Fauxtography PSA: Don’t be stupid (Update: More on 70mm rocket)

posted at 5:50 pm on August 29, 2006 by Allahpundit

Well said. Especially this part:

The fact that the sort of damage inflicted on the press van is similar to the damage inflicted on the Lebanese ambulances should not be taken as suggestive of the press-van hit being a fake. It should rather be taken as suggestive that the ambulance-hit stories are more likely to be true, and attempts to debunk them, while well-intentioned and inspired by good questions about the extent of damage inflicted, should be reexamined.

The MSM digs into a storyline or narrative and won’t give it up, no matter what conflicting evidence there might be. It’s human nature, and it’s not suprising bloggers do the same. But still, if bloggers are supposed to be honest brokers more self-aware of the human foibles and biases that infect MSM reportage, we really do need to be more on guard against this.

Yeah, we do. One of the more intelligent bloggers I know IM’d me last night, half-convinced that the Palestinians were tampering with the vehicle because one photo appeared to show the doors on the right side having moved to the left. They hadn’t. He’d simply been confused about where the hole in the roof was vis-a-vis the sides.

Skepticism towards Pallywood is always healthy, but as Ace said to me earlier on IM, “Some people seem determined to prove that Israel hasn’t killed a single person in all of history.” God only knows what this blogswarm would look like if the IAF hadn’t copped to the attack.

Anyway, sorry to lecture. Just don’t want to see our side head off into some variant of Trutherism. And after the great microphone-cord photoshop cover-up, it’s been on my mind.

Update: More from Ace:

I’ve thought there’s been way too many premature calls of “fake” for a while, and I’ve said so. But the Drudge-hyped “disappearing mic cord” shot has made me a much stronger skeptic than I had been (and I was on the skeptical side of the dextrosphere before).

The Drudge thing was just embarrassing for us MSM critics. I don’t know the genesis of that, but it seems to me to demonstrate the great peril of making quick judgments without the necessary expertise to back them up.

Indeed.

Update: Dan Riehl, who was the first blogger on the ambulance story, urges caution.

Update: The intel analyst who sent me that e-mail about 70mm rockets is now commenting in that thread. Scroll down and look for NPP. He stands by his assessment.

Rusty says it’s much too late to start trusting Palestinians in this context.

Update: Here’s my question for Russ and co. Have we reached the point now where anything short of total demolition of a vehicle is ipso facto proof of shenanigans? Corroborative testimony by several Palestinian bystanders is dismissed out of hand; an admission of responsibility by the IAF is explained away as “well, they hit something, but maybe not this.” What would it take to say “yeah, this happened how they say it did”? Or is that option simply no longer on the table when it comes to Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon (and Syria, Iran, etc.)?

Update: Could it have been shrapnel? See here.


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The IAF “coppes” to everything! Must be a guilt complex thing!

Regardless, since the MSM believes everything its spoon fed one MUST remain skeptical.

The difference is, bloggers admit when they’ve made a mistake, while the MSM just digs in deeper.

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on August 29, 2006 at 3:26 PM

Anyway, sorry to lecture. Just don’t want to see our side head off into some variant of Trutherism. And after the great microphone-cord photoshop cover-up, it’s been on my mind.

posted at 3:13 pm on August 29, 2006 by Allahpundit

I’ll bet that hurt.

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 3:59 PM

In the end, you have to take a close look at the source of the photo and see what is gained by their efforts – in the case of the microphone cord, well, there’s not much motivation for that kind of Photoshop work. Since it’s a ‘fluff’ piece, whether or not there was some alteration is irrelevant.

Other pieces, such as the Reuters vehicle, could paint a very negative image for the IDF.

Since a large portion of both Hezbollah and AQ strategy includes the manipulation of the press as one of their key tenets, I continue to examine their ‘information’ with a very careful eye.

RustMouse on August 29, 2006 at 4:28 PM

If bloggers want to remain as “honest” brokers it is important that on those occasions where information being presented as factual, when and if proven to be in question, that the parties involved admit it. Those denizens of the blogosphere who currently enjoy a good reputation can have it all disappear in a flash with a Dan Rather moment. While I admire folks who stick to their guns in matters of opinion but when it comes to factual matters, whether it is the answer to an Algebra problem or the substance of a news story, every effort must be made to ensure that you are correct to the best of your ability and when found to be lacking admit it, or else the blogosphere will be reduced to a question in some future edition of “Trivial Pursuit”.

