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Forensic Analysis Reveals Al-Qaeda's Image Doctoring

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the they-really-like-their-macs-too dept.

Media 285

WerewolfOfVulcan writes "Wired reports that researcher Neal Krawetz revealed some very interesting things about the Al-Qaeda images broadcast in the mass media. Analysis shows that they're heavily manipulated, a discussion meant to illustrate a new technique that can spot forgery in digital media. 'Krawetz was ... able to determine that the writing on the banner behind al-Zawahiri's head was added to the image afterward. In the second picture above showing the results of the error level analysis, the light clusters on the image indicate areas of the image that were added or changed. The subtitles and logos in the upper right and lower left corners ... were all added at the same time, while the banner writing was added at a different time, likely around the same time that al-Zawahiri was added, Krawetz says.'"

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so... (5, Funny)

zulater (635326) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100225)

at least there is someone else as bad as me at Photoshop!

Re:so... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100449)

The US-Army uses MS Paint for photorealistic image manipulation; for security reasons, only genuine Microsoft programs are allowed.

is this image doctored? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100643)

Re:is this image doctored? (2, Funny)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100969)

Of course it's doctored. Everyone knows that ceremony takes place at dawn. Sheesh. ;-)

This looks shopped... (5, Funny)

ansomatica (180031) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100239)

I can tell from some of the pixels and having seen quite a few shops in my time.

Re:This looks shopped... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100285)


Re:This looks shopped... (1)

NekoKrys (1100205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100611)

And an anonymous funny yet cowardly adventurer is YOU !

I like the one with Bert (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100245)

Evil Bert had to be photoshopped OUT of the various Al Quaeda videos 'cause he kept jumping into the frame and mugging for the camera []

Re:I like the one with Bert (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100553)

Evil Bert doesn't mug. He merely flexes his satanic eyebrows and babies inexplicably cry all over the world.

Great (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100255)

I already hold an FFL (Federal Firearms License), but I don't look forward to applying for an FPL (Federal Photoshop License).

Re:Great (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101747)

Just make one up with Photoshop.

msm (4, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100259)

I think it has been pretty well documented in the blogging community that many of the images that the main stream media picks up and propogates are heavily altered, faked, or come from completely different events than what they claim to depict. This is not just with al-quaeda, but governments and any group that has an agenda and is media savvy - foreign or domestic.

Re:msm (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100311)

images that the main stream media picks up and propogates are heavily altered, farked, or come from completely different events
fixed it for you!

Re:msm (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100335)

Exactly, Photoshop has made it impossible to trust anything you see. Video is still kind of difficult to alter like these photos were, but it's certainly possible for someone with the resources of a government of international organization behind them.

Re:msm (4, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100487)

Even before Photoshop, inappropriate use of stock footage or using visual scenes of the wrong event was pretty common and made for more exciting news. I remember in the late 80's reports of a student riot in South Korea... my father was there at the time. There may have been a few disgruntled students there at the time, but his pictures are completely different (no violence or anything.) Turns out the news companies heard about a student protest and just looked for random footage of asian students rioting and put it on the air when talking about the situation.

Of course, Final Cut Studio and Photoshop make it even easier, but the news has always been more about entertainment than information.

Quote BBC Lighting Director (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100557)

Are we lighting 'for' or 'against'?
Mind you, I wasn't there so maybe the story was 'enhanced'.

Re:msm (4, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101243)

Even over the last 10 years video alterations have been getting more and more sophisticated. []

While the video is clearly tongue-in-cheek and advertising driven, it's slightly disturbing the novices who cut their teeth on this stuff and evolve their skills in the advertising world could go out and "find" video of just about anything they wanted to engineer in the media. Who would be able to stop them?

This **WAS** video. (1)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101687)

These weren't still images... the "images" in question were videos.

Re:msm (2, Funny)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100411)

This is not just with al-quaeda, but governments and any group that has an agenda and is media savvy - foreign or domestic.

I always wondered why there wasn't some video showing Bin Laden (and all of the big shots with Al Qaeda) eating bacon while jerking off to Barbie Dolls and getting it up the ass.

Rule 34 (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100485)

I always wondered why there wasn't some video showing Bin Laden (and all of the big shots with Al Qaeda) eating bacon while jerking off to Barbie Dolls and getting it up the ass.

I guarantee you it's out there.

Re:msm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100621)

We have cable stations modifying televisons shows, altering signs and adding digital enchancements (changing taxi & store signs and adding Subway sandwiches to a table for example). I'm not even sure they're doing it with the consent of the producers/owners.

Re:msm (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100881)

But these particular images appear to be doctored to enhance the message or provide a visually appealing background. They're probably doctored by the source. Therefore the doctored versions are what the original creators intended to express. So there's no reason for us to ignore these videos.

If these were altered in a way that seemed to drastically change the message then it would be a different story.

Re:msm (4, Insightful)

ccandreva (409807) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101459)

If they are showing video of them in a fancy office, that implies their movement is doing well.

If in fact they are in a cave somewhere in front of a black sheet, then the message is a big fat lie.

Re:msm (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101517)

There are many reasons for doctoring photos. The point of these isn't to "confuse the enemy", but to "boost morale of the troops", by showing their leaders as so successful that they can sit out in the open, in a living room somewhere, and lead a normal life in the face of the insignificant U.S. forces. While in reality, they're cowering in bunkers or caves, or perhaps hiding in Pakistan or Iran.

Unfortunately, detecting the fakes isn't enough. The CIA could say "Hey, look, these are faked, you're following cowards" but that'd be dismissed simply due to the source. What really needs to happen is these forgery-detection tools need to get in the hands of the "faithful" so they can convince themselves that they're being led by cowardly stooges. (Not that they would, as the leaders would probably dismiss such tools as lies from the Great Satan.)

Re:msm (2, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101665)

Honestly, I find it hard to believe that these guys doctored their Videos. I could believe photos, but video? That's fairly advanced to make it look real. I'd be more inclined to believe Muslim political groups and al jazeera did the doctoring.

Hanlon's Razor (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101563)

Well, I'd guess there's also a bit of a case of Hanlon's Razor: "Don't attribute to malice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

There was this whine a long time ago on The Register, by an (ex) professional media photograph. Apparently his job was about to go the way of the dodo, because more and more newspapers were trying to cut costs by just buying images for almost nothing from either amateurs on the web, or from agencies selling thousands of photos for pennies. (And don't think those send photographers all over the globe to take photos after each and every event, because that would cost a lot more.)

In other words: it's becoming little more than clip art. If you're writing an article about Baghdad, you find the cheapest picture claiming to be from Baghdad, and put it on the page. If you're writing about Al Qaeda, you do the same with a pic claiming to have anything to do with Al Qaeda. Etc.

'Course, especially with pictures selected off Photocommunity and the like, for a couple of bucks, you never know what you're _really_ getting. It could be that someone photographed the demolition of an old mall in Elbonia and is hawking it as the aftermath of the tsunami in East Bumfuckistan. How would you know? (And probably a better question is: would they even care, if they knew?)

Briefly, it doesn't have to be manipulation. Or if it is, it doesn't have to be by the newspaper. If a joker posted that image as proof of his l33t photoshop skills, or if such a photos-by-the-dozen agency took a shortcut and photoshopped a photo just so they could sell something about an event... well, chances are the newspaper staff wouldn't even know.

I guess it's just what this general craze to reduce costs leads to. A lot of time the obvious way to reduce costs is to reduce quality. In this case, also add total lack of quality control, since they don't actually have someone there who could check if things are like in the photo. You can expect a lot of junk to go through undetected.

And, btw, if you thought only the photos were fake, you'd be surprised how many of the _articles_ are bogus stuff written by a PR agency and disguised as news.

Done for their safety? (4, Interesting)

jsight (8987) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100295)

There was a report several years ago that the US had used the rock outcroppings behind Osama in one of his videos to attempt to locate him. I wonder if some of these modifications are made to make locating them more difficult?

Re:Done for their safety? (1)

HitekHobo (1132869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100429)

That's my guess. Looking at what was changed, other than 'set dressing', I can't think of a good reason to change only the background other than to present an anonymous room or a room that does not exist without having their leader stand in front of a white sheet and look ludicrous.

Re:Done for their safety? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100559)

What it sounds like is that the guy was actually taped standing in front of a black sheet, and then the background was dropped in during postproduction.

It's really not much different from the chroma-keying that lets the TV weatherman stand in front of a map instead of a blue screen. (Except it's not really "chroma" keying with a black screen.)

And my assumption would be that it's to avoid giving anything away about the location where it was filmed.

Re:Done for their safety? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100701)

And my assumption would be that it's to avoid giving anything away about the location where it was filmed.
If that was the case, why not just stand in front of a black/grey/white/etc background. Even just a sheet would work. Highly portable. Easy to setup. Untraceable. Plus there is no post-production. I'm not a conspiracy theorist generally, but I think there is more to the background then just being in an anonymous location and showing off their "1337 skilz".

Re:Done for their safety? (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100811)

Well, and this is just me speculating here, I think the person is shot in front of a plain background for 'security' reasons; the background (the room with the bookshelf is dropped in (rather than just distributing the video with the plain background) for PR.

Having the background gives the impression of a more stable organization than a clearly handi-cammed video in front of a bedsheet would. Also, I don't know what the books are in the background, but there's probably some symbolism in them (and the cannon). It gives the thing an air of legitimacy that you just wouldn't have in front of a plain backdrop.

