Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Post 2 of The Nakba Day Killings: Who Didn't Fire the Shot That Killed Nadeem Nawarah?

Note: If you haven't done so yet I recommend reading the posts in this series starting with Post 1. You can find all the posts in reverse order below this one on the page. You can also find each post in the series in the archives at right. The first post provides the basic intro information on the Nakba Day killings of May 15, 2014. This includes a set of notated maps that gives a sense of where this happened and what you'd see around you if you actually were there on that day. It also shows you a way to view videos frame by frame. If you are drawn to be a blog detective this will be a valuable tool and much of the evidence I'll introduce in this series of posts will require frame by frame analysis - especially if you'd like to check my conclusions for yourself. 

I've added several clips in this post that appear in the RowVid viewer just by clicking the link. It couldn't be easier to view them. This viewer allows playback at several different speeds and allows you to single step frames. This is very helpful if you want to see what actually happened for yourself. The few simple controls are obvious. Just clicking anywhere in the frame starts and stops the action - or the space bar does the same thing.

Geeky stuff you can ignoreYou may notice the frames in the RowVid viewer are .04 seconds apart. That's because there are 25 frames per second in YouTube clips. RowVid allows you to step through each one of them and find it later by the exact time the frame appears in the clip if you need to. Note that I'll identify particular frames using this RowVid frame time which is stated to .01 second resolution. In your comments or email you can do the same to bring attention to something for the blog readers and me or just to me personally via email. So, for example, if saw something visible in frame 22.25. That would be the frame at 22.25 seconds into that clip. The playback start time can vary by a small amount each time you run the RowVid viewer - like where exactly the software thinks the first frame starts - so each time you load a clip the frame time could vary by  +/- 1/100 of a second from the last time you viewed it. I think once in hundreds of playbacks I've seen it off by 2/100 of a second. This is not a problem. Just line your viewer up with the frame closest to the one called out and you'll be fine. The rest of the frames in the clip will still be .04 seconds apart.

This post focuses on what happened in the 22 seconds of the CNN Smoking Gun video during which the first two shots recorded that day appear. You may like to follow along with the details of those 22 critical seconds. They reveal what the great majority of people who have been following news reports of the killings do not know about what happened that day. Just open this link in a new tab, drag the progress button to 1:52 mark and click the speed you want (1 means normal speed).
CNN Smoking Gun footage
I've been looking at this footage so long I think I'm going to name it, "Aren't you coming to bed, dear?" But it's been well worth the effort. I've found several items of interest in this footage that reveal some amazing things.

The first to consider is: 

1) At the moment of the shot at RowVid frame 113.85 (CNN time = 1m53s)- a smoke plume appears behind the person CNN describes as the shooter - not in front of the muzzle of his rifle.

When I first saw this I knew that the first shot had to come from a rifle closer to the camera and hidden behind that foliage, not from the shooter CNN identified. I find it amazing that CNN never checked this stuff as a matter of course before telling us what we're supposed to be looking at.

I used the brief appearance of the smoke plume in a single frame of the footage 
(at 113.85) both to identify the frame time of the first shot and to estimate the position of the rifle that I now knew had to be there, behind that foliage.

It looked to me that the only person who could possibly be holding that hidden rifle was the guy whose helmet was the only part of him I could see. There are two other guys in that zone of the image but after closer inspection, they are standing under the grape arbor over 6 meters further back (to the NE) from CNN Shooter. Neither of the two guys to the left of this guy are holding rifles. It's only one frame in the video but you can see the plume clearly if you click the < and > keys to jump between frames 113.81 and 113.85 in the viewer.

Note: Before going further, it's important to understand that the long telephoto lens on the CNN video camera has "foreshortened" the image to make it appear that the men on the veranda are pretty much standing or kneeling right next to each other. In fact, there's 13 meters (almost 43 feet) between the first step up in the wall near the left edge of this screen grab (with the first visible IDF guy standing behind it), and the gate seen behind the CNN Shooter's M16. To shoot at the area in front of the six bay building where Nadeem and Muhammad were shot at, they must point their rifles almost parallel to the wall - with only a 20 degree deflection from it according to the Google map satellite view. I'll draw a diagram of this as soon as I get a chance because many viewers are tricked by the telephoto lens.

