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Forensic Analysis Reveals Al-Qaeda's Image Doctoring 285

Posted by Zonk
from the they-really-like-their-macs-too dept.
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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Forensic Analysis Reveals Al-Qaeda's Image Doctoring

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  • so... (Score:5, Funny)

    by zulater (635326) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:33AM (#20100225)
    at least there is someone else as bad as me at Photoshop!
  • by ansomatica (180031) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:34AM (#20100239) Homepage
    I can tell from some of the pixels and having seen quite a few shops in my time.
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I already hold an FFL (Federal Firearms License), but I don't look forward to applying for an FPL (Federal Photoshop License).
  • msm (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:35AM (#20100259) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by afidel (530433) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:41AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by samkass (174571) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:52AM (#20100487) Homepage Journal
        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.
        • Re:msm (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jimithing DMB (29796) <dfe@tg w b d .org> on Friday August 03, 2007 @11:18AM (#20101833) Homepage

          This is very common. My dad worked for a power company and one of the local news organizations did a story on pollution. So after my dad talked about their scrubbers and other emissions controls (which he was very instrumental in putting in) the reporter decided that it wasn't sensationalist enough so he pulled a dirty trick. One of their power plants was right next to a steel mill so instead of the reporter doing his monologue with the power plant in the background, he and his camera man simply turned around and put the steel mill right next door in the background then proceeded to open up with "I'm here at .. generating station."

          He didn't technically lie; after all he was on the property of the generating station. But the images didn't reflect the nearly nonexistant exhaust of the powerplant (a little NOx which shows up brown on certain days) but instead reflected the constant fires and smoke billowing out of the steel mill. No photoshop required.

        • Well, take a look at Stalin's picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_editing [wikipedia.org]
        • by fbjon (692006)
          To be fair, if it's the Gwangju massacre in 1980 [wikipedia.org] you're talking about, with a low estimate of over 200 dead students under military oppression, it was a pretty violent incident.
      • Are we lighting 'for' or 'against'?
        Mind you, I wasn't there so maybe the story was 'enhanced'.
      • Re:msm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Applekid (993327) on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:45AM (#20101243)
        Even over the last 10 years video alterations have been getting more and more sophisticated. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAFp4CaeDqU [youtube.com]

        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?
      • 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.

        Although I totally agree with you, I must point out government-level resources are not required to reasonably fake video. Remember the movie Kung Pow [imdb.com]? Amazing work done in that film placing modern actors in an old kung-fu flick. The budget was only around $10 million USD, and that was for a complete movie. Imagine how little
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by iknownuttin (1099999)
      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by truthsearch (249536)
      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ccandreva (409807) <chris@westnet.com> on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:57AM (#20101459) Homepage
        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.
        • That's a very good point. I hadn't considered that.
        • Re:msm (Score:4, Interesting)

          by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday August 03, 2007 @12:06PM (#20102557)
          "If they are showing video of them in a fancy office, that implies their movement is doing well."

          Slightly OT here, but it was probably also done to make them harder to track down. I remember a lot of hoohaw over a Bin Laden tape where there were distinct rocks in the background. One of the major news outlets was making a big deal about how the Gov't could tell where in the world that film was shot just by the geological features. My guess is the group got wise to it and doesn't shoot without a fake background anymore.

          (This isn't a rebuttal to what you're saying, just another reason they'd do it.)
      • Re:msm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by plover (150551) * on Friday August 03, 2007 @11:00AM (#20101517) Homepage Journal
        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.)

        • by Tom (822)

          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.
          But that's exactly what happened - he released in on CD.

          Oh, wait. You were talking about the arabian faithful, I guess?
        • Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Moraelin (679338) on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:01PM (#20103371) Journal
          It won't work. If just having the means to prove something were actually enough to convince the faithful... well, how do you explain the southern USA?

          It's not just a jab at the fine bible-thumping guys and gals down there, though. It happens the same everywhere. Europe had its own counter-enlightenment movement, waaaay back. As in, a couple of centuries back. That's really what happens when you assault someone's beliefs hard enough: he'll just switch to block-head mode.

          If it's truly a believer you don't just have to push hard enough until his defenses crumble and he goes, "omg, I've been blind for so long, I've seen the light now." It's more like the Dune shields: the harder you push, the more resistance you get. And if you're doing an all out fast assault, expect to meet a (mental) immovable wall. And more than a good dose of hostility. It'll get nowhere.

