Debunked: CyberBerkut Video Supposedly Showing Staged ISIS beheading of Foley

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member


WARNING: While no actual cutting or gore will be shown in this post, some of the images and animations in this article and the comments may be disturbing.

A low resolution video appeared on the web site of pro-Russian hacking group CyberBerkut, dated July 10th, with the description:
http://www.cyber-berkut.ru/main/20150710_00.php
The video shows a very brightly lit stage with simulated desert floor and a greenish backdrop. A film crew and multiple lights surround the stage, but they are strongly backlit. The video has no audio, and is very low resolution so no details can be made out. The kneeling man wears a head cover, to suggest that the head could be replaced by a computer generated image, or separately recorded video.

The video appears to be an attempt to replicate one of the "Jihadi John" beheading videos of 2014. In particular it appears to be an attempt to replicate the video of James Foley. None of those videos show actual beheadings, and instead show Jihadi John sawing at the neck with no apparent blood, and then they cut to a shot of a decapitated head posed on top of a body. This led to speculation that the videos were faked.

The CyberBerkut video seems to be an attempt to reinforce that idea, and has been picked up as such by several alternative media outlets, like Infowars:
http://www.infowars.com/corporate-media-covers-staged-isis-beheading-video/


However we can tell it is not a video of the faking of any of the Jihadi John videos for a number of reasons.

The video does not match

The actions in the video most closely resemble the James Foley video. The "Jihadi John" figure in the Cyberberkut video seems to be trying very carefully to replaced the actions of the original when he steps in to pretend to cut the neck. But putting these videos side by side (synced up with the moment the JJ figure puts his hand on the neck) reveals differences.

The first thing you notice is how similar they are, which indicates a deliberate attempt to duplicate. However there are several differences, apparent even here.

At the start, the real Jihadi John has his arm by his side, but the second Jihadi John has his arm on the back of the prisoner's neck.


The prisoner has his knees wider, which then forces JJ2 to have a much wider stance.


Notice also the gun. In the original the gun in the holster swings out level with his hand. In the fake it is not visible at all during the same motion.


After that point, the video diverges even more significantly. The JJ figure has his head tilted in the opposite direction, and starts fake cutting far too quickly.


This incorrect head tilt applies to all of the similar videos: Foley, Sotloff, Haines, and Henning - in all four videos Jihadi John's head is angles to the camera right. This means that the CyberBerkut video matches none of them.

The lighting is all wrong

In the original the scene is lit from the front with the sun high, and to the right of the camera. It's very clear there's a single light source, and that it's the sun. In the fake, the primary lighting on the prisoner comes from the comes from behind the prisoner, and to the left of the camera


In fact the scene is very strongly lit from behind. You can see multiple shadows cast towards the camera by the actors, and the "director". So it's clear the strongest light sources are coming from behind. This does not match the original at all.


The people faking the video do not seem to have considered that the ground is visible in a portion of the original, so you can quite clearly see the direction of the shadows is wrong.


It's not real green screen

The "studio" does not really look like a green screen studio either. Compare it to real green screen studios:



Does the Metadata tell us anything?

The link to the "original file" on CyberBerkut goes to:
http://www.cyber-berkut.ru/docs/world_need_to_know_this.mp4
(File mirrored here: https://www.metabunk.org/sk/world_need_to_know_this.mp4 MD5=
9a37e2f7a6396bf71fb351d7917e58c6 )

Dumping the Time metadata gives us:
Code:
mp4file --dump world_need_to_know_this.mp4 | grep Time
  "world_need_to_know_this.mp4": creationTime = 3517850714 (0xd1ae245a)
  "world_need_to_know_this.mp4": modificationTime = 3517850714 (0xd1ae245a)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": creationTime = 0 (0x00000000)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": modificationTime = 3517850715 (0xd1ae245b)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": creationTime = 0 (0x00000000)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": modificationTime = 3517850714 (0xd1ae245a)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": creationTime = 3517850714 (0xd1ae245a)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": modificationTime = 3517850715 (0xd1ae245b)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": creationTime = 3517850714 (0xd1ae245a)
	"world_need_to_know_this.mp4": modificationTime = 3517850715 (0xd1ae245b)

Other than the zero timestamp there are two timestamps, one second apart in Mac timestamp format, which can be converted here:
http://www.epochconverter.com/epoch/mac-timestamp.php
And they resolve to Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:45:14 GMT (and one second later).

All this timestamp tells us is the likely date that the file was exported from the video creation software. It's not 100% as timestamps can be faked, but it would seem more likely that the creators would want to fake an earlier time, so this is likely the correct date and time.

However this does not tell you when the original video was recorded. It only tells you when it was exported from the video editor.
 