Re:Done for their safety? (5, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101009)

If Osama has any sense of humor at all, in his next videos he will be standing in front of The Whitehouse, standing side-by-side with the Statue of Liberty, as a talking head on Mt. Rushmore, on a fake-studio set of a moon landing, etc.
Come on, you can't be all 'kill-the-infidels' ALL the time?!

Re:Done for their safety? (1)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100603)

That's my guess. Looking at what was changed, other than 'set dressing', I can't think of a good reason to change only the background other than to present an anonymous room or a room that does not exist without having their leader stand in front of a white sheet and look ludicrous.
I can't think of a good reason, period. I don't think Krawetz's analysis proves what he says it does.

Re:Done for their safety? (0)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100859)

Y'know, I agree. Where are the pictures that Krawetz took with his own camera and deliberately doctored to demonstrate the technique? Not on the news site, or any site I can see. Perhaps because he didn't think of doing that.

I don't think so .. (2, Interesting)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100565)

"There was a report several years ago that the US had used the rock outcroppings behind Osama in one of his videos to attempt to locate him. I wonder if some of these modifications are made to make locating them more difficult?"

He could have been taken when the CIA met with Bin Landin [] at the American Hospital two months before 9/11 or when the FBI met with Bin Landin [] in California in 1986.

was: Re:Done for their safety?


Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100959)

What the fuck does something that supposedly happened in 1986 have anything to do with the US trying to locate him post 9/11?

Unless you are psychic enough to predict that he would have orchestrated 9/11 15 years ago, this is totally irrelevant.

I just owned you. Mod this fucker down.


Paladin144 (676391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101721)

Nice of you to ignore his first link -- you know, the one that was 2 months before 9/11, while Osama was wanted for the bombing of the U.S. Cole and other crimes.

I don't think the CIA would have to be psychic to know what was about to go down. Google "Tim Osman" if you want to learn more about bin Laden's CIA-linked activities.

Re:I don't think so .. (1, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101223)

The authorties have been alerted that you did not indeed drink the kool-aid. America has always been at war with Saddam and Bin Laden, to suggest that they were ever our allies is unpatriotic. You must hate freedom! Now if we could just find a way to convince the Iraqis to forget that we uhm "didn't" support Saddam then maybe they would be more happy that we got rid of him for them.

Re:Done for their safety? (1)

ScrappyLaptop (733753) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101361)

Duh...why do you think Max Headroom had that constantly changing background? He was a fugative! In all seriousness, a completely fabricated video is what we should come to expect from anyone that is in fear of some sort of retribution, be it Al-Queada or just some alternate social sub culture's video. The scary thing is what it could lead to: Laser printer "yellow dots" for all video equipment. Trivial to hide a machine ID in all that noisy video, but it'll give the authorities an idea of who is producing or recording the images...

Re:Done for their safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20101511)

I heard the same. I did a bit of googling and came up with this article [] (although it is only an abstract). There's also a comment and reply to this article, but it isn't accessible, unfortunately. And here's a news article [] . From the looks of it, they had mixed success because the quality of the video tape was so poor.

For a geologist (I'm one) seemingly mundane outcrops of rock can be as distinctive as, oh [struggling with analogy] the US Capitol Building versus the UK Houses of Parliament. Both the rock and the way it is naturally weathered can be quite unique, almost like a fingerprint, and it will be very familiar to a geologist that worked in the area.

Cross reference the geology with a bit of extra information (e.g., time of day, shadow height and angle, or some general idea of where someone is), and it could really narrow down the possibilities. It's even better if the camera moves, because it becomes possible to recover some types of 3D information using stereo photogrammetry techniques

It is interesting that after those early "video in a canyon" clips of bin Laden most of the terrorist video clips supposedly from Afganistan (or Pakistan?) have had a bland-looking sheet or some other backdrop. As you suggest, I think the terrorists learned the lesson that they were giving away more information than they thought. The same is true for almost any outdoor scene.

The Zionist Nick Berg's head (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100301)

being sawed off did look like the image was doctored.

Did the image forensic experts analyze that video?

No doctoring here!!!!! LOL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100317)

Get her to add you as a get to see milfy bewbs!!!! [] er.viewprofile&friendID=108370887 []

It worked for me, Donny Most!@!!!~`~!

Fake photos and pixel experts. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100319)

Best fun ever is to paste a URL to a photo among a whole load of self-professed photoshop experts, and get them to identify which bit has been changed.

Hours of fun.

Asked for further analysis... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100361)

Dustin Hoffman unavailable for comments...

