Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 10: Electronic Edition

Pages 31 - 35 of 215

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 1 MR IRVING:      Do you have any opinion as to the integrity of
 2these photographs?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I have an opinion on the integrity of the photographs
 4which is based on an analysis by Dr. Neville Bryant at the
 5NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasodena done in 1996,
 6and I actually was present in the room with him when he
 7got his job. I was not present when he actually handed in
 8the report.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      Professor van Pelt, is this report of the Pasodena Jet
10Propulsion Laboratory in evidence before us?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It is not, but I have testimony of Mr Michael Schurmer,
12who commissioned the report, of the results and I just
13want do explain the position of Dr Bryant. He is the
14supervisor of cartographic applications and image
15processing applications at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
16and he seems to be the most experienced analyst of air
17photos in the United States.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is Mr Schurmer a friend of yours?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No, he is not. We have met a couple of times.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is there any reason why he would not have provided any
21written version of that testimony to you for the purposes
22you needed it for?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I do not think that at the moment it is necessary to have
24a testimony by Dr Bryant in court. You will have to prove
25this is a fakery, Mr Irving. These photos are at the
26moment evidence as photos. If you want to say that this

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 1is a fake, I would say prove it and then we can get the
 2report of Dr Bryant.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      Professor van Pelt, I think that his Lordship will educate
 4you as to the burden of proof in an English defamation
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I am not sure that is really quite right. If
 7you are not saying that these are fakes, and I think you
 8just told me that you were not putting forward that
 9positive case, then it does not seem to me that it is
10necessary for this witness to refer to the expert analysis
11at all. But, if you are saying it is a forgery or has
12been tampered with in some way, then it may be that we do
13need to see what the expert said.
14 MR IRVING:      In that case, my Lord, I think we ought to ask the
15witness as to the nature of the expertise given by the Jet
16Propulsion Laboratory, which did not go to the forgery
17aspect, as I understand it, but to the aspect of what
18those objects were and how large they were. Am I right,
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Is that right?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. The question which was asked to Dr Bryant was very
22simple. The first question was: Had these negatives been
23tampered with? It was partly based on a suggestion by
24Mr Ball who had analysed them in 1990, using
25analogue machines, which means he did not use computer
26enhancement but he used analogue machine, in which Mr Ball

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 1had said that in the CIA report things had been added to
 2the photo, and this went very specifically to groups of
 3prisoners being marched around the camp where at a certain
 4moment one could see something like a little ----
 5 MR IRVING:      Brush marks?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Brush marks which had been drawn in.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      That is not these photographs, anyway, is it?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It is actually in these photographs, but it is too small.
 9But that was one of the"proofs". It was that group of
10prisoners which is not seen in this enlargement. They are
11walking around in the camp.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]      Can we remain with these photographs, please?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      They are in these photographs but not visual. I am just
14trying to explain the brief which Mr Bryant got.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]      Was he given the original negatives to look at or copies
16of the negatives?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The negatives are in Jerusalem.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      The original negatives are in Jerusalem?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes, there is a roll of negatives in Jerusalem.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      How did the American government negatives come into the
21possession of the Jerusalem authorities?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I have no idea. They are in the Abfashen(?)
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      Are you sure this is not just a duplicate made by the
24National Archives of the United States?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I am not sure. I know there is a roll of negatives in the
26Abfashen and I have been always under the impression that

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 1it is the original roll of negatives given to Israel
 2because of the importance of this material.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      What I think we are really looking for is
 4what was the was conclusion at which Mr Bryant arrived?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      What Dr Bryant did was analyse these images by using
 6computer technology, and he said that the problem which
 7occurred in marching these prisoners which were marching
 8around is that the size of a head of a person is the same
 9as the size of a grain in the negative, and that the
10result of that was that a morey effect which occurs when
11also in the newspaper when you photograph a picture which
12has been screened twice. This is one of the problems.
13When you go to the very small scale, it becomes very
14difficult to exactly understand the behaviour of these
15individual grains at that level.
16 MR IRVING:      Can we remain with the dots on the roof, please? Is
17there any morey effect visible on them?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      We are basically talking about very small objects, and
19I do not know if there is morey effect on them. But the
20issue which Bryant had to address was that the so-called
21proof Ball had for the tampering with these photos were
22these lines of prisoners. Once Bryant showed that these
23had not been tampered with, that there had been absolutely
24no tampering with this image, then the issue of if they
25had been tampered with, the dots on top of the
26Leichenkeller No. 1, became in some way irrelevant,

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 1because the issue which Ball had brought to him was based
 2on those groups of prisoners.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes. So Bryant did not actually address the
 4question whether these dots that we see on the
 5enlargements were added, forged additions?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. He looked if there was any proof of addition to it
 7and he had said no.
 8 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      Generally speaking?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes, generally speaking. There is a second one and this
10is quite an interesting one. Again, the big problem with
11all of this of course is that nothing of this has been
12published. It would have been published by Schurmer if it
13was not for this libel case. People are waiting to see
14what the outcome of this libel case is. That is that
15these photos were taken in sequence, which means that it
16is a mechanical camera which starts running, and photos
17were taken for bombing raids on the Bunaplatz in
18Monowitz. So what happened is that, as the bomber starts
19to approach, this was probably taken by a Mosquito, the
20camera starts to run 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time, and
21starts taking photographs as it is approaching the bombing
23 MR IRVING:      It takes stereoscopic pairs, does it not? In other
24words, each photograph was a certain distance away from
25the next one in terms of seconds, so, when viewed through
26a stereoscopic viewer, you would get a stereoscopic effect

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