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January 08, 2009

CNN Airs Questionable Film of a Palestinian Death
Starring Mads Gilbert


Reminiscent of the Al Dura episode, CNN has aired a film supposedly depicting the death and burial of a Palestinian child, which raises similar questions about staging. One of the stars of this film is none other than Mads Gilbert, the doctor whose Norwegian foreign ministry-funded junket to Gaza is more a Hamas propaganda campaign than a humanitarian effort. (See Norwegian Doctors in Gaza: Objective Observers or Partisan Propagandists?)

The premise is that a freelance cameraman named Ashraf Mashrawi has filmed the death and burial of his 12-year-old brother, Mahmoud, who was allegedly killed after being hit by an Israeli rocket. CNN Michael Holmes explains that Ashraf has filmed his personal tragedy because he is “determined to show the world the human cost of this conflict.�? Holmes reports:

At a Gaza hospital, doctors try to revive a victim of the violence, their efforts in vain. Twelve-year-old Mahmoud is dead.

The scene shows Mads shaking his head, pointing to a monitor, then placing electrodes on the boy while another doctor performs CPR on the victim. (And the electrodes do not seem to be connected to anything else.)

But while the doctor is vigorously bouncing up and down himself, he seems to be scarcely touching the boy’s chest. Moreover, the victim is not being ventilated at all. Could it be that Dr. Mads Gilbert, a professor of emergency medicine, has forgotten the basics of CPR?

While the film has been pulled from CNN’s Web site, it is still posted on various other sites, including You Tube, Snackfeed and Little Green Footballs.
(Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)

Britain's Channel 4, also airs the curious fillm by Ashraf Mashrawi. Ashraf who apparently works for the station is identified on the film. He alleges on film that his brother was deliberately targeted by Israelis and this is repeated by the reporter. He is shown crying when he gets the news about his brother's death, cradling his brother, pointing out damage on the roof of his home, and burying his brother.

Watch it below:

Since Ashraf was said to to be the one who was filming the entire scenariio, the obvious question is -- who was filming Ashraf? And who really produced and directed the film ?

It is possible that the young boy was killed --and this would certainly be a tragedy-- but the misrepresentation of the film by both CNN and Channel 4 raises questions. Why was this introduced as a film by Ashraf when Ashraf was clearly being filmed by someone else? Isn't it a little too convenient for a cameraman to be on hand to film the entire tragedy? Who edited the film--Ashraf in his grief? Why was the scene in the hospital presented as an attempt to revive the boy when what was shown was clearly not CPR (but rather badly simulated compressions, no ventilation and no defibrillation or any other method of resucitation)? If these are indeed re-enactments of actual events, there should be full disclosure. Otherwise, questions will continue to be asked.

Posted by rh at January 8, 2009 11:42 AM



How about the possibility that they really want to depict the humanitarian catastrophy at Gaza?

While international media weren't allowed to enter the region due to ruthless Israeli bombing («it's for your own safety you're not allowed in») and Israeli FM Tzipi Livni claimed there were no humanitarian catastrophy as the Israeli state provided all one could need of medical supplies and food etc, she claimed.

Staging can be unethical to do by a professional journalist. However, for a doctor that just wants to see a reduction of incoming civilian casualties to your hospital doesn't live by the same ethics.

Not that I fully agree with your conclusion of staging, but it's not a surprise to Norwegian media at least, that the two doctors that were at Gaza isn't the most right-winged conservatives guys. Of course they have sympathy for the Palestinian civilians, otherwise they wouldn't volunteer to enter Gaza at it's worst, and work in such a dangerous place.

Posted by: Per Selvbekk at January 11, 2009 02:34 PM

Maybe the boy was already dead and given up on by the doctor. While the other guy, still persistant, kept going.

You clearly see that the recording is edited/cut, so it is most likely not in chronological order. Why else would they place electrodes on after the CPR.

I don't think you'll need such far-fetched allegations to claim that the doctor is not a right-wing zionist.

Or are you claiming that he's not a doctor at all? I think he mainly work as a surgeon, doing operations, so what it it is this other guy to the right that is doing the compressions that is in charge of the CPR? Normally it's the same person that does the compressions as the ventilation, so why not blame him?

There's too many loose ends. To conclude anything from such a cut is hopeless, in my opinion.

Posted by: Hesus Hamza at January 11, 2009 02:46 PM

Maybe the child is indeed dead. If so, it is a tragedy. But the problem is that the presenters -- both CNN and Channel 4 -- lied about what they were showing. IF the CPR scene was just a re-enactment, they should have been clear about this. What they showed was not CPR. There was no sign of the boy being ventilated. If this was a re-enactment of Ashraf's tragedy, they should have represented it thus. Instead, they introduced it as footage taken by Ashraf Masharawi of the death and burial of his brother, when it is clear that Ashraf not the one filming but is re-enacting scenes for the camera. Unfortunately, these misrepresentations which violate journalistic ethics raise real questions about the authenticity of the scene.

Posted by: rh at January 11, 2009 03:11 PM

It's hard to say conclusively from the video whether the child is dead or not... but some things just don't ring true.

1. The CPR is obviously faked. I don't know what the fat man is doing, but it certainly isn't chest compressions.

2. Why so little blood? Anyone physically injured from a missile hit should be bleeding profusely.... there is not blood on the sheets, the doctors and the only blood seems to be on the mattress.... with no corresponding stain on the sheet.

3. What's with that red blanket covering the body as the doctors attempt to recessitate? Most ER doctors would completly strip the patient in order to determine the amount and gravity of the wounds and not leave an unsanitary blanket on a trauma victim.

4. The report indicated that the brother was killed by head trauma; yet the "corpse" taken home had no visible trauma.

5. If, as the reporter claimed, the body was buried hours after the death... the body should be as stiff as a board from rigor mortis, not with the head lolling about as they lower the body.

6. Real islamic funerals do not allow the presence of women. Why are there women family members present at the "burial?"

It doesn't pass the sniff test with me. I have also written CNN complaining about their decision to use a highly questionable video as "news."

Posted by: Sharkibark at January 12, 2009 09:07 AM

You fail to understand the skill of the Palestinian people. your claim that the CPR equipment wasn't hooked up to the boy shows how little you understand the capabilities of these skilled people who have had to develop their techniques under fire.Any competent Palestinian doctor can perform CPR without touching the victim. It is a form of mentalism they have developed. You think the whole thing through and it works. The Norwegian doctor is probably equally skilled in the healing arts and might even be able to raise one from the dead when needs be. As to the business of who is doing the camera work well of course it was Ashraf. All of you seem to fail to understand the talents the Palestinians have had to develop as a result of their need to win this propaganda war. The Israelis, live off of the fat of the land and have never needed to develop the talent to do two things at once. From the time that they are little children the Palestinians are taught to do many things at once. They can photograph themselves photographing something else, Well I'm starting to repeat myself.

Posted by: David Perelman at May 16, 2009 04:05 AM

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