SAS assault on the Iranian Embassy

Behind the camera: BBC footage Screen Capture
Where: Iranian Embassy – 16 Princes Gate, South Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Photo Summary: John ‘Mac’ McAleese leading SAS Team 1 into the building
Picture Taken: May 5, 1980

The Siege of the Iranian Embassy, located at 16 Princes Gate London, began at 1130 AM on April 30th, 1980. The Siege lasted six days and was eventually concluded after a daring raid by the British Special Air Service (SAS). Five of the six armed Iranian terrorists were killed, and 19 of the 26 hostages were saved.

Terrorists take the Embassy

At 11:30 a.m. on 30 April 1980, six armed revolutionaries of the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan (DRMLA) burst into the Iranian Embassy at No. 16 Princes Gate, London firing weapons and taking twenty-six hostages. The police constable on guard outside the Embassy, Trevor Lock, was on duty was taken captive. In addition to the other 23 hostages, 2 BBC employees, journalist Chris Cramer and sound man Sim Harris were also taken as hostages while they were applying for visas.
The Terrorists came well armed with a small arsenal, including SMG and Browning 9mm pistols (loaded with hollow-point ammunition), a .38 revolver, and Russian-made hand grenades. They were protesting against oppression by Ayatollah Khomeini who had come to power in Iran during the previous year. Their demands were as follows:

One: we demand our human and legitimate rights. Two: we demand freedom, autonomy and recognition of the Arabistan people. Three: we demand the release of ninety-one Arab prisoners in Arabistan. [Then came the threat] If all the demands are not met by noon on Thursday, May 1, the Embassy and all the hostages will be blown up.

In addition to this, they demanded a plane to fly them out of British airspace.
Negotiations continued into the third day and deadlines came and went, Oan, the 27-year-old leader of the terrorists codenamed “Salim” (real name: Awn Ali Mohammed), became increasingly irritated with his lack of progress. Such was his obvious agitation, that authorities decided to agree to his request to the broadcast of his demands on national television. This seemingly promising step backfired, however, when the BBC incorrectly reported portions of his statement. Instead of pacifying him, this mistake further enraged the terrorist leader, and he vowed that the British hostages would now be the last to be released. At this point, the police decided to intervene. They transcribed Oan’s new demands verbatim as they were shouted from a first-floor window. This positive development prompted Oan to release two hostages, in return for a promise from authorities that the statement would be read promptly on the BBC TV News.
Any hope for a peaceful resolution to the siege ended at 1:45 p.m. on 05 May when Oan shot and killed Abbas Lavasani, the Iranian press attache and dropped his body out of a door to the Embassy. Upon hearing this news, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave permission for the SAS to take the building.

Storming the Embassy: Operation NIMROD

Unbeknownst to the terrorists at any time, PC Trevor Lock had managed, during his capture, to activate an alert device concealed on his jacket lapel. The signal was forwarded to the Metropolitan Police’s C13 Anti-terrorist Squad who dispatched to the area around the Embassy and were joined shortly thereafter by members of C7, Scotland Yard’s electronic eavesdropping and surveillance branch. Sniper and counter-sniper positions were also manned by police sharpshooters.
While these events took place, at the headquarters of the 22 Special Air Service Regiment located at Hereford, a call was received by a former member of the unit’s “D Squadron” who at the time was working as a dog handler for the Metropolitan police. Receiving the call and a brief assessment of the situation through the grassroots intelligence network comprised of such former SAS operators gave the units Special Projects (SP) team of the SAS counter-revolutionary warfare ring a valuable “heads up” and they were able to immediately scramble the necessary personnel.

The members of B squadrons “Pagoda Troop”, the alert team always kept on standby within the SAS specifically for these types of situations, were going through standard Close Quarter Battle (CQB) drills within the Hereford “Kill House” when all their pagers went off simultaneously with the “999” code signalling that this was a real-life event, not a training exercise. They mobilized and were set up at a barracks in Regents Park London and had two-man teams conducting clandestine surveillance of the embassy, even going on to the roof, that very same night.
To mask efforts at surveillance and the storming of the building, all aircraft landing and taking off from Heathrow airport in London were ordered to fly considerably lower over the Embassy. In addition to this, jackhammers were used outside the embassy to mask the sound of drilling on walls for C7 specialists to plant various listening devices and fibre optic probes necessary for the SAS to ascertain exactly what rooms the terrorists were in.
After briefly questioning a janitor that worked in the embassy, it became clear that the initial tools for going through windows into a structure ie. a sledgehammer would not work due to the heavy, bulletproof glass used in the construction of the embassy. It was determined that specially shaped explosive charges should be employed.