But Al-Qaeda doesn't exist... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100369)

Bush really needs to acquire better photoshop people to push this polarizing, fear-mongering tool called Al-Qaeda which Karl Rove and Dick Cheney designed for the purpose of gutting the Constitution, castrating the other 2 branches of government, and declaring the executive branch as "Supreme Overlord of the Earth."

Re:But Al-Qaeda doesn't exist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20101023)

Do you get out much? You sound like a nutcase conspiracy theorist who hasn't left his house in years.

Re:But Al-Qaeda doesn't exist... (2, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101115)

While it is true that Al-Qaeda was originally a US invention with little base in reality, many organizations has since adapted the name and the cause, creating a real version of the US invented nightmare. Bin Laden may not have anything to do with these organizations, and the organizations nothing to do with each other, but it is a global movement and cause now.

Software - Good thing. (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100375)

In some states, digital images are not allowed in a court of law as evidence. And many critics of the news media and digital photography in general are against digital because of the ease of altering images compared to wet (analog) photography. Hopefully, software like this will make digital a bit more acceptable. The only thing I'm a little worried about is how accurate it is.

Re:Software - Good thing. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100407)

The problem with that is with the right gear, you can still create a really high-res photoshop of something, and then take a photograph of the photoshopped image. Instant analog!

Photographs in general will never be as reliable as they once were, regardless of the format.

Re:Software - Good thing. (5, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100535)

Most forensic photography is digital these days and the resulting images run through verification software to prove that they are 'straight from the camera'.

The SLRs I shoot are Canons and they provide the option of "Add Original Decision Data" in their settings. Combined with Canon's data verification kit any of the images I shoot can be demonstrated to be originals, with minimal in camera image processing.

And anyone who thinks image alteration in the film world is too hard to undertake to swing a court case can't be taken seriously.

Re:Software - Good thing. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20101513)

I hate to burst you bubble, but I do a lot of work with computer assisted microscopy, and I can tell you that altering the binary data without touching the header would be a no-brainer (provided that one knows what format the header is in). If there is e.g. a checksum in the header, updating that (to match the new image data) is also not a big deal ("1337" crackers do that sort of thing as a matter of routine).

If there's only one copy of a file, it can be manipulated to contain just about any data that one desires, including falsified "verification" information, and no one (except for the one who did the manipulation) could prove otherwise (assuming that said data manipulation was performed competently).

Re:Software - Good thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20101141)

Because I can't take a 10 megapixel picture, Photoshop it, then take it to Walmart (or maybe a slightly more expensive) print shop. Bam! Instant analog.

well, Duh... (3, Insightful)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100377)

who do you think has been using Photoshop? The US Gov has given so many lies and cover-ups over this damn war on terror, I would not be surprised if all lies started with image and video editing.

Re:well, Duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100955)

I bet George Bush has been altering these images himself because he is such a big dummy!

nigger fuck you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100397)


Logical Fallacy (4, Insightful)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100437)

The logical fallacy is "Al qaeda edited these videos" ... perhaps it should be stated as "Al qaeda videos have been edited" ... you have no idea WHO actually edited them.

Not that I'm pointing fingers or anything. ahem (wag the dog)

Seriously...they needed to do image forensics??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100463) Both are so badly done it's laughable. Hell the first image had it's background done in some 3D application. I almost shit myself laughing at the canon & light behind him. On the second one the guy isn't even lighted even close to the same as the backdrop. I highly doubt they are trying to fool anyone (use the background to figure out where they are otherwise) because if they are I've done better in my High School AV class on an AVID so many years ago.

Re:Seriously...they needed to do image forensics?? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101133)

My thoughts exactly. You can see around the guys turban in the first picture that it looks like a blue-screen equivalent.

Having said that, it did still supposedly pick up on the fact that the text had been added after the banner. So even if the banner was created in a 3D app then the tool can (assuming it is correct) identify what was added later/with different compression ratios.

damn it. (1)

Daniel K. Attling (1003208) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100467)

I don't want to read subs, can't we just dub it like in Germany/France/Italy/Spain or better yet, do a classic Hollywood remake?

Just wipe out the Exif? (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100479)

From TFA:

Using a program he wrote (and provided on the conference CD-ROM) Krawetz could print out the quantization tables in a JPEG file (that indicate how the image was compressed) and determine the last tool that created the image -- that is, the make and model of the camera if the image is original or the version of Photoshop that was used to alter and re-save the image.

Comparing that data to the metadata embedded in the image he could determine if the photo was original or had been re-saved or altered. Then, using error level analysis of an image he could determine what were the last parts of an image that were added or modified.

So if it's comparing the compression used to the Exif data, couldn't one use a tool [] to wipe out the Exif data, thus obscuring the manipulation? Error level analysis seems more art than science, at least from the corrections in TFA.

