Sunday, February 08, 2015

John Ball's Air Photo Evidence on Auschwitz

A new edition of John Ball's Air Photo Evidence (hereafter APE3) is out and has been published as Holocaust Handbooks volume 27 by Germar Rudolf. The book is a "corrected and expanded edition with contributions by Germar Rudolf and Carlo Mattogno". Jett Rucker was "carefully proofing this edition" and Carlo Mattogno provided a "critical and constructive peer review" (APE3, p. 7).

Actually, most of Ball's flaws were not or not properly corrected, instead Rudolf added some of his own. Previous critiques of Ball's work are ignored and fresh photographic evidence from British archives rebutting Ball's major claim of retouching of the photographs from the U.S. National Archives are not considered either in this context. The expansions e.g. on the "holes" and the Bunker 2 extermination site mainly consist of illustrations and photos recycled from previous Holocaust Handbooks. In other words, Air Photo Evidence clearly meets the Holocaust Handbooks publication standard.

But if one does not mind the text in between, the pdf is a nice collection of aerial photographs of Auschwitz free of charge. Plus, there are a number of hitherto unknown documents on the erection of the "camouflage" fences at the crematoria from Mattogno actually supporting the mass extermination activities at these sites.

The Disappearance of John Ball

According to Germar Rudolf's foreword, he and John Ball were starting to work on the new edition of Air Photo Evidence since late 2003, but sometime after 2005, Ball
"must have decided to simply disappear. To this day I still don’t know where he is, but I have decided to go ahead..."

(APE3, p. 7; note that he vanished once before in the late 90s when his bogus $100,000 challenge was actually accepted by Anti-Revisionists, see John Ball's $100,000 Challenge: Where is John Ball?)

Rudolf believes that Ball disappeared because he probably got scared by the prosecution of other Revisionists. This explanation does not make too much sense to me. These prosecutions concerned leading European Holocaust deniers, who entered (some voluntary, some less voluntary) European countries with Anti-Holocaust denial laws. As Canadian citizen, there was very little risk for him (unless he decided to travel say to Germany and engage publicly in Holocaust denial). Ball disappeared apparently without notifying and explaining anything to his Revisionist fellows. Very odd if he just wanted to hide from supposed prosecution as Revisionist. This clear cut rather suggests he was breaking with the Revisionist movement. Of course, the fact that Holocaust denial has not the best public image - for good reasons - may have fuelled the break.

Anyway, Rudolf speculates that the "increasing social and legal pressure" exerted against Ball because of his first book and website made him feeling so uncomfortable that he had "to move from his old home to an unknown place, and later he apparently even changed his name" (APE3, p. 9). If so, I wonder if Rudolf feels it was responsible to publish another edition of the book, which even includes photographs and biographic details of John Ball, if already the previous publication is supposed to have such a strong negative impact on his life.

John Ball's Air Photo Evidence was published by the author himself in 1992. The copyright is hold by Ball Resource Services Ltd. and "no part of this book may be reproduced...without permission in writing from the publisher". Rudolf hasn't heard from Ball for years and one may infer from his behaviour since 2005 and breaking with Revisionists that the publication of his work as Holocaust Handbooks does not exactly happen with the author's consent. This is morally questionable, but there may be also a copyright issue here. Just hope that Rudolf obtained a written permission from Ball before he disappeared.

Experts at Work? 

Interpreting grainy and fuzzy objects on hugely enlarged photographs taken from several thousands of metres above ground seems like a challenging task. Even more than sophisticated technical equipment, it requires trained and experienced eyes.

We are told that John Ball has "interpreted air photos using stereo magnifying equipment since 1976" (APE3, p. 9). Other than his word, there is no piece of information out there that Ball can actually be considered an air photo expert. He doesn't lay out a great deal of expert knowledge in his book that would safely identify him as experienced analyst nor is there any other verifiable evidence supporting that he was working for a considerable time in the field of air photo interpretation.

Most interesting in this respect is that Ball was rejected as a witness at the Zündel trial in 1988 because the judge did not consider him as proper expert on aerial photographs. It turned out that the judge himself knew more on technical issues of air photo analysis than Ball (see John Ball: Air Photo Expert?, see also the German translation of Lenski's Holocaust on Trial, p. 253 of the pdf). Did he get out of bed on the wrong side this day, or was Ball really as poorly trained and experienced as the episode suggests? Too bad the new edition of the book does not clarify the incident.

Two air photo experts with convincing credentials - Nevin Bryant and Carroll Lucas - have contradicted Ball's interpretation that the US Air Force aerial photographs of the Auschwitz complex have been tampered with after the war. Lucas wrote a very detailed report on his findings, which was published in John Zimmerman's Holocaust Denial in 2000. After reading the report (of which a relevant extract is quoted further below), one can hardly escape the impression that Ball's interpretation that aerial photographs of the Auschwitz complex were retouched by the CIA was superficial and amateurish. The minimum to expect from a new edition of Ball's work would have been that this devastating critique from a known expert on the field published 15 years ago is addressed, yet Lucas is not even mentioned throughout the book.

Ball disappeared for Revisionists some time after the year 2005 (it is, by the way, not far fetched to speculate that Lucas' critique may have played a role in that Ball lost his interest in Holocaust denial activities). As pointed out, his expertise on the issue is rather doubtful. Neither Germar Rudolf - the editor of the new edition - nor Jett Rucker - the proof reader - nor Carlo Mattogno - the peer reviewer -  are known to have any training and expertise in aerial photo analysis. Mattogno's comments on aerial photographs of the Auschwitz complex reproduced in his books are that of an autodidact and amateur on the field of air photo interpretation. Compared to the difficulties in interpreting aerial photographs and the controversial conclusions drawn in the book (contradicted by numerous evidence on mass extermination in Auschwitz), the authors and the collaborators are seriously short in expertise on aerial photography analysis.

Disimprovements

Few corrections have been implemented in the new edition. Among these are Ball's failure to recognise smoke from the backyard of crematorium 5 on the 31 Mary 1944 aerial photographs (APE3, p. 97 vs. APE1, p. 70) and his previous claim that crematoria 4 and 5 were in fact not crematoria, but "may have had another purpose" (APE3 p. 102 vs. APE1, p. 71).