The equipment used by the SAS operators for this assault contained Bristol body armour, Heckler & Koch MP5s, Browning High Power Pistols, lightweight Northern Ireland boots (good for running and kicking in doors), S6 respirators (so they could breathe through the CS gas) and an NBC suit, to be worn under the body armour. The clothing was designed to provoke a psychological response within the terrorists when confronted by this totally black, barely human figure the fraction of a second gained could be the difference between life and death.
The SAS had debriefed two hostages that had been released and had been told that the Terrorists had grenades, even some had them in their pockets. This resulted in a decision being made to “go in hard and hot” and eliminate anyone identified as a terrorist with extreme prejudice.
The assault started at 19:23 hours on 5 May 1980 23 minutes after the dead hostage had been thrown from the building. An explosive charge went off at the rear of the building shattering the skylight, raining glass and debris down and effectively stunning anyone in the second-floor stairwell. All power to the building was also cut at this time and the teams moved forward with the assault. A second explosive charge went off almost instantly, shattering the rear doors of the embassy. Five teams then took part in the assault.

Team 1- Using explosive charges on the windows this team entered on the first floor via the balcony. This is the image captured by ITN Cameras.
Team 2- Entered the first floor and clear the basement.
Team 3- Entered the first floor and clear the first floor also acted as a hostage collection point.
Team 4- Abseiled through the shattered skylight onto the second floor.
Team 5- Abseiled from the roof to the rear Balcony and entered there to aid in the clearing of the second floor.

Within 11 minutes 5 of the 6 terrorists were dead and 19 hostages were rescued.

The Picture


Mac

The lead man in the iconic image is John “Mac” McAleese, now 61 years old, is the SAS operator placing the charge on the window just before breaching and leading Team 1 through the windows onto the first floor. In the photo, the SAS can be seen carrying their HKMP5’s and wearing the dull black Bristol body armour and other kit. The image is part of a video seen by millions of people and was broadcast live during the Siege.
Aftermath and Controversy

Not for the last time, the tactics of the SAS were considered by many to be excessive, in particular, the deaths of two terrorists Shai and Makki. These men were, according to the hostages, shot as they lay unarmed and surrendering still within the Embassy. Denis Thatcher, the husband of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was quoted as saying “You let one of the bastards live.” However, the raid has been considered an incredible success and is often referred to as a textbook case of both counterterrorism and the employment of the special forces.

Recent Activity

Since 2009 the image has seen a resurgence in the media. Paul McAleese, son of siege hero and the lead man in the siege image John McAleese, was killed in Afghanistan on August 20th, 2009. His father John has spoken out regarding the insufficient levels of troop strength on the ground in Afghanistan.

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Patty Hearst

Behind the camera: Hibernia Bank security cameras
Where: Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco
Photo Summary: Patricia Campbell Hearst, known at the time as Tania, wielding a modified M1 Carbine with MP-40 stock and shortened barrel during a bank robbery.
Picture Taken: Robbery took place at 9:40 A.M. April 15, 1974 they were in the bank for 4min.
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee

The Symbionese Liberation Army (S.L.A.) shot to media fame when on February 4, 1974, when they kidnapped 19-year-old, Patricia Campbell Hearst, the heiress and granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. The media coverage again peaked when pictures of her robbing a bank were released. She had gone from being the victim to what appeared to be a willing and active participant in her captor’s terrorist group.

Symbionese Liberation Army


Patty Hearst Propaganda Poster

The Symbionese Liberation Army was an American terrorist group born out of a number of radical prison advocacy groups. The organization was created after the escape of Donald DeFreeze one of the founding members and leader of the SLA. While hiding out, DeFreeze and other SLA members developed the group’s imagery of the seven-headed cobra which they borrowed from naga, ancient Sri Lankan stone carvings depicting a seven-headed Cobra. Naga were placed around water sources as protectors or guardians of clean water.

DeFreeze explained the term “Symbionese” in the SLA manifesto, Symbionese Liberation Army Declaration of Revolutionary War & the Symbionese Program: “The name ‘symbionese’ is taken from the word symbiosis and we define its meaning as a body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony and partnership in the best interest of all within the body.”
The SLA participated in a number of acts of terrorism before assassinating superintendent of schools Dr. Marcus Foster. As a result of the murder, two members of the SLA, Joseph Remiro, and Russell Little were arrested. In an effort to free their two comrades the SLA hatched a plan to kidnap an important figure so that they make a prisoner switch. They chose publishing heiress Patricia Hearst who they hoped would increase the news coverage of their group and its goals.