Re:Just wipe out the Exif? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100671)

My understanding is that his technique is actually cleverer than that. It picks up on the amount of noise in the picture resulting from the JPEG compression process. You can see which areas have been recompressed, or compressed differently. This information will survive transcoding processes.

The terrorists should be using uncompressed video data for recording and editing... recompression and transcoding never improve quality!

Re:Just wipe out the Exif? (1)

Tokimasa (1011677) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100675)

EXIF is only half of the answer. The other half lies in sensor noise patterns. I'm too lazy to dig up and link to some research right now, but look for papers on the identification of digital cameras based on sensor noise patterns.

Re:Just wipe out the Exif? (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101053)

Interesting. I did find a few papers on the subject, but also ran across this [] :

Additional analog-signal-processing circuitry located in the periphery of the array permits suppression of both temporal and fixed-pattern noise. While fixed-pattern noise was an issue with early CMOS active-pixel image sensors, recent sensors have no discernible fixed-pattern noise induced by circuitry and are instead limited by dark current in the pixels. Dark currents of less than 1,000 electrons/second per pixel at room temperature are routinely achieved.

I'm hardly an expert, but perhaps advancements in CMOS cameras might render foresnic sensor noise pattern analysis redundant.

Re:Just wipe out the Exif? (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101655)

Here's a good few: [] FriSPIE06_v9.pdf [] ble.pdf [] TIFS2006873602.pdf?arnumber=101109TIFS2006873602 []

The actual signatures can be retrieved from signal processing methods. I wouldn't have believed that each
camera has its own unique signature (although I have noticed that one or two pixels will be fixed to a particular colour), and that this can be recovered even after JPEG compression.

A doctored picture is worth a thousand lies (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100493)

The tricky part is knowing if it's been doctored.

OB /.ism: In Soviet Russia, propaganda pictures manipulate YOU!

Oh wait, that was the whole point :(.

Just keeping up with the US press... (3, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100509)

Who needs Al-Qaeda when we already have Reuters [] and the New York Times [] ??

Re:Just keeping up with the US press... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100913)

Buildings just can't fall at the rate of 9.81 Meters/Second^2 if there is any resistance at all. (watch video with a stopwatch in hand) Fires alone just can't negate all underlying structural support. Falling to the ground isn't going to totally pulverize concrete into micro-fine dust. Gravity does not project multi-ton pieces of steel outwards at such force as to be embedded into a building across the fucking street. Steel doesn't melt (~2700 degrees F) at temperatures reached by puddles of burning petroleum fuel (~1200 degrees F), and sure the buggering fuck doesn't stay hot enough to stay a molten liquid in pools found weeks later underground.

The collapses on 9/11 were NOT caused by any aircraft, but rather probably by a fairly large amount of explosive material already present in the buildings.

Re:Just keeping up with the US press... (2, Insightful)

Starcom8826 (888459) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101249)

Thats right. Watch video with a stopwatch in hand. You'll see that they don't fall at 9.81 m/s^2.

Re:Just keeping up with the US press... (2, Informative)

dkf (304284) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101363)

Steel doesn't melt (~2700 degrees F) at temperatures reached by puddles of burning petroleum fuel (~1200 degrees F)
You should be aware specifically that while it takes a great deal of heat to melt steel, it takes a lot less to soften it a lot. After all, without that particular feature there wouldn't have been blacksmiths producing steel going back thousands of years (or did you think that the Roman legionaries' gladius was made by casting molten steel?) and hence the fact that a jet-fuel fire softened the steel enough in a high-stress application to cause catastrophic failure is not especially surprising. This sort of thing is a problem in many other buildings made with reinforced concrete that have undergone fires, and is an effect that has been well-known for decades.

If you're going to be a kook on the topic of the 9/11 collapse, don't use the melting point of steel as part of your argument as it is a factually weak link. It's less damaging to your overall case to ignore this part. :-)

Re:Just keeping up with the US press... (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101371)

Wow, now I can tell all my friends I read this really neat AC on Slashdot that explained the TT fall. Are you an engineer from the future?

Re:Just keeping up with the US press... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20101399)

Yeah yeah yeah, we know, we know. Bloody everyone knows now. Only a few Americans still shocked by cognitive dissonance are left in denial. It's just a matter of time. What is interesting is that these people who think they are getting away with it are leaving a permenant trail of breadcrumbs everywhere they go. I forgot about those faked Reuters photos. God, did they do a bad job of those, it's laughable. But eventually all those fragments, IP numbers, dates, EXIF codes, shipping recipts and phone calls are gonna nail them. They think they are being clever and fooling us but they picked the wrong century to try such naive deceptions. Trust me, technology will be the leveller that works on our side in the end.

