Enderlin answers Bourret: Fisking Enderlin’s Blog’s Response (later removed)

In his on-going saga of hitting the bottom and digging, Charles Enderlin has dealt with a challenge on his blog from a major French news anchor, Jean-Claude Bourret on the issue of blood. The answer exemplifies not only the fundamentally flawed nature of Enderlin’s “argumentation,” but illustrates his sheer contempt for any demand that he engage in serious discussion. This answer matches quite closely the aggressive, know-nothing tone he takes with Esther Schapira when she asks him about the blood.

[NB: While I was working on this exchange, Charles Enderlin took it down from his site, saying

“Ayant eu un long dialogue avec JC Boutet [sic], j’ai mis hors ligne les éléments de cette discussion.” [Having had a long dialogue with JC Boutet [sic] I took the elements of this discussion offline.]

I won’t guess what motivated such a strange move, but maybe it has to do with how revealing it was of the poverty of his thought, as analyzed below.]

The issue in question concerns the following photograph, taken the following day, October 1, 2000.

Now there a multiple problems with this photo.

  • 1) The blood is red, despite having been exposed to air and sun for hours. This detail suggests that the blood was added later. Several things corroborate such a suspicion.
  • 2) The blood is where the father was sitting, but the place where the son bled for “twenty minutes” from a gaping stomach wound has not a trace of blood. Again this suggests that the blood was added later without thinking seriously about what it should look like.
  • 3) There is no sign of blood behind the barrel either immediately after the father and son are gone, or the next morning when Talal comes back to film the place.
  • 4) There is no blood on the wall, despite the claim that the father and son were hit by 15 bullets, none of which were recovered in the hospital because, claimed the doctors, they went through the bodies. Hence, one would expect the wall to be splattered with bullet holes and blood.

Esther Schapira asks Enderlin about this in her second movie:

Esther Schapira: It [the incident] happened the day before. The sun shone. Shouldn’t it be dark blood?

Endlerlin: Not when… I’m no specialist, but the next day there was blood there. It was dark, it was… I don’t know how the photo was taken.

Like many of his responses to Esther Schapira the second time around, he’s belligerently contemptuous of the evidence and the argument.

In writing we find the same style. Jean-Claude Bourret left the following question at Enderlin’s blog:

Bonjour Charles!

Je sais que cette “campagne” comme tu la nomme n’est pas agréable pour toi. mais j’ai assité à l’enquête de Philippe Karsenty et je la trouve très convaincante. J’étais également présent à une soirée, ou après la projection, un débat a opposé M. Karsenty à l’un de tes défenseurs. Ce dernier a été pathétique, ne faisant que renforcer la démonstration de M. Karsenty.Parmi les dizaines d’arguments, il y en a un, un seul, auquel je ne trouve pas de réponse : comment se fait il que les deux corps, transpercés par une douzaine de munitions de guerre, et restés 40 minutes contre le mur, comment se fait il qu’il n’y ait pas une goutte de sang, ni sur les vêtements, ni sur le trottoir?

[Hello Charles, I know that this “campaign” as you call it isn’t much fun for you, but I attended Philippe Karsenty’s inquest and I found it quite convincing. I was also at an evening where, after the presentation, a debate opposed Mr. Karsenty to one of your defenders. The latter was pathetic, only reinforcing Mr. Karsenty’s presentation. Among the dozens of arguments, there is one, one only, to which I have not found a response: How is it that there’s not a drop of blood, neither on his clothes, nor on the sidewalk? – rl translation]

To which, one might add, “nor on the wall.” Enderlin replies:

On m’a signalé que tu donnais également des conférences dans le cadre de cette campagne de diffamation. Néanmoins je vais te répondre:

Comment peux-tu, toi un journaliste de télévision analyser des rushes d’un reportage filmé sous le feu comme si c’était une vidéo de supermarché… Talal, le cameraman, a filmé ce qu’il pouvait. Il y a des coupes caméra avec un time code qui courre d’un bout à l’autre.

Quand au sang, il y a bien sur ce que vous qualifiez de chiffon rouge…. Quand à la tache de sang sur le sol… Elle existait bien. Le général palestinien qui s’est rendu le lendemain sur place pour ramasser les balles l’a fait couvrir de sable (devant la vingtaine de soldats israéliens qui étaient dans la position et ont donc tout vu). Nous avons l’image du général… Si toi et les autres experts qui n’ont jamais mis les pieds à gaza ou assisté à un clash entre israéliens et palestiniens aviez posé la question à un chirurgien opérant des blessures de guerres, il vous aurait dit que souvent, elles saignent peu.

Enfin, visiblement, vous croyez être mieux informés que les renseignements militaires israéliens et le Shin Beth qui n’ont jamais trouvé trace d’une conspiration à laquelle auraient participé des dizaines de palestiniens devant une position militaire israélienne, des dizaines de médecins, d’infirmiers de d’infirmières de l’hôpital Shiffa à gaza. Les médecins-généraux jordaniens qui ont opéré le père à Amman etc.

Pour la sécurité israélienne le caméraman, Talal, est blanc comme neige. Mais, bien sur les experts parisiens dont tu fais partie sont mieux renseignés. C’est une campagne absolument ignoble. je continue d’ailleurs à recevoir des menaces de tes amis.

[I’ve been told you were also giving talks in the framework of this campaign of diffamation. Nevertheless, I’ll respond.

How can you, a television journalist, analyze rushes from a report filmed under fire as if it were a supermarket video… Talal, the cameraman, filmed what he could. There are cuts in the filming with a time-code that ran from the beginning to the end.

As for blood, there is, of course, what you qualify as the red rag… As for the blood stain on the ground… it really did exiswt. The Palestinian general who was there the next day to pick up the bullets, had it covered with sand (in front of some 20 Israelis soldiers who were in their bunker and therefore saw everything). We have the picture of the general… If you and the other experts who have never set foot in Gaza or been involved in a clash between Israelis and Palestinians had asked a surgeon operating on war injuries, they would tell you that often, they bleed very little.

Finally, obviously, you think you’re better informed that the Israeli military intelligence and the Shin Bet qui have never found any trace of a conspiracy in which dozens of Palestinians would have had to participate in front of an Israeli military position, dozens of doctors and nurses at Shiffa hospital in Gaza, and the Jordanian doctors who operated on the father in Amman, etc.

As far as Israeli security is concerned, Talal is as white as snow. But, of course, Parisian experts, of whom you are one, are better informed. Its an absolutely ignoble campagne. I continue, by the way, to receive threats from your friends.] – rl translation

Let’s unpack Enderlin’s response.


I’ve been told you were also giving talks in the framework of this campaign of diffamation. Nevertheless, I’ll respond.

Anyone who criticizes or challenges Enderlin is immediately part of a defamation campaign, and unworthy of even addressing. In this case, however, where the person in question has even more stature than he, Enderlin will deign to respond. But generally, Enderlin’s style is to dismiss opposition contemptuously without even an answer.

Another note at the site gives a sense of the kind of response Enderlin’s technique tries to elicit:

    Je ne comprends pas pourquoi M. Enderlin , journaliste respectable dont j’ai toujours écouté avec attention les interventions professionnelles et mesurées sur cette chaine de service public , fait l’objet d’une telle campagne de haine de la part de certaines personnes. Il doit en être terriblement affecté et je trouve que les accusations proférées à son égard insultantes car mettant en cause sa déontologie de journaliste et plus gravement son Honneur. Qu’une infime partie d’une communauté ( ou prétendue telle ) , animée par des idées extrèmistes , l’attaque avec une telle hargne , me laisse à penser qu’il est du devoir de chacun de mettre un terme aux dérives , d’où qu’elles viennent , dans ce douloureux conflit du proche-orient. Les prétendus défenseurs inconditionnels auto-proclamés d’Israël déservent leur cause en donnant une image particulièrement négative consistant à jeter le discrédit sur un journaliste qui n’a fait que son devoir de manière objective et impartiale.

    [I don’t understand why M. Enderlin, respectable journalist whose professional and measured intervention on this channel of public service I’ve always listened to attentively, is the object of such a campagne of hatred from certain people. I must be terribly affected, and I find the accusations leveled at him to be insulting because they put in question his journalistic ethics and, more seriously, his Honor. That a tiny part of a community (or supposed community), animated by extremist ideas, should attack him so viciously, has me thinking that it is the duty of everyone to put an end to the deviations [dérives means slidings or slippages off course], wherever they come from, in this painful conflict in the Middle East. The supposed unconditional, self-appointed, defenders of Israel do not serve their cause in giving a particularly negative image consisting of throwing discredit on journalist who only did their work in an objective and impartial manner.]

From the beginning, Enderlin has referred to anyone who questioned his work on al Durah as part of “groupuscules d’extrême droite” [splinter groups on the far right]. Notice how the term “honor” here works to link Enderlin’s reputation with a judgment of his work that insists on his objectivity and impartiality, despite, or regardless of the evidence. Note also how the composer of this missive has managed to bar any defense of Israel that questions journalists — a nice example of cultural AIDS at work. A French Jew — in this case Karsenty — criticizes Enderlin, and almost by definition, his claims not only fall on deaf ears, but they prove the bad faith of this “supposed” community and its solidarities. As a result, Europeans (and now, increasingly Americans) cling to the very images that have corrupted their own morality

… and incited Jihadi hatred against them. The body politic cannot recognize a hostile body and in fact attacks the very elements within that try and warn it of danger, further activating the hostile body. Eurabia‘s recipe: Lethal narratives swallowed that arouse the Muslim immigrant population and get the host body to attack itself.


How can you, a television journalist, analyze rushes from a report filmed under fire as if it were a supermarket video… Talal, the cameraman, filmed what he could. There are cuts in the filming with a time-code that ran from the beginning to the end.

Charles huffs: ‘How dare you judge Talal and me you armchair television journalist.’ This is one of his favorite attacks on me and Karsenty and others — we haven’t been to Gaza as he has. But given the misinformation that comes from those who have been there, it’s hard to say that that trip assures anything in the way of reliable evidence. I’m still waiting to hear from Charles whether the map he drew me of Netzarim Junction was the product of his ignorance or an outright effort to deceive me.


Above: map of the intersection showing the Israeli position on the northern side of the intersection, the barrel diagonally across to the south, and the “pita” to the east (road goes northeast to southwest). Below: Enderlin’s handdrawn map with the Israeli position right across the street from the barrel (lines indicate gunfire).

The idea that Talal filmed “what he could” is ridiculous. He went there knowing it was a hotspot, so unless he’s terminally incompetent, he had several batteries with him. (The battery problem alone is part of the explanatory narrative that is both self- and mutually contradictory (“he didn’t have another“… “he was changing it…”). If he had taken hours of footage, then okay — the other cameraman had over two hours worth of footage from that day — but all Charles has shown is 18 minutes, and all I’ve seen is slightly over 20. Not even one batteries’ worth.

What does Charles mean, Talal could only take a minute of a 45 minute ordeal in which a child bled to death “for 20 minutes” (“17″ to Esther Schapira) while the first ambulance driver who came to save him was shot and a second ambulance came, scooped up Muhamed’s guts from the pavement and evacuated the father and son (and presumably the dead ambulance driver)… and Talal got none, not a second, of these spectacular shots?

And for this he got every journalistic award in the world? A photographer with a dime-store camera could have done better.

As for the surviving 70 seconds, the cuts are inexplicable: Talal is behind a car (i.e., sheltered from Israeli fire), he’s got 45 minutes of shooting to film, he claims to have shot 27 minutes (sworn testimony) and sent 6 minutes to Enderlin that afternoon (interview a year later with Esther Schapira), and all he has is 70 seconds cut into six takes, in each of which the father and son have changed position, and in a number of cases, inexplicably. As for time codes, Enderlin has never shown the original tape with the original time codes. There’s no reason on earth we should trust him on this (and many good reasons not to trust him).

As for blood, there’s certainly what you qualify as the red rag…

This comment about the rag is incomprehensible unless there was a previous discussion about the “red rag” not posted on the site. This was one of Shahaf’s early and least widely accepted hypotheses — that the red on the leg is a red rag and that the boy moves it to his stomach during an out of focus transition (from take 4 to 5). Although it made sense — how else do you explain that there’s red [blood] from a leg wound in scene 4 and it’s gone in scene 5?


Scene 4: The first time the boy is allegedly shot. Enderlin declares him dead.