The Capture of Patty Hearst

19-year-old Patty Hearst was seized on February 4, 1974, from her Berkeley, California residence that she shared with her fiancé and former teacher, Steven Weed. She was taken to a house in Daly City, California where she was kept in a closet, which was 24 in. wide and 66 in. long, for 4½ weeks. While held in the closet Hearst claims to have been sexually and physically assaulted and had her life threatened unless she cooperated. She was moved again to a third-floor studio apartment in a black neighborhood in northern San Francisco, #6-1827 Golden Gate Ave, where she was kept for another 4 weeks in a closet, 19 in. wide and 60 in. long. For 57 days she was held, “Blindfolded, gagged, tied up,” in small closets during which she was heavily indoctrinated with SLA political literature. This period of confinement and abuse at the hands of the SLA would be used as evidence of her brainwashing. Later doctors would claim that she suffered from Stockholm syndrome, where hostages in a survival response sympathize with the aims of their captors.

Ransom Attempt


Hearst in hibernia bank yelling

Hearst Yelling, 'I'm Tania. Up against the wall, motherfuckers.'


After her capture talks for a prisoner swap broke down and instead the SLA demanded that the Hearst family distribute millions of dollars of free food to needy families and to publish their political writings. The demands were met by the Hearst family but Patty was not released, when the SLA said more food had to be given away Randolph Hearst, Patty’s father, demanded that in exchange for the food his daughter was to be released. After Randolph Hearst’s condition was given, the talks stopped.

Patty Hearst becomes Tania

The weeks past with the only news that Patty was alive being tapes or “communiqués” as the SLA called them. On the recorded messages Patty seemed to be drifting towards the SLA agenda and eventually, she announced that she had joined the cause and released a picture of her holding a gun in front of the SLA cobra (shown right). One of these taped announcements also told how she had changed her name to “Tania”, after the famous German communist revolutionary associated with Che Guevara. It was assumed that she was being forced to say these things until the FBI released security footage of “Tania” robbing a bank.

Hibernia Bank Robbery


Bank Heist of the Hearst-hibernia

Hearst leaving the bank with DeFreeze to the left


At 9:40 A.M. on April 15, 1974, four white women and a black man burst into the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco yelling, “It’s a hold-up! Down on the floor! On your faces, you motherfuckers!”. The group was led by Donald DeFreeze and accompanying him were SLA members Patricia Soltysik, Camilla Hall, Nancy Ling Perry and Patty Hearst. In four minutes they managed to rob the bank of $10,000, wound two bystanders and make a clean getaway in a waiting car. Patty recounted her memory of the robbery on Larry King:

“I said my name and — because I was supposed to say my name and make a speech, but it’s all pretty unclear, And then, Donald DeFreeze shot someone, and then everything went blank. … My next memory is sitting in the car leaving (the bank).

“[After the robbery] I sensed that I had, in fact, crossed over some sharp line of demarcation. … For me, suddenly it became plain: There was no turning back.”

When the attorney general saw the footage he determined that Hearst had not been forced but was a willing participant in the robbery. He issued a warrant for her arrest as a “material witness”
This later changed when another SLA “communiqués” was released where Patty claimed that at no time was a gun pointed at her, that her family were the enemy (the “pig Hearsts”), her fiancé, Steven Weed, was “an ageist, sexist pig.” and that the robbery was an “expropriation”: “Greetings to the people, this is Tania … the difference between a criminal act and a revolutionary act is what the money is used for.” It was on this tape that she declared the idea of her being brainwashed was ridiculous. After the released tape her status was changed to reflect that she admitted full participation in the crime.

Shootout

from like the day I was taken … I started changing my views about things
-Patty Hearst

After the Bank robbery, DeFreeze decided to move the group to LA so as to recruit more members. Emily and William Harris were shopping with Hearst when a security guard moved to arrest the two for shoplifting. Hearst, who was waiting outside, started firing at the outside of the store. FBI agent Charles Bates remembers that “(Hearst) pointed an M-1 carbine and fired the whole clip, … And then she took another rifle and shot some more. As I recall, there’s about 30 shots, and there were people walking along the sidewalk. … Thank God she missed them.”
The three were able to escape and ditched the van and commandeered a series of vehicles the last of which had a driver, teenager Dan Russell. Dan recalls his ordeal and that while he was alone asked Hearst, “When did you decide to go with, join their army deal?” he remembers she shrugged and replied, “I just started listening and learning from like the day I was taken away, and I started changing my views about things. It was a real process, the way I see it.” In their hurry to get away the trio forgot to clean out the van before they ditched it. When police found the van a parking ticket led to the SLA safe house.

