28 May 2006

Just a quick look at the 'New Kerry Evidence'

Now, the New York Times link will probably go dead sometime as the deal disappears into their archives. But I've saved you the trouble of reading the rag that shows the demonstrable 'proof' by Mr. Kerry of his actions in Vietnam.

Yes, I couldn't resist taking it and doing a 'fair use' analysis of it. Took all of 20 minutes, and real imagery analysts can probably do far, far better than I can. I mean, I only play around at this... so here is my instant, 20 minute analysis with Photoshop used to add in the nice arrows and such. Original and my commentary side-by-side. If you want a free image viewer that does a few extras you may want to try Irfanview.

(Note: downsampled image... having to work with blogger and it does not *like* large images... So TBD as soon as I can find a way...)

So, the top picture one shows the nice man with some gauze bandaging wrapped around just above his wrist and what looks like, to me at least, a thickness of cloth due to a rolled-up sleeve. Now I am trying to work out exactly how he is holding his arm, what with one guy grabbing it and another's hand blocking it, and the guys in back so close they have to be touching Mr. Kerry.... and either Mr. Kerry has his hand in a semi-boxing stance, in which case the forearm is pointed down and back so that area just under the second gentleman's hand is the actual arm of Mr. Kerry or the forearm is slightly jutting forward... but there appear to be rumpled fatigues there so I went with the former, unless Mr. Kerry has a disappearing forearm.

The second two photos are purported to be the just after and right after shooting incident. The first thing that struck me on both is the 'manly pose' Mr. Kerry was able to strike. And in the one with the body, that guy must have been blown clear through because Mr. Kerry does not have his weapon at the ready, but is on the lazy trek over to check out the raging man he just shot. Now, in that shot Mr. Kerry also appears to have on something other than his 'Lucky Hat', which is on display in photo 2. Also on display in photo 2 is the RPG, not seen anywhere in photo 1.

Luckily Mr. Kerry had time between photos to take off his vest, outer fatigues and change his pants. And look a bit un-sweaty for the climate, the activity and the actual danger. Such a 'cool' guy!

But the truly interesting part of photo 1, the dead body photo, is in the weeds just above the body's waist. There is a discontinuity in the photo with what looks to be part of a letter 'e' partially encircled that has been removed. The clean edges to it and the difference in tonal quality compared to the rest of the photo point to 'something' being there that was then later removed. And as it is so clean, where even a scissors would leave a pit of fraying to become gray at the edging, I would guess it was done digitally. And not too expertly, at that.

Personally, I have found Mr. Kerry's OWN recollections on these things to be so faulty that he has given contradictory accounts at various times in his life.

The top photo clearly shows Mr. Kerry with some gauze on a wound so horrible it doesn't seep and that he can keep his cuff just rolled back from it. Probably 'just a flesh wound', which had some alcohol dabbed on it or something with a bit more bite and Mr. Kerry's scratch wrapped so as to not infect. Painful or even slightly irritating it is not. But, hey, a scratch in combat is still a Purple Heart! Too bad the men attacking the German positions on the scrub laden mountains in Italy didn't have that same attitude... they could have had a trunk full of Purple Hearts. Each!

Photos 1 and 2 of the Silver Star incident are, to my eye, staged. Photo 2, definitely as it happened some time far after the first to allow Mr. Kerry to get a full change of clothes and freshen up, out there on his swift boat... Photo 1, however, shows evidence of digital retouching and is not to be trusted at all. While looking continuous throughout the rest of it, that lack of tonal continuity at the partial obliterated 'e' point to work being done on the image itself. Add that to the stance Mr. Kerry takes as he saunters over to the body and you get the feeling that he absolutely, positively *knows* this is a dead enemy that is not 'playing' dead in order to whip out a pistol and let him have it before Mr. Kerry can shoot him again with his rifle. Which, considering how he is carrying it, is a pretty fair assessment. Now, if you take a look at Mr. Kerry's arm you will see that it is absolutely straight.... do you 'actually' keep your arm that way to check out a freshly shot enemy?

Now, the complaint might be that Mr. Kerry is handling the RPG. Ok, where is the weapon he normally carries and has proficiency with? Does any soldier shoot an enemy then jump from a Swift Boat to shore and *not* carry a familiar weapon?

Just taking a second look that right arm has some peculiarities to it... it looks like the sleeve opens up quite some bit from shoulder to wrist. Now a bit of that is to be expected if you just have your cuffs open. But there are two oddities right nearby. The first, to excuse pointing it out, is the white patch going from Mr. Kerry's right butt, over a crease in the pants and ending in the blackness of the firearm he is carrying. Note, that this casts *no* shadow. The second oddity is the black patch between Mr. Kerry's arm and his torso and extending down across his firearm. This black area ends by the body in the front part, and has a second part under the stock of the weapon and then fading into the lighter background. Finally at the muzzle there is yet a third black patch there.

I really don't know what to make of those as the weapon solidly outlines against it. From what can be seen of the general lighting it is *not* a shadow. Also it is too well defined by the mid-weapon to be something that was part of the original image. The breakup of the black patch near the upper part of the torso is also interesting as it continues on with the same tonal quality evident in the general background. Perhaps some of that is scanning artifact at low resolution scan or from downsampling from a higher resolution image.

Something is just plain 'wrong' about this photo. And I do not mean the corpse.

I will rely upon photo analysis experts who do know their grayscale work far better than I to look at it. But until the original, high resolution images are made available with the actual scanner make and model and date scanned with it, I will not trust any of them. By prevaricating, fabricating and contradicting these stories multiple times, Mr. Kerry is now in the bad position of having to have clear cut, evidential proof of his actions.

Most Vietnam vets that I have talked to have just said, 'I thought it had to be done and I had a job to do... have another beer?'. Or they give me stuff that I really, truly didn't need to know... but am happy for them to have lightened their lives by sharing it with me. It is a minor burden compared to what they are under.

Too bad Mr. Kerry didn't do the same.

[UPDATE] My thanks to PeterUK for some information at JOM on this:


a quote from the other thread,
The Boston Globe has:

"I'll show you where they shot from. See? That's the hole covered up with reeds," says Kerry, showing the films on a recent evening, his hand tightening on the remote control as he clicks the images down to slow motion.

"This is just something that I improvised. . . . The point was not to just take an ambush, but to go directly at them," adds Kerry, pointing to where he brought the boat ashore, and explaining how he returned later with a Super 8 millimeter hand-held movie camera to record highlights of the mission. "That's me right there. One of my crew was filming all this."

So there you have it! In order to train his men he went back to the scene of a fight were he left the dead body out to rot and then asked to be filmed as he showed how he did his heroic deed. It was for 'training' I guess. Not that he could have just used any anonymous piece of shorline and demonstrated it. Or, if his tactics were so innovative, have some sort of official recognition of it by sending a military film crew out.

Or capturing his wonderfulness in all of its glory for his later campaigning.

Any way you cut it, the action is morbid. And that he still points to it with pride says very much about the Senator and his accomplishments in life.

Or lack of same.

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