          You have to go slowly and nicely if you want to get anywhere.

          (The same applies to culture, to some extent, btw. If you try to change a culture at gun point, expect a lot of resistance, and when it changes it will be in the direction you don't expect. It's a bit like trying to twist a gyroscope.)

          Plus, humans generally can act... well, like small children. If they like you, they'll believe every word you say, and if they dislike you, they'll try to spite you and contradict you.

          The rise of fundamentalist islamism can be traced mostly to the above two factors. The middle east has been shafted _hard_ by the western powers and partially by Israel. So a lot of people rallied around those waving a "fuck the West!" banner. Add to that a lot of (perceived) sneering and outright hostility to their religion, and they'll just rally harder to defend it.

          It's just human nature, and the west did the same in similar situations.

          And the lack of dialog sure doesn't help either. Each time someone there actually tries to say what _is_ their problem, the west goes "la la la, I'm not hearing anything" or "they're probably rambling about their false god or something." It's the perfect recipe to keep the hostility going.

          At any rate, IMHO just adding more force to that already disastrous recipe won't do any good. You may think that just giving them more proof that you're right and they're wrong is just what's needed to finally make their mental defenses crumble, but see what I've said before: it's IMHO already at the point where increasing the pressure just increases the resistance.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Znork (31774)
          "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"

          Heh. When was the last time you saw Bush out in the open, leading a normal life? Our own western leaders are cowering in their versions of hideouts and bunkers, sometimes not even from an external enemy, but from their own population. Some will end up without any ability to ever travel outside the borders of their own country, in fear of running afoul of foreign warcrimes legislat
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by liquidpele (663430)
        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.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by networkBoy (774728)
          What's so hard to believe?
          If they shot in front of a fixed color backdrop there are automated tools to overlay images (weather guy on the local news anyone?)
          Even if they didn't all a video is, is a series of still images shown in rapid succession.
          Sure it takes a while, but it is *very* doable.
          -nB
        • Re:msm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday August 03, 2007 @12:09PM (#20102589)
          "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."

          It's not realy all that advanced. I was doing stuff like that 5 years ago with a cheap DV camera, a computer, and a $500 copy of AfterFX. Al-Qaeda wouldn't need very significant resources or time to doctor the video in the way the article shows. And, frankly, it'd be in their best interests to do so.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mpe (36238)
        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.

        But you do need to identify the source.
    • Hanlon's Razor (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Friday August 03, 2007 @11:03AM (#20101563) Journal
      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.
  • by jsight (8987) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:38AM (#20100295) Homepage
    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?
    • 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.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) *
        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.
        • by cdrudge (68377)

          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".
          • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:20AM (#20100811) Homepage Journal
            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.
          • by hoggoth (414195) on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:30AM (#20101009) Journal
            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?!
      • 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.
    • I don't think so .. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rs232 (849320)
      "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 [guardian.co.uk] at the American Hospital two months before 9/11 or when the FBI met with Bin Landin [aci.net] in California in 1986.

      was: Re:Done for their safety?
      • by po_boy (69692)

        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.


        Are you talking about Michael Bin Landon [wikipedia.org]?
    • 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 produc
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
  • Dustin Hoffman unavailable for comments...
  • well, Duh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by obergfellja (947995)
    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.
  • Logical Fallacy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:49AM (#20100437) Homepage
    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)
    • Re:Logical Fallacy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JohnFluxx (413620) on Friday August 03, 2007 @11:47AM (#20102279)
      Your logical fallacy is "Al qaeda videos have been edited"... perhaps it should be stated as "Videos, from a person (apparently) who claims that they are part of Al qaeda, appear to have been edited, according to someone else"
      • touché!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by veganboyjosh (896761)
        Your logical fallacy is "Videos, from a person (apparently) who claims that they are part of Al qaeda, appear to have been edited, according to someone else"... perhaps it should be stated as "A collection of still images, presumably photographic in nature, from a being, presumably from this planet, known as a 'person', who claims that they are part of Al Qaeda, appear to have been edited, according to another being, presumably also from this planet, also known as a person.
    • by E++99 (880734)

      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.