Uh... "Forensic Analysis" my foot (3, Interesting)

blackdefiance (142579) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100551)

So this program does what now? If I look at the images in the article, I'd interpret them as showing the dude's *beard* was added afterwards. That's some serious pixar-render-farm shit that I doubt they're doing in a cave in Pakistan.

Re:Uh... "Forensic Analysis" my foot (3, Informative)

Hays (409837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101179)

Mod parent up.

Take off your tin-foil hats long enough to ask how accurate this "forensic analysis" is. Has it been independently verified? Tested with known manipulated videos? The outputs of the forensic analysis don't even look reasonable for these segments.

There has been some real (peer reviewed) research on detecting digital forgeries by Dr. Hany Farid and his lab at Dartmouth: ing.html []

Re:Uh... "Forensic Analysis" my foot (3, Interesting)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101695)

I gotta say that it looks like it's just highlighting the areas of high spatial frequency (i.e. sharp lines), which is where you'd expect the differences to be if you save at a lower quality JPEG level and compare to the original (which is what the article says it's doing). The way JPEG compression works is by throwing away high frequency information away - the lower quality you choose the more is thrown away.

Hi beard is showing up because it's a mass of fine lines (high freq. info), ditto the text.

Surprise! (3, Insightful)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100555)

Are we supposed to be shocked? The less 'real' information that is in the video, the less 'real' information that we can gather about them. Because now we're having to figure out which information is real and which information is fake. What about when the fake information isn't caught, and then taken as being real? We go on a wild goose chase wasting time and resources while they laugh at us. If they could CGI the whole thing and air it and it look realistic, they'd do it in a second. Next thing you know the CIA is looking for an imaginary mountain that only exists in the land of make believe.

It is the entire goal of the terrorists to wear us down to the point where we can no longer maintain ourselves. That's all this game is about now. Just like how communism was defeated in the 80s. We wore down their resources till they couldn't keep up. They are using cheap and easy methods of doing things that costs us ALOT more money just to stay 1/2 a step ahead. Because we are a country and are bound by the ethics of war and Geneva conventions, we are totally screwed. The terrorists are an invisible enemy where they aren't accountable by any ethics. Can you really hold an invisible person accountable for their actions?

Until the terrorists screw up BIGTIME(ie, nuclear bomb or VERY SIGNIFICANT DISASTER) this is gonna keep going. If the terrorists dropped a nuclear bomb or even a dirty bomb, the world would begin to unite against them alot more. At least, if the elected officials wanted to stay in office they'd have to take a proactive stance against this 'force' that just used a nuclear weapon. The public outcry from it alone would force this effect out of many countries.

Re:Surprise! (5, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100851)

I believe a lot of people would like to question you on your belief that America has acted ethically in the Middle East within the last decade or so.

America never went to war with communism, it never beat communism, it went to war with Russia, communism much like terror isn't a real thing made of matter, you cannot shoot an ideal, only people who use that ideal to represent themselves (be it true or false).

I'm sorry to say but you seem to act like these people are pure unrefined evil and just want to destroy America. They aren't some inhuman savage monster, they are people with ideals (no matter how corrupt YOU or I may see them) and they are standing up to America in the only way they can. You can bet if someone invaded America in 50 years time and America no longer had the military power to fight "the right way" *ahem* then they would use the exact same tactics and skills. Not to mention it was America who taught these groups to fight in the first place. They used these people and then dropped them like a bad habit, they aren't raving madmen as you portray them, but nor are they heroic freedom fighters either, they are people living their lives how they see best. Judge them how you wish, but don't forget they are human beings just like we are.

Re:Surprise! (1)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101081)

I never implied we are acting ethically in the Middle East. I was only stating that we are held more responsible than the terrorists are. The terrorists killed how many people on 9-11? What if we dropped one of our MOAB bombs right in the middle of an Iraq mall killing just as many or more? We'd SO be condemned for our actions. But the terrorists doing it wouldn't get nearly as significant of a result. Sure the shock factor was there, but how many countries are with us now? If we wiped out an Iraq mall, it would be a bad mark that would haunt us for a VERY long time. The point i was trying to make was that as an entity that can be pointed at, we are held to a much higher standard than the terrorists. The line is easy to draw in the sand for the U.S. We have definite borders, we have a definite leader and so on. The terrorists on the other hand live in secrecy. They hide in the shadows like ninjas waiting for the best time to strike.

I don't see them as inhumane monsters. I will say that quite a few are. But I'd say that the majority think they are fighting for a good cause, and that's a big problem we have to face. Being ex-military myself, I think I fought for a good cause. But who is 'right'?

-There is no right or wrong in war. Only those left standing and those that are dead. -Me

Re:Surprise! (1, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101217)

America is held to standards? Only guys to ever use Nuclear bombs on cities can't exactly act like saints after it you know.