Other gross mistakes have been transferred into the new edition, such as when Ball speaks about crematoria 2 and 3 that "[a]nyone walking by here would have seen...corpses burning on open fires" (APE3, p. 83, my emphasis) and that there is "no smoke from alleged burning pits" (APE3, p. 90), although no open air burnings are claimed to have been carried out at these sites anyway.

Another claim was valid back in 1992, but is outdated in the mean time, and should have been corrected by Rudolf. On page 35 of APE3, it reads that one of the "most generally accepted allegation" is that

"[f]rom March 1942 to September 1944 about 1,500,000 Jewish people...were gassed and cremated at Birkenau".

The figure is cited from Gutman's Encyclopedia of the Holocaust from 1990, but was adjusted to more than 1 Million by the Polish historian Franciszek Piper in 1993, which is actually the most generally accepted death toll for Auschwitz these days. On Jett Rucker I'm not sure, but at least Rudolf and his "peer reviewer" Carlo Mattogno know this too well.

Neither did Rudolf miss the opportunity to add his own flaw to the edition:

"What 1944 air photos actually reveal: Documents prove these Crematoria 3 & 4 had inmate showers and delousing facilities, hence were sanitary installations."
(APE3, p. 102; note the nonsensical assignment of written German documents as "air photos" - clearly a result of extremely sloppy editing and proof-reading)

Actually, there are no documents that prove the crematoria 4 and 5 "had inmate showers and delousing installations". There are German documents on the installation of gas chambers at these sites, but they do not specify the purpose, delousing or homicidal gassing. Neither are there German documents that identify inmate showers at crematoria 4 and 5. There was a "possible consideration" among the construction office to utilise the excess heat from the ovens for heating showers, but there is no evidence this was ever implemented (Mattogno, The Case For Sanity, p. 154). There were "water installations" carried out in crematorium 4, from which Mattogno merely infers that there might have been hot showers installed there.

But my favourite disimprovement of the new edition is the introduction of a circular firing squad. Rudolf has adapted an illustration from his Rudolf report, which shows that the well known black spots on the crematoria 2 & 3 gas chamber's roof cannot be shadows. From this, he jumps to the conclusion that they "were drawn on" (APE3, p. 65). This argument is already rebutted by Rudolf's own collaborator Carlo Mattogno in the very same book Auschwitz Lies, edited by Rudolf himself, when he points out that the spots may be bitumen appearing under a thin cracked concrete layer (Auschwitz Lies, p. 292; Mattogno just forgot to explain why the concrete should have cracked at all at those four locations: because SS personnel were walking around the four gas ports on the basement's roof). What makes this especially hilariously funny is that Rudolf is shooting at Mattogno in a work "peer reviewed" by Mattogno, while Mattogno made his shot in a work edited by Rudolf.

Another one of this sort can be found on p. 67. It says that what has been added to the 25 August 1944 aerial photograph are "marks looking like fences around crematoria 1 and 2 (but see p. 70)". If we scroll down to page 70, we find an article from Mattogno which cites several contemporary German documents including a map that show that "camouflage" fences were indeed planned and erected around the crematoria. These documents - unknown to CIA analysts in the 70s - clearly support that the thick fences observed at the crematoria on aerial photographs are real and were not drawn in. Quite obviously, Ball's air photo analysis is not worth anything.


Cremation Activity

The aerial photographs provide snapshots from Auschwitz-Birkenau. In the period from May to October 1944, aerial reconnaissance flights took one or few consecutive photographs on sevens days of this site. Several seconds of the history of Auschwitz-Birkenau were captured by Allied and German air planes from above on these days.

According to Holocaust deniers, the aerial photographs supposedly refute that mass extermination was taken place at the camp. The extent of visible smoke would not correspond to large scale body disposal activity: 
"1944 photos show no smoke coming from chimneys, and only little smoke from outdoor fires."
(APE3, p. 94)

On 26 June and 13 September 1944, no large scale killings are reported for Auschwitz-Birkenau (according to Czech's Kalendarium as well as the so called Glaser list), and thus no extermination activity is expected on aerial photographs of these days anyway. For 26 June 1944, this was previously pointed out by John Zimmerman:

"The best known of these photos was taken on June 26, 1944. It shows the whole Auschwitz complex which consisted of three main camps: the Birkenau camp where the gas chambers and crematoria were located, the Auschwitz main camp, and Monowitz area of the camp where industrial production occurred. The Birkenau area of the camp shows no activity. However, on this particular day there were no arrivals from Hungary.
 (Zimmerman, Holocaust Denial, p. 50, my emphasis)

Thomas Dalton is the author of Debating the Holocaust. He also read Zimmerman's book, and in fact quoted what I emphasised above. As to leave no doubt that he is not a curious sceptic, but just another stubborn Holocaust denier, Dalton makes the stunning claim - on the very same page he quotes Zimmerman's refutation - that "[m]ost damning is the June 26 photo, which, by standard accounts, should have shown us three heavily smoking crematoria and several ongoing open pit fires" (Dalton, Debating the Holocaust, p.181).

Actually, according to standard accounts, the photo should show us exactly zero smoking crematoria and zero open pit fires, since no transport is reported for this day or the week before (but note that Michael Honey has assigned a transport from Hungary as arriving on this 26 June 1944, which - if true - would mean that a single big crematorium had to be active this day, but of course not necessarily when the aerial photograph was taken).

On 20, 23 and 25 August 1944, the number of mass-murdered people from transports from Lodz was as low as as 1 - 2,000 people per day and could have been handled by one or two killing sites. 

Two days remain: 31 May and 8 July 1944. On these days several transports with Hungarian Jews rolled into Auschwitz and the mass murder machinery can be expected to have run close to full throttle at some point. On 31 May 1944, about 6,700 Hungarian Jews were killed in Auschwitz, and on 8 July 1944, the figure was about 8,800 people (according to Research Notes on The Hungarian Holocaust by Michael Honey assuming that 10% more women were selected for work than men). Both the 31 May and the 8 July 1944 aerial photographs show open air cremation behind crematorium 5. The cremation site seems at least 10 m long and 2 m wide, and may contain a stacked pyre of 100 - 300 corpses (depending on stacking height and density). Obviously, this open air cremation activity cannot account for all victims exterminated on these days.