      I think the only conclusion that can be sustained by the technology is "Al Qaeda videos have been modified" not neccessarily "edited". TFA claims that books were added to the background in the frame they show, but it seems to me much more likely that when the titles were added they also adjusted brightness, contrast and white balance, and

  • 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.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:52AM (#20100493) Homepage Journal
    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 :(.
  • by will_die (586523) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:53AM (#20100509) Homepage
    Who needs Al-Qaeda when we already have Reuters [digg.com] and the New York Times [blogspot.com]??
  • by blackdefiance (142579) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:57AM (#20100551) Homepage
    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.
    • by Hays (409837) on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:41AM (#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:
      http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~farid/research/tamper ing.html [dartmouth.edu]

    • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Friday August 03, 2007 @11:10AM (#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.
    • Parent of this post has it exactly right: this "forensic analysis" is bull.

      The article's pretty clear on what the "analysis" does: it adds a little bit of noise ("static") to a JPEG, re-compresses it, then takes the difference between the original photo and the noisy version. JPEG tends to smooth out slight variations in large blocks of color and concentrate on accurately representing sharp edges and transitions, so the largest differences will be in high-contrast "edgy" areas: text, bookshelves, beards, a
  • Surprise! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:57AM (#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! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:22AM (#20100851) Journal
      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.
      • by couchslug (175151)
        "it went to war with Russia,"

        That ChiCom stuff in Asia was obviously a Soviet feint, and their success merely part of the diversion... :-p

        "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."

        Ethics are a useful construct for internal, social use.. They are a liability in international action, which is why they are often ignored by highly successful nations!.
        The cultural war between Islam (successfully "Bolshevi
      • Re:Surprise! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PCM2 (4486) on Friday August 03, 2007 @03:11PM (#20105503) Homepage

        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.

        That's an appropriately lefty, liberal way to look at it, but I take issue with this point.

        Look at the Taliban in Afghanistan. That wasn't about fighting back at America. That was about seizing power over an entire population. Yes, you could say that it was in the name of "ideals," but the truth is that people who seek power do it because they want the power, not the ideal.

        You see the same thing in Iraq right now, with the civil war. For a lot of the so-called insurgents, job #1 is not striking back at America. It's gaining control of Iraq. Will they go after the West after that? Probably. But to say that everything Arab extremists do in the Middle East is an understandable response to Western aggression is just silly.

        These are power games at work. The average citizens of Iraq are the ones caught in the middle. Yes, the U.S. has shamed itself in the region. But the Islamic agitators are no better.

    • by siddesu (698447)
      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
    • While you start with a reasonably insightful comment that's been true for decades, it's the second and third paragraphs that are very disturbing.

      It is the entire goal of the terrorists...

      Without straying too much off topic, you have clearly been drinking too much of the U.S. Government's punch. The U.S. Government historically doctors/spins media to meet their end goal. Every government does.

      I urge you to examine the historical foreign policy record on the issue. It is hard to avoid coming up with a non-s
  • After reading TFA I didn't see any mention of any steganographic analysis [securityfocus.com]. To me, that's the juicy stuff. This may be off topic, but, has anyone (publically) been doing stego analysis on these videos?
  • by dark-br (473115) on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:14AM (#20100735) Homepage
    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!

  • ... 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 radical
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Paladin144 (676391)
      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 [bbc.co.uk]. 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.

      Everybod

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday August 03, 2007 @10:30AM (#20100999) Homepage Journal
    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!
  • Yep, he really does look 14/f in that picture. I'm sure it's not fake.
    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      Kinda emo, if you ask me. And that music...

      Yeah, he's really a 14/f cunningly hiding out as a 55/m pedo...

  • 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.
  • Al-Qaeda lies. Wow, that's news.
  • Al-Qaeda has Weapons of Mass Media!
  • by jafac (1449) on Friday August 03, 2007 @12:54PM (#20103267) Homepage
    LOLJIHADIS?
  • Maybe ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Friday August 03, 2007 @12:57PM (#20103301)
    ... they lifted his image from video of his stint guest hosting The View.
  • by smash (1351) on Friday August 03, 2007 @06:58PM (#20108467) Homepage Journal
    ... and not the CIA?

    For all we know, Al-Qaeda doesn't even exist, and the US government has filmed a bunch of gumbies in front of a green screen to put out the new terror video to remind you that you're supposed to be scared, and that the next new law that takes away your freedoms is really needed...

    Please... given the possible motives behind 9/11, the amount of dodgy claims that defy the laws of physics, etc... I'd be taking any news about terrorism fed to you with a big serving of salt.

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