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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

L'affaire Charlie Hebdo: How did the cop die?

One reason why I'm impressed by these StormClouds Gathering videos is that the filmmaker doesn't pretend to have all the answers.

This presentation points to a possible anomaly in the video record of a policeman's death. (The cop's name was Ahmed Merabet; yes, he was Muslim.) This oddity will probably inspire many people to concoct a broad, sweeping conspiracy theory.

I don't have such a theory, and I'm quite willing to concede that the conundrum outlined here may have a simple, commonsense explanation. Perhaps a reader who knows about firearms and/or gunshot wounds can clear up the mystery. If you have the requisite expertise, I am all attention.

Although this video is unsettling, it is not very graphic. You won't see blood and gore. The lack of blood and gore is precisely what makes this event so mysterious.

Update: I usually don't read YouTube comments, but in this case, one Adam Mayo addressed the issue in what I consider a very intelligent fashion.
A watermelon is not a comparable comparison medium. This is an age old myth. So is the idea of someone's head snapping back upon being shot, which is dependent on numerous variables such as type of round that impacts, the angle of impact and the kind of munition that is used. Go look at the many ISIS videos of innocent people being executed at just as close of a range. No flailing heads and sensational splattering of brains everywhere. It is an issue of ballistic science called energy transfer. It is like if you were to drop a large rock in a pool or throw a dart at it. The one with more surface area and lower velocity transfers it's energy to what it impacts more rapidly and completely. A full metal jacket, 123 grain 7.62mm round moving at 2,200 fps at that close of a range will pierce through anything on the human body and continue on it's path. This is one reason why the AK-47 is touted as being superior to the AR-15, barrier penetration. I'm only assuming that is the specific ammunition that was used, however Soviet steel cased ammunition is most common in these weapons due it's inexpensive nature, so I would almost bet my life on them using it. You are also assuming that the bullet, once fired, hit the policeman in his cranium and your argument would hold more weight if this could be seen in the video, however it can not, but the round could have struck him in the soft tissue near the base of the skull or through his neck. Both placements would have the potential to severe his spinal cord and cause immediate Central Nervous System incapacitation and ultimately death. As for the screen shots of blood that you challenged your viewers to, the camera angle and time of the dead policeman on camera are both sufficient enough to hide any blood pool. You can also see many examples of this in thousands of death videos and the afore mentioned ISIS videos. Blood does not immediately spew out of the wound. Immediate shock keeps this from happening in the body. It is one of our natural survival mechanisms. I have to admit I am dis heartened by this video. I respect your outlook on a lot of things and was very impressed when you reviewed and edited the Cliven Bundy video based on integrity. I urge you to reconsider the statements in this video until you have thought out every possible scenario. that it? Mystery solved? I hope one of my readers will have more to say...

(Thanks much to a reader named William Webber.)
"Cui bono, then, killing Charlie? Only those whose agenda is to demonize Islam... This was a pro job that happened to take place just a few days after France recognized Palestinian statehood. And just a few days after General Hollande demanded the lifting of sanctions against the Russian 'threat.'"
Thanks for the link, but I'm hoping someone out there can address the specific issues raised by this video.
Read the comments on this especially the one by adam mayo.
adam mayo:
A watermelon is not a comparable comparison medium. This is an age old myth. So is the idea of someone's head snapping back upon being shot, which is dependent on numerous variables such as type of round that impacts, the angle of impact and the kind of munition that is used. Go look at the many ISIS videos of innocent people being executed at just as close of a range. No flailing heads and sensational splattering of brains everywhere. ...
Charlie Hebdo's next issue will have a print run of 3 million, 50 times normal.

Its front cover will insult Islam, showing the prophet Mohammed saying "all is forgiven". Message: Islam backs the recent killings.

Oh, and humiliatingly carrying a sign sayin 'Je Suis Charlie'. Message: eat our shit, Muslim suckers.

If they'd been responsible, they would have met Muslim leaders and discussed the next cover.

The idea of an established French literary figure or organ saying 'fuck you; I'm loyal to my art and to human values only' is an utter load of old cock. The clercs carried out their trahison generations ago.

Charlie Hebdo against Islam. Brand against brand. Which brand looks stronger? It doesn't seem to me that the answer is some little magazine in France.

As they say in France, the cover is a provocation. So were previous ones. So is Houellebecq's latest bouquin.

All Marine Le Pen has to do is walk forward in a straight line and the French presidency is hers in 2017, if not before.

Didn't France recognise Palestine as a state in 1988, by the way? Most countries did.

I couldn't find a full list on the web, but then the Arab League has never really given much of a fuck about the Palestinians.

Recognition has minor importance in public relations only. The Israelis will only listen to two things: military force and boycott-divestment-sanctions. They are making the running in both areas.

Interesting that Netanyahu mentioned a French aircraft in his Paris speech. Offering a contract? Not that the end buyer need be Israel, as oil pipeline heads will appreciate.

The National Assembly doesn't control foreign policy anyway. But Netanyahu did warn France that (another) recognition would be a "grave error". I'm not saying that's not important for timing... Cf. Breivik.
the lack of recoil seems odd to me.
Maybe police commissioner Helric Fredou, who was assigned to investigate the Charlie Hebdo attack, could comment usefully on this video?

That's if he were still alive. He is said to have killed himself a few hours after getting appointed to the case. (Click here and here.) No shit!
Watermelons and blood splatter aside, it just plain looks like the gunman shoots into the sidewalk. I believe I even see the impact of the bullet. It is not in line with the body in any way, so if it went through the body, it must have made a left turn.
Let's see if they announce the funeral of the cop.
Of course, this speculation in no way dismisses the tragedy of the people that died that day.
You should stick with your policy of not reading Youtube comments, because that entire comment is a bunch of BS.

A point-blank shot from an AK-47 to a person's head or neck would result in massive trauma.
I have no technical expertise in this area but I do have a knowledge of the laws of physics and Adam Mayo's words are utterly unconvincing. I'm not arguing watermelons, but a body isn't liquid like a pool of water. It's solid and it usually stops a bullet in quite a short space of time. If the bullet stops, its momentum is transferred to the body. If I hang a dartboard by a string and throw a dart into it, the board will move. It doesn't matter how pointy the dart is; the board will always move if it stops the dart, because the dart's momentum is transferred to the board. The harder I throw the dart, the greater the initial velocity of the board and therefore the further it will travel. And a bullet isn't especially pointy. It will tear someone's body up, fired at that range. So that's the first question - what happened to the bullet's momentum? Motion of mass is required. The second question is what's that event that occurs on the pavement to the right of the body, looking as though it's caused by a bullet striking the pavement having been fired over, not through, the policeman's body?

I agree with Dojorat here, and with Anon 12.10pm.
What better way for France to enter the fray in Syria against Assad than by sacrificing a likely victim, then stirring up punlic sentiment? So far France has only been involved in Iraq. So however the poor policeman died, the bigger thing had to have been staged.- Ruben
Sorry - that last comment was me. I think I forgot to sign it. Occam's razor suggests that that video does not show anyone being shot.
Does this latest conspiracy include the family of the policeman who have complained bitterly about showing the video?
stickler, you're right in what you suggest. I know that the victim's family has made some very admirable statements in the press, under what most have been the most trying circumstances imaginable. And I can understand why the family would not want the actual murder shown. I feel bad about showing the uncensored video here.

Nevertheless, it STILL strikes me as odd that there is no blood visible in this video.

Perhaps what we are seeing is something akin to an illusion, caused by the angle from which the action was filmed. It may well be that medical personnel who went to the scene will one day tell a fuller story about what happened.

So I am not proposing a conspiracy theory here. I just think that this is an oddity, and deserving of discussion.
First of all, why is this so-called cop on the ground to begin with? Cowering, instead of doing his job?

This entire thing does seem bogus, but why wouldn't the people providing this footage not account for that? There is no blood to signify he was injured before the supposed shot to the head....why is no one else asking this (except somewhere else I saw someone jokingly ask why the guy/s hired to prevent this very thing were so inept as to not stop running guys with guns and masks?)

But now we see this dude on the ground cowering and begging instead of returning fire against the very type of attack he was being paid to prevent.

Why is the only question about whether the bullet hit him in the head or on the sidewalk? Why is he in groveling position to be shot in the first place? Was he not armed? Even if he were that unaware and was caught by surprise....where is the footage of that? Did he immediately fall to the ground and beg for his life instead of doing his damned job? Or was he shot down?


"Or was he shot down?"

Perhaps instead of spending several paragraphs insulting the man you could simply do the smallest amount of research.

Ahmed Merabet was a local police officer who patrolled that area by bicycle. He was doing this when he saw the gunmen trying to make their getaway. He stopped and opened fire on the car with his pistol. The attackers returned fire and hit him several times. This was when the video kicks in and we see one run over and deliver a final shot.

No blood seen before or after and people think that's strange? A high velocity bullet will very easily pass through a human body without leaving major noticeable damage (or, depending on where it strikes it could leave devastating damage). In Merabets case its likely that his police uniform (probably waterproof over the torso and pants) held in any bleeding.

The final shot has many suggesting either a complete miss, or 'Why no blood from a headshot). The angle of the shot is clearly at either the neck of shoulder level, and passing through his body could easily have deflected off a bone or worn equipment to strike the cement where the 'puff of smoke' is visible. It certainly looks odd, especially when tv and movies conditions us to expect otherwise, but it is not at all odd for a real world shooting.

To argue against the plausibility of such a shooting by suggesting his death was faked is bizzare? Was his funeral faked? Was he killed elsewhere? What about the other innocent victims? The journalists, the pedestrian hit by the car, the hostages, the other police officers. Where these all faked as well? Storm Clouds is usually interesting and even-handed but in this case has jumped the gun and made a huge error. This isn't to say it couldn't have been staged, just that it is in no way rational to favor such an explanation when a far more plausible alternative exists.