But it's not that these (rounded up) 7,000 to 9,000 victims had to be killed and incinerated simultaneously, even exactly at the time the site was targeted by aerial reconnaissance planes. Both the 31 May and 8 July 1944 photographs were taken in the morning, between 9 - 10 a.m according to the sun's position. For all we know, the incineration of the victims from the previous day was already finished (apart from the open air cremation site still smoking behind crematorium 5) and new transports with victims did not arrive yet or new victims were not killed yet or were just killed (for 31 May 1944, numerous trains cars can be observed at the Birkenau ramp indicating the more or less recent arrival of a transport; personnel movement is visible according to air photo experts including close to crematorium 4, see Zimmerman, Holocaust denial, Addendum and Shermer & Grobman, Denying History, p. 149). In any case, it is impossible to draw any reasonable conclusion on the issue if 7 or 9,000 people were killed and disposed on these days in Auschwitz-Birkenau, merely based on aerial photographs capturing only few seconds in the morning.

Any likely incineration activity of an open air cremation site can be determined from the absence or presence of smoke, since open wood fires with a surface area of many m² can be assumed to generate substantial smoke most of the time, which should be visible even on aerial photographs taken from high altitude (see the 31 May, 8 July, 20 August and 23 August 1944 aerial photographs of the Birkenau compound).

This is not so clear for the crematoria. The question is, if and to what extent did the crematoria in Auschwitz-Birkenau emit smoke. The "if" can be answered quite easily: SS ground photographs of crematorium 2 and 5 show black soot at the top of the chimney, which is a clear sign that there was emission of considerable smoke at some point before. Less straightforward is to quantify the extent and frequency of smoke. 

In the most extreme case, the chimneys always spouted thick, heavy smoke generating clouds of several square meter projected surface area readily visible on aerial photographs even of poorer resolution. In this case - and only in this case - absence of visible smoke from crematoria chimneys on aerial photographs would be proof of inactivity of the cremation ovens. Revisionists assume this - without saying - when they discount cremation activity based on the absence of visible smoke on aerial photographs. Mattogno is the prime example:
"In the light of what has been said above, the absence of any smoke rising from the chimneys of a crematorium is proof of its inactivity."
(Mattogno, Auschwitz: Open Air Incinerations, p. 65, his emphasis, see also Mattogno's related article Flames and Smoke from the Chimneys of Crematoria)

But I have yet to see evidence that any activity of the crematoria had to be visible on aerial photos. Suppose the crematoria chimneys emitted smoke only during certain phases (such as during start up with cooler refractory) or that smoke emission was depending upon operation, load, composition of corpses. Or suppose that the crematoria always released smoke (as Mattogno argues in the above cited article), but that its quantity and thickness was depending upon such factors, and that it was sometimes or always beyond the resolution limit of aerial photographs. This limit is more than 2 m for the 31 May 1944 photographs (cf. Zimmerman, Holocaust Denial, Appendix IV), and hardly any better for the 8 July 1944 photograph. If any smoke was below what can be actually detected on aerial photographs, then the absence of visible smoke rising from the chimney of a crematorium is not proof of its inactivity.

Hence, the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from examining the aerial photographs of Auschwitz-Birkenau is that either the crematoria were not smoking at the time the photographs were taken or that any smoke was below their resolution limit, but neither of which does conclusively demonstrate their inactivity. Besides, for all we know, the ovens were running idle at 9 to 10 a.m. on these days (i.e. without corpse and fresh coke supply), perhaps the slag was removed from the coke generators to make them ready for the following killing operation, and the chimneys were emitting much less smoke - if anything at all - not visible on the aerial photographs.


The Tampering Allegation

One of the major issue in Air Photo Evidence is Ball's claim that the aerial photographs first analysed by CIA photo analysts  and supplied to the U.S. National Archives have been tampered with. He argues that many marks on the August 25 1944 photograph(s) of Auschwitz are suspicious and thinks that he can "conclusively prove the marks were added to the photographs after 1944" by locating some other marks "that are not natural features and could only have been drawn on" (APE3, p. 61). The argument is obviously logically flawed. Even if he could demonstrate that some marks have been drawn on, it would not "conclusively prove" other marks were added there as well. As inductive argument, such reasoning cannot prove conclusively anything, it can only provide inferential support for his hypothesis.

The first smoking gun for the claim the photographs have been tampered with is supposed to be a cluster of several black spots in the camp section BII of Auschwitz-Birkenau. According to Ball, two of the spots "overlap onto the building roof. Since groups of people could not overlap onto the roof, this is the first unquestionable proof the photos were marked" (APE3, p. 62). Except that this conclusion is far from being unquestionable.

I note there is some interesting feature with this structure, which Ball identified as building. It did not exist on 31 May, 26 June and 8 July 1944. Neither did it exist on 29 November 1944 and later. This structure is only visible on the August and September 1944 aerial photographs. It is about 3 m wide. I have no idea what it was. Nor does Ball. But it is obviously relevant to know what it is and most importantly how big it was exactly on this 25 August 1944 in order to understand if any spots that seem "overlap onto" it may be real or not.

Two days earlier, on 23 August 1944 there was another aerial reconnaissance also photographing the Auschwitz-Birkenau the camp. These frames also captured the camp section BII. What is striking is that this structure appears shorter than on the aerial photograph of 13 September 1944, which Ball took as reference to judge if the spots overlap onto it. Moreover, exactly its western portion encircled here seems rather irregular or patchy. In fact, suppose that the structure did not change between 23 and 25 August 1944, the black spots seem mostly overlapping with the ground or the irregular part, but scarcely with the rectangular portion of the structure, that may be a building or something similar.