LakeRuins on August 29, 2006 at 4:33 PM

Since a large portion of both Hezbollah and AQ strategy includes the manipulation of the press as one of their key tenets, I continue to examine their ‘information’ with a very careful eye.

RustMouse on August 29, 2006 at 4:28 PM

This kind of claptrap makes me laugh. Hezbollah twisting the truth and manipulating the press at the photographers/reporters level. The Israeli government, with the help of AIPAC manipulating the press at the editors level. Hmmm. Who has the upper hand, and whose sin is greater? I wonder. Anyway.

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 4:39 PM

Now that’s some good moral equivalence. Because it has to be “manipulation.” Being pro-Israel can’t possibly be a position one comes by honestly.

Dancing on the line again…

Allahpundit on August 29, 2006 at 4:41 PM

Being pro-Israel can’t possibly be a position one comes by honestly.

Dancing on the line again…

Allahpundit on August 29, 2006 at 4:41 PM

Sure, just so long as you don’t leave the echo chamber and weigh the facts. Alan Dershowitz indeed!

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 4:44 PM

The difference is in attitude.

I do not see anywhere near the amount of smug arrogance from you guys as I see from Mitchell, Keller, Risen, Licthblau or some of the other “professional journalists” in the MSM, including the broadcasters.

As the media is “celebrating” the anniversary of Katrina today, keep in mind how they lied (sometimes deliberately) or repeated rumor as gospel, and turned a national disaster into partisan political gain.

It took a retired reporter, Lou Dolinar, to put the so-called reporting of Katrina into perspective for me.

As he put it in his National Review Article of Oct 10, 2005:

What audiences across the country saw as a breakdown of relief efforts was in fact a breakdown of media relations. Instead of marveling at the courage and endurance of rescuers, television spread lurid rumors of near-parodic depravity: gang violence (with AK-47s!), murder (200 slain, stacked, and frozen!), rape (women, children, babies!), sniping at helicopters, and rampage at the Superdome. [my emphasis]

His follow up article that appeared in Real Clear Politics on May 26, 2006 is even more blunt. The media went out of its way to MISREPORT the truth.

Still, by focusing on the part of the glass that was half-empty, the national media imposed a near total blackout on the nerve center of what may have been the largest, most successful aerial search and rescue operation in history.

The REAL story of Katrina is much different from what Anderson Cooper (remember his emotional outburst), Ted Koppel, Brian Williams, Elizabeth Varges et. al., told us night after night.

Dolinar holds the smoking gun on the mainstream media’s so-called “reporting” of Katrina, especially the events at the Superdome:

I initially heard about the Dome headquarters from Maj. John T. Dressler, who serves with the National Guard Bureau in Washington D.C, an organization that coordinates efforts of State Guard units which serve under their respective governors. Dressler was present in the command tent there and pulled together after-action reports for the Guard as a whole from its fifty-plus individual state commands. His account was so far at variance with the picture the media portrayed that I suspected a hoax, as did my RCP editor. As it turns out, various Guard documents, personal memories, and sworn testimony support his story, which in Louisiana is no great secret. It’s just the rest of the country that’s been kept in the dark.

Everybody should read Dolinar’s articles, both the original and the follow up. If you retain any sense of trust in the veracity of the media afterwards, you shouldn’t be reading this blog; you should be lighting votive candles in your personal shrines to Saints Walter Conkrite and Dan Rather, and the Mother Katie Couric.

AP’s cautionary words about retaining perspective and proper skepticism when it comes to memes about fauxtography reflect the difference between the bloggers and the so-called “mainstream” media: The MSM doesn’t seem to have this ethos anymore — assuming that this generation of jouranlists ever did.

georgej on August 29, 2006 at 4:52 PM

Right. The same Alan Dershowitz whose post citing a genocidal quotation by Nasrallah down to the page of the Times it appeared on I pointed out to you on this very blog. Your reaction? “Oh, sure, Dershowitz says.”

“Weighing the facts” indeed.

Allahpundit on August 29, 2006 at 4:53 PM

The fact that the sort of damage inflicted on the press van is similar to the damage inflicted on the Lebanese ambulances should not be taken as suggestive of the press-van hit being a fake. It should rather be taken as suggestive that the ambulance-hit stories are more likely to be true

That is terrible reasoning, right along the lines of, “If three people say it, it must be true.” The fact is, if these hoaxes are successful in getting MSM play, they are going to be duplicated. The vast majority of people who see this garbage aired in the news do not read blogs and will never know better.