If you watch carefully as you click around this key frame and a few to either side of it you may also notice that the objects visually around and in the smoke plume seem to jiggle a bit visually. What you are seeing is distortion from the hot air and smoke that were expelled from the M16 - much like the shimmering heat waves that come off a hot highway in the desert. 

This may seem like small thing, but it's possibly the most important evidence available to positively identify the real shooter. It's physically impossible for CNN Shooter's rifle to cause the smoke and image distortions that we see behind him in the 4 or 5 frames just after the shot- while his M16 is pointed in the opposite direction - out to his front. If the CNN Shooter had fired the shot - we'd see the flash or smoke out in front of his barrel in that frame. Even if for some reason the flash and smoke were hard to see because of the light background, there's still the unexplained absence of the distortions in the image of the vertical pipe, visually just to the right of his muzzle. I believe this absence of image distortion out in front of his muzzle, especially in any of the 2 or 3 frames right after the shot, proves beyond any doubt that CNN shooter's M16 was not discharged at the moment of that shot.  

Just in case more proof is needed . . 

2) But wait, there's more. At the moment of the shot - CNN Shooter's rifle is motionless - there is no recoil.

Should there be some kick when an M16 is fired? I've managed to find several video clips of M16's being fired with rubber bullets and other cartridge loads such as tear gas cylinders and standard NATO rounds. They all kick the rifle back into the soldier's shoulder, as anyone who has ever fired a military rifle would expect. 

The M16 rubber cylinder kick seems to average about 3 cm (a bit more than an inch) of movement of the rifle - both of the butt back into the  shoulder and of the barrel tip rising about that same distance. But sometimes the kick can be much larger - up to 6 to 10 cm depending on how firmly the shooter holds the butt of the rifle against his shoulder and how firmly he grips it. For a shot where the rifle butt is solidly contacting the shoulder and is aimed through the sights - meaning the side of his cheek or chin is also contacting the stock - this seems to cause the shoulder to kick back about .08 seconds (two frames) after the shot and then there's sometimes motion of the head forward and down about .04 seconds (one frame) after that. The head motion is not as consistent as the shoulder kick which always appears. The head motion can be absent altogether 

To see an example, 
here's another Magav rifleman from this same team firing a rubber cylinder. In this case the recoil is clearly seen.

First, some things to notice in the screen grab above . .
  • The red painted magazine base. In the Magav that means "this mag is for blanks only".
  • The rubber bullet adapter (the last several cm of the barrel starting at the enlarged part).
  • Some small yellow bits drift across the frame in the breeze immediately after the shot. 
  • I'm no expert on firing military assault rifles although I did shoot an AR15 once which is the civilian version of the M16, but I'd say this guy knows what he's doing.
Most of the interesting action can be seen in this RowVid clip. Start it at about the 35 sec mark:
RowVid clip of rifleman above
Notice these things . . 
  • The muzzle flash, smoke in the air and the rifle kick at about 41 sec . 
  • The bits of yellowish paper drifting away as the smoke clears at about 42 sec. These are remnants of the paper wad that keeps the powder from falling out through the crimps at the end of the "blank" cartridges. The IDF use these blanks (just powder and the paper wads get shot out) to propel the rubber cylinder. Blanks have no slug - unlike the very lethal NATO 5.56 mm rounds that are usually fired from an M16 rifle - that do have slugs but no wads.  

3) Now, Back to the CNN Smoking Gun Footage

If you watch carefully (below) the area where CNN Shooter's rifle barrel crosses the vertical post - while stepping through the "shot" frame (113.85) you will see that the very short distance in pixels from the post to where the rubber bullet adapter is mounted - stays the same through those frames (from a few frames before to a few frames after the shot). After the shot the image shakes a bit from the heat blast distortion (from the real shooter's rifle just to the left of this image)  but that very short pixel distance stays almost exactly the same throughout those frames.

