Bellingcat

Thursday, 19 July 2012

How Not To Handle Unexploded Ordnance - A Syrian Top Ten

Over the many months I've been examining videos from Syria there's been a rather unfortunate trend for activists to pick up and move the various unexploded ordnance (UXO) they've discovered in their home towns and cities.

While it's understandable that activists wish to show the world the sort of weapons that are being used against them it seems to me they are taking unnecessary risks to do so, and I also feel that in today's modern era of Youtube and 24 hour news coverage there's almost a demand for detailed footage of UXO.

I myself have examined various videos of UXO, but I'd be much happier if they were filmed from a safe distance, and left alone.  No matter how sure you think you are that UXO is safe there's no real way to be sure, and Assad is killing enough people without helping him out trying to let the world know about the methods Assad is using.  Here's a quick top ten of highly inadvisable UXO handling.

10: An unexploded mortar shell lying in the middle of a street, with an unnecessary close up
9: An unexploded artillery shell that's been stood upright so it can be compared to a bullet
8: Yet another artillery shell that's stood up by the cameraman so the audience can get a closer look, with the fuze leaning against a tree
7: A close examination of an unexploded artillery shell
6: An activist shows the audience an unexploded 70mm rocket jammed into the ground, and tries to pull it out of the ground
5: This video shows two UXO, one unexploded artillery shell, and one massive unexploded 240mm mortar, which is lifted up rather ungracefully on what you might describe as the business end of the mortar
4: Another unexploded 240mm mortar, this time being tapped with a rock
3: Here we see an OFAB 250-270 high explosive bomb being closely examined by activists, as well as the hole it punched in the roof it crashed through, and the crater the activists pulled this unexploded high explosive bomb out of to examine
2: Activists arranged these 9 AO-1 SCH cluster bomblets so they could tell you all about them, even though they are notorious for not exploding when deployed and hanging around on battlefields until someone bumps into them
1: In this video we see a man pick up an unexploded artillery shell, show it to the camera, and then throwing it onto the road like a piece of rubbish
So, to activists I would say please leave this items alone, none of the information we could gather from these videos are worth the life of a single activist, and you can never be sure if these items are safe, no matter what your past experience is with handling them, and to those who would encourage activists to risk themselves so you can have a more interesting image for your report, be it inadvertently or not, please consider that when they do that they are risking their lives, and the lives of those around them.  


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1 comment:

  1. One hint on how to get detailed closeups without risking life and limb - use zoom feature on handheld cameras.

    Obvious, but sometimes it is worth stating the obvious.

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