I think a lot of the photoshop stories have been STUPID, and the microphone cord thing was a total waste of a post, but at least it included hot women hahah.

The fact is, photoshopping is pervasive. There is a massive difference between benign photoshopping and anti-Israeli propaganda. Idenitifcation of photoshopping is one among many investigative tools bloggers can use to undermine and expose propaganda, but it is only a small part of the propagandist’s arsenal. The vast majority of propaganda out there that bloggers have an opportunity to expose is the same old low-tech staged photo ops and lies.

I also think the following is just a terrible statement and an ad hominem attack:

Ace said to me earlier on IM, “Some people seem determined to prove that Israel hasn’t killed a single person in all of history.”

This is the kind of argumentative rigor I’d expect from well… liberals. Obviously Israel kills people, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not. Trying to paint every person who takes the Israeli side regarding the obviously faked/staged photos is like trying to say everyone who thought the Rathergate memos were a fraud were people “determined to prove that Bush never made a single mistake in his whole life.”

For the record, the IAF copped to attacking a vehicle, that doesn’t mean that the IAF identified this specific vehicle as the one that was attacked.

kaltes on August 29, 2006 at 4:53 PM

That is terrible reasoning, right along the lines of, “If three people say it, it must be true.” The fact is, if these hoaxes are successful in getting MSM play, they are going to be duplicated.

It’s not “terrible” reasoning. If the ambulances look lightly damaged after a missile hit, it’s reasonable to be suspicious. If a van looks similarly lightly damaged after another missile hit, it could be a copycat hoax. Or it could be corroborative evidence that the IAF is using some sort of light munition. The fact that they’ve admitted to hitting the van surely weighs in favor of the latter instead of the former, no?

Allahpundit on August 29, 2006 at 4:56 PM

Here, here, perfect example. Gilad Shahit, (could be misspelled), an armed combatant is “kidnapped”, (some would say captured, but anyhow), and everyone is absolutely incensed at the audacity. American press is all over it. Headline news everywhere. Osama and Mustafa Muamar are abducted the day before, from their home. Two civilians kidnapped, in the truest sense of the word, by the IDF, and narry a word in the “liberal” MSM. In all probability this was the spark that ignited the Gaza and Lebanese fiasco.

Let’s look at the facts. An informed opinion, not a gut instinct, or religious reflex.

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 4:58 PM

Shalit, sorry.

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 5:02 PM

The fact that they’ve admitted to hitting the van surely weighs in favor of the latter instead of the former, no?

It would if the IAF identified THAT van as the one that they hit. I didn’t see them do that, I saw them saying that they did hit a vehicle that was suspicious and in a combat area, and that the IAF did not believe it was a press vehicle. I do not see how this amounts to an admission that the propaganda photo op is genuine.

It is just like that chemical weapons thing you posted about before. If Hezbollah/Hamas said on 3 seperate occasions that blackened corpses were found, and claimed this was due to Israeli chemical weapons, does this make it MORE likely than if Hezbollah/Hamas said this happened on 1 occasion? no. If you think the answer is yes, that is the kind of reasoning that leads people to treat rumor as fact because they hear the same rumor from so many people that they figure it must be true.

kaltes on August 29, 2006 at 5:06 PM

Right. “Civilians.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the two brothers were not members of the group, but local Hamas activists said the pair were sons of Ali Muamar, a prominent local Hamas leader, and known to be members of the group.

What this really comes down to is that you consider Hamas to be tantamount to the Palestinian “army.” You’re entitled to your opinion, but you and I will never, ever see eye to eye on the moral equivalence of that.

Allahpundit on August 29, 2006 at 5:10 PM

I notice in Ace’s post that he seems to think that there were earlier pictures of the van closer in time and space to when Israel fired on a vehicle. I was not aware of this and I think Ace may be confused. I have seen the same pictures of the vehicle and they have all been well seperated in time and place from the attack. I think Ace is basing his reasoning on two bad assumptions:

#1 that the IAF admitted to hitting this vehicle specifically

#2 alternatively that even if the IAF didnt, well there is no evidence to suggest otherwise so we should just take the palestinian’s word for it and assume this was the same vehicle, or as he puts it “it’s a bridge too far to speculate about such a possibility [that this is a different vehicle]”

Also, I think given Zombie’s post on the ambulance thing, it really is quite certain that the ambulance incident was a lie. If the ambulance incident was a lie, and the evidence is strong that it was, then it also makes it more likely that other similar incidents are lies. This is because hamas/hezbollah often share tactics and learn from one another, and if the ambulance story got good play in the media, then it would likely be copycatted. If the ambulance incident was shown to NOT be faked, then similarly it would make this later press vehicle story more believable.

kaltes on August 29, 2006 at 5:16 PM

The IAF is deliberately and repeatedly center-punching suspected terrorist vehicles with “light munitions” that don’t explode, but merely wound the occupants and let them bleed out?

