Monday, August 21, 2006

Conclusive evidence?

I had not intended to post again on the "Qanagate" affair until the report in preparation was finished - which still needs a few more days.

However, one of our readers has recently unearthed additional video footage, shot by Aljazeera. This more or less proves that the "dead baby" scene, in which "Green Helmet" was photographed by Reuters' Adnan Hajj (he of doctored photograph fame) uncovering the body of Abbas Ahmad Hashim, was not only staged, but faked.

The very strong indications are that the body of baby Hashim was uncovered early in the recovery effort by two Red Cross workers and subsequently re-buried so that it could be "discovered" by "Green Helmet" in a way that maximised the propaganda value.

The footage showing the initial discovery has been posted on this site, from which three "grabs" are reproduced here.

The first of the "grabs" is lifted after scenes of the early stages of the recovery effort in the wrecked basement at Khuraybah, with a Red Cross worker digging in the debris. The camera focuses on a head cradled in the hand of the worker (see right). There is an object obstructing the full face, though, so we do not see it clearly, but the scale and definition indicates that it is very small, entirely compatible with it being that of the body of a baby.

Then, the Red Cross worker lifts the head slightly towards the camera, to give the clearest image of all three sequences of the television footage we have available. The head is still not completely unobscured, but the definition is better than in any other television footage. Colour balance is not as distorted in other footage, showing the grey colouration of the head, in contrast with the colour of the Red Cross workers' uniforms.

As the worker continues digging, the full body becomes visible (bottom right of the frame). another worker joins in and clears the legs, which he starts to lift from the debris, revealing the body. It is unmistakably that of a baby, the low-neck singlet is the same as seen in the still frames of Abbas Ahmad Hashim's body, and the legs appear to be bare, compatible with the shorts seen in those frames.

And here, is a slightly enlarged cut-out of this frame, we see arrowed, a thickish line extending vertically upwards (as viewed) ending in an indistinct blob with a hint of blue colouration. This is too indistinct for certainty, but it looks very much like the blue "pacifier" seen in the still frames.

This is now one of three video sequences which we have gathered and the full evidence is set out here.

As we remark in this section of the report, Reuters have some explaining to do, as have the other agencies who are trying to ignore this issue. The evidence is here for all to see and, with the three video sequences now available, we are convinced that there are now very strong grounds for a full enquiry into the events leading to the photographs by Adnan Hajj and others.

Comments - use the "Green Helmet/AP" thread

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