And America has killed more civilians in Iraq and Afganistan than died in 9/11. Sorry to break it to you but it's true, you guys killed a lot of people and don't get villianised for it.

And some would argue on your standards again. I fail to see how "lets invade another country based on lies" is having higher standards, if anything I would say lower standards because at least these guys believe they are doing the right thing, not doing illegal stuff and then trying to cover their tracks.

If you were in the military then you also know some psychos were fighting with you too, people who went there just to kill people. We all know they are out there and can get in the military. So both sides have villians.

And I don't agree with no right or wrong in war. Raping and looting even in war is wrong, you can take the morale high ground and come out alive, but you can also come out dead from it. It's a balance of the two that makes the difference and even the noblest person can be a villian if he's manipulated right or vice versa. Living doesn't make you right, it just means you get to take another stab at the morale compass.

Re:Surprise! (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101707)

I was only stating that we are held more responsible than the terrorists are. The terrorists killed how many people on 9-11?

That's complete and utter BS. Immediately following 9/11, the entire world was behind the US. When operations began in Afghanistan, a place well known to harbour terrorists, the world was behind the US (pity the US couldn't return the favour, instead shifting focus and leaving countries like Canada to clean up their mess). It was only in the sudden, unfounded shift of focus to Iraq that the US lost all credibility and support of other nations, as they proceeded to browbeat the UN (and their own people) with false and inaccurate information in order to justify an invasion that was, at best, tangential to the original goal of fighting terrorism in the Middle East.

Besides, don't you think the US *should* be held to a higher standard? Or do you really believe the US shouldn't be expected to behave better than the terrorists they're purporting to fight?

Re:Surprise! (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101753)

America wasn't even really at war with Russia/the Soviet Union. It was at Cold War with them, but there was little direct conflict.

Cuba: Russia supplied items to Cuba, America got upset and worried, no direct conflict.
Korea: Each nation supported one half of the country, ended up leaving it split.
Vietnam: Again, support from each side, this time the Americans withdrew but it wasn't a Soviet victory directly.
Afghanistan (the original one): America aided the local warlords against the Soviets. Mainly in the way of weapons and advisors, I believe. No direct conflict.
Iraq-Iran: Russia and America took sides, no direct conflict.

That's all I can remember from A Level history and personal research :)

"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" - Me (based off someone I can't remember)

Re:Surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20101003)

"They are using cheap and easy methods of doing things that costs us ALOT more money just to stay 1/2 a step ahead. "

We're staying 1/2 a step ahead? I thought they were making the running - we've been several steps behind them for many years, and with Iraq we're going in the wrong direction!

If you want any proof of this, Google for assertions that Iran provided us with all the faked evidence we needed to start the war on terror. They have been driving the whole thing, and are likely to end up with all of southern Iraq as a result.

If you believe our side's propoganda, I have a bridge in Minneapolis I'd like to sell you...!!

Re:Surprise! (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101555)

Heh, I also enjoy the occasional Eric Frank Russel or Tom Clancy fiction, but it is called _fiction_ for a reason. Terrorists have as much a chance of building a nuke as they do of 'wearing out' the Western world, and these chances are nil.

Building nukes is a complex engineering task, which requires a lot of finely made stuff in large quantities, and a lot of smart people working together. Both ingredients require enormous amount of money to maintain, and a large industrial base and significant military to guard it. You can't hide all that in a hut in a village in Lebanon, nor can you steal all the parts from retired East Germans ... not without a government behind you.

As for the 'wearing out' ... well, 'wearing out' the Western world may happen only in the same way 'wearing out' the Communist world happened. The biggest ingredient in the communist 'wear out' were the economic inefficiencies built into the system. They alone guaranteed that the system would collapse in time, and so it did. Even the simple fact that the collapse came unexpected by all economic, military and intelligence experts should strongly suggest to you that it was unplanned. So, unless the terrorists can manage to install such inefficiencies in the Western world (say, for example, by scaring people into voting for a government that will put the economy of the West on Marxist footing) I don't see the West collapsing very soon.

Stego (1)

zentinal (602572) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100661)

After reading TFA I didn't see any mention of any steganographic analysis [] . To me, that's the juicy stuff. This may be off topic, but, has anyone (publically) been doing stego analysis on these videos?

Re:Stego (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101353)

Yes, the NSA has done significant steganographic analysis of the videos.
They found the hidden subtext: 'BUY MORE OVALTINE'

Damn subtitles! (4, Funny)

dark-br (473115) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100735)

So he doesn't have those subtitles in real life? Crap, that means the whole strategy to finding him will have to be changed once again!

Proves what we already suspected? (2, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100763)

... that this "global terrorist organisation" that George Bush and Tony Blair have imagined after watching too many James Bond movies is nothing more than a loosely connected rabble of disaffected extremists who've picked a brand name to make themselves seem bigger and more scary?

