Thomas Wictor

At the root of all conspiracy theories

At the root of all conspiracy theories

Behold a reader’s message. Personally, I don’t believe in ANY of the classic conspiracy theories that refuse to die: the JFK assassination, Area 51, Flight 800, Roswell, 9/11, chem trails, the Illuminati, and so on. Of course some conspiracies theories are true, but the overwhelming majority aren’t.

To me it’s extremely obvious that the Islamic State did not burn Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Lieutenant Moath Youssef al-Kasasbeh alive. In a nutshell, the Islamic State could not risk Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh fighting back or refusing to cooperate. Therefore they staged the burning, promising the lieutenant that they would spare him if he cooperated. His cooperation doesn’t detract in any way from his courage. They obviously tortured him before he was filmed.

Today I found a still that shows that the cage was made of lightweight angle iron (red arrow) to which aluminum tubes were welded.


More evidence that Healing the Believers’ Chests is a hoax.

Part of me wishes I hadn’t written the original post. I could do without the following e-mail. My comments are in green.

Message from a reader

Initially, I disagreed with you about whether the burning of the Jordanian pilot was real or CGI. The only bare skin is his forearms, hands, and head. At the point when his hands are over his head, just before he falls to his knees, you can see that the skin of his forearms has burned off, revealing pure white flesh below, and by the time he grasps the bars, while still moving and still alive, you can see his hands similarly have shreds of black skin over white under-tissue. This cannot be faked.

The white splotches on Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh’s forearms could easily be faked with computer-generated imagery (CGI). They appear only in the last seconds of the “burning,” and they don’t match the white patches on what is certainly Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh’s corpse, seen after 18:52 in the video. White indicates that the flesh has been utterly destroyed. The lieutenant could not have grasped the bars of the cage if his hands had been burned white.

In the images after 18:52, you see that his fingers are splayed because his tendons have shrunk.

Also, it isn’t true that only the skin of his forearms, hands, and face is exposed. The blue arrow shows the bare skin of his right thigh.


In one of the multiple takes, they tore his trouser leg to make it looked burned, but his skin is completely uninjured. The video effects (VFX) guy was unable to animate burned clothing falling off, so this was their token attempt to simulate it.

However, there are many issues with this video, so I asked a friend who is a very well-educated Lebanese, and speaks English, French and Arabic fluently, and is also a years-long-experienced video editor for a major TV network, to look at it. She downloaded it and reviewed it frame-by-frame, (25 frames per second) and showed me conclusively that the flames were CGI. Frame-by-frame, one sees that there are distortions in the bars of the cage, the ground, and the walls behind, caused by the CGI, an effect which is very difficult to avoid.

From a layman’s perspective, I also noticed many strange things. Gasoline combusts, and the heat causes the rest of the liquid to rapidly volatilize, and the gases burn very rapidly and fiercely. We have all seen many videos of gas-soaked national flags being burned, and they blaze briefly and fall to bits almost at once. The immense raging fireball which engulfed the pilot for some 2 minutes was impossible, unless there was some liquid flame retardant/accelerant being used, like napalm. That would not be available to insurgents without government help.

No. Anybody can make napalm by mixing gasoline and polystyrene.

On the other hand, a second before the torch was lit which ignited the fuse, in the closeup of the torch, one could see a clear liquid dripping from the torch. What was that? It is so insignificant, it would almost be overlooked.


It’s supposed to be an accelerant such as gasoline, but as the third drop falls, the piece of wood wool (red arrow) twitches violently from side to side, indicating more low-quality CGI.

Moreover, in the last 10 seconds, the video starts to run double speed and the flames appear to rage like a blowtorch. Why? A mistake?

For dramatic effect, of course.

The video then cuts in the last 10-15 seconds to the kneeling burned corpse in the cage, in which the flames have SUDDENLY subsided to almost nothing. The blazing conflagration is suddenly gone. In my opinion, THIS part was NOT CGI, and we are seeing the real effects of the burning. The foregoing 2.5 minutes was ENHANCED FOR EFFECT as propaganda, with CGI flames.

No. All the flames prior to 18:52 are fake. And some of the flames seen “consuming” the actual body of Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh are CGI (red arrow).


Your observation of the stiff position of the corpse, with arms away from the body and bent at 90 degrees, is what happens to people who have been burned to death. We saw it in the soldiers who were burned in Fallujah and hung from a bridge, and we saw it in many photos of “necklacings” in South Africa.

No. Necklacing victims were burned alive. Their final position indicates their posture at death. The Islamic State showed us a video in which a man sank to his knees and died. When an unconscious or dead person is burned, the body assumes a pugilistic posture—the arms held in front, raised, and bent at the elbows. According to the video, Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh was already in the pugilistic posture at death. The only way his arms would later be held out to the sides would be if his wrists had been tied to the bars of the cage to hold his body upright as it was burned postmortem.

