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BrugioniBookRichard Widman reviews


Dino A Brugioni: Photo Fakery: The History and Techniques of Photographic Deception and Manipulation


Dino A. Brugioni was one of the founders of the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center. He also co-authored the CIA's "Retrospective Analysis of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex." In the "About the Author" section of this book it notes that he "became the CIA expert in photo fakery and photo manipulation."

Of course this topic is of interest to revisionists. It is doubly interesting in that the self-admitted CIA expert in photo fakery is also the one who wrote the CIA's report based on aerial photos to prove the Holocaust.

Brugioni was hired by the CIA in 1948. He notes that

"it became immediately apparent to me, even as a neophyte in the intelligence game, that the Soviets had embarked on a massive program of misinformation during the war years. On reviewing still photos, I found that the Soviets had used heavy brush techniques to delete details of their weapons. Care had also been taken to portray their leaders in the most favorable light. Reviewing Soviet newsreels, I found that many battle scenes had been deliberately staged; often, dramatic scenes of one battle would be superimposed to show up in films of other battles."

With this said, Brugioni attempts to lead the uninitiated and the neophytes through the history and techniques of photo fakery. The book is filled with photographic fakes. Interestingly the 5th chapter, entitled "Spotting Fakes" includes a discussion of the concentration camps and Brugioni's work on the subject.

Note that Brugioni in no way claims that these aerial photos are faked -- although it strikes me as incredibly odd that they conclude his chapter on "spotting fakes." It almost strikes one as a sort of game or challenge on the part of Brugioni.

The specific photos included in this chapter are one of Belsen after the British burned the barracks. It is followed by the same photo run through various stages of computer enhancement to "reconstruct" the camp from the ash left from the burned buildings.

clickBrugioni also includes an aerial shot of Belzec. He notes that the photo "revealed the massive pits where the bodies were buried." He also includes one shot of the Birkenau camp from 25 August 1944 and one of Auschwitz I from the same date. In his text he notes:

"In 1978, photo interpreter Robert Poirier and I discovered World War II aerial photos of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp that had inadvertently been taken on leader film during an Allied reconnaissance mission against the nearby I.G. Farben Synthetic Rubber and Fuel Plant. Using a variety of density slicing and enlargement techniques, Holocaust victims who had arrived in boxcars at Auschwitz could be seen being marched to their deaths in the gas chamber. Others could be seen lined up at a processing center for slave labor assignments."

An examination of these two photos in comparison with the CIA report is interesting. Neither picture matches that in the CIA report. The photo in the new book of Birkenau might be the same photo that is labeled No. 4 on page 9 of the CIA report.

The Auschwitz I photo is closest to Photo No. 2 on page 7 of the CIA report.

The Birkenau photo. In Photo Fakery the picture is cropped very differently (if it is the same photo).

The labels are also different. In Photo Fakery much more of the Women's Camp is shown and the "Gas chambers" are at the very far right of the photo. Actually you can not even see the extreme right of KII or KIII. The photo goes right into the binding of the book. Therefore the Undressing Room which is clear in the CIA report (KIII) is not shown in Photo Fakery. In Photo Fakery there is a label reading "Gas Chamber Crematorium" which points to the thick line (fence? hedgerow?) behind KII.

The label in the CIA report that says "Engine Room" and points to KIII is now labed "Crematorium." The label in CIA that reads "Prisoners on way to Gas Chambers" now reads "Group on way to Gas Chamber."

Although the labels are different and the cropping is very different the prisoners seems to match up exactly. Therefore it seems that Brugioni chose to use the same photo in both books but to alter its appearance in the new book. The odd alleged "Zyklon openings" in KIII clearly visible in the CIA report are now off of the photo entirely. It's not that they don't appear, it's that the photo is cropped to exclude them.

The four "dots" that line up behind KII are still visible in the new book. Note that the photo under discussion appears to be the same photo in John Ball's "Air Photo Evidence" page 40. The new book crops it from "Prisoners undergoing disinfection" and cuts off at the vents of KII and KIII. The Auschwitz I photo is similar to Photo 2 from CIA.

However in the CIA report it claims the photo is from 4 April 1944 in Photo Fakery it is labeled 25 August 1944. The photo in Photo Fakery is on an angle. Whereas in CIA the barracks are straight up, they appear at an angle in Photo Fakery. All labels are different. Otherwise the photos cover the exact same section of the camp.

This photo is similar to John Ball's on page 44. However the photo in Photo Fakery is upside down and cropped to only show the far right of this view. Actually there are details in Photo Fakery which go further to the right than the photo in Ball's book.

A final word from Brugioni on False Captioning:

"The falsely captioned photo differs from other groups of fake photos in that, although the photography has not been altered, the context of what the photograph purportedly conveys is simply falsified. Proper captioning of a photograph includes descriptive data regarding the 'who, what, where, when, and why' of the subject or scene. In falsely captioned photos only one or more of these elements is usually mentioned. This type of fake is frequently used in criminal cases to trap defendants who have tried to silence witnesses from testifying against them."

One wonders is that "group on way to Gas chamber" "Prsioners on way to gas chambers" or "Prisoners on way to Barracks" or "Group out on morning jog?"square


David Hebden points to certain unexplained dots on the new 1944 air photo of Auschwitz
© Focal Point 2001 F e-mail: DISmall write to David Irving