This means pretty conclusively that there was no recoil of CNN Shooter's M16 when we should have seen it. The rifle does not move back against his shoulder and the end of the barrel does not rise. There is some visual distortion as the hot gas from the R
eal Shooter's muzzle blast crosses the area between the camera and CNN Shooter's barrel. But even that amount of "shake" doesn't perceptively change the pixel distance. That is nothing like what we'd see if CNN Shooter's rifle had been fired at that moment.

To emphasize the importance of this, unlike in the M16 Kick video, there's no perceptible muzzle flash, there's no smoke and there's no heat wave distortion of the background out in front of CNN Shooter's M16. The heat wave alone would immediately distort the image of that vertical pipe which is visually right where the muzzle blast would cross it - even though the pipe is physically a meter or more behind CNN Shooter, nearer the wall in the background.  

Recap so far: 

The CNN Shooter's rifle is not pointed in the direction where Nadeem was hit. The CNN Shooter's rifle shows no kick, no muzzle blast, no smoke, no visual distortion of items behind the heat wave - which should appear in front of his muzzle but do not.

However, there is smoke and a heat wave above the suspected muzzle location of the Magav soldier I designate as "Real Shooter".

To seal the deal, just a couple of seconds after the shot, Real Shooter can be seen standing up - bringing his previously suspected but not yet seen M16 into full view - ejecting the spent cartridge and loading the next one into the chamber. How much more proof do we need? 

Added 11/26/2014, Important: To make this clearer, the M16 rifle is designed so that a live 5.56 NATO round is capable of cycling the ammunition. It uses part of the energy of the exploding powder to automatically eject the spent brass shell and inject the next live round from the magazine into the chamber. Military M16s can therefore selectively fire in either automatic or single shot modes - in both cases without the shooter having to manually clear the chamber or recharge it. This allows a higher rate of fire and allows the shooter to keep his or her eyes looking down the sights at the target. 

The blank ammo that the IDF uses to shoot rubber cylinders has a low energy powder load to minimize injuries and so does not have the energy to cycle the ammo. The shooter must do it manually. The video clearly shows "Real Shooter" standing up and manually recharging his weapon. This would only be necessary if he had fired a blank cartridge.

So now we know, conclusively I'd say, who fired the shot that is timed with Nadeem's fall - the first shot heard in the CNN Smoking Gun footage. But the question remains as to what type of ammo he was using. Remember, CNN said in this footage Nadeem was killed by "live" rounds. And Palestinian hospital officials specifically said that Nadeem was killed by an Israeli bullet that entered his chest and exited his back. Nadeem's Dad showed us the slug taken from his dead son's back pack, where it had supposedly lodged. 

However, there's a problem with this narrative. You may have also noticed when examining the CNN footage, that  . . 

4) Bits of the yellowish paper - same as seen in the M16 Kick Video above - drifted across the screen in the CNN Smoking Gun footage immediately after the shot.

The first bit entered the screen just 1.47 seconds after the shot that supposedly killed Nadeem Nuwarah. It appeared at frame 115.32. The last bit of wad had cleared the screen by frame 115.72 - 1.87 seconds after the shot.

Because of the confusing background and shadow of the wall and grape arbor, these bits of yellowish paper are not easy to spot. They can easily be seen at 1/4 speed, however, and especially if you enlarge the image a bit on your screen.

The first bits of paper appear for me at frame 115.32 along the right hand edge of the frame, half way between the top and bottom (in the full size image).  In subsequent frames the bit(s) drift up and to the left. Remember that the camera is shooting up from the street level and so is several meters below where the shot was fired. The breeze is moderate to the SE which is parallel to the veranda wall and to the left in the CNN footage. And that's the way all the bits drift - right after each of the first two shots in the footage.
The mustachioed shooter in the M16 Kick Video seems to be at a different place along the same veranda wall but if Kick Guy's rifle is pointed in the same general direction as Real Shooter's, and if the wind direction and velocity with respect to the camera is anything like Real Shooter's - and that seems possible - then, if Real Shooter had fired a rubber bullet, I'd possibly expect to see some yellow paper wad bits drift back in front of the camera within a second or two after the shot - as "Kick Guy's" footage did. 

