Graphic image below:Please be forewarned that an image lower down on this post looks like the bloody face of a dead body. Some viewers might find it disturbing. We don’t think the wounds are real, but you still might not want to look at 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:
The picture on the left is a file photo from Reuters. The center image was sent in by a number of readers as an email attachment--it's initial provenance is unknown. The image on the right is a blend of the two others we made here at msnbc.com.
Below, Iraqis watch a TV program displaying the picture in Baghdad:
Sabah Arar / AFP - Getty Images
Iraqis in Baghdad watch a news broadcast on Arabic satellite news channel Al-Arabiya showing an image which has been circulating on the internet and allegedly shows the body of Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.