Credulous photojournalism of the day Update: Type of round identified? Update: A typical MSM “correction”

posted at 9:11 am on August 15, 2007 by Bryan

Look at the bullets that the woman is holding.


Now read the caption:

An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house
following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City.(AFP/Wissam al-Okaili)

The only way those two bullets hit anything is if someone threw them or launched them from a slingshot. They’re still pristine, still in their shells. And whoever wrote the caption obviously doesn’t know enough about firearms to know that. Either that, or as the tipster who sent this to me says, they’re actively helping create negative media stories against the US.

Update: Uncle J over at Blackfive may have found a media tour at work.

Update: Bob Owens looks into the photographer and his chosen subjects. AFP’s photo editors are passing off obviously staged photos as legitimate journalism. And Andrew Sullivan is passing one of them off to his readers as bona fide news.

Update: Snapped Shot and Ace are looking into this photo by the same photographer, Wissam al-Okaili, published on July 10th.


It may or may not be the same woman in today’s photo (could be her sister if it’s not her though) and yet another magic bullet. Gateway Pundit has an expert who says that based on ballistics evidence, it could not have been fired. Here’s what the photo’s caption says:

An Iraqi elderly woman inspects a bullet which she says hit her bed during an alleged overnight raid by US and Iraqi troops in Baghdad’s impoverished district of Sadr City. Residents said two people were killed and four wounded during the raid.(AFP/Wissam al-Okaili)

I’m no ballistics expert, but I call shenanigans based on what I do know: There’s no way that bullet hit her bed unless she or someone else dropped it there. The force of a slug hitting any object at projectile speed does far more damage to the slug that this photo depicts. Far more. I’ve seen spent rounds with my own eyes. So what we have here, folks, is fauxtography staged for enemy propaganda purposes.

Update: I just contacted the AFP’s photo department. I’ll post results here if and when they get back with me. I won’t pull a Johnny Fever and suggest that anyone else contact them, but I won’t discourage it either.

Update: Confederate Yankee agrees with commenter JackS here, that the rounds shown aren’t even US military rounds.

But here’s the thing: The standard 62-grain M855 5.56 ball ammo used by our military today has a green tip, the M856 tracer has an orange tip, the M995 AP a black tip, and the Mk262 is a hollowpoint with an open tip.

The picture seems to show common commercial 55-grain civilian ball ammunition patterned after the Vietnam-era M193. With this in mind, I’d state that this ammunition wasn’t even dropped by American forces, as they don’t carry such ammunition.

Or perhaps it’s an AK-47 round? Hard to say based on that comparison, but it makes me lean toward accepting it as an AK round as opposed to any US round. Perhaps we should check with weapons expert Scott Thomas Beauchamp, but I believe that US forces are probably the only forces in Iraq who aren’t using the AK.

Update: AFP has issued a correction, of sorts:

CORRECTS BULLETS TO UNSPENT An elderly Iraqi woman holds up two unspent bullets at her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, 14 August 2007.

When I wrote to them earlier today, here’s a close paraphrase of what I said (I don’t remember the exact wording), having identified myself as part of Hot Air:

You are currently running a photo identified as taken in Iraq. It depicts a woman holding two bullets, captioned as having struck her house during the course of a US-coalition raid. But as you can plainly see from the photo, the bullets are pristine and have never been fired. Perhaps your photographer and caption editor ought to be, though.

And I followed that up with a link to the photo on Yahoo (which has since been moved, but that’s how these daily photo galleries are — they do move frequently as new photos come in) so they could see it for themselves. But to see the dishonest “correction” above now, well, I have to conclude that they’re reacting to what I wrote to them in the way that the MSM does these days, by engaging in a little coverup. These dishonest hacks want us to trust their coverage of wars and everything else, but can’t even get the basics like whether or not a bullet was ever actually fired right, and then get downright Nixonian when confronted with their errors. If they were a government agency (which many of them think they are), there would be talk of scandal and resignations, coming from the press itself. But when it’s the press, they basically get away with lying to the world, constantly and blatantly.

More: By the way, Yahoo still has the photo up with the old, uncorrected caption, currently here. It moved from photo 38 to 118 over the course of the day.

Update (AP): I’m pretty sure this caption is accurate, though.

Update: Heh. Perfect. And about as accurate as anything the AFP can come up with.

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Laugh all you want at those bullets people. Al Gore invented the internet and Global Warming, he could have invented special bullets too.

MB4 on August 16, 2007 at 1:21 AM


…why a photo of an old woman holding up two unspend rounds could in any way be considered newsworthy?

My God, man! She’s Muslim! Isn’t that enough!?!

profitsbeard on August 16, 2007 at 2:11 AM

Wow. AFP, AP, Reuters, all of em… they’ve just gone and completely given up on rational thought and journalism ethics. It’s almsot unfathomable that they keep spewing that type of hogwash like no one will ever notice, even after all the prior scandalous MSM ‘faux-paux’. Yet, there it is, right in front of your face.

The saddest part of this is, there are hundred’s of thousands of people in our world, if not millions, that would still rather drink that kool-aid than acknowledge the fact that they’re are OBVIOUSLY being led around by their noses.

ugh… disgusting unethical journalistic conduct. the lot are every bit as untrustworthy as a street corner huckster.

SilverStar830 on August 16, 2007 at 4:54 AM

I am wondering,,, is it possible???,, do a few in the MSM sometimes put out trial balloons of stupidity just to test the waters?

JellyToast on August 16, 2007 at 6:49 AM

Maybe that’s what the tooth fairy leaves in Sadr City.

Buzzy on August 16, 2007 at 9:27 AM

Libs work for AP, and Libs typically don’t know squat about guns due to their required anti-gun stance. Idiots they are.

jediwebdude on August 16, 2007 at 9:59 AM

That looks like the same old woman who was standing next to her allegedly destroyed-by-the-Jews house in southern Lebanon during the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Neo on August 16, 2007 at 10:44 AM

Thanks for the great work picking out this fauxtography! These are the kinds of things that are hurting our chances of winning the war at home!

congsan on August 16, 2007 at 11:08 AM

Three points
1. The second woman seems to have the tatoo on her upper lip, I don’t see it on the first.
2. For what it’s worth, I photoshopped and overlay the cartridge in the first photo over the womans index finger so I could get some perspective. If you place the cartridge so that the cartridge neck ends and the missile begins at the base of her finger nail (the cuticle), the missile doesn’t reach the tip of the finger nail. Additionally, the diameter of the missile at the cartridge necks is such that you can place 4 of them across within the diameter of her index finger. You decide.
3. When asked what they did for a living, both women replied “fauxtography model”.

Catseye on August 16, 2007 at 11:17 AM

She should have also held up the guns that “fired” these bullets, too.

I’m sure the evil soldiers threw some of them at her house, too.

As long as they look sad, we are supposed to BELIEVE!

profitsbeard on August 16, 2007 at 11:44 AM

round,proportions are wrong and that doesn’t look like a copper jacket. And green tips are not just SAW rounds Lawrence.

r/s Major Dad
tree hugging sister on August 15, 2007 at 8:40
… et al.

I never said otherwise.

The green tip M855 rounds where/are designed for the SAW and NATO did adopt this round. And, yes, the M855 can be used interchangeable in the SAW and M16. The bullets in the picture are not M855. But they could be M193, or a modern variant of this same round. But this doesn’t prove anything about where they came from, and I never claimed to know for sure.

Now, a lesson to cut through all the B.S. here:

1. The bullets in the picture are indeed copper jacketed bullets, because all rifle bullets are copper jacketed (except rare exceptions). The copper jacket protects the barrel lands from fouling with lead, protects the interior lead from damage and deformation during handling and storage, and improves general ballistics.