To believe that, you would have to take a more benevolent view of the IDF than I do.

see-dubya on August 29, 2006 at 5:23 PM

Oh and for the record I think the whole photoshop thing that started the photoshop craze was more or less benign. Photoshopping in more smoke isn’t all that nefarious. The problem I had with the photoshopped flare picture wasn’t that the guy photoshopped in more flares, it was the blatant lie that the flares were actually missiles.

The problem with a lot of the staged photos is that they cumulatively exaggerate the level of damage Israel supposedly inflicts on bystanders and civilians. While Israel does kill bystanders accidentally, it takes pains to avoid doing so, and this kind of press coverage directly results in decisions like the one from your earlier post, where Israel had a chance to blow up the top Hamas leadership and instead decided to half-ass it with the half ton bomb.

kaltes on August 29, 2006 at 5:23 PM

Or it could be corroborative evidence that the IAF is using some sort of light munition.

That is a knowable thing, and we should seek that piece of information out, as opposed to assuming it to be true or not true. But that light munition? If it exists, it seems damned near useless. They’re not shooting to pass out boo boos.

The fact that they’ve admitted to hitting the van surely weighs in favor of the latter instead of the former, no?

They apologized for shooting Mohammed al-Dura. They apologized for the Gaza missile incident. They apologized for blasting the Qana ambulance. They didn’t do any of them. So, no, that is not probative. Their horrible policy is to apologize first and investigate later.

John Mark Karr says he did it. Doesn’t make it true.

Pablo on August 29, 2006 at 5:24 PM

Gaza beach missile incident, that is.

Pablo on August 29, 2006 at 5:26 PM

You’re entitled to your opinion, but you and I will never, ever see eye to eye on the moral equivalence of that.

Lets talk about the moral equivalence of camp 1391. Are you willing to defend that from a moral standpoint, or will you agree with me, as an american, that this is indefensible?

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 5:28 PM

John Mark Karr says he did it. Doesn’t make it true.

Pablo on August 29, 2006 at 5:24 PM

Because that’s a fair comparison. Wow!

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 5:30 PM

Let’s look at the facts.

It’s rather hard to do that when the MSM lets itself get deceived OR willfully does the deceiving. How does one know the facts?

Remember the “dead, raped babies in the Superdome” meme of a year ago? The MSM reported those “facts” to us nightly.

Ace writes:

Just because Hezbollah and Reuters have been caught lying does not mean that every report of an errant Israeli strike is a lie.

Well, DOH!

Nevertheless, when the MSM is caught lying time after time after time, not just about the IDF, but in covering our own national disasters, truth becomes the servant of agenda.

So how are WE to know the difference?

As a news consumer, I have a choice. Believe what they report on whatever the subject, or withhold my consent.

Given the irresponsibility of the media in perpetuating false news while purporting to cover everything from the Iraq War to Katrina to the Hezbollah-Israeli war, I chose to DISBELIEVE EVERYTHING the media says until PROVEN true.

So, for this reader, Ace’s point gets lost.

When you have no credibility (because you pissed it away with fake photos, etc.), then nothing you say can be accepted — and yes, until proven otherwise, I will assume that every reported IDF errant missile strike on a press van/ambulance, whatever, is false reporting or part of an agenda.

To be clear: I am perfectly capable of accepting the truth of collateral damage during combat. But first, it will have to be proven that collateral damage ACTUALLY OCCURED. And photos of a hole in a van or ambulance, with a caption that the IDF did it, are NO LONGER SUFFICIENT PROOF THAT THE EVENT OCCURED.

georgej on August 29, 2006 at 5:32 PM

The question of how much the MSM can be trusted or similarly accused of propaganda with photoshopping/staging photos is a weighty one, and I’m frankly glad the right side of the blogosphere is discussing it. It is what separates us from the other side.

