Last night, after seeing this (too good to check) photo in many different places on the web, I posted it in an update to my Osama Bin Laden Dead post, noting that I had no idea if it was legit, but it was something I had been seeing. Then almost immediately, I felt foolish, and applying the internet 3 second rule, I took it down, because I was about 100% sure it was fake.
The MSNBC Photo Blog looked into it:
An image circulating on the Internet and displayed on some television news programs abroad purports to show Osama bin Laden’s bloody corpse. No U.S. or Pakistani officials have confirmed its authenticity, and two U.S. officials have warned NBC News that the image is a hoax.
Based on an initial look into the image file, we agree, and think it’s a fake. At first glance, the pixelation around the “wound” area and the odd lack of transition between different colored cloth and flesh indicate that the image has been manipulated.
Furthermore, the facial expression and beard are very reminiscent of a 1998 image of bin Laden, the first picture shown below. Next to it, we show the original resolution of the “corpse” image as we’ve seen it (197 by 263 pixels), “flopped” 180 degrees on the horizontal axis to conform to the original 1998 image’s beard orientation. The third image is a blended image of the two, with the “corpse” image at 100 percent opacity below the original image at 43 percent opacity. The way the images “lock” in place at the mouth, beard and nose indicate to us that the image circulating on the Web and some foreign television outlets is nothing but a clumsy fake:
Anyhoo, I’ve gotten 5000+ Google searches for that pic, (how embarrassing) since I took it down. There is definitely a hunger out there for the death photo.
MSNBC further reports:
A senior U.S. official says that they are still deciding whether to release a still photo of dead bin Laden.
“It is really, really graphic,” the official said, adding that U.S. officials are trying to decide whether it is just too graphic to put out.
9/11 was really, really graphic, too, if I remember right.
I say, release the photo.
Jake Tapper reports:
The argument for releasing them: to ensure that the public knows and can appreciate that he’s dead. There is of course skepticism throughout the world that the US government claim that it killed bin Laden is true.
The argument against releasing the pictures: they’re gruesome. He has a massive head wound above his left eye where he took bullet, with brains and blood visible.
To which Drew at AoSHQ responds:
I want a nice high quality copy to use on my computer’s desk top.
Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks.