16 november, 2007

al-Dura-sagen, nu med fusk med beviserne

Jeg har før været inde på al-Dura-sagen her på bloggen. I en nøddeskal er der tale om, at araberne i Palæstina brugte den 11-årige dreng Muhammad Jamal al-Dura´s død til propagandistiske formål ved at påstå, drengen blev dræbt af israelske kugler. Denne version er især på verdensplan blevet spredt af Charles Enderlin på den franske tv-kanal France 2, der har udsendt stærkt redigerede og kommenterede filmklip af episoden, og siden nægtet offentligt at vise de originale optagelser, der måske kunne pille den arabiske propaganda-version fra hinanden.

Siden er der, blandt andet af Richard Landes, blevet stillet kraftigt spørgsmål ved France 2´s ageren, blandt andet via de to mini-dokumentarer Birth of an Icon (youtube) og Icon of Hatred (kan downloades her). Disse øgede presset på Charles Enderlin til et punkt, hvor han anlagde retssager for æreskrænkelse mod tre af hans kritikere, blandt andet Philippe Karsenty.

Det er i denne retssag, dommeren endelig har beordret Charles Enderlin til at fremlægge det originale video-materiale, der nu i over syv år har været holdt hemmeligt. Richard Landes - der er en af de få personer, der har fået lov til at se video-materialet - kommenterer på fremvisningen:

Today Charles Enderlin presented in court the “rushes” of Talal abu Rahmah 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. ..

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.

So here we have documentary evidence of material that Talal abu Rahmah shot with his France2 camera, and which Enderlin did not show the court.

Either he is unaware that this documentation exists; or he has such contempt for the court that he thinks he can brazenly cheat them. The judge struck me as no one’s fool, and Karsenty will surely pursue these matters.

So as far as I can make out Enderlin has made a major gamble: tamper with the evidence, show people inconclusive material (the woman next to me said, “I came without making up my mind, and nothing’s clear), and hope the court doesn’t catch him.

But in so doing, he’s rendered himself extremely vulnerable.

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