It is easy to jump to conclusions and think that every photo/story from the MSM is propaganda, and therefore post away, accusing all photographers/journalists of wrongdoing.

It is also easy to view new possible examples with extreme skepticism and dismiss accusations unless a very high level of proof is obtained.

Seldom is an example such as the photoshopped smoke one that immediately provides pretty clear evidence of chicanery. But once a clear pattern is established, as I believe it has, I think it is only proper–and not unnatural–to begin questioning what the MSM does on a regular basis. This is not a conspiracy theory. If it was, then suspicion of liberal bias in the MSM would make everyone on the right a conspiracy theorist.

Anyway, journalism–which all bloggers engage in to some extent–dictates the examining of evidence and reporting of findings. This would include positing potential examples of photoshopping–and the “editorial” process consisting of other bloggers substantiating, dissenting, and on the very basic level, discussing such possibilities. Since most bloggers, even those on group blogs, do not have “editors” in the normal sense, posting or emailing suggestions becomes the only way of disseminating possible fakes.

Allah and Ace’s caution not to jump to conclusions is not an example of extreme skepticism alluded to above. Rather, it is one that takes into account the role blogs and bloggers play in fact checking. The Drudge example of the missing mic cord makes bloggers look like tabloid reporters. If there is suspicion, then certainly make it known to others you might see as experts, or who with bigger audiences like Hot Air, can submit the potential fake to a wide group of potential experts, as has happened in the IDF missile attack on the Reuters truck.

Debunking the debunkers should not be viewed as a “gotcha” moment. Before, however, submitting that any potential “fake” is, in fact, a fake, perhaps some group of bloggers–including those like Allah and others, could examine and get the potential story right before jumping to conclusions like the MSM did with Katrina stories last year.

We should not attack each other, but discuss, debate, and critically examine each example as they come. Sometimes a duck is a duck. Sometimes the eye is fooled, and the mind cynical. Let us not repeat the argument that even though a certain example is not a fake, that the criticism–MSM fauxtography–is true everywhere else. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Someone like Zombietime clearly provides a demonstrably sound way of conducting just such a process of examination. Now get back to MSM watching!

elpresidente on August 29, 2006 at 5:39 PM

Counterpoint from Rusty. Good stuff.

see-dubya on August 29, 2006 at 5:44 PM

So let me get this straight – the IDF acquired some new rocket-sciency rocket system with hitherto uncommon attributes, and they just happen to user their fresh and probably expensive uber-weapon on some invalid target, which just happens to deflect the rocket in precisely that way so it barely inflicts any damage to the outside of the van, however, it almost sneaks into the inside and severely wounds several people, all the while doing so in an assassin-like manner so as not to burst into shrapnels that could demolish the interior in, uhm, the way rockets do, or, heaven forbid, cause any fire that might lead to, you know, serious damage on the target, and subsequently the rocket evaporates in such small pieces (still causing no serious damage to the van) that no one at the scene could find any traces of it to hold into the world’s eyes, all of which happening while the vile Near East desert prepares for a torment of dry and anti-metal climate (it’s really one of those days …) just in time for the rust to appear before the cameramen’s lenses.

Please.

And let me get another thing straight. Reuters say they were hit by the IDF. People question the story. The New York Times publishes a photo of the Purrfect Angelz with an odd feature. People question the photo’s authenticity. Those are debunked. Reuters still say they were hit by the IDF. People question the story. So what exactly is the correlation between those two stories? More specifically, how does the scrutiny in either case affect the other? I don’t get it.

Niko on August 29, 2006 at 5:44 PM

THeDRiFTeR writes:

Lets talk about the moral equivalence of camp 1391. Are you willing to defend that from a moral standpoint, or will you agree with me, as an american, that this is indefensible?

I’ll do neither until it is proven that Camp 1391 exists as described in the article. The credibility of this article went to zero the instant I read the term “Israel’s Guantanamo” — tossed in, I am sure, to gratuitiously smearing America as well as Isreal.

Korans flushed down the toilets by guards, along with US troops being Nazi death camp guards, running Gulags and acting just like Pol Pot’s executioners for daring to dial down the air conditioning. Remember?

georgej on August 29, 2006 at 5:49 PM

I will assume that every reported IDF errant missile strike on a press van/ambulance, whatever, is false reporting or part of an agenda.

I will believe the press and ambulances got blown up when they actually look blown up, not compeltely intact with little holes torn in the roof.

kaltes on August 29, 2006 at 5:51 PM

It’s odd to me how so many Israeli errant missiles hit ambulances or press vehicles or buildings overflowing with women and children or baby milk factories.

