Much is being made of the photo published along with the New York Times coverage of a U.S. airstrike on a village in Pakistan. (HT. Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt) First posted at Reason On Line, it was analyzed by Scott Johnson at Powerline and Instapundit. The New York Times claimed it to show Pakistani men with the remains of a missile fired at a house in the Bajur tribal zone near the Afghan border. But, as Scott Johnson notes,
Only it's not the remains of a missile, it's an old artillery shell. Which means the photo was deliberately faked by the people depicted, probably with the knowing aid of the AFP photographer. I think the villagers were lying about not hosting members of al Qaeda, too.Not only was the photo staged with unrelated ordinance, there are a number of additional curious aspects of this image that I have noticed. I have marked them below. For a closer look, download the posted image, here.
1. Note the glow of the aliasing on the left side of the boy. The halo suggest the boy may not have been part of the original image. At first glance, he appears to be from an image of higher resolution. The halo reinforces the possibility that he was added to the photo.
2. It would appear from the perspective, that this fellow is farther back from the object behind the boy in the foreground. So why is the implement in his hand projected beyond that object. This might simply be a perceptual anomally, but it is curious nonetheless.
3. The 'ordinance' itself is odd at best as it has been arrange in the photo in such a way as to obscure its entire form. Curious that there is no accompanying photo showing its complete profile with markings. It appears in this photo in similar fashion as if one were attempting to show the distinguished gentleman to it's right standing adjacent a giant Heinekin bottle. And in fact, if it is placed on the same ground on which the man is standing, it must be nearly 5 feet long (tall), accounting for perspective. That's huge for artillery shells and Heinekin bottles alike.
4. The face of the boy between the distinguished gentleman and the 'ordinance' is captured with near perfect choreography... peaking curiously and cautiously between, just at the right moment. There's a future for this photographer at Sear's Family Photo if he suddenly finds future employment difficult. But, it is the odd infill between he and the tunic of the distinguished gentleman that called my attention. There is an inconsistent pattern of pixels that looks curious at best. Painted likely.
Now, all of this could be coincidental, albeit strange. At times in the course of my career, I have been a professional graphics designer and renderer specializing in the preparation (and yes manipulation) of market graphics. Adding objects and people are a specialty of mine, and this image seems goofy. Now, digital images are subject to the mercy of post-processing. Artifacts do occur. And the web is an unreliable medium by which to analyze photos. That being said, these apparent flaws beg a closer look at higher resolution images. If anyone out there has access, I would love to see them. Or simply take a closer look yourself at the areas I have circled.
This controversy may go well beyond the photos caption.
Afterall, remember this?