The viewing in court drew gasps from those who had studied the tapes with Shahaf because the rag was so noticeable in the higher definition footage of France2.


Scene 5: No blood on the leg wound, red around the stomach.

Enderlin may be so rattled he brings in stuff he’d be better off ignoring.


As for the blood stain on the ground… it really did exist. The Palestinian general who was there the next day to pick up the bullets, had it covered with sand (in front of some 20 Israelis soldiers who were in their bunker and therefore saw everything). We have the picture of the general…

This is the passage that initially drew my attention when reading this blogpost for a number of reasons. First, because in talking immediately and only about the bloodstain, he’s answering the claim that there wasn’t a drop of blood on the victims or the ground with reference to one picture — the stain — taken a day later, and not even taken by his cameraman. So, apparently, none of the scenes Talal took at the time — in which there is no clear case of blood — count. So this highly suspicious picture answers the suspicions raised, say, by the final scene, where one sees the full front of Jamal’s T-shirt after he’s been hit by as many as 12 bullets.

This is not a logical argument, it’s almost free association.

How do I know he made up this story? Because I was the one to point out to Charles that on the next day’s rushes Talal had photographed behind the barrel and there was no blood.


Still taken from Schapira’s new movie of footage by Talal, October 1, 2000. I have seen the footage and there are better shots of the full area behind the barrel where the slightly darker place where the father was is faintly visible.

He looked at it, pointed out that the area around the barrel was darker, and said to me, “they might have put sand on the blood.” He had no “story about the general doing this.” It flummoxed me at the time, because I hadn’t anticipated it, and didn’t have a response.

But now it’s a “just-so” story with the general involved, “who was there to pick up the bullets.” — a story he “proves,” by saying, the Israelis were right there, they’d know if he covered the blood with sand, an argument that can only be formally falsified by some soldier saying, “I watched them all day and they never threw sand on the blood.”

This is a standard (through the looking glass) style of argumentation for Enderlin (see below on Talal as “white as snow”). And in case you think maybe the general later told Charles he poured the sand, note that although Enderlin tells us that the general was there to collect the Israeli bullets… he did nothing of the sort. Indeed, there are no Israeli bullets to testify to this 45 minute fusillade, not from the ground, not from the bodies, and it was precisely this general’s failure to collect bullets that got Talal caught in his most obvious lie.

The question is, when were the two shots taken — the still, with red blood, and the video footage of Talal with a dark spot? If someone threw sand on the spot after the picture was taken, it would make sense, the dark spot (as I remember it) corresponded to the “blood stain” in the picture (i.e., right behind the barrel), not what we could have expected from the bleeding that would come from the injuries cited. Why, if presence of blood is an important proof, would they have covered it?

If you and the other experts who have never set foot in Gaza or been involved in a clash between Israelis and Palestinians had asked a surgeon operating on war injuries, they would tell you that often, they bleed very little.

This is an amazing statement. Granted, when one considers all war injuries, sometimes the blood flow is less than expected. But I challenge Charles to find one battle-tested doctor who will tell you that in the case of a boy shot with a high speed bullet in the stomach, who bled for 20 minutes out of a gaping wound…


Photo from Shiffa hospital, photographed by Talal in his October 1, rushes. I’m no specialist, as Charles might say, but this looks like an exit wound.

… whose guts the ambulance driver claims to have scooped up while evacuating him — left not a trace of blood on the ground.


My estimation of where one should find a veritable “sea of blood” from the boy’s stomach wounds.


Man dead from gunshot wound to head in Iran, June 15, 2009. This is a head wound. A large stomach wound would produce even more blood.

Finally, obviously, you think you’re better informed that the Israeli military intelligence and the Shin Bet qui have never found any trace of a conspiracy in which dozens of Palestinians would have had to participate in front of an Israeli military position, dozens of doctors and nurses at Shiffa hospital in Gaza, and the Jordanian doctors who operated on the father in Amman, etc.

This is a double classic Charles. First, innocence proven from silence. The sentence is phrased to imply that Israeli Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet had investigated multiple times and “have never found any trace…” — when, alas, the Shin Bet has done nothing on this so far that anyone has heard about. The argument — surely Israeli intelligence has investigated, and its silence can only mean guilt — is a seemingly plausible conjecture which, again alas, does not accord with what one might, from the outside, presume were healthy instincts of self-defense and self-preservation among Israeli officials. Enderlin continues to take advantage of that silence.

