Wednesday, June 09, 2010

That al-Hazmi dude again

The above image is another version of the image of Sheik Mohammed al-Hazmi I examined last weekend. This version was found on the Ha’aretz website (thanks to a commenter). The caption states the image was taken on 31 May, but doesn’t say it was taken during the storming of the Mavi Marmara.

Compare the above with the earlier image:

As can be seen, the Ha’aretz image is less tightly cropped than the offering from the One Stop Israeli Propaganda Shop. This would seem to prove my earlier conjecture that “the size and aspect of the image suggest it has been edited from a larger image.”

So the Ha’aretz image reveals, not only the Sheik “brandishing” his dagger, but also at least two fellow activists “brandishing” cameras. At least one of the others appears to be clapping hands. None of those pictured with the Sheik appear to be agitated, or in a defensive or offensive posture. Most appear to be smiling.

The dagger, by the way, is known as a ‘jambiya’, which is customarily worn by many males in Yemen. According to the wikipedia,

The jambiya should only come out of its sheath in extreme cases of conflict. It is also commonly used in traditional events such as dances.

It’s clear enough the images above do not depict a state of conflict, extreme or otherwise.

“To celebrate a marriage, men dance with jambiyas drawn.”


I discovered this afternoon that Max Blumenthal apparently debunked this photo on his blog in the last day or so. I’ve been unable to view his post because the traffic to Blumenthal’s site has exceeded his bandwidth; but another blogger sums up:

... Blumenthal noticed something odd about the shot. The raid was conducted at night, but there’s sunlight streaming through the ship’s window. Turns out the fellow was a Yemini [sic] legislator, Mohammad al-Hazmi, who was showing journalists and fellow passengers his Jambiya, a ceremonial dagger carried by many Yemenis. ... al-Hazmi says he wasn’t even carrying the knife at the time of the raid, and with the Israeli troops so eager to shoot, it’s unlikely he would have escaped without a wound or two had he been threatening them.

At least my discussion here serves to show how it only takes a few minutes out of your day to do a bit of fact-checking — unless, of course, your aim is to willfully mislead.

Presumably those who instigated this fraud, and all the willing lickspittles who helped give it legs, believed they were acting in the national interest of Israel. Yet one can only wonder how much this reckless attempt to defame a prominent Yemeni figure may have further poisoned relations within an already fraught region.

UPDATE 2: Blumenthal’s post has been cached here.


And the Yemen Observer reports that a “Palestinian source” witnessed al Hazmi on an Israeli television channel “fighting with an Israeli soldier and vowing ‘Allahu Aakbar’ before he was arrested.”

Next there’ll be a guy whose second-cousin claims an undisclosed source told his hairdresser that al-Hazmi blew spitballs at the helicopters.

I can see a lucrative line of picture books for children of the paranoid, titled Where’s al-Hazmi?



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