press conference.

“I think we have to know whether they knew, whether the Pakistanis knew. If they didn’t know, why didn’t they know?” she asked. “Why didn’t they pay more attention to it? Was this just benign indifference or was it indifference with a motive? I don’t know what the answer is and we need to find out.” 

“From an intelligence point of view, we would want to know more about why this wasn’t discovered by the Pakistani authorities,” she emphasized.

However, Feinstein said it would be “premature” to cut off financial aid to Pakistan, as Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, has called for, even though she cited that Pakistan has “very subtly walked both sides of the street” and “that is a concern to many of us.”

In addition to Feinstein and Lautenberg, other key senators such as Senate Armed Services boss Carl Levin, Senate Homeland Security chairman Joe Lieberman, and the top Republican on the Homeland Security panel, Susan Collins, have all demanded that Pakistan explain how bin Laden was able to live in Abbottabad -- a city under 100 miles from the capital of Islamabad and a city with a strong military presence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio