How can you know if death photos of terror king-pin Osama bin Laden are fake? White House press secretary Jay Carney
makes the acid-test easy. The on-the-scene pics and video of the slain al-Qaida leader are firmly in the hands of the United State government and President Barack Obama has not given the go-ahead for their release to the public.
“I’ll be candid that there are sensitivities here in terms of the appropriateness of releasing photographs of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of this firefight,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday. “We’re making an evaluation about the need to do that.”
In the meantime, the official embargo has done little to discourage the unscrupulous from sending fake images down the Internet pipeline.
The alleged “first photo” of bin Laden dead of a head-shot administered by U.S. Navy Seals during a raid on the terrorist’s safe house in Pakistan was circulated world-wide and even picked up by wire services. The grisly image actually appeared on newspaper covers and was featured by various online media outlets.
News websites such as The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom, and The New York Post in the United States all ran the photo, even without vetting from U.S. or Pakistani officials.
For its part, the Associated Press retracted the death photograph release it made available to subscribers, announcing it could not independently verify the source of the photo.
The CIA has officially debunked the pic as a fake produced by someone using “Photo-shop” like software to alter an older image of the terrorist. So far, there has been no fake video footage of the attack on the mansion where bin Laden was hiding out in Pakistan. The real footage exists but is not expected to ever be publically released.
According to a CNN report, it did not take very sophisticated detective work to conclude that the photo was not legit.
The lower part of the photograph, which shows his gapping mouth and gray-flecked beard, was found to be nearly identical to another image of bin Laden published years ago. “The upper half shows his wounds in detail greater than that of the rest of the photo and there are unusual and abrupt shifts in the coloration of his skin,” the CNN investigation revealed.
"I have seen a great number of poorly Photo-shopped images in my time as a photographer and I can tell by the pixels that it is a fake," Kenna Lindsay, a photographer who works with composite images, revealed to the news source.
The Guardian newspaper in Britain concurred with CNN, reporting that the infamous image is actually a combination of two photographs: a bloodied corpse and a real image of bin Laden that was taken in 1998 and distributed by Reuters.
Meanwhile, the unwary cruising the Internet and opening unsolicited emails are running into scams that promise video and/or images of the bin Laden raid -- but deliver only malware after a couple of clicks.
The Facebook scam, for instance, reads, "SHOCKING NEW video of OSAMA BIN LADENS DEATH!!" Exclusive BANNED VIDEO footage...
An email scam making the rounds claims to have photos under the file name "Fotos_Osama_Bin_Laden.zip."
The images that emerge carry malware and ironically offer a cure for the invasion of one’s hard drive. For sale: a bogus anti-virus product called "Best Antivirus of 2011," according to Kaspersky Lab.
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