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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The al-Dura trial: France 2 tampers with the evidence

I have more details for you about what went on in that Paris courtroom yesterday. Here's a series of interviews that were sent out by HonestReporting.com and TakeaPen.org from outside the courtroom last night (Hat Tip: NY Nana). Note that they give specific examples of things that were cut and things that were staged (more after the video):

Richard Landes of the Augean Stables, who was in court yesterday and who appears in the video above, posted this last night:

I must admit, many people told me that Enderlin [the France 2 correspondent in Israel CiJ] would doctor the tapes, and I didn’t believe them. “No,” I thought, “it’s one thing to lie to me and others in his office, but to the court, where he would surely get caught? He would not be that reckless…” Not.

Today Charles Enderlin presented in court the “rushes” of Talal abu Rahmah [the 'Palestinian' cameraman who was actually on the scene in Gaza. CiJ] which the Judge had requested from him. And he presented an edited version in which he took out at least three minutes, and several scenes that I distinctly remember seeing. In the United States that’s called tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and perjury. In France, we’ll find out what it’s called.


Before the viewing of the rushes, there was some discussion of why there were only 18 minutes. Charles Enderlin — who had disdained showing up for any previous hearing in the trials he had initiated, even when he was in Paris at the time — explained that the cassette they had saved had 27 minutes of footage, but some did not concern that day (how?), and that he had eliminated the irrelevant material. (At this point I expected the judge to say, “let us be the judge of what’s irrelevant,” but she didn’t.)


Most of the material was inconclusive or boring, and I patiently waited for the material I’d seen. Then, at about 15 minutes on the time code, Enderlin announces that there will be a break and we will see the final scenes. That’s when I knew he had cut the scenes. Sure enough, the screen went blank, and then began the final three minutes.

Now there are at least two scenes that I remember specifically, one of which we have documented by Reuters. One scene that wasn’t there I described as follows:

At another point, a boy faked a leg injury, but instead of drawing big kids who could pick him up and rush him past the cameramen to an ambulance, he only attracted little kids. He shooed them away, looked around, and, seeing that no one was coming to evacuate him, straightened up and walked away without a limp.

Indeed this scene provoked a snort from the Israeli cameraman working for France2 who was watching the film with me and Enderlin at the time.

When I asked him why, he said, “because it looks so fake.”
“That’s my impression as well,” I responded.
Enderlin commented, “Oh, they do that all the time. It’s their cultural style. They exaggerate.”
“But if they do it all the time, why couldn’t they have staged Al Durah?” I asked.
“Oh, they’re not good enough.”

Now ultimately, this is my word (and possibly, if they remember and have the courage to come forward, those of Denis Jeambar and Daniel Leconte), against Enderlin.

But the second piece I remember is actually documented by Reuters (video sequence). In a scene we’ve dubbed Molotov Cocktail Kid, a youth lopes comfortably down the road, showing no sign of injury. He hands of a Molotov Cocktail to another kid and enters a crowd. We see red on his forehead, but no indication that he’s injured.

mck 1
Handing off the bottle. Note the red on his forehead.

Once in the crowd, he is picked up by others.

mck 2
Note that his left leg is bent as the crowd sets to carry him.

Past photographers, among whom we find Talal abu Rahmah, with his France2 equipment.

mck 3
Talal is in close, for maximum effect. Note the fellow on the far left who’s in for the ride. He’s seen smiling in the video.

And then run back right in front of the Israeli position (where he was presumably shot) and loaded on the ambulance right in front of the Israelis.

mck 4
Israeli position in the background. No one is afraid of being hit by them.

When I went to see the rushes at France2, I was specifically looking for this scene, and remember seeing it. It was jumpy and out of focus, and looked considerably more realistic (cinéma vérité) than the Reuters footage which, shot at a distance, is obviously staged.

This footage was not part of Enderlin’s 18 minutes.

Read the whole thing.

For those who don't get the Rosemary Woods reference in Landes' title (most of the people on a bloggers' conference call last night didn't get it when I made it), go here.

Nidra Poller reports at Pajamas Media that the DVD that was given to the court also only had eighteen minutes on it. Earlier, Media Backspin (Honest Reporting's blog) had given the impression that the court had been given a DVD with the full twenty-seven minutes on it. (Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs).

Haaretz has more details of what was said in the courtroom yesterday:
Karsenty challenged Enderlin's explanations. "The boy moved his head after we heard the cameraman say he was dead. How do you explain this?" asked Karsenty. "Why is there no blood on their shirts although they had bullet wounds?"

Enderlin said that Talal Abu Rahma did not say that the boy had died, but that he was dying. The journalist maintained that only the Israelis shot at the al-Duras, explaining that he could hear the difference between the shooting of the Israeli rubber bullets and Palestinian regular ones.

Karsenty repeated several troubling details. He pointed out that an article by senior journalists Denis Jeambar and Daniel Leconte in 2004 noted some staged scenes filmed by Abu Rahma in the first part of the footage, which they had examined at French TV studios with former le Monde journalist Luc Rosenzweig.

Jeambar and Leconte called on French TV to launch its own internal inquiry, citing a possible lack of journalistic standards, but did not not share the theory of a possible staging of al-Dura's death.

"The al-Dura report has had terrible consequences, causing hate against Israel and Jews," Karsenty told Haaretz. "We have to repair the damage now, before it's too late."

Tension was high in the courtroom Wednesday, and some pro and anti-Enderlin militants were arguing loudly, causing some commotion. Dozens of Jewish bloggers were present at the courthouse.

Serge Kovacs, a friend and co-worker of Enderlin, said Enderlin was falsely accused and has become a "new Dreyfuss." Enderlin told journalists that there was no new "affair," and suggested they come to the next hearing on February 28.

Karsenty said that he intends to counter-attack French TV by pointing out that they only presented 18 minutes out of the 27 minutes Abu Rahma originally claimed to have shot.
The next court hearing is scheduled for February 27. It will be interesting to see whether the Judge recognizes (and admits) that Enderlin and France 2 are trying to fool her.


At 8:52 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Thank you for the hat tip, Carl.

It amazed me thst they even were able to get the infomation that they did.

All I could think of the other day was Rosemary Woods..I can still picture her showing how she allegedly did it; she looked like a pretzel.

I also wonder what they will do in February. It seems that France 2 is France's CBS.

Pallywood really is pathetic.

At 4:48 AM, Blogger CW said...

I had the same thought yesterday and wrote Atlas about it.


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