Far from some Spielberg-like ILM production house operating in Dr. Evil's secret volcano (see, err, heck I've forgotten which Bond movie, the one with Little Nellie), actually the videos are knocked up by a couple of spotty radicalised teenagers in the backroom of an internet cafe in downtown Kabul. Who in return get to hang out with a bunch of extremists who tell them they are doing vital work, that Western civilisation is about to crumble into the sea as a result, let them fire off a few rounds from a couple of AK47s in the hills and tell them that they are part of the gang now. We just put up with London Underground taking the litter bins out and asking us to take our rubbish home with us.

Forgive the cynicism but after the British authorities declared the country I'm in (the UK) to be on it's "most critical" alert status after a couple of idiots drove a flaming vehicle into a pillar in Glasgow airport, staggered out on fire and promptly got punched out by passers by and off duty coppers, the level of hype is starting to get wearing. We've just finished with 40 years of the IRA blowing up chunks of our country and killing rather a lot of people and nobody felt the need to issue "most critical" warnings then.

No, no, the warning refers to gov. credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20100977)

Do you feel safer since the war on terror? No? Well, neither did I, especially after discovering that that justified killing an innocent person on the tube. Neither did I when I started reading through, for instance, the RIP Act. Nor was I impressed with the arguments behind the ID card scam, sorry, scheme.

And having cameras follow you everywhere so some technical leech can tap into that and monitor any citizen isn't healthy either because it has been proven by a Dutch Uni survey that such a camera does NOT reduce the crime rate and only marginally the % of cases solved.

But none of the above would have had a chance if the Sun faithful weren't kept scared of their own shadow..

Yeah, I'm cynical. I didn't stop thinking, which is probably by now a criminal offense in itself..

Re:Proves what we already suspected? (2, Interesting)

Paladin144 (676391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101163)

But, but... but... what if some ignorant American calls you a "conspiracy theorist" for being able to see through the lies? How will you sleep at night?!

For anybody who doesn't know what fantomas is alluding to in the post above, I urge you to download and watch the excellent BBC program The Power of Nightmares [] . It turns out that if you actually look closely at al Qaeda the whole thing unravels. OBL and Zawahiri are a bunch of losers, complete phonies and probably employed by the CIA and/or MI6.

Everybody knows Bin Laden worked for the CIA (through the Pakistani ISI proxy) during the 80's during the fight against the Soviets. Nobody seems to know when he stopped working for them. .... IF he stopped working for them.

CIA and alien technology (1, Funny)

sbate (916441) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101261)

Osama is actually a grey. On his planet they crash planes into buildings for fun he was just having a party and things got out of hand.

Re:Proves what we already suspected? (1)

Firefly1 (251590) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101275)

Far from some Spielberg-like ILM production house operating in Dr. Evil's secret volcano (see, err, heck I've forgotten which Bond movie, the one with Little Nellie)
That would be You Only Live Twice [] . Kudos for remembering 'Little Nellie', by the way. Flamethrowers, rockets, and aerial mines, oh my.

They also use outlook for email.... (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20100999)

During a video with Adam Gadahn I almost bust a gut laughing as a Microsoft Outlook email notification box popped up in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. I mean come on guys, you expect me to take you seriously but you use Outlook? Down with America, but we love the products their mega-corporations produce!

If you can't trust the terrorists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20101017)

But if you can't trust the terrorists, then who can you trust?

quick n' dirty (1)

sonoronos (610381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101279)

Unfortunately, this technique only works if the "original" image edited was formed using a lossy image compression algorithm. Although it works for most casual cases of manipulation, people who are really quite clever can circumvent the analysis.

It becomes a little easier if the people who are editing the photographs are the ones that are taking them also - shooting base material in a lossless compression algorithm like RAW or TIF.

My personal opinion is that this is a good "quick and dirty" test for image manipulation, but should not be used as a certification for un-retouched images. (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101351)

Yep, he really does look 14/f in that picture. I'm sure it's not fake.

I KNEW it! (0, Offtopic)

BeProf (597697) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101505)

Bin Laden is hiding at the same sound studio where they filmed the Apollo Moon Landings!

Cue the Alex Jones crowd in 5... 4... 3...

He should do Fox news next (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101559)

I bet he would need 10 years to investigate all the tampering they have done in the last 6 months to "news" images.

Imbedded image encryption (2, Interesting)

testpoint (176998) | more than 7 years ago | (#20101623)

What is the feasibility of an encryption partnership between camera, flash memory and photo-editing companies?

The basic idea would be to provide public-key encryption imbedded in the original image. Photos submitted for publication could then provide the original encryption key from either the camera or memory to verify authenticity. Altered photos would no longer match the encryption key.
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