At this point, it's helpful to consult an aerial photograph expert (i.e. not John Ball). Carroll Lucas examined the original negative under high magnification and concluded that the formation of people is actually not overlapping onto the building:
"These formations are at the extreme edge of the photograph and can only be observed on one frame. Close inspection and analysis of these formations was conducted due to aforementioned concerns that they may be spurious. The formation that appears to cover a portion of a barracks was viewed under high magnification and the edge of the building can be seen separating a repair stain on the roof of the building from the formation adjacent to the building. The original negative shows no evidence of having been tampered with."

(Zimmerman, Holocaust Denial, Appendix IV, my emphasis)
 
The "second unquestionable proof" that the August 25 1944 photograph has been tampered with is supposed to be a personnel movement in the camp section BI of Auschwitz-Birkenau (APE3, p. 63). The argument has been addressed by Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman in 2000 relying on the analysis of the aerial photograph expert Nevin Bryant, supervisor of Cartographic Applications and Image Processing Applications at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California:

"These two aerial photographs of Auschwitz were shot seconds apart by the same plane on a bombing run on the IG Farben plant on August 25, 1944. They show a group of people moving in marching fashion into a registration building; in the second photo, the back of the line has advanced significantly. This is a common problem in marching untrained groups of people: military marches are synchronized; untrained civilian marches are not synchronized. The Holocaust denier John Ball has claimed that this “zigzag” line was drawn in by the CIA to make their report fit the Holocaust story. However, on the original negative, the line is extremely small and would be impossible to draw on. Ball theorizes that the negative was enlarged about 800%, marked, then reduced and reshot into a negative. Yet the original negatives are not separate; they are still on a giant roll in the archives at Yad Vashem, connected with hundreds of other aerial photographs. In addition, with high-resolution equipment and photographic enhancement, we were able to discern shades of gray between the so-called zigzag lines. The zigzag is produced by a “moiré effect”—  the sizes of the heads in this particular photograph are about the size of the grains in the emulsion of the film, generating an “interference”pattern. (Courtesy National Archives)"
(Shermer & Grobman, Denying History, p. 147)

Moreover, I note that Ball has exaggerated the speed of the personnel movement in his analysis. He argues that the group movement of 3.4 m/s is too fast and highly unlikely (APE3, p. 147). According to the images reproduced by Ball himself, the front of the line as advanced by about 8 m and the back by about 5 m (compared against the width of the horse stable barracks type 260/9 of about 10 m). With 3.5 s between the exposures according to Ball, this translates into speeds of 1.4 to 2.2 m/s, which are perfectly reasonable for average to fast walking.

The camera taken the photograph of 25 August 1944 analyzed by the CIA experts was not the only on this aerial reconnaissance mission at the Auschwitz (Monowitz) complex on 25 August 1944. At about the same time, another Allied plane made four consecutive shots of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which were released by the British in 2003/2004. Both formations of people Ball claims are fake on the photograph from the U.S. National Archives can also been seen on the photographs from the British archive (e.g. the standing formation in camp section BII on exposure 4186). They are obviously authentic features on the ground - and Ball must be one of the poorest air photo analysts ever.

In the first edition of the book, Ball used these two false "proofs" of tampering (plus, a third "proof", not any better, a line of people shown in the Auschwitz main camp compound, which Balls claims is fake because it is supposedly the "same type of sewing stitch mark", APE3, p. 66) as evidence to infer that some marks at the crematoria were also "apparently" drawn in. In the third edition, this is no longer inferred from the previous "proofs", but instead Rudolf offers it as a forth "proof" on its own. He added some illustrations from his books Auschwitz Lies and The Rudolf report on the black spots on the gas chambers' roof of crematoria 2 and 3. But the argument provided by Rudolf only suggests that the spots as such are not shadows from gas introduction ports. However, it doesn't demonstrate they have been drawn in. As mentioned further above, the argument is readily rebutted by Rudolf's collaborator Mattogno in a book edited by himself (Auschwitz Lies, p. 292). Don't ask me why these guys don't bother to read and talk to each other.

Leaving aside the lack of evidence, the hypothesis that the USAF aerial photographs have been tampered with is wholly implausible. If there was such an CIA photo analyst in the 70s wanting to fabricate evidence for the Holocaust, the least thing he would do were to draw formations of people within the Birkenau camp sections, irregular spots on the gas chamber's roof not matching shadow patterns and a thick fence moving around between the various dates. Instead, he would most likely draw into the photos was is typically associated with Auschwitz-Birkenau according to many narratives (based on exaggerated and selective memory): heavy smoke, perhaps fire and of course masses of people sent directly into the crematoria. That the USAF aerial photographs show no visible smoke from the crematoria, limited open air cremation only on 31 May and 25 August 1944 and only few formations of people directed to the crematoria is a safe plausibility test that the photographs have not been tampered with to fabricate evidence on the Holocaust.

The "suspicious" features claimed by Ball - the thick camouflage fence and the spots on the gas chamber's roof of crematoria 2 and 3 - appear also on the 23 and 25 August 1944 RAF aerial photographs. This further rebuts that these features have been drawn onto the USAF aerial photographs. The black spots on top of the gas chambers can be also seen on the 8 July 1944 German Luftwaffe photograph as published by Ball himself. It is noteworthy that the thick camouflage fence at crematorium 2 is missing on this footage. Thus, it was most likely dismantled and re-erected between 26 June and 23 August 1944 (I'm unable to tell if it is on the 20 August 1944 USAF photographs published online).

The original negatives of some of the USAF aerial photographs of the Auschwitz complex were examined by two experts specifically for evidence for tampering. First of all, Nevin Bryant, "one of the world leaders in the analysis of aerial and satellite images" (Robert Jan Van Pelt) found that the "four shaded markings on the roofs of Morgue 1 of both Crematorium 2 and 3 did belong to the original negative and were not added later on" (Van Pelt, The Case For Auschwitz, p. 354).