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cloudspotter

Senior Member.
JJ2 looks down too early as he steps in too. He looks down and steps across whereas JJ1 looks down just before he starts to cut, it's like he can't see where he's stepping very well
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The most obvious thing is the fake killer is way too tall (or the prisoner actor is way too short). The fake killer has to hunch over ALOT further than in the real video.

20150713-065824-p9d9g.jpg
 

titelheld

New Member
What exactly is this Russian hacker group claiming? That the Jihadi John video is faked or that the US is faking beheading videos?
 
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SR1419

Senior Member.

The first thing you notice is how similar they are, which indicates a deliberate attempt to duplicate. However there are several differences, apparent even here.


It also appears that the shirt of the fake Foley moves in the breeze much more than in the original. You can see the wind seemingly ripple across the body whilst in the original it barely moves.
 

Santa's sidekick

Senior Member
Another striking difference is the shape of JJ's right elbow as he brings up the knife - in the original JJ clip it forms a 60:60:60 triangle, whereas in the second clip it remains nearly straight.

Additionally, the prisoner in the second clip has a stockier build than the prisoner in the first and his sleeves are much looser.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It also appears that the shirt of the fake Foley moves in the breeze much more than in the original. You can see the wind seemingly ripple across the body whilst in the original it barely moves.

That shot in the original seems to have been taken later than the rest of the video. Earlier the shirt is flapping in the original.
 

SR1419

Senior Member.
That shot in the original seems to have been taken later than the rest of the video. Earlier the shirt is flapping in the original.

I am confused. Are not the 2 clips posted side by side supposedly of the same instant?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I am confused. Are not the 2 clips posted side by side supposedly of the same instant?

That seems to have been the intent, that people think so. But clearly they are not. The unnecessary wind there is just one of several differences.
 

TSuarez

New Member
I've been talking to people about this all day. I literally cannot convince these people that this video is not proof that the ISIS situation is a false flag orchestrated by the government.

Whenever I provide reasoning behind why this new video is not "evidence," they just reply with "Well why don't you use that reasoning on the original beheading videos? Why do you believe that it was ISIS that made those?"

How can they not see the faults in their logic?
 

trevor

Active Member
I've been talking to people about this all day. I literally cannot convince these people that this video is not proof that the ISIS situation is a false flag orchestrated by the government.

Whenever I provide reasoning behind why this new video is not "evidence," they just reply with "Well why don't you use that reasoning on the original beheading videos? Why do you believe that it was ISIS that made those?"

How can they not see the faults in their logic?

because every truth movement in the world relies and "False claims" and "Strawman" arguments to fuel their theories. I've ran into some AMAZING youtube users who i just could not believe were actually serious. yes, what that guy just said to you is an example of a "Strawman" falacy.

another example:

"I'm pregnant, i think im going to get an abortion"

strawman response- "Oh, you enjoy killing babies?"
 

Gabriel Incertis

New Member
Taking the trouble to build this set and try to fake Foley's execution suggests a propaganda action. The source is the russian hacktivist group CyberBerkut https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CyberBerkut, that is explicitly anti-Ukranian-NATO-US. It wouldn't be a surprise that this group is one of Putin's cyberpropaganda branches but I am speculating.
 
Taking the trouble to build this set and try to fake Foley's execution suggests a propaganda action. The source is the russian hacktivist group CyberBerkut https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CyberBerkut, that is explicitly anti-Ukranian-NATO-US. It wouldn't be a surprise that this group is one of Putin's cyberpropaganda branches but I am speculating.
As strange as this video is I find it hard to understand why Putin would back a thing like this. Putin has, publicly expressed a desire to work with America against Islamic terrorism, and this makes sense in view of the common cultural ties
From his speech at Valdai
http://valdaiclub.com/valdai_club/73300.html
Only after horrific terrorist attacks were committed on US soil itself did the United States wake up to the common threat of terrorism. Let me remind you that we were the first country to support the American people back then, the first to react as friends and partners to the terrible tragedy of September 11.

During my conversations with American and European leaders, I always spoke of the need to fight terrorism together, as a challenge on a global scale. We cannot resign ourselves to and accept this threat, cannot cut it into separate pieces using double standards
I'm sure there must be some more detailed theory about why Putin would back this but I don't see it. What do you think it might be?
 
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Gabriel Incertis

New Member
As strange as this video is I find it hard to understand why Putin would back a thing like this. Putin has, publicly expressed a desire to work with America against Islamic terrorism, and this makes sense in view of the common cultural ties
From his speech at Valdai
http://valdaiclub.com/valdai_club/73300.html

I'm sure there must be some more detailed theory about why Putin would back this but I don't see it. What do you think it might be?
No idea. Like I said, I am only speculating. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned Putin, but for me it seems quite obvious that this set up plays an anti-NATO or anti-USA propaganda, attributing this video to a conspiracy to deceive the public opinion.
 

Jeremy

Active Member
As strange as this video is I find it hard to understand why Putin would back a thing like this. Putin has, publicly expressed a desire to work with America against Islamic terrorism, and this makes sense in view of the common cultural ties
From his speech at Valdai
http://valdaiclub.com/valdai_club/73300.html

I'm sure there must be some more detailed theory about why Putin would back this but I don't see it. What do you think it might be?

I doubt Putin himself backed it, but many of his fanboys can be a whole different lot entirely.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Even Alex Jones (via the more sensible Paul Joseph Watson) realizes now this is not really evidence that the US faked the original ISIS videos, and suggests instead that it was released by Russians, to discredit McCain and the US.

(the above comment is basically a transcript of the video)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Does anyone know why cyber-berkut .ru and .com sites are different? The fake video only appears on the .ru site, however the sites seem to be in sync up to the previous post. They do have slightly different navigation, so maybe they are synced manually. But it seems odd it's just on one site.



http://cyber-berkut.com/
http://www.cyber-berkut.ru/

 

Jeremy

Active Member
There is no evidence supporting this claim. The group who released this video claims it was on the device of a "colleague" of McCain with "a lot of interesting things" that were not released.

This is assuming they really did find it on the device of one of McCain's colleagues. Do you think a bunch of hackers wouldn't lie/spread misinformation? And both videos are obviously not the same.

Also, being a pro-Putin libertarian makes no sense at all.
 

Jeremy

Active Member
Does anyone know why cyber-berkut .ru and .com sites are different? The fake video only appears on the .ru site, however the sites seem to be in sync up to the previous post. They do have slightly different navigation, so maybe they are synced manually. But it seems odd it's just on one site.



http://cyber-berkut.com/
http://www.cyber-berkut.ru/


The false false flag video appearing on the .ru site doesn't seem odd to me at all.
 

trevor

Active Member
is there another execution video made public that matches the actions of the "Fake isis" video? because it doesn't match Foley's, has anyone tried one of the other ones? im pretty sure there is 2 or 3 more.
 

TSuarez

New Member
is there another execution video made public that matches the actions of the "Fake isis" video? because it doesn't match Foley's, has anyone tried one of the other ones? im pretty sure there is 2 or 3 more.

Mick said that the video released by the Russian group doesn't match any of the videos released by ISIS.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Mick said that the video released by the Russian group doesn't match any of the videos released by ISIS.

Yes, besides the lighting being wrong (there's really no way that setup would result in a convincing outdoor video), the simplest difference is that JJ's head tilts in the opposite direction in all the videos when he leans in to put the knife to their necks.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Yes, besides the lighting being wrong (there's really no way that setup would result in a convincing outdoor video), the simplest difference is that JJ's head tilts in the opposite direction in all the videos when he leans in to put the knife to their necks.
Plus JJs right arm doesnt move at all when securing the prisoner, the fake guys arm is all over the place.

And the fake video, they arent even facing the right cameras... whats up with that?


cam4.PNG
 

trevor

Active Member
That seems to have been the intent, that people think so. But clearly they are not. The unnecessary wind there is just one of several differences.

Hey Mick, in regards to the "Mac Timestamp" converter you used to find out when the tape was made, would that work on youtube videos? This is off topic, but I remember someone trying to tell me that the security footage from Dules Airport on 9/11 was fake because there was "No Time Stamp". So if i can figure out how to get a time stamp on that video, that would be awesome!
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Hey Mick, in regards to the "Mac Timestamp" converter you used to find out when the tape was made, would that work on youtube videos? This is off topic, but I remember someone trying to tell me that the security footage from Dules Airport on 9/11 was fake because there was "No Time Stamp". So if i can figure out how to get a time stamp on that video, that would be awesome!
i believe this is the thread with his videos showing how https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-m...-and-other-timeline-issues.t3988/#post-122172
 

Pigeonkak

Member
Even Alex Jones (via the more sensible Paul Joseph Watson) realizes now this is not really evidence that the US faked the original ISIS videos, and suggests instead that it was released by Russians, to discredit McCain and the US.

(the above comment is basically a transcript of the video)

For the first time in a long while, I have to admit that even here, Infowars has made clear and reasonable assumptions for a change. And that's great. It's going to be very compelling evidence if a CT uses the video to claim the US faked the beheading.