When the other members of the SLA saw the news coverage of the incident they fled the safe house but with nowhere to go took over a house that just happened to have its lights on. Police were called and hundreds of police and swat officers descended on the house. By morning the house was surrounded and police broadcast for the people inside to come out. Some of the residents were allowed by the SLA to come out, but the SLA stayed inside. Tear gas was lobbed which sparked a two-hour shootout were over 5,371 rounds were fired at the house.
Either the tear gas or one of the thousands of bullets ignited the house and SLA members Angela Atwood, Donald DeFreeze, Camilla Hall, Nancy Ling Perry, Patricia Soltysik, and William Wolfe were killed. William Harris, Emily Harris, and Patty Hearst watched the shootout live on TV from a motel room. As part of her brainwashing, she was told that the police were hunting for her and wanted her dead. At her trial, she would point at the shootout as proof that she couldn’t turn herself in as she thought the police would kill her.

On the run and Trial


Patty Hearst Mug Shot

Patty Hearst Mug Shot


The three remaining members William Harris, Emily Harris, and Patty Hearst moved back to the San Fransisco area where they recruited more members and robbed two more banks and tried to bomb some LAPD cars. To avoid arrest Hearst and the others move around the country but in September 1975 the law finally catches up to her and she is caught and booked on bank robbery charges. While being processed she is shown smiling with the clinched handcuffed fist of a revolutionary and was quoted as saying “urban guerrilla.” when asked for her occupation.
This defiant attitude would soon change to that of the brainwashed victim during her trial. The prosecutor was able to show that Hearst had plenty of chances to get away and got the Harris couple to testify that, “she had freedom from the day she ceased to be a prisoner of war. She rode buses, went shopping, went to movies.” The prosecutor even recounted how Patty while climbing a cliff “rangers” who assumed she was in trouble came to her aid. Bill Harris said, “She could have said anything, like, ‘I’m Patty Hearst, get me out of here.’ But she didn’t.” The jury was convinced and on March 1976 Patty Hearst was convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to seven years in prison. During the trial, she took the Fifth Amendment 42 times.
Her sentence was later commuted on February 1979 by President Jimmy Carter by granting her executive clemency and in January 2001 President Clinton pardoned her. After she was released she married her former bodyguard Bernard Shaw who she has had two daughters with. She went on to find some success in acting and producing.

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Oklahoma City Bombing

Behind the camera: Lester LaRue and Charles Porter took almost the same picture
Where: Outside the wreckage of the bombed out Alfred P. Murrah Federal government Building, Oklahoma, USA
Photo Summary: Oklahoma City fire Capt. Chris Fields holding Baylee Almon
Picture Taken: April 19, 1995

At 9:02, on April 19, 1995, Gulf War vet, Timothy McVeigh detonated 4,800 lbs of fertilizer and fuel oil. The resulting blast destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal government Building and killed 168 people. The bombing, the largest act of domestic terrorism, in America, shattered pre-911 America’s innocence.
As the fires raged rescue services and bystanders rushed to pull victims out of the twisted wreckage. Sifting through the rubble police officer, Sgt. John Avera found a small half-buried body. Shouting. “I have a critical infant! I have a critical infant!” he thrust the 1-year-old Baylee Almon into the arms of nearby firefighter Oklahoma City fire Capt. Chris Fields. As Chris checked Baylee for signs of life two amateur photographers both raised their cameras. Lester LaRue and Charles Porter standing just three feet apart, yet unaware of each other, snapped the image that came to symbolize the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing.


The photographers

Porter


Charles Porter a 25-year-old credit specialist knew he had something less than 3 hours later when the clerk at the Wal-Mart photo counter stopped at one picture and began to cry. A friend told him to take the pictures to the media, and looking in the phone book he found the Associated Press office in Oklahoma City. Wendel Hudson, who was the AP photo editor in Oklahoma City right away saw the potential of the shot and sent it out on the AP wire. Porter returned home thinking that his photo might end up in the local paper until he received a long-distance call:

I go home about 1300. About 1320 I get this phone call from this lady and she says: “Hi, I am so-and-so from the London Times and I want to know if you are Charles Porter.”
I said: “Yes I am, but how do you know who I am?”
She said: “Well I just received your image over the AP wire…”
And she proceeded to explain to me what the Associated Press wire was.
I said that I didn’t know how to respond and she said, “Well sir, can I ask you one question?” And this is where it hit home: “Could I get your reaction and response to what your feelings are going to be, knowing that your image is going to be over every newspaper and every magazine in the entire world tomorrow?”
I was silent and speechless, and chills go over me just to think about the magnitude and the enormity of where that picture went and the impact that picture had at that time.
It was beyond my scope of comprehension and understanding, way beyond.

