More on the fake NYT photo

William Krulac of Greensburg, PA writes us with some more information on the artillery shell:

I am a former artilleryman with twenty years of experience.  I have fired nearly every cannon system in the US Army inventory.

The text of the [AT] article is largely correct.  I agree that the item in the NYT photo purported to be the 'remains of a missile' is indeed an artillery shell of either 152 or 155 mm caliber. 

However, the round has been fired, and was probably a training round that does not explode, a base—ejection round (base ejection is used to deliver illumination flares or sub—munitions over a target) or, a dud.  U.S. artillery training rounds are blue, but do not have a yellow band. 

The evidence that the round was fired is the grooves in the rotating band near the bottom of the round.  The rotating band provides a gas—tight seal that engages the rifling inside the cannon barrel.  In new condition, the rotating band is smooth.

UPDATE:

We now have heard from lots of former artillerymen and other experts, and the consensus is that the round was fired. It may have been a dud, but the yellow patch may indicate it was used as a marker round, to find the range. Others think the yellow path may indicate a high explosive. It seems that various nationalities use different codes, as our expert Ned Barnett indicated, and it is impossible to tell which nation's markings are on the ordnance.

The size, pitch and proportion of the grooves are all typical of modern artillery. Also the copper is bright and not weathered or corroded, so it has been fired recently.

Doug Hanson, our security affairs correspondent writes:

Not only did the NYT get caught in another lie, but they may have unintentionally revealed the village's cache of IED ordnance.  During the Intifada against Israel that started in September of 2000, terrorists in Gaza used unexploded artillery projectiles wired as command detonated landmines.  Even the heaviest Merkava main battle tanks could be taken out with these devices.  Of course, command detonated artillery projectiles are one of the preferred types of IEDs used in Iraq by enemy forces.  And, in 2004, troopers from the US 1st Cavalry Division encountered an IED made with a binary Sarin nerve agent 155mm artillery chemical round.

This begs the question; did the NYT publish a photo of a villager showing off his latest acquisition to make an IED?  Of course, it's entirely possible that the round is simply part of his collection on the mantle, or is used for bartering purposes.  Mr. Krulac notes that the blue color generally notes a training practice round, and it may very well be an inert projectile.  But NATO markings do not apply to many other makers of 155mm ammunition including the French, who have been known to paint high explosive rounds of some of their ordnance blue.

Others speculate that the round is Russian, left over from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Left wing defenders of the Times are also attempting some damage control. This one calls me a "rightie: and calls my article a "rant" (sticks and stones are more worrisome, and contrary facts would be devastating, but there are none of these). The defense seems to be negligence.

The fact is that the drones who throw the web site and most of the newspaper together do not routinely run anything by the big shots, at the New York Times or any other newspaper; there's no time. The Times web site editors trusted Getty Images. I would have made the same mistake, since Getty Images is a long—established source of news photos and is usually reliable.

Although I think Getty Images is more at fault than the Times, I notice the New York Times caption writer called the ordnance in question 'the remains of a missile,' whereas the Getty caption calls it 'unexploded ordinance [sic].' I suspect sloppiness on the part of the New York Times web caption writer, no doubt a recent English Lit graduate, who just guessed the pointy—ended thing was a missile. After the web editors got some complaints about the photo, they pulled it. Again, that How This Stuff Works.

I see at Memeorandum that the righties are having fits about the New York Times, however.

So the defenders of the Times are telling us that nobody pays much particular attention to getting stuff right when it comes to be the website, so anyone who points out how they choose images without knowing what they are doing is just a ranting righty.

I am glad we cleared that up.

Thomas Lifson  1 16 06

William Krulac of Greensburg, PA writes us with some more information on the artillery shell:

I am a former artilleryman with twenty years of experience.  I have fired nearly every cannon system in the US Army inventory.

The text of the [AT] article is largely correct.  I agree that the item in the NYT photo purported to be the 'remains of a missile' is indeed an artillery shell of either 152 or 155 mm caliber. 

However, the round has been fired, and was probably a training round that does not explode, a base—ejection round (base ejection is used to deliver illumination flares or sub—munitions over a target) or, a dud.  U.S. artillery training rounds are blue, but do not have a yellow band. 

The evidence that the round was fired is the grooves in the rotating band near the bottom of the round.  The rotating band provides a gas—tight seal that engages the rifling inside the cannon barrel.  In new condition, the rotating band is smooth.

UPDATE:

We now have heard from lots of former artillerymen and other experts, and the consensus is that the round was fired. It may have been a dud, but the yellow patch may indicate it was used as a marker round, to find the range. Others think the yellow path may indicate a high explosive. It seems that various nationalities use different codes, as our expert Ned Barnett indicated, and it is impossible to tell which nation's markings are on the ordnance.

The size, pitch and proportion of the grooves are all typical of modern artillery. Also the copper is bright and not weathered or corroded, so it has been fired recently.

Doug Hanson, our security affairs correspondent writes:

Not only did the NYT get caught in another lie, but they may have unintentionally revealed the village's cache of IED ordnance.  During the Intifada against Israel that started in September of 2000, terrorists in Gaza used unexploded artillery projectiles wired as command detonated landmines.  Even the heaviest Merkava main battle tanks could be taken out with these devices.  Of course, command detonated artillery projectiles are one of the preferred types of IEDs used in Iraq by enemy forces.  And, in 2004, troopers from the US 1st Cavalry Division encountered an IED made with a binary Sarin nerve agent 155mm artillery chemical round.

This begs the question; did the NYT publish a photo of a villager showing off his latest acquisition to make an IED?  Of course, it's entirely possible that the round is simply part of his collection on the mantle, or is used for bartering purposes.  Mr. Krulac notes that the blue color generally notes a training practice round, and it may very well be an inert projectile.  But NATO markings do not apply to many other makers of 155mm ammunition including the French, who have been known to paint high explosive rounds of some of their ordnance blue.

Others speculate that the round is Russian, left over from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Left wing defenders of the Times are also attempting some damage control. This one calls me a "rightie: and calls my article a "rant" (sticks and stones are more worrisome, and contrary facts would be devastating, but there are none of these). The defense seems to be negligence.

The fact is that the drones who throw the web site and most of the newspaper together do not routinely run anything by the big shots, at the New York Times or any other newspaper; there's no time. The Times web site editors trusted Getty Images. I would have made the same mistake, since Getty Images is a long—established source of news photos and is usually reliable.

Although I think Getty Images is more at fault than the Times, I notice the New York Times caption writer called the ordnance in question 'the remains of a missile,' whereas the Getty caption calls it 'unexploded ordinance [sic].' I suspect sloppiness on the part of the New York Times web caption writer, no doubt a recent English Lit graduate, who just guessed the pointy—ended thing was a missile. After the web editors got some complaints about the photo, they pulled it. Again, that How This Stuff Works.

I see at Memeorandum that the righties are having fits about the New York Times, however.

So the defenders of the Times are telling us that nobody pays much particular attention to getting stuff right when it comes to be the website, so anyone who points out how they choose images without knowing what they are doing is just a ranting righty.

I am glad we cleared that up.

Thomas Lifson  1 16 06