May 01, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Kill Photos - Fact And Fiction


(The Weekly Vice) - There's a lot of confusion about whether the Osama Bin Laden kill photos have been released, withheld, leaked, Photoshopped, real, fake - you name it. It has been one of the most talked about topics over the last few days.

The topic of releasing the Osama Bin Laden kill photo has created a firestorm of debate among politicos and media heads. Several news services have posted images of the alleged "Osama Raid" photos before later redacting them.

One U.S. Senator, Scott Brown, claimed to have seen the Osama Bin Laden kill photo, but then later released an announcement admitting he had been duped by the fake OBL photo as well.

The issue has also created another problem. Computer hackers are posting links to purported Osama Bin Laden photos which instead leads the end-user to a virus.

I've decided to tackle this issue in an attempt to separate fact from fiction - at least to the best of my ability.

Which photos are authentic and which ones aren't.

Photographs taken by U.S. authorities involved in the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound have NOT been released. No authentic photograph of a dead Osama Bin Laden has been released by a U.S. official at the direction of President Obama. Not yet anyway.

That does not mean, however, that NO photographs have been released. Some photographs have indeed been released, but we'll get to those in a moment. Let's first dispel the myth of the fraud photos which are now circulating the Internet.

Below are two of the best fake photos that are currently circulating on the Internet. I've searched left and right, up and down to uncover the most prominent photographs that are now circulating - so please don't click on a random link searching for them unless you have excellent virus protection for your computer (or a Macintosh like me).

The photo on the left shows how the most popular Osama Bin Laden kill photo was manipulated to appear like Osama Bin Laden. This photo has actually been circulating since 2008, but took on new life after the news of Osama Bin Laden's death was televised.

The photo on the right looks pretty authentic and attempts to emulate what some officials have stated about how Bin Laden was killed. As someone who's pretty experienced with Photoshop, I can tell you with certainly - the image is not only fake, but it's a bad fake. When you enlarge the image, you can easily see the characteristics of a Photoshop paintbrush tool at work.

So where are the real photos? Well, as stated, there are no photographs of a dead Osama Bin Laden.

There are, however, a few photographs that were taken by officials in Pakistan in the early morning hours following the U.S. Navy Seal's raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound.

The Reuters news agency purchased some of those photographs from an anonymous Pakistani official and then posted them online along with an article about the photographs. Those photos were then redacted without explanation shortly after they were posted.

You can find the Reuters article describing the photographs and how they were obtained by Reuters here.

Pakistani officials did not have a photograph of Osama Bin Laden because U.S. forces obviously took his body while leaving the others behind.

We hope this will clarify the issue for some folks who have seen conflicting reports in the media about what has been released and what hasn't. For others, we hope it brings some sense of closure.

We know we'll have some blow-back from a few readers who believe the issue should be dropped completely - but we'll have to agree to disagree.

I am backdating this article, so it will not appear on the front page. In this way we hope the photographs are viewed by those who intended to visit this article.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

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