Lester LaRue

The second shooter, Lester LaRue, a safety coordinator employed by Oklahoma Natural Gas Company rushed to the scene of the explosion thinking that the blast was a gas leak. When he could drive no further he grabbed the company camera he kept in the car and started taking pictures. Later, he realized he too had something special when while developing his film the Moto-Photo clerk asked to make copies to show some people. The next day, the clerk called and said Newsweek wanted to see his negatives. The Magazine paid Lester $14,000 for the picture and it appeared on their May 1, 1995, cover. When the magazine hit the stands he became an instant celebrity and people started calling to make deals. Lester was both proud and ashamed of his claim to fame. He would sign magazines on the bottom right corner while blocking the image with his left. He was uncomfortable with the offers of money for photo rights. He worried the picture might be upsetting the baby’s mother. But a couple of weeks after the bombing, he saw Aren Almon, the baby’s mother, on the evening news saying she was proud her daughter had come to symbolize the innocence of the victims. That was enough for Lester, permission granted. Deals were made, money handed over: statues, posters, coins. His wife suggested T-shirts, with some of the profit going toward a downtown statue of the image. The shirts were only in stores a few days when he saw Aren Almon holding one of his shirts on TV livid that Lester was making money, off the image of her dead child.

Things turn bad


Company executives at Lester’s work started to get worried. They thought the controversy was bad for public relations. Since Lester took the picture with a company camera and on company time they told him to give up the picture and any money earned, he refused. After months of neither Lester nor management budging, at 10 a.m. on September 6 his manager dropped an ultimatum on his desk. Sign over the money earned and any picture rights to the company or pack up your stuff and leave. Lester left. As he drove home in a co-worker’s car he couldn’t believe it. He had been a faithful company man for 32 years, didn’t that mean anything?

The Mother

Aren isn’t the only one who lost a child in bombing

–Angry mother

Aren Almon, Baylee’s mother had avoided seeing her dead child the day of the explosion by getting her father to identify the body. The next day the shattered Aren couldn’t avoid the sight as she instantly recognized Baylee’s lifeless body on the front page of the Daily Oklahoman. Hours later the media tracked her down at her grandmother’s house. McVeigh’s bomb not only ended her child’s life but her own apartment only a block from the explosion was windowless and filled with debris and shattered glass.
She felt alone, crushed by the loss of her child. Looking at the paper again she sought comfort in the same arms that held Baylee, Chris Fields. Reporters arranged a meeting; she only got in a few words before breaking down, perfect footage for the evening news. She came to rely on Chris calling him 2, 3 times a week. She called him so much that tabloids started to imply that their relationship had developed into something else. Chris and Aren’s fears were confirmed when photographers started to ask them to kiss on camera and request shots of Chris’s wife standing alone.
Aren gladly granted some interviews and even gave her OK for some uses of the photograph. But now the picture of Baylee in Chris’s arms was coming to symbolize the tragedy, and both she and other victims’ families were starting to resent it. Other mother’s started to speak, out of grief and jealousy, that Aren was getting all the attention. On TV one woman said, “Aren isn’t the only one who lost a child in the bombing. Why should Aren get all the publicity – and most of the donations?” At a gathering of victims’ relatives, the mother of another dead child turned to Aren and said, “We don’t have to write as many thank-you notes as you do.” In the darkest moments as the world seemed to turn on Aren she knew she could always depend on Chris.

The Firefighter

Police officer, Sgt. John Avera thrusting the Baylee Almon into the arms of Chris Fields


Chris Fields knew he had to be careful with his newfound fame as he knew of firemen who took it too far. One in Texas had his 15min when he saved a baby trapped in a Texas well but when the publicity faded he couldn’t take it and committed suicide. Even days after the picture was flashed around the world some of the men at his station started to grumble, “I did more rescues than he did,”. He could understand their attitude because of one picture it was Chris, not them, who got to have breakfast with Tom Brokaw and Barbara Walters and get free trips to New York and Los Angeles for TV interviews.
Chris by all accounts didn’t let the attention go to his head; he didn’t even consider himself a hero. How could he when everyone he tried to save that day was dead or died later of their injuries. The one thing he could do was being there for the Aren. He thought Aren would find it was important that as he was the last one to hold Baylee. He felt it was his duty to comfort and protect her.
When resentful bombing victims vilified her on the TV news, he defended her. When she needed help to stop the exploitation of Baylee’s photo, he gave her names of lawyers. As time went on he felt more of a friend to Aren rather than Aren being just another one of his duties as a fireman.
On March 29, 2017, it was reported that Chris Fields retired after 31 years, 7 months and 16 days at the Oklahoma City Fire Department. The veteran firefighter said that after the bombing, Fields came to realize “PTSD is a real thing,” The smell of wet concrete triggers painful memories for him because it rained on the day of the blast. It took years of counselling for PTSD for Fields to recover and he wants his example to get other first responders and their bosses to pay attention to mental health. “Twenty or 30 years ago, you just didn’t show emotion, you went on about your day… we’ve come so far since then,” he said.