Secondly, Carroll Lucas, whose "45 years of experience with the Central Intelligence Agency and private industry make him one of the world's foremost experts in the field of photo interpretation" (John Zimmerman), provided a thorough analysis of the authenticity of the original negatives:
 
"Once the cans are reviewed, the original negatives can be reliably separated  from the duplicate negatives by thorough inspection and comparison. This was conducted during the initial phase of the analysis to assure that the original was indeed in the hands of the National Archives, and that analyses would be conducted using the best quality imagery available. Feeling confident that I was looking at the original negative and not a subsequent duplicate negative, my next step consisted of looking for missing frames that would indicate blatant censoring of the mission coverage. All frames containing the Auschwitz complexes could be accounted for, based on the header data and on the lack of gaps in the number sequences. No splicing was observed between frames that would indicate someone had cut out a frame containing the Auschwitz complexes and replaced it. Since the overlap between frames ranges from 55-80%, it was easy to observe whether a gap occurred in the coverage because of a frame being edited out. Procedures used to cut out frames from the original film in the 1940's, and still used in the 1970's was to place a metal straight edge ruler in the metered area between frames, and cut the film, with a sharp knife on each side of the frame of interest. Many times, cuts were made in haste without a straight edge, resulting in unique cuts that would be very difficult to align with the edge of another frame. Since even the straight edge isoriented by hand, the two cuts are seldom, if ever, precisely aligned. Regardless the type of splicing used, this misalignment can be physically observed, and would be positive proof that a portion of the original film is missing. No evidence of such editing/ removal of original data was observed over the sites of interest. Since both original and duplicate negatives were available, one can easily review them frame-by-frame to determine if they both contain the same frame numbers and images. If the original and duplicate negatives were produced by the same laboratory in nearly the same time frame, obvious changes to the originals can be easily detected by comparing the duplicate image to the original. Because of the possibility that individual frames acquired over the Auschwitz I, and Auschwitz II/Birkenau sites may have been tampered with by the CIA, as some historical analysts have maintained, I paid close attention to those frames mentioned. First, I looked for evidence of scribing or inking, or of deletions produced by scraping the emulsion from its base, or splicing that would indicate a missing portion of film. I used the Zoom 240 microscopes attached to the light tables in the National Archives at their maximum magnification (30X) to view the target area within each of the frames in question. Aside from many small scratches and abrasions that could be easily identified as accidental, there were no indications of tampering within the target areas. Each adjacent frame was reviewed (since frame overlap provided a minimum of two, and usually three coverages of the same frame target within the sequence) and no evidence of similar abrasions and scratches was observed. Obviously, if one tampered with a target on one image, one would have to precisely change the matching target images on the adjacent frames. If this was not done, one would not even have to view these targets in stereo to see that tampering had occurred. Stereo analysis would allow one to see the tampering since it would not be three-dimensional unless it was precisely configured in terms of position on all target coverages. A possibility remained that the original frames covering Auschwitz/Birkenau, as differentiated from the I.G. Farben target area, were cut from the roll, objects added, imbedded or deleted by painting or scribing, then duplicate negatives produced, and inserted into the original negative roll, replacing the original negatives of those frames. The first indications that such tampering had occurred would be the presence of splices in the original negative roll at the beginning and end of the frames covering the target. In the 1940's the splicing material used to attach the headers and trailers was transparent 1/4 or 1/2 inch wide tape with serrated end tears, so any such splices are easily recognized on the original rolls. If the splices occurred in the 1970's, and efforts were made to conceal the cuts and splices, a similar transparent material would probably have been used. There is no evidence of the cutting and splicing of film in the original negative film rolls that would isolate frames covering the Auschwitz-I or Auschwitz II/ Birkenau facilities. It is a known fact that there is a loss in quality (primarily in contrast and spatial resolution) in reproductions that are made from the original roll film negatives derived from aerial cameras. During World War-II, field units usually analyzed the original negatives from reconnaissance missions, due to better image quality and time constraints in preparing for follow-on missions. Annotated duplicate positive paper prints of priority targets were produced to provide military commanders and mission planners with the intelligence derived and to allow a determination whether additional missions must be flown. These positive, paper reproductions presented a more realistic image than negative products, in terms of tonal fidelity but with a significant loss in image quality. Such paper prints were also used by bomber pilots and navigators as visual aids during their bombing runs. In order to protect the original negative at that time, a duplicate positive transparency was usually made of each original film roll, and from that positive, a third generation duplicate negative was produced and used to support the film reproduction needs of other field units. Multiple duplicate positive transparencies allowed greater dissemination of the reconnaissance mission photography at the expense of some loss in quality. Obviously the quality of second, third and fourth generation products was significantly poorer than that of the original negative. A "rule of thumb", used in the 1960's, was an eight to ten percent quality loss for each generation away from the original negative. In later years, direct reversal films were developed, reducing (by a generation) the number of reproduction steps needed to produce working duplicate positives and negatives. However, quality losses remain evident between any original negatives and any reproductions. With this background in mind, all frames containing the Auschwitz I/Auschwitz II/Birkenau target areas were compared with their surrounding frames, under magnifications of 60X to determine if a quality difference occurred between objects within the targets and similar objects on adjacent frames. In all cases, the quality did not appear to change. If duplicate negatives had been inserted for the originals in some esoteric way that produced invisible splices, the changes in image quality would still give the deception away. No such quality degradation was observed during this detailed analysis. While viewing the negatives under maximum magnification, particular attention was paid to the positions, quantity and disposition of multitudinous, shallow, thin parallel scratches that did not penetrate the film emulsion. These are caused by rolling the film across the surface of a light-table with the emulsion side down, thereby allowing dust particles and accumulated emulsion build-up debris on the rollers and glass surface of the table to produce continuous fine scratches in the soft emulsion. Many of these scratches will extend throughout the roll. Similar scratches also occur on the anti-halation backing bonded to the film base if the film has been viewed with the emulsion side up. If someone removed frames from the roll, and replaced them with new materials, these previously produced fine scratches will obviously not appear on the replaced film, but will disappear at one end of the inserted film and reappear at the other end. No evidence of such interruptions were observed on the frames containing images of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II/Birkenau or their adjacent frames. While observing the original negative under high magnification, particular care was taken to closely monitor the film edges. When making duplicate negatives, if the original negative isn't precisely aligned to the duplicate stock during the printing process, a thin continuous black edge will occur that would not be on the negative. The presence of this black edge beginning and stopping at frame ends, is a positive sign that a duplicate negative has replaced the original negative of the affected frames. No such indications were observed on the original negatives reviewed. A final test determined that the designated duplicate negatives of these missions, provided to the National Archives by the DIA, showed no discontinuities between them and the original negatives, in terms of frame numbers, unusual splices or unusual quality changes. The cans and some of the reels bore the traditional yellow labels that the military used, and still uses, to identify duplicate negatives. The bottom line is that the cans of aerial reconnaissance film extracted from the DIA files, provided to the CIA, and finally presented to the National Archives, unequivocally contain unedited and untainted original and duplicate negatives of U.S. aerial reconnaissance missions flown over targets adjacent to the Auschwitz I/ Auschwitz II/ Birkenau facilities.
(Zimmerman, Holocaust Denial, Appendix IV)