2. FMJ simply means the lead inside the bullet is completely surrounded by copper. As opposed to most hunting bullets where the interior lead is exposed at the tip (as in not fully jacketed). And standard military ball ammo is in fact standard fully copper jacketed ammo. And these bullets are definitely FMJ. Many hollow-points are also, effectively, FMJ bullets. But these do not look like hollow-points to me. So the ONLY thing they could be is standard ball ammo FMJ (either military or civilian, just can’t tell).

3. Whether the fingers in the first picture are male of female the rounds in comparison are .22cal/(5.56mm). I don’t know exactly what round, but a side by side comparison of military 5.56 or civilian .223 looks remarkably identical. But that doesn’t prove the rounds are military or civilian (and most likely photoshopped).

4. There is a very tiny possibility that the rounds in the first picture are .243cal/6mm rounds, but these bullets and the casings used to mount them are generally bigger that what is shown. So they are most likely old 5.56mm rounds that someone scrounged up or photoshopped in.

5. The bullet in the second picture is the inside part of an armor piercing bullet. Yesterday I said it was from a .30cal bullet, but my overnight comparisons lead me to believe it is probably .50cal. It is made of hardened carbon steel and jacketed with copper when loaded into a round. The copper jacket protects the barrel and lands from the hardened steel, and is what deforms into the lands to allow the bullet to spin. Yes there are scratches and nicks on it. Some are from firing and striking a target, others are machining marks left over from manufacture.

6. When an armor piercing bullet hits the target the copper peels away and the interior hardened steel bullet punches through the target. This hardened steel part of Armor piercing bullets does not deform. I have no idea whether this particular armor piercing bullet is new, old, or which military used it. But I do know what it is, because this is exactly what they look like when recovered, even after punching through a half-inch of steel plate.

6. Yes, I hand-load .22cal/5.56mm .243cal/6mm and .30cal/7.62mm rifle bullets in various configurations. I do know what the standards are and what standard ammo configurations look like. I am also proficient with the civilian rifles that use them, as well as the M16, M249, M60, and Browning M2 .50cal.

Thank You!
‘Major’ Lawrence, Ret.

Lawrence on August 16, 2007 at 12:26 PM

Hubby is a former Army soldier. I told him about this last night, then showed him the picture. Never heard him laugh so hard before.

ScoopPC11 on August 16, 2007 at 1:10 PM

It doesn’t look the same woman in both photos to me, either…the bottom one looks older and they seem to have different facial characteristics.

Bob’s Kid on August 15, 2007 at 4:24 PM

You talking ’bout those ‘Uncle Leo’ eyebrows she’s got painted on her face?

Miss_Anthrope on August 16, 2007 at 2:27 PM

I’m floored. They aren’t even trying hard to hide their deception anymore.

TheBigOldDog on August 15, 2007 at 9:18 AM

They don’t have to worry about that. You see their deception is bought hook, line and sinker by the Fn morons on the left and of course the idjits. They just keep stacking the crap up so high and so deep that the truth gets obfuscated completely.

If you can’t win them with your logic
Baffle them with your BS

TheSitRep on August 16, 2007 at 6:08 PM

It doesn’t look the same woman in both photos to me, either…the bottom one looks older and they seem to have different facial characteristics.

Bob’s Kid on August 15, 2007 at 4:24 PM

Me either it is obvious one is real ugly and the other one is hideous.

TheSitRep on August 16, 2007 at 6:10 PM

I just noticed that if you look closely at the bullets they have a square back and could only be fired by a Glock.

frankj on August 15, 2007 at 12:54 PM

“Square back…only be fired from a Glock”?

Did I miss something?

soundingboard on August 16, 2007 at 9:24 PM

I have some familiarity with weapons and ammo.

Lookin’ at the pics it’s hard to tell caliber.

I notice many commenters have mentioned 5.56/.223.

