Thomas Wictor

The lost art of disagreeing

The lost art of disagreeing

When I wrote my post debunking the Islamic State propaganda film Healing the Believers’ Chests, I had two goals: to show that Lieutenant Moath Youssef al-Kasasbeh didn’t suffer the hideous death depicted, and to undermine the terrorists’ ability to recruit new members. I didn’t anticipate that so many people are personally and emotionally invested in the notion that Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh was burned alive. But they’re they’re letting me know. Their messages reinforce what I already knew, that disagreeing lucidly is a lost art.

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I know. That’s why I wrote this in the original post.

Say a prayer for the soul of Lieutenant Moath Youssef al-Kasasbeh. He was a brave man who volunteered to save people he didn’t even know.

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People who claimed to be video effects (VFX) experts made comments that had nothing to do with what I wrote.

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The flames are never shown in slow motion. These are not “artifacts.” It’s a total breakdown in computer-generated imagery (CGI).

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Others are just angry. They didn’t tell me what’s wrong with my analysis.

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This person may as well have read completely different posts written by someone else.

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Actually, I can comprehend suffering better than almost everyone reading this, since people were murdered and dismembered in front of me. I also watched a corpse being doused in gasoline and burned. My firsthand knowledge of evil, depravity, and inhumanity is one of the reasons I debunked Healing the Believers’ Chests. Letting the lie go unchallenged benefits the Islamic State. Proving—as I did—that the video is a hoax takes some of the wind out of the Islamic State’s recruiting efforts.

The term “dehumanizing” is a buzzword used by those who blather endlessly about feeling “unsafe” due to a differing opinion. I don’t comprehend the mindset, but I’m indifferent to my incomprehension. Life is too short and precious to waste time on worthless absurdities.

Here’s another accusation I’m getting.

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No, I’m not trying to start “an conspiracy theory.” It’s not a theory that the video is a hoax. Look for yourself. This not real.

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It’s some of the worst fire-effects I’ve ever seen. They’re just orange squiggles, like in a very low-quality computer game.

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 At this stage in the burning, most of Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh’s clothing should have burned off. In the following video, fast forward to 2:15 to see what’s missing from Healing the Believers’ Chests.

Why don’t we see large pieces of clothing dropping off of Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh? There are token attempts to depict that, but his sleeves remain intact throughout the entire burning sequence.

This man at least had a substantive comment.

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The problem people have is in concentrating on one smaller element while missing the big picture. Burning rates and properties of kerosene don’t address the following issues:

1. Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh’s skin and hair are uninjured even though he’s engulfed in massive flames fed by an accelerant on both the ground and his clothing. The fluid on his clothing doesn’t catch fire.

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2. His clothing does not burn off and fall to the ground.

3. The cage is made of aluminum tubing and tin painted black.

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Why doesn’t his careening, burning body topple the cage, and why is the roof bar (red arrow) not smoke stained?

5. The bars on the top of the cage ascend like the steps of an escalator, rising in sync with the tower of flame and smoke.

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6. The smoke stops at one bar of the cage (red arrow) and then continues on the outside. Clear, blue sky can be seen between the two clouds of smoke.

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7. Although the video purports to show Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh burned to death while standing up, the trouser legs on his shins survive the flames, evidence that he was burned in a kneeling position, and his body protected the cloth.

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8. The white “third-degree burn” on his right hand (green arrow” doesn’t match the burn in the postmortem images.

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In addition, the skin of his exposed thigh (blue arrow) is uninjured.

9. Puffs of gray smoke appear in the flames.

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These could not be caused by either the accelerant or anything we see being burned. The color of smoke depends on the combustible material. Gray smoke is characteristic of high explosive. There’s no reason for these gray puffs to be there, except artistic license on the part of the animator.

10. From 18:43 to 18:51, you can see the shadow of a man holding a square device in his left hand and gesturing over his head with his right hand.

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This is the director of the film. Why else would he be making large, circular motions with one hand?

“Keep going! Keep going! That’s it! You’ve got it!”

*          *          *

After I met Pierre Rehov, and we agreed to make a movie together, he began asking me to refrain. I can’t tell you the subjects he wanted me to avoid writing about, but I’ve always done as he requested. He and I are on the same page about 98 percent of the time, but we disagree about some fundamental, extremely significant issues.

It doesn’t bother me to do as he asks. For one thing, he doesn’t insult me. And for another, it’s not necessary for me to agree with Mr. Rehov about everything. We’re both members of the Cult of the Imperfect, expounded by Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, inventor of Britain’s radar defenses in World War II.

Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes.

I don’t pretend to be the best. It’s entirely possible that I’m wrong about Healing the Believers’ Chests being a hoax.

If you think I am, prove it.


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