I see AP’s point not to see every questionable picture as part of some grand conspiracy—we don’t want to sound like moonbats—but some of this is just ridiculous…like a missile strike right in the exact center of the Red Cross on the ambulance. Most of these are rightly being questioned in my opinion.

jdpaz on August 29, 2006 at 5:55 PM

I should point out to you sir (georgej) that I neither proud of or support maintaining Guantanamo as a prison. As far as 1391 is concerned, it exists, that you can believe. It was in fact an Israeli that exposed it existence.

THeDRiFTeR on August 29, 2006 at 5:59 PM

Corroborative testimony by several Palestinian bystanders is dismissed out of hand…

Ahem.

Gaza (dpa) – 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.

Palestinian medics in Shiffa Hospital in Gaza City reported that both were in moderate condition.

Three other Palestinian civilians were hit by shrapnel and moderately wounded.

There was no immediate comment by the Israeli Army on the incident.

Shall we accept or dismiss this?

OT: Centanni and Wiig are home and will make their first appearance on (cringe) Greta Van Susteren’s show tonight.

Pablo on August 29, 2006 at 6:11 PM

I should point out to you sir (georgej) that I neither proud of or support maintaining Guantanamo as a prison.

Me too. We should put them all on a flight home. And then toss them out of the plane halfway there.

AFGHANISTAN OUT OF CUBA!!!

Pablo on August 29, 2006 at 6:12 PM

You know, Pablo, that’s such a good catch I just went ahead and blogged it.

Of course it’s shrapnel.

see-dubya on August 29, 2006 at 6:23 PM

What would it take to say “yeah, this happened how they say it did”? Or is that option simply no longer on the table when it comes to Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon (and Syria, Iran, etc.)?

“Option” is not the same as “high probability”. You’re way off the map here.

Niko on August 29, 2006 at 6:26 PM

I should point out to you as well, THeDRiFTeR, that just because an article appears in the press, it is no longer sufficient proof that the article describes reality.

So what if an Israeli claims that a “Camp 1391″ exists?

Michael Isikof is an American and he claimed in Newsweek that Korans were being flushed down the toilets at Gitmo. That was proven to be false. Sen. Dick Durbin, also an American, slandered EVERY American military man and woman with his exaggerated claims.

Or do you really believe that hidden behind Gitmo is a pile of bones like those found in Cambodia?

My point is that the media has pissed away their credibility. I see no difference between this story about a prison camp and stories that (1) the IAF blew up ambulances, (2) the IAF blew up a press van, (3) the IAF killed a bunch of children at Qana, (4) the IAF keeps blowing up the same woman’s lebanon homes over and over again and (5) the amazing “green helmet” guy.

I see little difference between this story and “babies being raped in the superdome” a year ago, as well.

We can choose to be skeptical (as I am doing) about stories in the media, or we chose to believe them at face value.

All I know for certain is that the MSM is working diligently to manipulate my opinion to support an agenda. Otherwise why fake photos and falsely report stories? Everything the media does is now suspect.

georgej on August 29, 2006 at 6:40 PM

Update: Could it have been shrapnel? See here.

Admittedly no expert, but I’d have to lean in the shrapnel direction. Wouldn’t an explosive missile of some kind have caused a lot more damage and blown out windows, etc.? Not to mention the fact that I think Israel would have used something that could do real damage if that was their intention.

RightWinged on August 29, 2006 at 8:28 PM

Before considering shrapnel, consider the van. In the other thread I posted information and pictures from a vehicle that is almost the same.

Now, the roof on that van is designed to stop a high-velocity 7.62 round from a 68 degree angle from 30meters away. There is no way that a piece of shrapnel from a 2.75″ rocket fired some distance away would make that kind of a hole…with frag damage…in the top of the vehicle…and damage the interior of the van. Only with a direct hit could that happen.

The other theory is that a piece of building fell on the vehicle. If this happened, then how does that explain the damage to the interior of the vehicle? How does that explain the fragmentation damage to other parts of the roof? Or the shrapnel pits and cracking in the thick laminated windshield? And that stuff that looks like dirt is undoubtedly “flash rust” (Google it). If you look at the video of the van, there isn’t any of that dirt or rust – you see bare metal.

I just don’t see that either of these theories have much weight.

NPP on August 29, 2006 at 9:04 PM

RightWinged

Admittedly no expert, but I’d have to lean in the shrapnel direction. Wouldn’t an explosive missile of some kind have caused a lot more damage and blown out windows, etc.? Not to mention the fact that I think Israel would have used something that could do real damage if that was their intention.

That is precisely the reason that their claims were questioned, because the initial claim – that IDF was targeting journalists (and ambulances) – was not consistent with the damage on the vehicles (which should have been destroyed by a direct hit).

Since the difference (like several others have said) between a direct hit, and shrapnel damage is the difference between some serious charges (deliberately targeting non-combatants) and simply accidental damage (reporters too close to the target of the attack)

I have to agree with georgej on this one. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me! I will continue to examine these claims with a jaundiced eye.

RustMouse on August 29, 2006 at 11:22 PM

NPP, a direct hit looks way different from this. (as a matter of fact, Today’s episode of Hot Air actually has some excellent examples of what a direct hit would look like. Even with the armor, the damage would be much more significant (I’ve seen the effects of many different types of ordnance against M1114 armored Humvees in person. This vehicle doesn’t have nearly the same level of armor, yet displays very little damage – not enough for a direct hit)

I’ve also seen what happens when ordnance explodes, the fragmentation is not always in neat little pieces, often there are very large chunks of metal flying at very high velocities. There is also the problem of ‘secondary fragmentation’ – basically stuff from the site of the blast also being propelled by the explosion. Either of these things could account for the damage seen. Both of these are more plausible for the level of damage than a direct hit with some sort of “limited damage” weapons system.

The possiblity of a direct hit just seems too remote.

RustMouse on August 29, 2006 at 11:39 PM

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one RustMouse. It certainly could have been shrapnel, but not shrapnel from the rockets we’re talking about (70mm). Even so, I don’t understand how shrapnel or “secondary fragmentation” from a weapon ostensibly fired at targets on the ground hits and pierces the roof of a level 6 armored vehicle and injures a person directly below the shrapnel impact point. It seems to me the weapon would have to have detonated above the van at least for shrapnel to hit the roof. Shrapnel arcing through the air and falling ballistically would not have enough kinetic energy penetrate into the passenger compartment.

Secondly, I’ve seen the destroyed vehicles from the Vent piece you linked. There’s a big difference here. First of all, those vehicles were completely unarmored. Secondly, the weapon used against those vehicles was almost certainly a laser-guided hellfire missile, which has a warhead twice the weight of the 70mm rocket. So those were weaker targets hit by much more powerful missiles. This picture shows an Apache with rocket pods and hellfire loaded for comparison. Here’s a picture showing how big a 70mm rocket is. Not too big.

The armor on the Reuters vehicle is comparable to a Hummer. Both with stop 7.62 plus provide decent blast protection.

NPP on August 30, 2006 at 12:50 AM

Well, I give up. Not going to waste any more time trying to analyze this based on the limited number of low resolution photos available. Two minutes of seeing it in person or more and better photos and I could come up with a pretty good idea of what really happened.

Just about everyone I have had read on this subject has some good points, but I haven’t seen any that ring COMPLETELY true based on my personal experiences with this sort of thing. Yeah, sure I can come up with a Rube-Goldbergian scenario that could account for all the reported details, but the chain of events to fit them ALL is so unlikely as to be on the verge of impossible.

The sad thing is that Reuters has such a proven history of sympathyzing with terrorists and a long held anti-Israel bias that we have any reason to debunk their reportage.

And one last thing: if the IDF REALLY did target the vehicle, why the heck didn’t they follow up with a 20mm gun or a 50 or 30 cal as the supposed terrorists scattered after it was hit by whatever? Why just do a ‘drive by’??? That just isn’t their style.

LegendHasIt on August 30, 2006 at 1:01 AM

I should point out to you sir (georgej) that I neither proud of or support maintaining Guantanamo as a prison. As far as 1391 is concerned, it exists, that you can believe. It was in fact an Israeli that exposed it existence.

TD, what is your concept for how terrorists, suspects, and illegal combatants should be handled? Seems to me that any country that is under relentless terrorist attack absolutely needs a place to keep bad guys and suspected bad guys (unless you want to go with the “who needs detainees, just kill them all” option).

As for Gitmo, these guys are not criminals, and they are not prisoners of war, so detention is both necessary, just and appropriate.

Lehuster on August 30, 2006 at 3:49 AM