So to recap this issue, there is no evidence that the US Air Force aerial photographs have been retouched by anybody. Moreover, the hypothesis is highly implausible and rebutted by photographs from German and British aerial reconnaissance missions.

 _______________________
Changelog:
20 February 2015: Corrected typo in Carroll Lucas' name.
1 March 2015: Replaced designation of "USAF" and "RAF" photographs by "U.S. National Archives" and "British archive".

24 comments:

Nathan said...

You know, on the old JREF thread, someone once tried explaining to an idiot that their photo "analysis" from Udo Walendy didn't stick. That it was just nitpicking and that the right way was to verify the photos' chain of custody as you, Bryant and Lucas have done.

The point sailed right over the idiots' head. They think they're so clever, but they're not.

Thank you for the good read, Hans. Keep up the good work.

Jeff said...

Question: who installs showers in a crematorium?

It makes no sense.

Who installs a "delousing chamber" in a crematorium?

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

"These formations are at the extreme edge of the photograph and can only be observed on one frame." - Caroll Lucas (as quoted by Hans).

Assuming you've not quoted her out of context, what's she claims is untrue. The formations are visible in (the widely available on the internet) frames 4185 and 4186, and in neither are the formations anywhere near the edge; in 4186 the formations are closer to the centre than the edge.

Surely she would know that the structure was captured in several photos in that particular overpass. If the formations "only" appeared in a single frame, then that would be strong evidence that it had been tampered with!

Shame on you for passing off such a transparent charlatan as an "expert" Hans.

And further shame on you for pretending that the "thousands" (according to R. Hilberg) of survivor claims about having witnessed flames shooting (anywhere up to 75 feet into the sky) from the crematoria chimneys do not exist. Even two SS men testified to having seen 2 and 5 metres flames shooting from the Birkenau crema chimneys; usually the say-so of a SS-man during his trial is irrefutable evidence for the writers on this blog.


"SS ground photographs of crematorium 2 and 5 show black soot at the top of the chimney, which is a clear sign that there was emission of considerable smoke at some point before" - Hans, HC blogger

"We know that the flames regularly appeared out of Auschwitz chimneys because of collected soot." - Sergey Romanov, HC blogger
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=96187&start=30


Incidentally, on the museum signs present at the northern-end of Compound BIIe, this structure, or at least the actual Pferdestallbaracken, not the additional structure that—according to you—only features in the August and September 1944 photos, is stated as being "Latrines and washrooms".

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Jeff asked:

Question: who installs showers in a crematorium?

Answer: Amongst others, the Nazis.

Get yourself to Buchenwald, go to the crematorium, have a look thru the big glass pane on the left, perpetually locked door on the south wall of the oven room, and you'll see a shower.


Nathan said...

- If the formations "only" appeared in a single frame, then that would be strong evidence that it had been tampered with!-

No. It's nothing but evidence of an accident. A true "tamperer" would've tampered with all the frames. Why stop at one and allow idiots like this one to cry "conspiracy!", why not tamper with the others?

The mind is a wonderful thing to use. Too bad this loser can't use it.

-And further shame on you for pretending that the "thousands" (according to R. Hilberg) of survivor claims about having witnessed flames shooting (anywhere up to 75 feet into the sky) from the crematoria chimneys do not exist. Even two SS men testified to having seen 2 and 5 metres flames shooting from the Birkenau crema chimneys-

And the butthurt dumbass hits us with a non sequitur. What a joke.

Nothing more than an internet loser showing his envy towards a real expert who's far more credible than this idiot will ever be. Move along.

Trash.

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé:
"Assuming you've not quoted her out of context, what's she claims is untrue."

Carroll Lucas is a guy (I misspelled him Caroll in twice in the blog) and you can read his full report via the wayback machine here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100410211303/http://www.mossadist.by.ru/Appendix_IV.htm

The Black Rabbit of Inlé::
"The formations are visible in (the widely available on the internet) frames 4185 and 4186, and in neither are the formations anywhere near the edge; in 4186 the formations are closer to the centre than the edge."

I'm afraid you are confusing the USAF (US) and RAF (British) photographs of 25 August 1944. The photograph John Ball was talking about, and that Carroll Lucas analyzed for tampering, was taken by the US Air Force. From this series of frames there is indeed only one exposure showing the camp section with the standing formation, and the formation is indeed at the edge of the frame:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/imint/images/09-1306a.jpg

So much on your "transparent charlatan" allegation.

The photographs YOU are talking about were taken by the Royal Air Force, there are not identical to the USAF photograph and there were obviously taken from a different plane. I already pointed this out at the blog:

"The US Air Force was not alone on their aerial reconnaissance mission at the Auschwitz (Monowitz) complex on 25 August 1944. At the same time, the British RAF was also photographing the area and made four consecutive shots of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Both formations of people Ball claims are fake on the USAF photograph can also been seen on the corresponding RAF photographs (e.g. the standing formation in camp section BII on exposure 4186). They are obviously authentic features on the ground - and Ball must be one of the poorest air photo analysts ever."

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé:

"And further shame on you for pretending that the "thousands" (according to R. Hilberg) of survivor claims about having witnessed flames shooting (anywhere up to 75 feet into the sky) from the crematoria chimneys do not exist."

Could you please provide a citation for your claim that Hilberg claimed that there are thousands of witnesses on flames from chimnies, thanks!