Second, Enderlin wants us to share his incredulity: “let’s not be ridiculous. Are you implying that dozens of Palestinians and the doctors in Jordan would have engaged in a conspiracy to do this? Come on, what are you, a conspiracy freak?”

First of all, this kind isn’t a “conspiracy,” in the sense of a massive and widespread covert action on the order of claiming the Holocaust happened when it didn’t and forging all the documentation, or that 9-11 was an inside job that involved thousands of government officials and citizens. This is just a plain old sting, in fact, a pretty shabby one at that.

Indeed, the evidence is piling up for collaboration in this sting across the boards. Schapira’s facial mesurements expert claims it’s clear that the dead boy in the hospital and who was buried, was not the Mudhammad al Durah of family protrait, and clearly older.

The evidence is now strong that the Jamal’s wounds were acquired (from an attack by his fellow Palestinians) earlier and “rebandaged” for the cameras:

And now, that the medical report from Amman is filled with glaring inconsistencies (see Schapira’s new movie for Dr. David’s discussion).

As far as Israeli security is concerned, Talal is as white as snow.

Note the shift from negative evidence to positive conclusions: Israeli security has made no accusations against Talal, therefore… “as far as they’re concerned he’s white as snow.”

But, of course, Parisian experts, of whom you are one, are better informed. Its an absolutely ignoble campagne. I continue, by the way, to receive threats from your friends.

Pathetic. No wonder he took the exchange off his site.

13 Responses to Enderlin answers Bourret: Fisking Enderlin’s Blog’s Response (later removed)

  1. ryyannon says:

    As a bi-cultural American and former journalist who has been living in France almost as long as Enderlin has been alive, it’s easy to see his attitude and reactions as very typical of those of a certain type of Frenchman when caught in an obvious lie. Obfuscation, denial, aggressivity, ad hominem attacks and a progressive descent into infantile schoolyard tactics, ending in ‘taking one’s marbles back and leaving the game” – or in Enderlin’s case, simply throwing the entire exchange down the memory-hole.

    Enderlin has been defended by Arlette Chabot, the editorial director of France 2, who appears to be as clueless as Enderlin himself when confronted by pointed questions as to the veracity of the al-Durra story.

    As for French media coverage of the affair, there has understandably been very little.

    As for Jewish blood on Enderlin’s hands as a result of this fabrication, there is considerably more than the traces found the next day at the site of the alleged shooting by the Israeli military.

    Jonathan Kundra
    Paris

  2. Barry Meislin says:

    Enderlin is lying for a Divine purpose.

    He can only be exalted.

    Those who do not understand this can only be pitied.

    Before they are shot in the back of the head (either literally or figuratively).

    Have you forgotten your 1984 so soon?

  3. E.G. says:

    How can you, a television journalist, analyze rushes from a report filmed under fire as if it were a supermarket video…

    There’s an additional aspect. The contemptuous tone.
    “Who are you to judge my work? Only I know what war means, and how it can be seen through the camera lens and shown on the TV screen.”

    I fail to see the distinction between a video taken in a supermarket (e.g., recording a theft or the re-arrangement of goods on the shelves) and a video taken in a war zone. Except for the risk taken by the cameraman in the 2nd case, the images are analysable in a similar manner, no?

    RL- is it Jean-Claude Bouret or Bourret?
    The 2nd is a veteran (even more than Charlie) journalist.
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Claude_Bourret

  4. Solomonia says:

    Al Dura, The Lie That Never Dies…

    Richard Landes continues to expose French journalist Charles Enderlin as the fool he is with a massive fisking of an Enderlin blog post (since removed in shame) here: Enderlin answers Bourret: Fisking Enderlin’s Blog’s Response (later removed). Ender…

  5. Joanne says:

    “The footage of a Palestinian man [sic] being shot dead [sic] next to his 12-year-old son, Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah, by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2000 has been etched in the minds of many Iranians…”

    I had only started reading the post when I came across the phrase above, and felt the need to express my wonder at how anyone on the planet could still think the Israelis shot Al-Dura.

    I could understand someone thinking that Al-Dura’s death wasn’t a hoax, that he may have been shot accidentally by the Palestinians in a cross-fire, or even that the question of who shot him is moot (admittedly, this last possibility is a stretch).

    But how could anyone just say that it was the Israelis who shot Al-Dura? Then I realized that this was a Tehran-based Iranian reporter, who must live in a world of censored news.

    OK, but, then, what it the Financial Times’s excuse?

  6. E.G. says:

    AP report, emphasis mine:

    “Obama noted the killing of a young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, whose apparent shooting death was captured on video and circulated worldwide.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5juui7didNwh_vzBmJyrbjxkeF-IgD990GHAO4

  7. E.G. says:

    And in the French version:

    Le président des Etats-Unis a évoqué le cas de la jeune Neda Agha Soltan, devenue une icône pour le mouvement de contestation en Iran après la diffusion sur Internet d’une vidéo montrant la mort présumée de la jeune fille semble-t-il atteinte par balle lors d’une manifestation.
    http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2009/06/23/01011-20090623FILWWW00616-obamairan-le-monde-est-horrifie.php

    extra prudent!

  8. Sophia says:

    From Joanne:

    “I had only started reading the post when I came across the phrase above, and felt the need to express my wonder at how anyone on the planet could still think the Israelis shot Al-Dura.

    I could understand someone thinking that Al-Dura’s death wasn’t a hoax, that he may have been shot accidentally by the Palestinians in a cross-fire, or even that the question of who shot him is moot (admittedly, this last possibility is a stretch).”

    Amen. I just don’t see how he could have been shot by the Israelis.

    I read a piece quoting abu Toameh, who asserted the child did die. Assuming he’s dead the issue remains, in light of the evidence, who killed him? It apparently wasn’t the Israelis, it may well have been an accident, it might not even have been during the filmed sequences.

    The deaths that followed though were real though, thousands of people have been killed in the years since, as asserted in Post #1. Even Fisk has written that “martyrs” were created by PLO, in Lebanon, for PR purposes.

    Are we living in hall of mirrors?

  9. Lorenz Gude says:

    Yes, we live in a hall of mirrors. We bring a body-mind superbly equipped to pursue game and gather grubs that is moreover little changed by 5000 years of toiling over crops and livestock to an environment of highly manipulated pointers to reality. Some accept these pointers uncritically; others make money by pretending they are reality. ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ or ‘We report, you decide’ Whatever.

  10. Cynic says:

    I could understand someone thinking that Al-Dura’s death wasn’t a hoax, that he may have been shot accidentally by the Palestinians in a cross-fire,

    The layout of the Israeli position with respect to the Palestinians (Talal et al) and Al Dura is displayed at all times and shows that there was no crossfire for the Al Duras to contend with. Also the few bullet holes in the wall are completely round meaning they had come from a direction perpindicular to the wall and not from the angle at which the Israeli outpost is to the two.

    Now why on earth would the Palestinians shoot in the direction of the two, and accidentally hit them??

    Given the facts how can someone arrive at accidentally shot?

  11. [...] This is most interesting phrasing. Blood is clearly not visible in the videos. There’s a vague red spot where the boy was allegedly shot in the stomach, but that could (and probably is) a red rag that was previously on his thigh where he was allegedly first hit, and which “blood” in the later scene has miraculously vanished. For a gaping stomach wound from which the boy allegedly bled to death, the absence of blood at the scene is quite striking… even necessitating the adding of blood the next day. (All this evidence is discussed here.) [...]

  12. Stan says:

    Two things I can see in the video presented that maybe has gone un-noticed:
    1. A stand that seems to have a camera on just behing the barrel that is shown for a flash moment.
    2. Gun-smoke that puffs-up at the camera position.

    In my opinion the Al Dura’s were untouched – and if someone like say Ohbama were to openly accuse the media of fraud in this case on prime time TV – maybe the damage done by this “sting” could be undone and even reversed,

  13. [...] right. And whatever you do, don’t fall silent when it turns out you’re wrong. Like Enderlin (who’s aggressive in his cover-up), that is honor-shame behavior, unworthy of an honest [...]

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