Posted at 04:08 PM ET, 05/02/2011

Osama bin Laden DNA confirms death, but photos are fake

Several rounds of identification were used to confirm Osama bin Laden’s death — the photo of Osama’s battered face below wasn’t one of them.

First, Osama was “visually identified” at the compound by U.S. Special Operations Forces. Next, one of his wives, who survived the raid, identified him by name. The Special Operations Forces also compared the corpse to photographs of bin Laden, and were “95 percent” certain that the body was his. On Monday morning, U.S. officials completed tests that showed a “virtually 100 percent match of the body,” with DNA collected from other bin Laden family members.

The below photo of bin Laden was not used for identification, however, because it is a fake.

(Warning: Even though it is a photoshopped image, it is still a graphic photo.)


The photo on the left is a widely distributed image on the Internet on May 2, 2011 of what Pakistani television described as an unconfirmed image of Osama bin Laden's bloodied face. The photo on the right is an undated archive picture of bin Laden. This combination of images clearly show that the beard and the lower part of the image was most probably cloned and pasted on the image of a body that doesn't belong to bin Laden, making the picture on the left a fake. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
After several major news outlets ran with the image on the left, it was found to be photoshopped, a composite of a photo of another bloodied corpse and one of bin Laden from 1998. The photoshopped photo was originally published in April 2009 and had circulated on conspiracy forums ever since.

A Twitter user proved the photo to be fake.

On Tuesday, however, nearly every Arab media outlet in Baghdad ran the photo with captions that read: “...and the murderer was killed,”  (Assabah); “As expected, the murderer would be killed,” (Al-Mutamar), and “Osama bin Laden was killed like this” (Assabah al-Jadeed).


Newspapers in Iraq ran the fake photo Tuesday. (Aaron Davis - The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, the Obama administration says it has actual photographs of bin Laden's corpse, but that officials are debating what to do with them, ABC News reports.

The White House would like to release the photos to placate the skeptics who doubt his death, but worry the images are too gruesome, as bin Laden has a massive head wound above his left eye, and his brains and blood are visible.

What do you think? Should the White House release the photos of bin Laden?

By  |  04:08 PM ET, 05/02/2011

 
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