Apart from this is distracts from the more important question of to what extent the attackers may have been influenced by France's secret service, or, if they were not, how the secret service could have been so incompetent in their monitoring of the attackers.
[My last comment had some bad typos, so please approve this one instead of the other. Thanks!]

Speculating about whether the policeman's killing was faked is beyond ludicrous. Why would the killing be staged? Where is the cop now? How would any of this fit into and serve a conspiracy? Those questions should be answered before people with no forensics or ballistics expertise scrutinize a grainy video. But there are no answers to those questions, because faking the policeman's death makes no sense whatever.

I'm a loyal reader, but I'm disappointed, Joseph, that you haven't explored a much more interesting line of inquiry: whether France's neo-fascists (let's call them what they are; and let's add that they just got shady loans from the Kremlin) in the National Front somehow precipatated this tectonic event to take power. There's no evidence, but there are reasons to ask questions:

-The security services knew those guys were terrorists and had them under surveillance.

-Their heavy weapons were likely purchased on the black market, possibly from organized crime; this contention, admittedly speculative, I heard on CNN from the Daily Beast's foreign editor.

-The attack coincided to the day with the release of Submission, a sensational book about a Muslim candidate beating Marine Le Pen in 2022 and turning France Islamist. The author is incredibly famous, but he has been strangely evasive about his motives for the book, even suggesting that he is exempt from political responsibility - that he's just putting it out there without any personal opinions at all, and without any care for its consequences. An incredibly suspicious tack, for him to suggest he isn't really aligned with the National Front at all, just telling a story. The book is now the biggest seller in France and a propaganda godsend for the National Front.

-A mysterious French intelligence officer, David Drugeon, is widely reported to have defected to the almost equally mysterious Khorasan group, the al-Qaeda nerve center in Syria. The terrorists seem to have trained in Syria; wouldnt it make sense that they reported to Drugeon? And why has the French government, as far as I've read, refused to admit Drugeon's existence? Who is this man, what was he doing for French intelligence, and how and why did he "defect"? Many Western intelligence sources have been quoted saying this sort of defection is unprecedented. One source said the French probably just want to "bury" the issue.

-There is a consonance of interests between the neo-fascists and al Qaeda. Both want the West out of the Middle East. Both hate multiculturalism. Both want to heighten the contradictions.

-French intelligence is notoriously intrigue-filled and has had documented transnational alignments that contradict surface geopolitics. In other words, /deep politcs/.

This is a much more profitable line of inquiry than any asinine speculation about that video. It also happens to be a novel take. I haven't seen this hypothesis put forward anywhere.
A couple of points to add.

1) The Daily Beast quotes intelligence sources saying the terrorists are being reviewed for any links to David Drugeon. But the article doesn't mention Drugeon is very widely reported to be a former French intelligence agent.

2) David Drugeon appears to be white, and he reportedly converted to Islam. No one has found out which intelligence organs he worked for or exactly what he did - or how an intelligence agent managed to get into Syria, make contact with al Qaeda's elite, win their trust and become their "chief bomb maker" while /working for French intelligence/. So this is a very peculiar case.
Thank you, Bran. I usually do my own research, alas. I've heard varying sides claim that the bullets would or would not pass through without recoil or blood. I have no idea which is correct, because people are trumpeting memes on all sides. When police opened fire on Kajieme Powell he crumpled forward....I can't remember how much blood was visible and I don't want to watch it again. Unbelievable that today's world requires researching snuff clips.
David Drugeon links: here and here. That doesn't look like the background of an intelligence officer. A French civilian or military agency might have thought he was their asset, but that goes for pretty much any French jihadist. The reason why the story is being spread will probably remain opaque.
If the bullet was deflected 45º by a bone and then hit the pavement to cause the 'puff', it would lose almost half its momentum to the bone. Even if the direction of the transferred momentum was straight down, I can't get how there could be an absence of visible movement.
This is not necessarily true. A bullet can very easily be 'guided' by a bone without penetrating it. Depending on the angle of entry, long bones like the scapula or humerous can have a bullet run along them and be deflected by protrusions or curves in the bone without losing significant momentum.

People seem to have a really hard time accepting the events that took place on the day at face value. Other questions raised involved supposed 'marks' left on the ground where they stopped their car. These where oil patches that were visible when the video was zoomed out but not when it was zoomed in (or vice versa, can't recall offhand). Others said the car found by police didn't match the one in the video because of different coloured wing mirrors. High resolution versions of the photos showed quite clearly it was the same car. And then people claimed a policeman who committed suicide while (very) tangentially involved on the case was evidence of a cover up. Anyone who can't find the holes in that by themself wouldn't listen to an explanation anyway. Its good that people are skeptical, belief should always be measured to the evidence on hand. Too many people are willfully ignoring the evidence here though.
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