Moving On

The mother of the baby in the firefighter’s arms
-The address of some of the letters to Aren

A memorial now sits on the grounds where the Murrah building stood. 168 empty chairs recall those who died. Amongst the 168 chairs, smaller chairs commemorate the 19 children killed, 15 in the same day-care center. The chairs are lined in nine rows, symbolizing the 9 floors of the building.

Ten years after the bombing Chris Fields has gone from Capt. to Major and is the acting battalion chief with the fire department. The memories don’t bother him but he dreads having to go through it again.
Aren is now married with two kids, Bella and Broox, both of who know about their famous half-sister. After Baylee’s limb body appeared on TVs across the world, letters started to flow in from everywhere. Many only had “the mother of the baby in the firefighter’s arms” as the address. There was poetry, letters, cards but most had one thing in common, money. Aren used the donations to get her life in order to buy a house and a car but some of the very first donations she used to set up a group called Protecting People First Foundation (PPFF). Since the beginning PPFF’s mission has stayed the same, to raise awareness about the deadly effects of flying glass caused by a terrorist attack or natural disaster. After the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, workers thanked her because the protective glass helped save lives.

On April 18, 2005, the family celebrated what would have been Baylee’s 11th birthday. The cake and party favors are for her kids. They still have the party every year and the kids know the next day they’ll go to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and lay a wreath on the little chair that bears her name.
Oklahoma Natural Gas didn’t stop with firing Lester and on October 5, 1995, sued to claim copyright ownership of the photos. Oklahoma Natural Gas won. The court’s denied Lester’s appeals and Lester was forced to give up copyright ownership and pay statutory damages in the sum of $34,623.50.
Charles Porter’s picture went onto win the 1996 Pulitzer Prize. After the bombing Charles quit his job, moving to a collection agency but not happy there, he left that too. He worked odd jobs, and sometimes he got work as a wedding photographer. Brides had no idea their discount photographer was a Pulitzer Prize winner. Eventually, he went back to school and found his destiny – a degree in physical therapy. The Pulitzer he received for his picture is somewhere in his attic in a box. “My life,” Porter says, “is not defined by that one picture.”

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The Second Plane

Behind the camera: Lyle Owerko
Where: Close to the WTC complex, New York City, America
Photo Summary: Seconds after United Airlines Flight 175 smashed into the South WTC Tower (2 WTC) at 9:03 AM.
Picture Taken: Minutes after 9:00 AM September 11, 2001

On September 11, 2001, Lyle Owerko was resting after a gruelling trip back from Africa. He was just unpacking his gear when he heard a huge explosion. Rushing from his apartment he looked up to see the North Tower of the WTC on fire. Minutes later another plane screamed overhead and crashed into the South WTC Tower. Owerko remembers that “when that second plane hit, I knew that the world changed. You could just feel it. I just knew that the camera I was holding in my hand contained lightning in a bottle.”

Taking the picture

After hearing the explosion he ran out of his Tribeca neighbourhood apartment chasing what he remembers as “the worst sound I’ve ever heard in my life.” Since he still hadn’t unpacked much, from his assignment in Africa, he had the cameras and lenses he was using from his trip. It was this 400-millimetre telephoto lens that he didn’t normally carry with him that allowed him to capture such powerful pictures. He spent some time in NYC after the attacks taking pictures which he then published together in a limited run book, of 2000 copies, called: And no birds sang

Lyle Owerko


In 2012 Wired.com did a series of photos of photographers and their iconic pictures


Born in and raised in Calgary, Canada, Owerko studied at the Pratt Institute and graduated from the Communication Arts program. Since then he has taken on many eclectic jobs from directing Robert Redford in a series of Sundance Channel commercials, to working for MTV and of course taking the TIME cover of the second plane hitting the WTC. That critically acclaimed image was later nominated as one of the 40 most important magazine covers in the last 40 years.
Since taking the now iconic image Owerko has spent years in Africa documenting Kenya’s Samburu warriors. In an interview, he contrasted his work by saying:

9/11 shattered my innocence and still does to this day. I have a hard time with those images, as my main goal as a creative has always been to dignify the human condition. On the other hand, Africa offers a way for me to console and reconcile my proximity to the cycle of life and death by using the camera to engage suffering and to raise the voices of the tiny and overlooked.

One of his latest projects is book he put together called The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground
which Spike Lee wrote a forward for.