This is rope fiber stuck to a cage bar (red arrow).


The rope was nylon, so it melted.

NOW we come to the really important questions. The production values of this video, (including the CGI flames and the multiple cameras used, long shots and closeups, with excellent editing and continuity,) were so sophisticated, so professional, and so impressive, one wonders: WHO was helping these “ignorant religious fanatics from the desert?” My friend agrees this was a superb professional job of editing, dubbing, and computerized post-production, which had to be done in a studio with the latest modern hardware and software.

Nobody says the Islamic State are “ignorant religious fanatics from the desert[.]” They have billions of dollars and attract some of the most educated, technically skilled people on the planet. Only their murderous cannon fodder are clowns.

Moreover, the video incorporated clips taken from the cockpits of fighter jets, taking off from an aircraft carrier, firing missiles, and so on. Where did ISIS get these video clips? A TV network, or a government, would have access to an archive of such clips, but not an insurgent group in the desert.

No. The video of the F-18 Hornet firing the Sparrow air-to-air missile was downloaded from YouTube. Here it is.

It took me ten seconds to find that video, which shows a US Marine fighter taking part in a training exercise near Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. All the clips in Healing the Believers’ Chests were downloaded from video-sharing sites.

Second, we notice that all the insurgents standing around were wearing immaculate new uniforms. Absolutely spotless. Even their gloves, which we saw closeup in a couple of frames, were unsoiled, even the palms and fingertips thereof, which would get dirty in a half hour of use. Strange. Who were they? Certainly not ISIS veterans of filthy urban warfare, who had been sleeping on the ground and marching through rubble. Compare this to every other video or still photo showing ISIS fighters - they are ALWAYS dirty, if not downright scruffy.

These are not combatants. They’re members of the Islamic State’s propaganda wing. None of their weapons or equipment have ever been used. Some of the uniforms still have creases from where they were folded.

One also wishes we had a database of camouflage fabrics used by the militaries of various countries. They are all different - Jordan, Saudi, Turkey. US, NATO, all use different patterns. Which country uses this particular camouflage fabric? Someone, somewhere, knows.

Millions of people know. The camouflage is Desert MARPAT, a digital pattern developed for the US Marine Corps.




Desert MARPAT is commercially available in many variations. Anyone can buy it, and the Islamic State often uses it in their big-budget propaganda films.



Finally, we come to the voice-over narration. My friend is a native-born expert in Arabic accents, and could tell me that the pilot had a Bedouin family background, from his accent. For example, native speakers of English - Australians, British, Scottish, Canadians, Americans - all have different accents, but they do not make mistakes in the emphasis on syllables in words. They say sy’llable, not syllab’le. One who is not a native speaker of English will make such mistakes of emphasis. The narrator of the voiceover was not a native speaker of Arabic from any Arab country, and made mistakes that no Arab would make. Moreover, the pronunciation of “R” in Arabic is rolled with the tongue against the roof of the mouth, while in Hebrew it is rolled back in the throat. This is how the narrator was pronouncing his R’s - in the Hebrew manner.


So what do you make of all that? I’ll tell you my opinion.

This video was edited and produced in an Israeli studio, narrated by an Israeli, and the whole event probably staged with Israeli help and direction. The crushing with a bulldozer is something the Israelis are especially in love with.

That’s not a bulldozer. It’s a front-end loader.


The pilot WAS burned alive, but the result was deemed not spectacular enough, and the flames were CGI-enhanced in the Israeli studio. The immaculate guards standing around may have been ISIS with brand-new uniforms for dramatic emphasis, supplied just for the event, or they may have been Israelis.

What would the Jordanians and the rest of the world think if they knew the Israelis were involved in this murder, produced the video for ISIS, and may have staged the entire thing as a false flag to discredit the Muslim extremists?

I look forward to your reply.

My reply is that I’m confused. The Israelis and the Islamic State cooperated on a film in order to discredit Muslim extremists? The Islamic State took ownership of Healing the Believers’ Chests. Why does the Islamic State want to discredit itself? A second reply is to ask, “Why do the false-flagging Jews ALWAYS make a glaring mistake that Internet sleuths uncover? If the Mossad and the Islamic State produced the film together, why didn’t the Jews fly in a native speaker of Arabic from among all those telegenic fake warriors, put him up in a five-star hotel in Tel Aviv, and have him do the narration?”

The past eight months have taught me that Jews are at the root of every conspiracy theory. Before June of 2014, I had no idea what most of the world thinks.

I miss being ignorant.

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