Could it be the new 6.8mm?

soundingboard on August 16, 2007 at 9:27 PM

Bryan on August 15, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Not very nice, Bryan. We may be notorious pigs, but my God, man. Have you no decency, at long last?

Jaibones on August 16, 2007 at 11:43 PM

Calling Dan Rather!

sabbott on August 17, 2007 at 5:31 AM

I think the AFP should just go all out and photoshop these pictures so they are wearing faux bikinis. Then they can claim that the infidel crusaders have ruined their culture too.

Buy Danish on August 17, 2007 at 7:09 AM

Could it be the new 6.8mm?

soundingboard on August 16, 2007 at 9:27 PM

Given the configuration of bullet seating, shape of case, and relative size to the fingers, these are some type of .22cal/5.56mm bullets/rounds. What is missing in this picture is perspective on length of the casings and the diameter of the base.

Bullets of bigger caliber generally have different bullet seating depths, something hand-loaders can recongnize, and the bullets and casings would appear bigger in diameter.

The new 6.8mm is simply the old .270cal bullet configured into a military style round based on an older necked down .30-30 case. The 6.8mm bullet is also a 115gr bullet, whereas the bullets seated in the rounds in the picture can’t be much bigger than standard 55gr 22cal/5.56mm bullets.

Lawrence on August 17, 2007 at 12:19 PM

“Square back…only be fired from a Glock”?
Did I miss something?
soundingboard on August 16, 2007 at 9:24 PM

About a month back there was another faux story, don’t remember the exact details, but it the writer indicated that he was basically at a “crime scene” and the weapons were glock used by the Iraqi police because the bullets fired had square back and only glocks bullets have square backs. Another case of either someone obviously not knowing their firearms or that someone trying to pull one over on everyone.

Catseye on August 17, 2007 at 12:22 PM

Catseye on August 17, 2007 at 12:22 PM

What the (probably totally firearms-ignorant) reporter most likely did was garble a report on recovered (expended) cartridge cases.

Expended cases from a Glock are easy to discern; you just look at the fired primer. All Glock pistols have a “square” (actually rectangular cross-section) firing-pin impact head, and thus leave a rectangular depression in the fired primer, unlike most other small arms that have round firing-pin tips.

Other than a couple of early 20 m/m automatic cannon from the pre- World War Two era (the HAIHA from Sweden and the similar Solothurn from Switzerland), the only other centerfire weapon I know of that leaves this kind of firing-pin imprint is the old British Sten submachine gun. This was because the Sten was a typical “slamfire” (aka “Advanced Primer Ignition) SMG, with a fixed firing pin. Unlike the others of its generation (the German MP-38/40, Italian Beretta, and U.S. M1/M1A1 Thompson and M3 “Grease Gun”), all of which had a cylindrical firing pin secured in the breechblock by a cross-pin, the Sten just had a “block” of steel left behind by the milling machine when the breechblock forging was machined down. (It and the barrel were about the only parts of the Sten that weren’t just stamped out of sheet metal.)

And while (a) there are still some Stens floating around (at least some showed up with the Zapatista rebels in Mexico a few years ago) and (b) both the Sten and the most common Glock models (17, 19, etc.) fire the 9 x 19mm round, the imprints are still different enough that you can tell. Besides, AFAIK, no Stens have showed up in Iraq. Yet.

BTW, I’ve used the Glocks off and on since they were introduced in the late 1970s (and generated the first “plastic gun” panic in the MSM). And at the same time, I was doing a good bit of full-auto weapons training for law-enforcement purposes, and one of the weapons we trained with (for comparison and familiarization purposes) was the MK II Sten. So I’m speaking from personal experience here, if anyone’s interested.



eon on August 19, 2007 at 12:35 PM

soundingboard on August 16, 2007 at 9:24 PM

It’s a Scott Thomas Beauchamp reference….
Frank is quick, like a marsupial….you gotta watch for his supreme sneaky powers.

TBinSTL on August 27, 2007 at 11:18 PM