If the bits of the wad didn't appear in this footage we could not conclude that they did not exist. We'd have to accept that with a different camera angle and maybe a not so steady breeze, they could have drifted out of the camera's view - and so we wouldn't know for sure. But if they did show up, we'd have to accept their appearance at the right time and place as pretty good evidence that a rubber cylinder had just been shot from that M16 at that moment.

In fact, they do show up clearly in the CNN Smoking Gun footage.

The shot fired - the shot that CNN claims is the shot that killed Nadeem Nawarah with a "live" round - therefore had to be a blank cartridge propelling a rubber cylinder. Remember, rubber cylinders can only be shot with a blank cartridge. And IDF blank cartridges used to shoot rubber cylinders always have paper wads. 

IDF vets say so and paper wads are visible in almost every rubber cylinder shot caught on video - and there are lots of those. NATO 5.56 mm rounds never have wads. I have never seen video of any M16 shooting NATO 5.56 rounds produce a wad - and there are thousands of those of those available to check. And of course there's no reason for live rounds to have wads because the slug is tightly crimped within the brass casing which keeps the powder in the cartridge and seals it from moisture. 

This leads to the almost inescapable conclusion that the first shot recorded in the CNN Smoking Gun footage was fired at Nadeem by Real Shooter and had to be a rubber cylinder. 

5) To settle a final matter of confusion, what about the officer "confiscating" CNN Shooter's M16 after the shot? Doesn't that prove he was doing "something wrong" - like shooting?

I'll admit this one took me a while to figure out. I had to watch that sequence over and over. Finally I saw it. If you look again at the CNN Shooter screen grab above, one more time, you'll see something that I suspect everyone has missed so far. There is a vertical black object that seems to be leaning against the wall section that supports the gate going back to the veranda. It's right under his elbow in the image.

Now step through the frames after the shot. You can see the "officer" walk almost to the gate behind the tallest section of the wall. He then reaches down and grabs the black object and lifts it. Guess what? It's a rifle (probably his own) that he had leaned against that gate earlier. He then picks it up and you can just make out the barrel before the camera starts panning toward the six bay building where the crowd is evacuating Nadeem.

But wait. The CNN Shooter's rifle looks like it is moving too - at the same time as if the officer is about to take it from him. Well, it seems strange that the officer would grab both rifles - one in each hand - and try to lift them at the same time.  But there's no way he could even touch both rifles at the same time. The wall is about 20 ft (6 meters) from where CNN Shooter is kneeling - as is seen in the reverse veranda view above. This is a great example of the way our brains fill in the void - making a narrative to fit with what we expect to see, or in this case, what seems the most obvious interpretation. 

Rather than walk you through the screen grabs for this sequence, by now you should be pretty good at stepping through the scenes yourself to see what really happened. I'll let you have the fun of running through these frames - to verify that in these final frames before the camera pans away - there can't possibly be an exchange of CNN Shooter's M16 going on here.

To summarize, I believe in this post we have now firmly established, beyond any reasonable doubt,  that  . . 
  • The first shot from the veranda in the CNN Smoking Gun footage - the shot that is synchronized with the fall of Nadeem Nawarah in the street below - was not fired by "CNN Shooter". It was fired by the third guy from the left - "Real Shooter".
  • Because of the paper wads that appear about 1.5 seconds after the shot - he shot a rubber cylinder propelled by a blank cartridge from his M16 fitted with a rubber bullet adapter.

Remote But Possible Exceptions to the Theory Laid Out Above: Of course, it's remotely possible he was shooting just a blank with no rubber cylinder, like maybe to scare the rioters with the noise - which seems silly. But, even if he had done that, which is extremely unlikely, then the critical fact remains - if bits of the paper wad appeared shortly after the shot - there is no way he could have shot a 5.56 NATO round. And those paper bits do appear after this shot.

And, I guess if the Magav had plotted to kill some Palestinian kids that day and get away with it - they could have had someone running around on the veranda that day with a pocket full of little bits of yellow paper - to be thrown into the breeze just upwind of every shot taken - or at least after each lethal NATO round. That's seems equally as absurd as shooting blanks with no rubber cylinder. But if anyone can find any evidence of this or any other explanation for the appearance of those wads in the footage at just the right time and at just the right place, please let me know.