Actually, you making a straw man argument here. I did not dispute flames from crematoria chimnies. In fact, I pointed out that the chimnies did emit smoke (as there is soot at their top), which also implies that there may have been flames from the chimnies.

What I discussed in the blog is the *frequency* and *magnitude* of smoke emission. I argue that there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that the crematoria *always* emitted *heavy* smoke (visible on aerial photographs) when in operation. This does not rule out that there were flames from the chimnies from time to time.

Jeff said...

It's fairly irrefutable that flames did shoot out from the chimney's due to soot build-up. Numerous witnesses have described it. As Hans pointed out, The Daft Rabbit seem to have it's photos mixed up, something of a repeat of it's embarrassing sophistry on the Belsen Trial Witness thread.

In all his time here, he has failed to raise a single good point or provide any evidence at all for his silly belief that four million Jews were simply transited to (????) and abducted by aliens along the way. Imbecile.

He really needs to stay over at the skinhead shithole that RODOH has become and not embarrass himself any further. That or come over to SSF and see if he can hang with the big boys (spoiler: he can't)

Jeff said...

The correspondence between the air photos (attested as authentic) and the Auschwitz Calendrium is unmistakable.

Now hop along little bunny rabbit....

Jacob said...

Hello there, can someone help explain these photos?
http://i51.tinypic.com/9vgjg1.png
http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/9989/1329220607475.jpg

Jacob said...

Hello there, can someone help explain these photos?
http://i51.tinypic.com/9vgjg1.png
http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/9989/1329220607475.jpg

Arthur Crump said...

Yes Jacob, I can explain them. They were photo-shopped by you in order to create a collage of 'fantasy' pictures to adorn your bedroom wall.

But if you're trying to put forward this as some sort of 'proof' that thousands of Jews were deliberately starved to death and mistreated by your 'silly trouser' wearing ancestors in concentration camps, then well done, you have succeeded. If on the other hand you are trying to prove something else, then basically you're a twat. Goodnight.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Hans said >>> "I'm afraid you are confusing the USAF (US) and RAF (British) photographs of 25 August 1944."

In essence you're right; I was unaware that Auschwitz II was photographed by two different air forces at precisely the same instant on August 25, 1944. But it was not the RAF, but the SAAF 60 Squadron who took the photos I was referring to. And Carroll L. Lucas makes no mention of the SAAF photos in the article you linked, so was presumably unaware of that fact also.

If the photos weren't incorrectly orientated when they were numbered (which seems unlikely), then the SAAF plane was flying west when it took the photographs, i.e. away from the Buna Works...
http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/2d91bc5a665e03d63af31a2e7dd6e957.jpg

...yet Lucas claims the USAF photo in question was taken on the plane's first pass over Birkenau on that day:

5 August 1944 Photographic Coverage was Acquired on Mission 60PR/694 60SQ by the 15th U.S. Army Air Force for Planning and BDA.
The camera focal length was 36 inches, and the flight altitude was approximately 30,000 feet, making the scale of the photography approximately 1:10,000 at nadir. The best photographic resolution was on the order of 4-6 feet. Stereo coverage of Birkenau was available. The complex was covered twice during the mission. The first images cover only the southernmost portion of the complex but include the railroad classification yard outside Birkenau as well as the railroad yard within the facility. It provided the best quality photography acquired over the site during the time frame studied. The second coverage recorded the whole facility but is severely degraded by heavy haze, and smoke from the operating smoke generators protecting the targeted industrial facility. The following comments are on activities observed only on the first coverage, because of the poor quality of the subsequent coverage.



These must be the photos taken on the USAF plane's second pass, and with the same consideration applied to the SAAF photos, the USAF plane was also flying west:
http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/c44e0a767f1bdfa8df5f24faf2f51435.jpg
http://digitalassets.ushmm.org/photoarchives/detail.aspx?id=28531&search=&index=4
http://digitalassets.ushmm.org/photoarchives/detail.aspx?id=28532&search=&index=5


The USAF photo in question, which you linked above in a cropped version, must be this one on the USHMM (who clearly flip and reverse it at will)
http://digitalassets.ushmm.org/photoarchives/detail.aspx?id=28986&search=&index=12
http://digitalassets.ushmm.org/photoarchives/detail.aspx?id=28972&search=&index=8


Have you actually seen the original USAF photos of Aug 25, or just mostly cropped, disoriented, and small versions of the same frame online? What about the other photos taken in the first pass, do they help establish the direction in which the plane was flying on it's first pass? And do you know where these planes (which must have been flying together) flew from?




Hans said >>> Actually, you making a straw man argument here. I did not dispute flames from crematoria chimnies. In fact, I pointed out that the chimnies did emit smoke (as there is soot at their top), which also implies that there may have been flames from the chimnies.

The straw man is yours Hans; I did not claim you disputed the impossible flames from crema chimneys, I stated that you pretended they didn't exist as you choose not to mention them at all.

Please provide some sort of evidence to back up your claim that soot is caused by flames shooting from chimneys. Outside of planet Auschwitz, it's known the reverse is true, soot causes chimney fires during which flames can actually shoot from chimneys whilst they destroy them.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Hans said >>> "Could you please provide a citation for your claim that Hilberg claimed that there are thousands of witnesses on flames from chimnies, thanks!"

Certainly...

Christie turned to page 626 of Hilberg's book, The Destruction of the European Jews, and the following passage:

Most of the Birkenau arrivals saw great flames belching from the chimneys...

Do you believe that is true?, asked Christie.

"Yes. As a matter of fact, in my second edition -- ," said Hilberg.

I suggest to you, said Christie, that it cannot reasonably be true, in that crematorium chimneys do not belch flames. In fact, no chimney can belch flames without burning up very quickly. Did you consider that?

"Let me simply say," said Hilberg, "that there are many accounts of substantially similar nature of the same phenomenon, not only by survivors, but by persons in and in the vicinity of Auschwitz... I cannot characterize the nature of what they saw myself, because I have not seen it myself."

Do you believe those accounts?, asked Christie.