In a similar vein, I argued very successfully with a Birther using Joseph Farrah's own admission that he physically laid eyes on Obama's birth certificate and that it appeared to be real and that he omitted certain facts when he 'reported' the birther claims on his World News Daily website.
 

trevor

Active Member
For the first time in a long while, I have to admit that even here, Infowars has made clear and reasonable assumptions for a change. And that's great. It's going to be very compelling evidence if a CT uses the video to claim the US faked the beheading.

In a similar vein, I argued very successfully with a Birther using Joseph Farrah's own admission that he physically laid eyes on Obama's birth certificate and that it appeared to be real and that he omitted certain facts when he 'reported' the birther claims on his World News Daily website.

although alex jones makes millions off of conspiracies, he seems to be becoming more of a "Realist" each and every year. this is now the second or third time he has openly admitted that a certain conspiracy is "Bunk" or "not proof of anything". I think he wants his websites "Credentials" to raise their value.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I think he wants his websites "Credentials" to raise their value
or its just too obviously a fake. He's in "TV" and its not a sophisticated set up at all.

they either rented a low budget 'theater' for a day... which would have the lights already AND that theater looking curtain thats the way wrong color green. Or its a warehouse somewhere and they rented lights, cameras and curtain.

Doesnt look remotely like something the government would put together. Professional green screen video studios use different lights and have green screen on at least 3 walls AND the floor... they dont have to tilt their actors to get the 'shot angle' right (re: the side angle), a professional set up would move the camera. These guys couldnt because if the camera was at the proper angle while the front camera still worked (face on the actors), there would be no 'green screen' behind them.

They couldnt even find a left handed actor to play the killer. You can tell by his body movements he is right handed. He keeps placing his weight on his right leg, not his left. I think this is why they are laughing and the prisoner is reacting the way he does, because the "killer" can't get the body movements right. Not that it's easy to do, basically youre talking switching brain hemispheres.... there is a trick they could have used. But for obvious reasons i'm not going to share it.
 

trevor

Active Member
or its just too obviously a fake. He's in "TV" and its not a sophisticated set up at all.

they either rented a low budget 'theater' for a day... which would have the lights already AND that theater looking curtain thats the way wrong color green. Or its a warehouse somewhere and they rented lights, cameras and curtain.

Doesnt look remotely like something the government would put together. Professional green screen video studios use different lights and have green screen on at least 3 walls AND the floor... they dont have to tilt their actors to get the 'shot angle' right (re: the side angle), a professional set up would move the camera. These guys couldnt because if the camera was at the proper angle while the front camera still worked (face on the actors), there would be no 'green screen' behind them.

They couldnt even find a left handed actor to play the killer. You can tell by his body movements he is right handed. He keeps placing his weight on his right leg, not his left. I think this is why they are laughing and the prisoner is reacting the way he does, because the "killer" can't get the body movements right. Not that it's easy to do, basically youre talking switching brain hemispheres.... there is a trick they could have used. But for obvious reasons i'm not going to share it.

well, when you have alex jones saying "It's bunk", then its definitely bunk.
 

ceponatia

New Member
Haha, however Alex Jones still managed to turn the video being fake into another conspiracy theory. Even if it was made by "The Russians" they would have undoubtedly done a much better job than this obvious group of amateurs.
 
Is it possible this was a rehearsal?
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/jihadi-john-executions-isis-defector-2015-3

 

Jeremy

Active Member
Is it possible this was a rehearsal?
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/jihadi-john-executions-isis-defector-2015-3


That's a good possibility.
 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member.
Is it possible this was a rehearsal?
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/jihadi-john-executions-isis-defector-2015-3

In the fake video not only have they left the "hostage" unrestrained, they seem to be quite relaxed about him moving around. "John" seems to be the only person in any real position to guard the hostage, and he's quite happy for the guy to reach out towards him in what looks to be a light-hearted moment at the end.

If this video is supposed to be typical of the rehearsals then the hands are surely a major mistake. It's unlikely a victim would keep their hands behind their back while actually being executed, and tying them would tip them off that something was wrong.

Ray Von
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
Besides, unless it was a full 'tech rehearsal' that does involve stuff like sound levels, lighting checks and camera blocking etc rehearsals are normally done in areas away from the main studio
 
In the fake video not only have they left the "hostage" unrestrained, they seem to be quite relaxed about him moving around. "John" seems to be the only person in any real position to guard the hostage, and he's quite happy for the guy to reach out towards him in what looks to be a light-hearted moment at the end.

If this video is supposed to be typical of the rehearsals then the hands are surely a major mistake. It's unlikely a victim would keep their hands behind their back while actually being executed, and tying them would tip them off that something was wrong.

Ray Von
If you are a hostage you probably have your hands tied up quite a lot
 
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