Show Us the Long Form Death Certificate, Obama!
When the news broke last night that Osama bin Laden was dead of a shot to the head by U.S. assets, news anchors were practically creaming their chinos to be covering this historical event. I counted no less than 7 instances of CNN's John King repeating "Osama bin Laden is dead," as if he was desperate to get his voice on the soundbite YouTube mash-up that would surely follow.
A random crowd of what CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry identified as tourists formed in front of the White House, chanting "USA! USA!" like they were in attendance at some bizarre hockey game. But wait, what were tourists doing on Pennsylvania avenue at 10:30 in the evening on a Sunday?
In accounting, they call it professional skepticism. It is the voice in your head that tells you to question everything you are told, even if it appears on the surface to be believable. Professional skepticism is what exposes fraudulent companies and keeps accountants from being duped by would-be fraudsters, who know that trust and familiarity can work in their favor to perpetuate their crimes.
So I was skeptical as I watched the crowd gather at the North gate on the TV, and debated driving down there to scope out the college kids crowd-surfing and climbing trees outside the White House. I'm glad I didn't; the crowd had grown to hundreds if not thousands by the time Obama made his unprecedented announcement.
Meanwhile, at Ground Zero, a crowd of a similar demographic also magically formed. What were they chanting? "USA! USA!"
But where's the proof? Obviously DNA evidence will take awhile and with Osama's body already buried at sea, we better hope we got enough of it or else Osama bin Laden is going to be the Elvis of the Middle East, showing up in the Qatar Enquirer every couple of weeks.
MSNBC is already calling the "death photo" a fake (WARNING: graphic image below, even if it is 'Shopped):
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:
Of course, I must be a terrorist if I'm suggesting we should see definitive proof that the man shot in the head in Pakistan was, in fact, Osama bin Laden. Or am I? Check out this skeptic in the LA Times:
Antoinette Collins, 26, of Whittier learned the news from a text message sent by a friend in the military. ("Osama is dead," the terse message said).
Collins comes from a military family and thinks Bin Laden's death is a positive development for the war and a victory for Obama, but she worries about retaliation from terrorists.
"I mean, we killed their leader," she said.
Collins said she also wants proof that that they got the right guy beyond the confirmation by news outlets or even the speech by President Obama.
"When are they going to show us the body?" she said.
Good. Why weren't more of us asking that question last night? Professional politicians are in the business of lying (see also: Tim Geithner insisting we would never devalue our own dollar on his watch, which is exactly what we are doing right now and have been doing for 2+ years) and we all know that, so why did we believe them last night?
I'm not saying it isn't him. I'm not saying he isn't dead. I'm saying stop for a minute and listen to the voice in your head that wonders if something is just a tad off.
I'll celebrate when we have proof. For now, wake me up when the domestic terrorists in Washington are captured and brought to justice.
In the meantime, let's laugh at Fox screwing this one up: