Saturday, June 05, 2010

That Audio Track That the IDF Released? Fake. (Edit: Longer Version Released. Still Fake.)

You may have heard it. (I won't link to it.) It was pretty transparently bullshit; the American accent at the end alone sounds like something a Brit would do when making fun of American accents. And no American ever says "We're helping the Arabs, don't forget 9/11." People on the American RIGHT are constantly invoking 9/11, so what the hell is THAT doing there?

(And, for that matter, why would he say "arabs"? There's no way flotilla activists would say that instead of "Palestinians". Pro-palestinian activists get really annoyed when you call Palestinians just another set of arabs.

But, anyway, now we have what appears to be confirmation.

Tel Aviv - Ma'an - The Israeli army released video footage Monday of the navy radioing the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara prior to the raid that took place in international waters and left at least nine activists dead.

But on Friday, it released a new version of the same footage — one that it says proves its claims that many aboard were religious extremists — but that some say has been very obviously tampered with.

In the first video released in the immediate aftermath of the violent raid, a soldier says, "Mavi Marmara, you are approaching an area of hostility which is under a naval blockade." There is no recorded response.

The soldier continues, "The Gaza area, coastal region, and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic." Again, no response.

The soldier radios once more, saying, "The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and invites you to enter the Ashdod port …"

But an updated version, released five days later, includes three alleged responses from passengers who, according to the video, were supposedly on board the Mavi Marmara. This new clip shows only a still of the soldier who appears in the first footage.

The soldier, who is not named, does not address the Mavi Marmara as he did in the video released Monday. Instead, he says, "This is the Israeli navy; you are approaching an area which is under a naval blockade."

A man with an odd, indistinct accent responds, "Shut up. Go back to Aushwitz."

Then the voice of a woman follows. She states, "We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter."

The third response, which seems entirely disconnected from the events, comes from a man with a heavy Southern accent. "We're helping Arabs go against the US. Don't forget 9/11 guys."

Ali Abuminah, founder of the website Electronic Intifada, reported on his blog that the woman's voice is that of Huwaida Arraf.

Arraf, a Palestinian-American who chairs the Free Gaza Movement, confirmed that it was her voice. But she emphasized that she was on the Challenger 1 boat, not the Mavi Marmara.

"I was by the radio the whole time there was any communication," Arraf told Ma'an. "Mine was the only boat in which I answered and not the captain and they all answered in a very professional manner."

Arraf told Ma'an that while she might have spoken of having permission from the Gaza Port Authority on a previous attempt to break the blockade, she is certain that she did not say it on Monday morning.

"When they radioed us, we were still 100 miles away," she said. "There's no doubt that this whole thing they put out is fabricated."
One HUNDRED miles away. And on a different day.

Now, let's remember this little incident the next time somebody cites the IDF's pre-packaged propaganda as proof of ANYTHING involving this incident.

Anyway, here's Ali Abunimah on the subject, and here's Max Blumenthal on what it means when the press "releases doctored audio as fact".

Edit: The IDF released a "clarification": that the audio was over an "open channel", so Arraf might have spoken. That might have helped resolve it; but considering she didn't say that on Monday morning, it doesn't really help much.

They posted a longer version of the clip that is supposedly "unedited". Seemed convincing at first, but unfortunately, it's not enough. All three clips (the Arraf clip, the "auschwitz" clip, and the "9/11" clip) are led and followed by completely dead air. It would be trivial to edit it in. The Arraf one, as we know, wasn't even from Monday, so it must have been edited in.

In fact, I'd say that if you just listen to them, they don't seem right. All three are far too loud, for one thing. The other comments are muted and indistinct. You can barely hear them. But these three are as loud and clear as if they were in the next room. The "9/11" one doesn't even sound like it's coming in over a radio; it sounds like it was recorded in a studio. They're louder and clearer than the Israeli speaker himself!

Listen to the languages, as well. Notice something? The only English spoken in that entire clip that I noticed, aside from the IDF guy, is spoken in those three clips. ALL of the rest of them were, I believe, in Arabic. (Possibly Turkish.) And yet, magically, there are these three English clips and ONLY these three English clips. (edit: okay, there was one other english clip. See below.)

Two had perfect audio, perfectly offensive comments, perfect english, and perfectly terrible accents. Another, apparently, traveled through time.

No, sorry, I don't believe it. Not after the IDF went to such immense trouble to steal activist reporters' footage and selectively use it for their own ends. Not after that BS about Al Qaeda ties. Not without independent confirmation that anybody would have said something as bizarre as "we're helping the arabs, remember 9/11" or "shut up, go back to Auschwitz" in such bizarre parodies of American and Arabic accents.

Sorry. Don't buy it.

Edit:  Apparently there was another English speaker on that recording. But, uh, there appears to be a problem...

In the new audio released on Saturday, a man's voice comes over the radio at 1:56 saying "Yeah go ahead, navy." Oddly, the same voice reappears at 2:24 saying the same thing. The intonation of his voice is the same in both places.

The Israeli military also did not explain the discrepancy between the video released on June 4th, and the one it released on May 31st, which depicts the same Israeli soldier apparently contacting the Mavi Marmara over the radio, in which the "Auschwitz" and 9/11 comments do not appear.
Bolding is mine.


See why you shouldn't seize recording equipment, guys? Yes, it does mean that you can doctor stuff. But it's not worth the embarrassment of being found out, and even if you don't doctor, you ain't gonna get the benefit of the doubt.

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