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Raising the Flag at the WTC

Behind the camera: Thomas E. Franklin of The Bergen Record
Where: Thomas E. Franklin said he was standing under a pedestrian walkway across the West Side Highway that connected the center to the World Financial Center, located at the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site. Franklin said the firefighters were about 150 yards (137 meters) away from him and the debris was 100 yards (91 meters) beyond that. They were about 20 feet (6 meters) off the ground on top of WTC wreckage.
Photo Summary: The firefighters pictured were Brooklyn-based firefighters George Johnson (36) of Rockaway Beach and Dan McWilliams of Long Island (both from Ladder 157), and Billy Eisengrein of Staten Island (Rescue 2).
Picture Taken: Around 5:00 PM Sept 11, 2001

This picture of three Firefighter raising the American flag at the site of the WTC attacks is one of the most famous images from 911. Shot by Thomas E. Franklin, of The Bergen Record, the photo first appeared on Sept 12, 2001, under the title, Ground Zero Spirit. The paper also put it on the Associated Press wire and it appeared on the covers of several newspapers around the world. Due to its subject, raising the flag during important American historical events, this photo has often been compared to the famous Flag on Iwo Jima photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal during World War II. The photo which was distributed worldwide was a finalist in 2002 for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography.

Getting to Ground Zero

Thomas E. Franklin started his day like any other arriving at The Bergen Record, at 8 a.m. to start his day. When news that a plane had hit the WTC spread through the office, Franklin headed down to the riverfront across from New York. When he arrived he started taking pictures of ferries carrying the wounded from the city and a triage area being set up on the shore. It wasn’t just another story for Franklin as his brother worked close to the WTC and while taking pictures he, “scanning the faces in Jersey City, hoping that I would see my brother.” It wasn’t until later in the day that he was able to contact his brother and make sure he was OK.
Around noon, the police started to restrict access to the city, but Franklin was able to tag along with another photographer, John Wheeler, who had convinced police to them take a tugboat to New York. While wandering around taking pictures of the carnage, he met up with James Nachtwey, a Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist. Around 5 p.m. the two decided to take a break and while eating Franklin noticed three firefighters with a flag. Thomas Franklin recalls what happened next,

I would I say was 150 yards away when I saw the firefighters raising the flag. They were standing on a structure about 20 feet above the ground. This was a long lens picture: there was about 100 yards between the foreground and background, and the long lens would capture the enormity of the rubble behind them … I made the picture standing underneath what may have been one of the elevated walkways, possibly the one that had connected the World Trade Plaza and the World Financial Center. As soon as I shot it, I realized the similarity to the famous image of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

The photograph captured the Brooklyn-based firefighters George Johnson of Rockaway Beach and Dan McWilliams of Long Island (both from Ladder 157), and Billy Eisengrein of Staten Island (Rescue 2) running up the flag on an existing flag pole located on West St. The firefighters had been digging through the rubble around WTC 7 when they where pulled out as the building was about to collapse. While evacuating McWilliams saw a yacht in the harbor, Star of America, running an American flag and an empty flag pole sticking out of the wreckage on West St. He grabbed the flag from the yacht and together with Johnson walked toward the flagpole. The third firefighter, Eisengrein, saw what they were doing and offered to lend a hand. As they scrambled up the debris Franklin aimed his long lens in their direction, catching what would soon be an Iconic Image.
[bigquote quote=”911 still hovers over us” author=”Thomas Franklin”]

Where are they now

All of the firemen in the picture refused to do TV spots or interview requests and still work at their respective ladders. The photographer, Thomas Franklin, still works at his Jersey newspaper and told USA Today, “A lot of people involved with 9/11 really haven’t moved on,” Franklin says. “I would have thought we would have. But it still hovers over us.”

The Flag

The flag came from the 130-ft. (40 m) the yacht named Star of America, owned by Shirley Dreifus of the Majestic Star, which was docked in the yacht basin in the Hudson River at the World Financial Center. Researchers were able to determine that the flag was originally manufactured by Eder Flag Manufacturing located in Oakcreek, Wisconsin. After the flag was raised by the firemen, it flew on the pole for about 10 days before the Fire Department took it down on the request at the request of the Navy. They wanted it to fly on the American aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), which was on its way to Afghanistan to support the upcoming fight against the Taliban. Before it left to join the Navy it appeared at a service on Sept. 23, at Yankee Stadium, where it was signed by Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the fire and police commissioners. Sometime before this signing, the flag was switched with a bigger flag. The yacht’s flag measured four feet by six feet, the impostor flag measured five feet by eight feet. The difference was first noticed by one of the firefighters when during a raising ceremony, in April 2002, after its return from the Navy he and the others confirmed that the flag was too big. The original owner, Shirley Dreifus, also noticed that the flag had been replaced and actually sued the city in hopes that it would be forced to return the flag. An investigation was launched which failed to find the flag and the lawsuit was dropped. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when asked about the disappearance, stated that the city didn’t have it, “I don’t know where Osama bin Laden is, either.” As of Dec 2006 the flag has yet to be found Shirley Dreifus has even started a Web site (www.findthe911flag.com) to get the flag back.

