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There is an interesting discussion going on on MetaFilter about a very graphic video of what appears to be French soldiers shooting at civilians in Cote d'Ivoire. The discussion starts with understandable outrage, but some people begin to question the authenticity of the video and question whether it might be propaganda from the Gbagbo government. There is more and more political video on the Internet and it clearly is more emotional than text. Well respected groups such as Witness have been using video to expose human rights issues for awhile now. It will be interesting to see if/when/how not so respectable groups begin using video on the Internet for political issues or to spin the truth.

I can't conclude either way about exactly what is going on after watching this video. (Warning 100MB and very graphic.)

via Ethan

UPDATE: tao posts a link to an interview of French military on Swiss TV in Real Video format. Can someone who speaks French tell us what they are saying?


After waiting forever for that thing to download I watched it and can't really figure it out either. It's mostly after the fact, showing bodies and shot up people, and then there's some convoys with french flags driving around at the end but the people don't seem too afraid of them and it's really not clear at all what happened at the beginning.

I haven't looked at it yet but will as soon as I have the stomach for it. I have a hard time believing the French troops would do such a thing. Although I live in France I'm not prejudiced toward the country. I would like to see France leave Cote d'Ivoire. Years of colonization has left a bad taste and more.

Given the nostalgia in France right now over "l'Algerie française", I am not surprised. There are still a lot of people in France who believe that the torture and massacre of countless Algerians were justified.

it is really insane and i was speechless after watch the video.

EsmeV, erm, are you sure about the nostalgia in France right now about "l'Algerie Française" ? I'm French and never heard anything about that. If there's any nostalgia it's probably not very widespread, you're making it sound as if most french people regretted the colonial times.

D'you have anything to back that up, or are you just repeating something you heard on TV ?

(Joi : I expect governmental propaganda, but then I haven't seen the video (crappy connection, too slow), and no near to nothing about the exact situation over there ^^)

(And *why the fuck* do these comments want an email address ????)

Emile, I reserve the right to delete off topic or slanderous comments that don't have an email address. I use email addresses sometimes when people post as other people and I need to confirm their identity as well. Sorry about that, but comments here have been abused in the past.


Posted torrent at DV Guide.

Esme, I have never heard about this Nostalgia in France, but I am only 32 years old.

Joi, ok, I perfectly understand. I tend to get annoyed when a post is rejected because I didn't imput an email adress (especially when I have to rewrite the whole thing), but then I also get bombarded with comment spam ...

>EsmeV @ November 21, 2004 07:22 PM
>Given the nostalgia in France right now over "l'Algerie >française", I am not surprised. There are still a lot of >people in France who believe that the torture and >massacre of countless Algerians were justified.

Such comments, without any back up data (reliable sources, polls...), are probably just trolling and meant to inflame this place. They do not deserve the slightest bit of attention. Do not fall right in the pit :-)

However... hi ! Glad to see other French speaking wandering here :-)


I think that the EsmeV's comment are not appropiate because it's like saying that all americans agreed with what happen in guantanamo or in abu ghraib and I think (hope??) it's not true

Ain't going to make any claims about myself since I'm just any mail account on any machine, and in the it's all that we are here. If the contents of this email do not match the moderator's terms of acceptibility I don't mind at all seeing this entry erased. It's not a very happy entry.

Sorry for the details that follow, if you haven't seen military medical manuals or medical pictures from morgues, they will all feel too much and void of a story to tell.

But viewing the video a bout 5 times looking for the usual medical damages of 5.56 bullets you get from manuals and real photos (eg: Israeli troops, gaza strip, Falkland, etc..) I've got a bit surprised as how unlucky the cameraman got in crucial moments and how very lucky he got some moments. And also how out of sync some scenes are. It's a 3 parts documentary with the begining and the end happening close to the french Berliez 6x6 armoured vehicles and the middle part showing the rescue (or rather bad attempt at it, anyone here got there red cross certifs?). What puzzled me was the number of victims with no apparent entry or exit wonds filmed next to pans on other victims that got hit pretty hard. I'd say a good number of the victims look more in shock than actualy hit, check for wounds, see what the rescuers are doing. You don't administer cardiac massage to someone with internal injuries for instance. Here is where some people might have said hoax. That and because of the shakey nature of the film when it should have been stable. Other wounds are definitely not due to bullets but to close combat. (nose punched in, etc..)

Also after the first volley where you can hear one shot and three round burst mode shots, the demonstrators are mighty cheering and mighty close to their potential "executors". You can still see them relaxed and standing a few 5m away from a French tank with French troops turning their back to them. Weird, huh?

Would this be a real shootout, people would mostly be on the ground, or running the run of their life. (1 minute and 57 seconds in the film)

While the FAMAS guns are firing, you can hear a few bangs. I doubt these would have been grenade launchers as the damages would have been more spread with more shrapnels spread around more bodies.

As for the rest of the victim the wounds seem consistent. The head shot is like a head shot actualy happens except that if one of the two bones (the skull or the jaw) explodes one bone is still often visible. It's not a decapitation, but a skull getting blown off with the inner skull skin visible. Except that the scene is cut right into the middle of an other longer scene where the French berliez vehicles are leaving.

As for the French soldiers on the APCs (last scene)... they don't look as if they are cordialy invited for a nice picnic but they don't look too worried either. No insults, no officer is pointing the finger to signal a new danger in the crowd, they are packing up in a rather casual manner. Contrast that with "cover me while I move" regular way of exiting a hot zone (eg: Gaza strip on the news).

So all in all I'm pretty puzzled as much as horrified. But I must say that I have doubt that some of the scenes actualy happened in the order suggested by the short or at the same place/time.

I can't deny there has been some cutting between scenes.

well... when you see the French Army's spokeperson reaction here : (Swiss TV news) it gets cristal clear... :-(

Tao, what are they saying in the video?

Essentially, the report relays the testimony of an eye witness who was on the 20th floor of the hotel right next to where this happened. He says, with utmost certainty, that it was the french troops who opened fire and that the crowd, made up of mostly teenagers, seemed unarmed.
He mentions that the regimen of french troops on location had just recently lost some of their men in a previous debacle and had "la rage" (i.e.: were revenge minded).

Also, it was discovered that snipers had installed themselves on the 6th floor of the aforementioned hotel and had also opened fire from their. Bullet casings and the iD of a soldier were found.
Official report put the dead at about a dozen but the witness, who was identified as not ebing french or from Cote d'Ivoire, says he got the impression there were far more.

(that's just the first half)

They then switch to an official spokesperson, who basically tries to repudiate the witness' words. The reporter tells him that this is only the account of one witness and that they many many more accounts that corroborate this.

The official then does what is basically an exercise in rhetoric, dancing around the question ("did french forces open fire on a civilian crowd?"). The reporter cuts though his crap and asks more forcefully "did they open fire yes or no?"...

Here he starts to stutter a bit, bringing up what appears to have been the official line so far, that they were firing warning shots in response to being shot at.

Reporter then asks "ok, so what happened that a professionally trained army, firing warning shots into the air, managed to hit and kill civilians, including women and children? Did they panic?"

Official then goes back and explains that the soldiers had arrived there at 6am, had been confronting the growing crowd (over 10,000) all day and had "not showed it's rage"...

Dunno, looks like someone lost it and (poor) damage control ensues.

So the video is indeed probably real... Thanks Boris.

I think a small group lost it and the editor of the tape formated the video in such a way, that one may perceive it was an "operation" and not a random incident. I listened over and over again to the gunfire wich tells you much about the firers training, weapon, and level of panic...sounds to me like a quick shove (the first burst probably in the air) then 2 other shooters followed suit,one spastic stayed on the trigger far to long, probly newb or very mad either one is bad.Then some tear gas and some distant single shot weapon was fired 3 r 5 times, thats when i believe the editing took over and the timeline goes to shit.BTW The beheading mentioned has nothing to do with the splattered head at the end some kids were brought in minus their heads to a hospital.

The video is indeed real. I could not watch the "tao" video, since I don't have Real installed at work. But I'm French and recently heard on France Info (equivalent of NPR) a three weeks-old attack on the presidential palace has made twenty or so casualties, declared French Ministry of Defence.

Nostalgia for "Algérie Française" is a real phenomenon, some (ageing) people still regret colonies, especially population colonies. This statement is true for all European countries with a colonial past (and there anre numerous). Algeria is still kind of a tabboo here in France as far as torture is concerned, since most generals are still alive. Some revelations about what happened in Algeria have created many scandals in the last five years.

However, not at any moment is this nostalgia justificatory for torture. On the contrary, there is a VAST consensus on sending culprits of torture to jail. Please document yourself before writing nonsense, people (you know who you are).

P.S. since I have very little time to read blogs, Joi and others: please mail me if you need more information on this topic. I will do my best to answer in a more constructive and correct English.

i'm a french student, i've lived in ivory coast 1986 to 1993, and in 1993 it's was not happy time too to live in abidjan, i'm really shoking about this video, and today i'm not proud to be french

I'm french. The Abidjan Video seems real, unfortunatly. More amazing is that we have to watch a Swiss TV to find a journalist doing is job facing a french army representant.
This could never happen at 19:30 on a main French TV Channel. Thanks Joi Ito for the lightning. Truth will overcome!

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