Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Amazing Shrinking Osama

I covered this subject before on my blog, but I figured it deserved another, more in-depth treatment. Loose Change claims the following at the 1 hour and 12 minute mark:

So if there’s no proof that the hijackers were members of al-Qaida, or that they were even on the plane in the first place, what justification do we have for bombing Afghanistan? Oh, that’s right. The bin laden confession tape.

On December 14th, 2001, the government released a tape, allegedly of bin Laden confessing to the attacks of 9/11, which they claimed to find in a house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Except there's a number of things wrong with this tape.

One, the tape itself is of very poor quality.

And two, the man in the video looks and acts nothing like bin Laden.

OK, I will concede that the quality of the video isn't great. What do they propose, that we buy al Qaeda better AV equipment? And from this picture he doesn't look much like the known photos of bin Laden.

But if you look at it carefully, you will also notice something else wrong with this picture. The aspect is wrong, it looks like someone sat on his head. I have a widescreen TV at home, so I see this all the time if I watch regular TV without adjusting the settings. So what happens if you stretch the picture vertically to adjust for the skewed aspect? Most likely the result of poor equipment, or during the conversion into different formats. Well, here is what happens:

The lighting sucks, and I did a screen capture into MS Paint, hardly the most advanced technique, but that looks remarkably like our terrorist, right down to the grey streaks in his beard, and the beady little eyes.

But their argument gets even more bizarre from here:

According to the FBI's website, Osama is left-handed. Yet, in this video, he is writing a note with his right hand.

OK, if we look up the FBI's website it does in fact list him as left-handed. I am not sure how the FBI would know this, maybe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told them?

But I would actually be surprised if I saw Osama writing with his left hand. Obviously Mr. Rowe didn't pay much attention to the local culture when he was in Iraq. You see, in Islamic culture it is considered "unclean" to use your left hand for most things. Let me put it this way. There aren't many trees in the Middle East, and ummm... they don't have much toilet paper either...

But the idiocy does not end here:

Not to mention he's wearing a gold ring... ...which is forbidden by Islamic law, and is never mentioned in the FBI’s description of him.

The fact that it is not mentioned in the FBI's description is too silly to even argue. "Watch out for a tall Arab man... and he is wearing a ring!"

Yes, Islam forbids men (not women oddly enough) to wear gold jewelry, but what the filmmakers leave out, is there is no prohibition against wearing jewelry made of any other metal. If these guys can tell the metalurgical properties of a ring from this grainy picture, they have a future in the precious metals industry.

Update: This theory also works better if you pick out the absolute worst quality image. Compare to this image from the same tape.

Check out the excellent 9/11 Myths

for more on this.


At 10 May, 2006 10:40, Blogger James B. said...

Many left handers are ambidextrous. It is a common social stigma, not just in Arab cultures.

At 13 July, 2006 16:30, Blogger Neil Slade said...

Great argument (well....)

Except for one thing--

Not even the FBI has any evidence linking bin Laden to 911. They made this public recently.

Go look at the FBI Site, most wanted pages, look at Bin Laden.

Have a nice day.

At 13 July, 2006 16:45, Blogger Neil Slade said...

This idea that aspect ratio is incorrect and thus makes the fake confessional one look not credible-- its a baloney argument.

Anyone with any experience in photo editing can easily should this de-bunking idea carries no merit.

At 14 September, 2006 14:47, Blogger DASawyer said...

Now, maybe I'm totally ignorant as to what government agency is responsible for what, but what does the FBI's lack of an opinion on Osama have to do with anything? I thought the FBI was responsible for INTERNAL investigations. It would be the CIA that's responsible for Osama, right?


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