Stamp

The “Heroes 2001” stamp, USA Scott #B2, was unveiled on March 11, 2002, by President George W. Bush, in a ceremony attended by Franklin, Johnson, Eisengrein, and McWilliams. These stamps were semipostals: they had a purchase price (45¢) higher than their postage value (34¢), with the balance given to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s relief efforts. A special exception was thus made to the normal requirement by the United States Postal Service that subjects of stamps be deceased.
Statue

The photograph taken of the same scene, but different angle, by Ricky Flores


In December 2001 The New York Fire Department unveiled plans for a statue based on the photograph to be placed at the Brooklyn headquarters. Instead of the original three firefighters, the statue was to include African American, White American, and Hispanic firefighters. However, it was cancelled in an outcry about rewriting history.

From a different Angle


Franklin wasn’t the only photographer to snap the shot of the three firemen. Ricky Flores also took a picture that ran on the front page of his employer, The Journal News (Journal News serves the Lower Hudson Valley i.e. New York’s Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties). His picture is often confused with Franklin’s even though they are taken from two totally different angles. Ricky somehow was able to get into the second story of a building on Canal St. where he snapped his shot through a window that had its glass shattered out.

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Masked Man at the Munich Massacre

Behind the camera: Kurt Strumpf
Where: Israeli apartment in the Munich Olympic village
Photo Summary: The terrorist was never identified and could have been any of 8 hostage takers: Luttif Afif (Issa), the leader, his deputy Yusuf Nazzal (Tony), and junior members Afif Ahmed Hamid (Paolo), Khalid Jawad (Salah), Ahmed Chic Thaa (Abu Halla), Mohammed Safady (Badran), Adnan Al-Gashey (Denawi), and his cousin Jamal Al-Gashey (Samir).
Picture Taken: September 5, 1972

The Munich Olympics looked to be one of the greatest Olympics in games history. Nicknamed the “Happy Olympics” the events that took place in the second of week of events would change all that and forever link the Munich Olympics with the slaughter of 11 team embers of the Israeli team. Of all the pictures taken by media covering the event one taken by Kurt Strumpf of one of the masked terrorists overlooking the balcony of the Israeli team, quarters has stood the test of time. The picture is now synonymous with what is now known as the Munich Massacre.

Black September

The Black September Organization (BSO) was a Palestinian militant group, founded in 1970. The group took their name from the conflict known as Black September when King Hussein of Jordan attacked Palestinian militant groups, killing thousands, after they attempted to take over Jordan. The group was originally formed to take revenge against the King and Jordan’s government but expanded into anti-Israeli attacks. Its members came from various countries with Palestinian refugee camps, and they carried out a number of terrorist activities, including their most infamous attack the, Munich Massacre.

Munich Massacre

The 1972 Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were held in Munich, West Germany, from 26 August to 11 September 1972. It was the second time Germany had held the Olympics–the first being during the Hitler’s reign in 1936–and the Germans hoped to erase their Nazi past with a happy and free Olympics. The West German Olympic Organizing Committee tried to do this by creating an open and friendly atmosphere. Security was deliberately lax, and athletes and support staff came and went with only cursory checks.
The Black September Organization (BSO) had planned the attack extensively and even had members working in the village. Taking advantage of the lax security, the eight terrorists jumped a fence dressed as athletes and, despite a struggle while entering the Israeli compound, where two Israeli athletes were killed, managed to hold nine Israeli athletes hostage in their Olympic village apartment. After a series of failed negotiations, the terrorists and their hostages were taken to the military airport of Faurstenfeldbruck. There the West German government attempted to rescue them, but they bungled the poorly planned raid, and all the hostages were killed, along with five of the terrorists. The three survivors were arrested but later released in exchange for a German Lufthansa passenger jet that was hijacked in October of that year.
The massacre led Germany to realize the inadequacy of its approach to combat terror and to create the elite counter-terrorist unit GSG 9 to address future incidents. It also led Israel to launch an aggressive counter-terrorism campaign known as Operation Wrath of God, which Steven Spielberg based his movie, Munich
.

Taking the picture

It is often reported that Kurt Strumpf took the picture while covering the event from the Puerto Rican team quarters inside the apartment but Strumpf took the picture from outside the village. It was AP writers Karol Stonger and Bill Ritz who were able to get into the Puerto Rican team apartment.

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