I was sent the link to your "Have you noticed something odd about the attack on Olympic torchbearer Jin Jing in Paris? Watch carefully, don't blink" on the 22nd, by a reader of my blog.
I may be wrong, but it sounds like you and Michael haven't heard that other photos of the "attacker" in photo #7 (the famous one) were found by some bloggers in China. Of course they were trying to find his identity, probably so he could be tracked down by the "human flesh search engines" and persecuted or worse. As was done to Grace Wang at Duke.
But what they actually found was this same guy walking along to the protest surrounded by China partisans
I picked this up from Big Lizards [blog] and posted about it here:
Agam's Gecko: BREAKING: LYING LIARS FRAME TIBETAN
It was a Chinese blogger in Japan who first wrote about it, but the link to him and Big Lizards' post are both in mine.
An innocent older Tibetan guy in Utah was targeted as the culprit, and he's been harassed ever since. The photos don't conclusively prove anything, but an innocent man was framed for the deed.
I just thought you would be interested in a bit more of this strange story.
And good thinking to notice that the boys in baby-blue were nowhere to be seen in any of those pictures. Sure smells fishy to me.
All the best,
Thank you for writing. I took some time to read through your posts on various legs of the torch relay. I am impressed with all the good reporting work you've done.
Michael and I did study the photograph of the 'attacker' you mentioned; we saw it at ESWN at this link. Scroll down to second photo). I'll call the attacker Mr X.
I think that the photograph, taken on its own, is so inconclusive as to be useless for the purposes of helping to assign motive to the attack. We counted seven Westerners in the photo. The two in the foreground look like Green Party types, who were on the side of Tibetans in that protest.
And given the huge anti-China sentiment among human rights and global warming activists in Paris, I think you would have been hard pressed to find seven pro-China Westerners at the torch relay.
Yet there is also one Chinese in the photo sporting a China flag, someone (whose face is hidden by the camera angle) waving a red flag, and other Chinese in the background. And there are two darker-skinned men who might be Tibetan, and draped in what may be a Tibetan flag.
All that would make it a very mixed group, suggesting that the camera itself created the illusion of a 'group.' It could just be strangers filing toward a spot along the relay route.
The Chinese girl holding the small red flag seems to be smiling directly at the picture taker. So this may have been a friend who turned to snap a photograph of her while they were enroute to a particular spot for observing the torch run.
And notice that none of those people are looking at each other or talking to each other as they walk, which is not conclusive, but does not suggest a group.
Of course, as you and others have suggested, it could also be a pro-China group, which would lend to the theory that the attacker was working for China's government.
Yet there is not enough data in that photograph to suggest that Mr X was walking with a pro-China group, or even that the people in the photo were a group.
That's why I didn't mention the photograph in my earlier post. However, if I bring in a factor that is external to the photograph, I would be weighted to assume that Mr X would not have stayed around a pro-China group.
If anything, he would have stayed with Tibetans, for 'cover.' So I tend to think that the people in the photograph were not a group and just happened to be caught on camera as they filed toward the relay route.
The other factor I'm referring to is video footage of the moments leading up to Mr. X's attack on Jin Jing. That footage, taken with eyewitness accounts and the striking absence of the 'boys in blue,' suggests that the staging for Mr X's attack came even prior to the actual attack.
I will discuss the video in a later post. For now, I think the staging of the attack on Jin was carefully planned and executed; thus, I doubt that Mr X would have allowed himself to be seen with a 'group' of pro-China supporters.
I interject that it may be hard for people who have not been closely following the torch relay story and the blowback from the Lhasa riots to understand why it was so important for the CCP to stage such an incident. The way things work in China; people in Taiwan see the news on TV, then they get on the phone with relatives in the Mainland; an hour later half of China knows, but by that time the story has been wildly exaggerated.
I've overstated how news gets past China's censors to underscore the cadre's problem. The censors knew they could not block all the negative worldwide publicity about Lhasa and the torch relay. And they knew that a ptotest storm would strike in Paris. It was open knowledge that massive protests were planned.
Hu Jintao's crew also knew that his cadre had built up the Olympics so much to the Chinese people that if world opinion caused them to lose face, it could result in a party purge. So they had to stage a counter-incident that would divert attention in China from worldwide criticism of the torch relay.