"They are mentioned by several survivors. They were mentioned by railway personnel. They were mentioned by German personnel associated with the industrial complex not very close to Birkenau," said Hilberg.

Could you name the names, please?, asked Christie.

"Well, today Wiesel is another survivor, making a similar description in his book," said Hilberg. (5-1160) Hilberg agreed that Elie Wiesel was the president of the Holocaust Memorial Council by appointment of the President of the United States.

Do you want to name any others who saw the flames belching from the chimneys?, asked Christie.

"Well, there are a number of people. Now I would be hard-put to give you their names, but there are a number of people, as I said, belonging to the railway organization," said Hilberg.

I am interested in the name, said Christie. Generalities are of no value to me.

"Yes. But I did not come prepared with all of the names, there being thousands of them."

Yes, thousands, said Christie.

"Some of which, however, are in print. If you have the German edition of my work, I will show them to you."

Christie indicated he would make an attempt to get the German edition of the book.



Barbara Kulaszka, 'Did Six Million Really Die?' Report of the Evidence in the Canadian 'False News' Trial of Ernst Zündel – 1988 , Samisdat, 1992, pp. 169-170.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Jeff said: "The Daft Rabbit seem to have it's [SIC] photos mixed up, something of a repeat of it's embarrassing sophistry on the Belsen Trial Witness thread."

Those basic grammatical errors are sure funny when contained within comments asserting other people are draft.


Anyway, it was poor JH who was made to look the fool on the Erika Schoepf thread as I shot down each of his "developing arguments" one after the other. His reliance on online sources was also exposed by my familiarity with primary sources on the First Belsen trial. Ragged and ruined, JH finally breathed life to a straw man about a conspiracy, that was, predictably, easily dispatched.

Hans had at least the good sense to stay well clear of the discussion after realising his faux pas in bring the subject up in the first place.

Yours and Nathan's screeching on that thread contained nothing but your usual ad homs., name-calling and spurious claims about fallacies, i.e nothing worthy of responding too. I made an exception here, because you made me laugh. :D

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said:

Hans said >>> "Could you please provide a citation for your claim that Hilberg claimed that there are thousands of witnesses on flames from chimnies, thanks!"

Certainly...


Thanks! It is interesting to see that you quotemined Hilberg in your first comment on this blog posting.

Hilberg is quoted by Kulaszka as follows:

"They are mentioned by several survivors. They were mentioned by railway personnel. They were mentioned by German personnel associated with the industrial complex not very close to Birkenau"

You will probably agree that "several" is way less than "thousands" (and further that there are way less accounts from railway personell and German Monowitz personell than from Auschwitz survivors). Hence, when Hilberg is quoted as having said "there being thousands of them" it was either a statement made in agitation (and should be treated as such) or he is misquoted in the book.

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé:

"In essence you're right; I was unaware that Auschwitz II was photographed by two different air forces at precisely the same instant on August 25, 1944. But it was not the RAF, but the SAAF 60 Squadron who took the photos I was referring to. And Carroll L. Lucas makes no mention of the SAAF photos in the article you linked, so was presumably unaware of that fact also."

Sure, the difference is only that this new set of photographs was released by the British after Lucas published his report, so he could not know about it, while you were unaware about the existence of two different sets of photographs even after I pointed it out in the very same blog posting you were commenting on.

"The straw man is yours Hans; I did not claim you disputed the impossible flames from crema chimneys, I stated that you pretended they didn't exist as you choose not to mention them at all."

And why should I have mentioned them in the first place? Flame emission from crematoria chimnies caused by soot accumulation is necessarily an irregular phenomen, so it does not add anything to the Revisionist claim that the absence of visible activity on aerial photographs is evidence of inactivity of the crematoria ovens.

"Please provide some sort of evidence to back up your claim that soot is caused by flames shooting from chimneys. Outside of planet Auschwitz, it's known the reverse is true, soot causes chimney fires during which flames can actually shoot from chimneys whilst they destroy them."

I did not say that soot implies that there were flames from the chimnies, as if soot is a consequence of flames. I wrote that soot implies that there may have been flames from the chimnies, exactly because soot is a necessary condition for flames. If there was soot then there also may have been flames.

Jeff said...

@Daft Rabbit: you are the last person to complain about screeching and ad homes when you offer nothing by the way of evidence to back up your own screeching. Until you have something to contribute please climb back up Scott Smith's asshole.

Jeff said...

IIRC, You had NOTHING to say to JH on the Belsen thread. Nathan and I were in stitches reading it. Really.

As I said before, if you cannot hang with the big boys at SSF then you are less than nothing to me.

PS: I admit to grammatical errors on my earlier post, but they were cause by auto-correct.

Jeff said...

JH proved that the threatened defence witness at the Belsen trial was in fact provided with armed protection from the court, utterly inconsistent with neo-Nazi presentations of said proceedings as a "show trial". You did not refute this in any way and it ruined your credibility.

Nathan said...

I've never understood how Germans trying the Einsatzgruppen is supposed to refute American leniency towards them. Take note that the same American leniency is proven by the very same source that dumbass tried to deceptively spin as proving that the Americans ( controlled by the Jews of course) tortured prisoners.

Jeff said...

Yeah, that was a howler for sure. I love it how it insinuates that the EWIW JOO COWT made a defence witness disappear, when in fact it protected said witness after she was threatened. Loser.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Hans: The photographs YOU are talking about were taken by the Royal Air Force, there are not identical to the USAF photograph and there were obviously taken from a different plane. I already pointed this out at the blog:

You're completely wrong about that Hans; you've been misleading us all. All the photos of August 25, 1944, were taken by the same plane.

But we now know, thanks to Lucas, that there's a bizarre difference between the Birkenau photos in the US and UK collections.
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?p=72200#p72200

Bob Odom said...

RE: JOHN BALL
I THOUGHT THAT MASAD KILLED BALL SEVERAL YEARS AGO IN HIS CONDO IN WASHINGTON DC FOR DESIGING A LONG RANGE GUN FOR IRAQ I THINK BUT COULD HAVE BEEN IRAN OR SYRIA. DON'T KNOW IF IT'S THE SAME BALL OR NOT.