Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not Bin Laden's faked photos

Following yesterday's announcement of Osama bin Laden's death there has already been a predictable rush of conspiracy theories. Perhaps the weirdest I've seen so far relates to a gruesome photograph being circulated, supposedly by the US government, showing bin Laden's corpse.

The photo, available here for anyone with a strong stomach, is actually a faked image made by crossing a photograph of the live bin Laden with the horribly scarred corpse of another man. That it is fake is not contested: this photograph has been circulating for two years, even being briefly used, The Guardian says, on the front pages of the Mail, Times, Telegraph, Sun and Mirror websites.

The new conspiracy theory states that the United States has just released this photograph as evidence of bin Laden's death. So we have a new wave of people sending the picture around, explaining that it is fake and concluding that bin Laden must, therefore, be still alive! This adds an extra layer to the usual Internet rumours: lying that someone else lied.

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