Another bogus photo? (Update: "The Passion of the Toys") (Update: U.S. News cover staged?) (Update: NYT photo fraud, too?) (Bumped)

Just got an e-mail about the following photo from someone who claims to work at Boeing.



Two Lebanese army soldiers inspect a damaged vehicle that was struck by Israeli ware [sic] plane missiles at the village of Kfar Zabad in the eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon Sunday, Aug. 6, 2006. Israel and Hezbollah sharply intensified fighting Saturday with airstrikes, rocket attacks and brutal ground fighting, an apparent bid to inflict maximum mutual damage even as the United States and France agreed on a draft U.N. resolution calling for a halt to the violence. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Says my correspondent:

I am not saying the description is false, but I spent 20 years in the Air Force, much of that time doing targeting and mission planning for aircrews which involved a lot of post-strike analysis. This is by far, the lease [sic] amount of damage from an “air strike” I have ever seen. Even a Hellfire missile does more damage than this, remember the Predator strike on the car of some Al Qaeda operatives some time back? Total destruction of a soft vehicle like this. The only damage, other than minor body damage, I see is a missing sun roof. Thought you might want to add it to your list of possible fakes.

Dan Riehl noticed precisely the same problem a week ago with photos of the “airstrike” on a Lebanese ambulance. Except the hole in the roof in that case was even smaller than this one.

I’m going to e-mail Noah Shachtman of Defense Tech. If there are any mini-missiles capable of causing this kind of damage, he’ll know.

By the way: does the name “Nasser Nasser” ring a bell? It should. It really should.

Update: SeeDubya reminds us of what cars usually look like after they’ve been introduced to missiles.

Update: Reader “Kaltes” e-mails to point out that the car has an, er, intact windshield. The miracles of Zionist technology.

Says Kaltes, “This is nothing more than a beat up old junker stripped and left in a ditch as garbage.”

Update: Dan at RightWired notes that there are no skid marks or debris on the road and no burn marks on the grass. I suppose the car could have been moved from the spot where it was hit. Given the condition it’s in, it might have been driven away.

Update: James Taranto finds it verrrry suspicious that one of the corpses laid out at Qana appears to be sitting up. Check the third photo in this post by Confederate Yankee. It’s not that suspicious.

Update: Brilliant. Ten times as damning as the car photo, if not more.

Update: Reader Thomas S. e-mails with a beautiful catch regarding that U.S. News & World Report cover from a few weeks ago:


Rifle in hand, a roaring fire — caused by an Israeli airstrike, presumably — consuming Lebanon just over his shoulder. He’s even got shades on, the epitome of jihadi cool.


I don’t know who took it, but would it surprise you if I told you Adnan Hajj was at the scene? Here’s a shot he took of what plainly appears to be the same guy which Thomas pulled off the Yahoo newswire:


The photo’s apparently no longer available online — but Thomas was prescient enough to take a screencap. Hajj’s credit is clearly visible.

Who’s that he’s aiming his rifle at, though? Are Israeli troops advancing? Might that fire be the product not of an airstrike but of IDF artillery?

Here’s a closeup:


They’re burning tires. It’s a garbage dump.

Update: Reader Harry Moon thinks he can explain the car photo:

The IDF regularly removes the explosive from the missiles as the kinetic energy of the missile traveling at 1000kph and the residual rocket fuel can do the job with minimal collateral damage away from the target…

It went thru the roof, as the roof is bent inwards, probably thru the floor as well and the ricochet material came back up and dented the engine cover from underneath. The car may not have even stopped rolling forward; you can sometimes see that with some IDF videos. There is dirt and skid marks in the lower right of the photo, suggesting it skidded around backwards into the bank and is now pointing in the opposite direction to its original travel.

Anyone know whether he’s right about the IDF removing its payloads? And whether a missile relying purely on kinetic energy would cause this kind of damage?

Either way, right through the roof. Nice shootin’, Tex.

Update: Speaking of the passion of the toys.

Update: As usual, Riehl got there first.

Update: People are sending me stuff faster than I can update. The latest comes from Gateway Pundit, who’s tracking a photo sequence at the New York Times with a very surprising conclusion [Update: Maybe not. See below.]:


Update: Just received this response to Harry Moon from a reader:

It is sort of an urban myth that the Israelis, or anyone else, fires a missile emptied of explosives. It isn’t the same as pouring the black powder out of a cannon ball. Modern munitions have a very tight tolerance on the location of the Center of Gravity. Especially those that are PGMs. So if you pull 10kg of explosives out of a warhead you have to replace it with 10kg of something else…something else that exactly fills the same space.

The kinetic kill answer is also close, but not quite accurate. There _are_ kinetic kill munitions but they are hypervelocity missiles and shells. They are unguided and use the extreme speed with which they impact the target to transform a metal into a plasma jet. I know of no PGM that does this; the speeds are simply too low.

What Israel and other countries does do is, depending on the munitions, either degrade the explosive’s effectiveness, or replace it with an explosive that is lowered powered. Witness the various vehicles that have been hit with such a missile. Simply search LGF for “car swarm”.

Yes, the idea is to limit collateral damage but no one is going to launch the equivalent of a $200,000 bowling ball at a target. There will be enough explosive to surely take out the occupants.

The car in the picture shows no such damage. Besides, if the munitions was traveling that fast it surely would have produced a wave front strong enough to pop the window.

From another reader:

I work in missile research. This looks like nothing more than an abandoned car. The “hole” in the roof looks like a sunroof with a few extra dents around the rim. I find it impossible to believe a missile just happened to enter through the sunroof and do no external damage to the vehicle. I am afraid Harry Moon is just way off here. I find it difficult to believe anybody would remove a warhead to reduce damage. Taking the explosive off changes the weight of the missile which is part of the entire missile system and would require extensive re-engineering. It would be pointless to deliver a missile with no explosion. This photo and that explanation are complete nonsense.

See also the comment below by “Centurion68,” who happens to be the guy who first tipped me to the photo.

Update: Ace says the Gateway Pundit post might be much ado about nothing. I agree, the caption he points to certainly fits much better with the photo — but that’s not the caption they used on the New York Times website.

Definitely not as bad as previously thought, though. A staged death is a mortal sin, a botched caption is a venial one.

Assuming it was, in fact, botched, and not made to be deliberately deceptive. It certainly is funny how the “botched” captions always seem to cut towards greater Israeli culpability.

Update: Now here’s an interesting e-mail. Looks like it’s not just U.S. News that got snookered:

When I saw the US News photo I knew I’d seen it somewhere else as well. This exact same scene is shown on page 45 of the July 31st issue of Time Magazine. The caption reads:

“The wreckage of a downed Israeli jet that was targeting Hizballa trucks billows smoke behind a Hizballah gunman in Kfar Chima, near Beirut. Jet fuel set the surrounding area ablaze.”

The photo credit is to Bruno Stevens – Cosmos. Upon closer inspection the blaze indeed appears to be a tire fire.

Although I disagree with your opinions on Qana and the toll taken on innocents, I hope you’ll take heart that there are Democrats, such as myself, that are outraged over the demonization of Israel in this affair.

Anyone have that issue of Time? And would be willing to scan it?

Update: According to another e-mailer, he e-mailed Time about the photo — and received an e-mail apology. No record of it on the site, though, from what anyone can tell.

Here’s the photo the guy attached. Supposedly the caption attributed the explosion to a downed Israeli jet.


Update: Here’s the caption that accompanied the photo in Time. Thanks to reader Allan A.