Thomas Wictor

More fake atrocities from the Islamic State

More fake atrocities from the Islamic State

Today I studied photos and video of two more fake atrocities committed by the Islamic State. It’s clear why they would fabricate the burning alive of Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Lieutenant Moath Youssef al-Kasasbeh: They needed full control over him in order to make the recruiting film of a lifetime, the ghastly Healing the Believers’ Chests. It’s less certain why they staged the murder of the twenty-one Coptic Christians in Libya, but filmmakers and terrorism experts agree that A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross is a hoax. I don’t understand at all why the Islamic State is now faking the murder of single victims, but it’s clear that the images are not real.

First, the Islamic State released four photos of what they claim is the murder of a young gay man in Raqqa, Syria. He was said to have been thrown off a “run-down building.”


Islamic State_murdering_gay.5



At least two of the photos are composites, and two have been heavily manipulated with computer-generated imagery (CGI). First of all, note the edge of the balcony, which I’ve outlined in red.


The shadow of the balcony is marked with green arrows.


Where’s the shadow of the grate (blue arrows)?



Shadows of support structures and other details are wrong too. The pole casts a shadow (green arrows) as does the hanging cable (red arrows); there’s also the shadow of what looks like a narrow pipe (purple arrow) on the wall, but there’s nothing there to create it.


The shadows of poles, wires, and railings are seen to the left of the objects (green arrows). However, the shadow of the pole supporting the corner of the balcony roof is to the right (red arrow.) Impossible.


Also, the shadow of the falling man is a noticeably lighter shade than all the other shadows, and it’s directly beneath him. It should be far to the left instead of right under him.


And note that the position of the shadow’s arms don’t in any way match that of the man’s arms.

Using my photo-enhancement software, I applied the “equalization” function, which equalizes the light and dark tonal values in a photo. A Czech architectural photographer taught me that the equalization function will reveal superimposed elements of a composite photo. This is because the various parts were taken under different conditions, so the light and dark tonal values won’t match.

Here’s the photo of the falling man after equalization.


The green “X” shows that the interior of the building hasn’t been manipulated. The shadow of the falling man and the pole supporting the corner of the balcony, on the other hand, have gray auras (red arrows) that indicate the use of a “painting tool.” Also, the second support pole from the left now has a shadow to its right (purple arrow).

This image is a composite of two or three different buildings, and the shadow of the falling man is animated. As I said before, I don’t know why the Islamic State would fake this particular image, but it’s clear that they did.

Now a close look at the photo of the man on the ground after he was thrown from the roof. This image has even more evidence of phoniness.


From the left: A terrorist holds out an arm that casts no shadow (purple arrow). A terrorist carries a rifle that casts no shadow (red arrow). A terrorist possesses an elbow that casts no shadow (green arrow).

When we use the equalization function, we see that all the shadows are animated. Poorly.


Many if not all of the figures appear superimposed.

Why would the Islamic State fake such a simple crime as defenestration? Well, as my brother Tim said, maybe they’re no longer rational. That obsessive drive to control everything has made them crazy. When Howard Hughes directed Hell’s Angels (1930), he filmed a scene in which a German zeppelin is shot down on a night raid over Britain.


Before the zeppelin catches fire, German crewmen jump out to lighten the craft so that it can outclimb the British night fighters. Hughes made the two actors playing the German crewmen step through an opening in the floor over seventy times. He filmed over seventy takes, and they were virtually identical.

It could be that the Islamic State’s Al Hayat Media Center is being run by a jihadist version of Howard Hughes.

The second fake atrocity is the alleged shooting of a Syrian soldier in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. I won’t link to the video because it’s quite disgusting, but here are the screen grabs that prove it’s a hoax.

Right before the murderer fires, the trajectory is off.


In this scene, the murderer has just fired the shotgun, and the smoke has reached the kneeling prisoner’s head.


Inarguable evidence of the smoke being CGI. If a real load of 12-gauge buckshot had been fired, I wouldn’t have been able to freeze the video between the eruption of the smoke from the gun barrel and the exploding of the man’s head. Because that’s what happens. His head explodes, and his brain flies out. More accurately, the man’s face is blown off as the buckshot exits.

But the trajectory is still off. There shouldn’t be a puff of pink smoke on his neck, and his face wouldn’t be blown off if he were shot from this angle.


The next big problem is that when he falls forward, the back of his head is intact.


His head has just exploded into fragments, but by the time he hits the ground, his skull is back in one piece. He also never collapses onto his side. Dead bodies don’t remain rigidly kneeling.

There are three different angles of the shooting, and some of the frames show just a neck with no head whatsoever. The one consistency in the film is that the soldier is left faceless. There’s nothing there except a massive, ragged hole. It bears no resemblance to anything human.

We see blood flowing across the sand.


It’s the thickness of clam chowder, the most fake stage blood I’ve ever seen. Then we’re shown the soldier and his perfectly intact brain lying beside his head.


He has a face again. There’s no exit wound, and as we saw earlier, there’s no entrance wound on the back of his head. Everything was CGI. It’s likely that they killed him after the fake death scene, but the apparent corpse we see appears to have been mutilated with an axe. A shotgun blast to the head won’t leave a biology-specimen brain sitting on the ground.

I don’t care why the Islamic State is now faking so much of their horror. Here’s what I care about.

American, Australian, and Eastern European veterans? This will be over much sooner than any of us thought. The need to lie indicates that the Islamic State is probably in deep, deep trouble already.

How sad.