FauxPhotography: Did the windshield on the Reuters van magically heal itself? (Update: Shrapnel?) (Update: Windshield debunked)

posted at 6:24 pm on August 29, 2006 by Allahpundit

Powerline has a theory. They’re wrong.


The crack is obscured in PL’s photo by the light reflecting off the glass.

Update: Click on the PL link and look at the Getty photo; you can see that the missile came through the roof over the passenger side in the front. SeeDubya and I originally thought it had come in through the back, but no. The point is, yes, that is the front windshield you’re looking at in the photo I posted.

Update: Ace IMs to say he thinks SeeDub and I are wrong and that that’s the back windshield because it appears to be angled straight down. You be the judge. I think I’m bowing out of the great Reuters van controversy.

Update: I’ll make this my last contribution to the debate. Pablo, one of our regular commenters, dug this up at the Bangkok Post and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. It certainly contradicts my intel analyst’s theory that it was a rocket that hit the vehicle — and that the vehicle was deliberately targeted:

Five Palestinians including a Reuters Television cameraman and another photographer for Dubai Television were wounded before dawn Sunday by rocket fire from Israeli aircraft, witnesses and medics said.

Shrapnel from two missiles struck two cars including a Reuters’ vehicle.

Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses said that several Israeli army tanks and armoured vehicles rolled into eastern Gaza City, backed by Israeli helicopters and reconnaissance drones.

The eyewitnesses said that the two camera operators were in a Reuters jeep heading to the area to cover the Israeli Army incursion into eastern Gaza City. They said that an Israeli helicopter fired two missiles at people gathering in the Sheja’eya neighbourhood in eastern Gaza City as the Reuters’ car drove past nearby.

Shrapnel hit the car, wounding Faddel Shana’a of Reuters and Sabah Hemeida, who works for Dubai Television.

Update: Yeah, I think SeeDub and I are right. It’s the front windshield. Look how far back the rack on top of the van is in my photo. Compare that to the position of the rack on top of the van in the second photo posted by PL.

Update: Why fauxtography is a big story, Exhibit A.

Update: Why fauxtography is a big story, Exhibit B.

Update: Charles Johnson of LGF e-mails to point out this photo at Getty. Conclusive proof that the windshield was cracked.

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Why not cut to the chase? Ask someone, anyone in the region to scratch the paint off some piece of metal, or an old car part, and let it hang in the vicious Lebanese/Palestine sun for a day, and we’ll see how that dreadful climate magically transforms it from fresh-cut to rusty.

Unless, of course, another military expert steps in to explain that the IAF/UAF has that new weapon system thingie that carries an additional cask with super-corrosive liquids.

Niko on August 29, 2006 at 6:37 PM

Is this not news worthy of debate and discussion? Israel has already admitted to and expressed regrets for the Reuters truck strike. What has your readership to say about their using clusterbombs illegally, as they have done before?

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 6:40 PM

It’s the front window, unless the back has the same exact layout of antenna, “TV P R E S S” marking, and the little black dot thing just under and to the left of the first S in ‘Press’.

Is it possible that the inner lamination of the bullet proof glass shattered, and so the high-incidence Powerline photo shows no apparent damage, whereas the glare-free picture above shows the break?

a4g on August 29, 2006 at 6:46 PM


From the article you link:

The agreements between Israel and the United States regarding the use of the weapons are secret. It is not illegal under international law to use such weapons against enemy combatants.

mikeyboss on August 29, 2006 at 7:02 PM

AP, on the footage you first posted of this, you can see the back side has a little door with a little window. So I’m pretty sure we’re right.

see-dubya on August 29, 2006 at 7:08 PM

Yeah, look at the rack on top of the van in my photo and PL’s. No doubt about it.

Allahpundit on August 29, 2006 at 7:09 PM

One of the other things that threw me off is that the lettering is backwards from the direction you would expect it go–it’s right side up if you look at it from the front instead of from the back. And slanted, slightly off kilter…almost as if it were done deliberately as a hastily stenciled mock-up for a psyop…

kidding. kidding.

see-dubya on August 29, 2006 at 7:15 PM

Yes, that is the front windshield, and yes it is cracked. The interior shot I’ve linked to death shows it as well, and I agree with the trajectory you describe. I don’t agree that it was a missile that went through the roof because the interior would have been severly damaged. But the passenger seat, aside from being dirty, is nearly pristine.

Drifter, up your meds, buddy.

Pablo on August 29, 2006 at 7:24 PM

THeDRiFTeR: Israel was guilty of not using hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs, carpet bombing both Gaza and Southern Lebanon! That is their only crime!

Umnumzana on August 29, 2006 at 8:19 PM


Here’s an experiment for you. Take the top off an ordinary steel soup can. Use some sandpaper to sand the steel’s protective coating off the lid. Place it in a medium-high humidity warm environment overnight. See what happens.

If you do a google search on “flash rust” you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s a common issue in the auto body world – call your local car body shop and ask them.

NPP on August 29, 2006 at 8:33 PM

Actually, that’s what I did, and they confirmed that no car would expose such rust that fast in no known climate of this planet. And a car chassis is not like “an ordinary steel soup can”.

No offence, but since Allah already posted the story about how the Reuters car was merely hit by shrapnel and not by ordnance I don’t see how your theory holds any water.

Niko on August 29, 2006 at 8:51 PM

If it was shrapnel that hit the top of that van, it must have been about the size of a watermelon travelling at a very high velocity downward to deform the plate armor in that manner. It must have been travelling with a lot of little fragment friends to make all the smaller frag damage on the roof. If that’s the case, it would certainly rule out a 70mm rocket. It would take a much larger weapon. In my experience, I’ve never seen a “frag” from a weapon that big unless it was part of the weapon itself, like an entire guidance section. You’d be amazed at what parts of a missile are left after it explodes. The fragmentation casings that surround warheads are specifically designed to break into small pieces. They wouldn’t be big enough to make that hole.

Not sayin’ that’s not what happened, but I think my rocket theory is more probable based on the evidence.

NPP on August 29, 2006 at 9:22 PM

Yeah, its the front. if you zoom in on the bottom right of the photograph you can see the steering wheel.

JasonG on August 30, 2006 at 1:07 AM

I made a little update to compliment Zombie’s #782 report. Shoes and Fire Axes.

Egfrow on August 30, 2006 at 10:22 AM