The same group that made the Nick Berg video (whether or not they killed
him as well or just staged the beheading post mortem after recovering the
body is still open to debate) killed and beheaded the Korean civilian Kim
Sun Il. They claim to be the same group and internal evidence from the
video supports their claim.
What stands out immediately is the conscious attempt to correct or explain
flaws that were discovered in the Berg video. The group obviously reads
www.rense.com and other blogs but missed LibertyForum. For example,
the costumes are much better, nobody is wearing gold rings, two of the
men are wearing white sneakers, the speaker doesn’t fumble his page,
skin tones are adjusted to appear darker, everybody is on cue when the
execution begins (rather than standing at parade rest or looking over the
script as they were in the Berg video), the chants Allah Akbar are done with
more enthusiasm, a lighter blanket/carpet is used under the victim to show
a pool of blood, and, best of all, the mystery of the black hood/white hood
is recreated in the Kim Sun video: man in black hood does beheading but
man in rusty orange head gear comes in to lift head and camera pans out
to show that man in black hood is still in the scene. Mystery explained.
Plus most obviously: the victim is wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and
the video is filmed in an institutional building like the Abu Ghraib prison.
It may or may not be the same room that the Berg video was filmed in, but
the similarities (masonry wall painted yellow, masonry floor, fluorescent
lighting, institutional ceiling height) are enough to suggest the same building.
The killers do not seemed worried about a forensic team searching Abu
Ghraib for bloodstains, so I would suspect the Camp Cropper secret detention
facility near the airport and just a couple of miles from Abu Ghraib.
If it is any comfort to the family of Kim Sun, he was dead at the time of the
beheading, as were Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg. He was probably killed
by using a head restraint (chokehold). His body is propped up and motionless
in the scene preceding the beheading. His noises, as well as the noises
heard in the Berg video, are more consistent with a chokehold than beheading.
In the Berg video there are vocalizations 15 to 20 seconds after the front of the
throat is cut (even with audio synched to the video).
Two technical points: the video is edited to deteriorate the quality so it looks
like it was shot with a videophone. There’s no reason not to use auto focus
and automatic color balancing, but the video is edited to pixelate and blur
details and to make the timestamp almost unreadable. Colors are
manipulated. The seconds in the timestamp are larger than the hours and
minutes at times. As happened in the Berg video, focus is badly lost
during the supposedly fatal cut to the throat and is never recovered, so no
struggle, no spurting blood, no first cut is visible. (The focus is so bad, the
time stamps are blurred.)
The intention is again to hide details and the impression conveyed is that
“those people” are too savage, too dumb, to figure out auto focus.
The flag banner is very important to the video. If the viewer missed it in an
earlier one showing Kim Sun pleading for his life, it is featured prominently
in the murder video. The video ends on a zoom toward the flag. We get the
point. Do flags have the same meaning in Islamic jihad as they do in western
military culture? What is this flag and why are the killers so anxious for us to
take notice of it?
DETAILS OF THE KIM SUN IL MURDER VIDEO
Scene 1: Kim wearing oj’s and orange blindfold kneeling or sitting on
the floor in front of three persons (from viewer’s left to right):
M1 --- the tallest person, wears rusty orange head gear, holds automatic
weapon (lifts head at end of video)
M5 --- wears light colored head gear, holds automatic weapon, wrapped in
long, heavy ammo belt, remains still throughout most of video
M3 ---- perhaps the shortest person, wears orangish headgear
Scene begins at 0:00.000 elapsed time, 8:15:10 camera time (blurry)
Scene ends at 1:25.466 elapsed time 8:16:36 camera time (blurry)
Remarks: Kim is alive, speaking, quite agitated and afraid, he often makes
moves of bending, turning, his neck is clearly visible at times (compare Berg
Scene 2: After a 4 minute break, Kim is seen sitting motionless in front of
five persons as a statement is read in Arabic (from viewer’s left to right):
M1 --- as above
M2 --- speaker, standing in forefront, reading statement
M3 --- as above, stands in background
M4 --- 2nd tallest person, wearing black head gear, knife in belt
(does the beheading)
M5 --- as above, stands still through most of video
Scene begins at 1:25.533 elapsed time, 8:20:39 camera time
Scene ends at 2:43.133 elapsed time 8:21:56 camera time (blurry)
Remarks: Kim is immobile, though occasional distortions and blurring appear
as a flinch (2:20.600, 8:21:34) or a blink (2:25.000, 8:21:38) lasting less than
a quarter of a second. His head hangs forward, and the blindfold slips down.
His eyebrows become visible around 1:36.600 elapsed time, 8:20:50 camera
time. From that point, the face is blurred out almost completely. It almost
appears as though the face comes into focus at 2:20.000 (8:21:33 camera
time) and what appears to be the mouth can be seen at 2:22.200 (8:21:36)
but this is actually his bearded chin.
A flaw in the Berg video was the speaker fumbling through the pages with no
break in the audio and finding a fifth side of a 2-page statement to read. In
this video, this is corrected by having only one page, and only one side of the
page to read.
The victim does not move at all; even when his eyes come uncovered he does
not look around. He understands Arabic, understands that he is to be killed,
and is quite expressive when he was alive. His lack of movement in this scene
almost certainly means that he was killed during the 4 minute break between
The scene ends with M4 grabbing the victim by the hair and starting to pull him
to the floor, as in the Berg video. The victim does not struggle or move his
Scene 3: Camera is lifted from tripod and focus is lost as victim is pulled back
onto striped carpet by M4. Victim does not struggle. Most of scene is blurred
but occasional details are shown, such as pooling blood under the victim.
Scene begins at 2:43.200 elapsed time, 8:21:57 camera time (blurry)
Scene ends at 2:58.000 elapsed time camera time blurred
Remarks: The blood pooling is consistent with a post-mortem cut. The
executioner (M4) is wearing light-colored pants; there is no blood spray as
would be expected if the heart was beating. A big flaw in the Berg video
was the absence of blood. Only a few could see blood stains on the dark
cloth or carpet under Berg. In the Kim Sun video, a lighter carpet was used
and, though most of the scene is blurred, focus was gained miraculously to
show blood pooling on the lighter carpet.
In the next scene it will appear as though M1 (tall man) has blood stains on
his neck scarf; in this scene at 2:48.200 elapsed time his pinkish orange scarf
with a neat white border is clearly shown before he gets close to the victim. So
the scarf is not bloodstained.
For those tracking timestamps, at 2:53.000 the timestamp appears to be
8:22:55 but at 2:53.600 it appears to be 8:22:57.
Scene 4: Scene is blurry, as M1 is beginning to lift head. At the end of the
scene, M1 places head on the back of the victim (as in Berg video), the
victim appears to have been moved off the carpet.
Scene begins at 2:58.200 elapsed time, camera time blurred
Scene ends at 3:18.133 elapsed time, camera time blurred
Remarks: The black hood (M4)--orange hood (M1) switch is carefully shown
as it occurs and the camera pans out to show both men in the same scene.
A flaw in the Berg video was the black hood---white hood switch that looked
like a costume gaffe since there was supposed to be no break in the action.
Also, the fact that a terrorist wore white sneakers in the Berg video is
addressed in this scene as the camera pans footwear, showing us two men
are wearing white sneakers.
For those tracking timestamps, at 3:15.333 the timestamp appears to be
8:23:21 and at 3:16.133 it appears to be 8:23:22. The baffling loss of time
and lapse of time between two cameras in the Berg video is “fixed” in the
Kim Sun video by making the timestamps so damn hard to read. But the
necessity of obscuring the time required to shoot the video is what makes it