Monday, May 2, 2011

New PA Poll: Should the White House Release Images of the Dead Osama?

The image at the top left has been shown at several media outlets, especially in India, Pakistan and in the Arab world, since late last night. It was reported as being a photo of the head of Osama bin Laden, after he was shot by U.S. forces inside his cult compound in Abbottobad. So far, there has been no photo released of the body by the American government.

The American web site that is most heavily involved in looking at people looking at this image, is Michael Rivero's Hawaii-based site, What Really Happened. The site got so busy yesterday evening, around the time of the president's speech, that it crashed, on and off, through the night and into the morning.

Here's a short video, posted at WRH and elsewhere, that looks at the above image, and others:

The image is not genuine. It has been around for at least a year or so. I've seen it posted before. With the announcement by the American government that bin Laden's body has already been buried at sea, some are calling for the release of real images of the slain criminal:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Monday said the Obama administration should publicly release photos of Osama bin Laden's body.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said he has no doubt that U.S. forces killed the former al Qaeda leader on Sunday, but said that such a move might be necessary "to quell any doubts" that the operation was somehow a "ruse."
The White House is considering it:
The Obama administration has photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body and officials are debating what to do with them and whether they should be released to the public, officials tell ABC News.

“There’s no doubt it’s him,” says a US official who has seen the pictures and also reminds us that OBL was 6’4”.

The argument for releasing them: to ensure that the public knows and can appreciate that he's dead. There is of course skepticism throughout the world that the US government claim that it killed bin Laden is true.

The argument against releasing the pictures: they’re gruesome. He has a massive head wound above his left eye where he took bullet, with brains and blood visible.
What do you think. Progressive Alaska has a new poll posted:
Should the White House Release Images of the Dead Osama?
I'm pretty sure that pressure for more viable information on this will force the White House to make a decision to release visual imagery on this quite soon, so the poll will go down if this happens.


Mel said...

I say "yes" with some reservations. My reservations: since bin Laden was buried at sea, apparently so that his burial site could not be used as a shrine for his followers, I'm thinking that death photos might be used by Al Qaeda sympathizers for rallying around supposed "martyrdom."

But I think the benefits outweigh the risks, especially since Al Qaeda seems increasingly irrelevant in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. It would help nip "deatherism" in the bud.

I think they should also release info about the DNA analysis that led them to conclude absolutely that it was bin Laden.

Anne said...

Yes...and they should wrap it in Obama's "long form" birth certificate!

Anonymous said...

I think the pix will appear eventually, somehow, by somebody like Julian Assange. They wld be too inflammatory right now. I'd be happy with the DNA analysis (I'm wondering...don't they already have to have a sample in order to compare the sample from the dead body? But how did they obtain the original sample?)

Celia Harrison said...

I had a funny feeling about that picture when I saw it yesterday. The graininess was a clue that it was taken with a not so professional camera. They have to release the photos if they want to stop the conspiracy theories. They also have to have an independent lab (preferably from another country)check the DNA. They really should have taken a photo of the body just as they were releasing it into the ocean, a video of the whole process would be better. The Navy Seals must have been wearing video cameras during the raid, they may even have gotten the shooting. You would think Obama would have learned the lack of real evidence lesson causing conspiracy theories lesson by now.

Mel said...

Re: DNA analysis: Science writer/blogger Christie Wilcox wrote a post yesterday explaining how DNA analysis might have worked to positively identify bin Laden. She notes,

Of course, to ID Bin Laden in this way, they would have to have some Bin Laden DNA lying around to compare it to. I don't know if they had some from some inside source, or not. What they do have is brain tissue from Bin Laden's sister, who died in the US. They can compare his genetic signature to hers and determine if they are related - which is as close as you can get to guaranteeing it's Bin Laden without a sample of his actual DNA from prior to his death.

Philip Munger said...

"on't they already have to have a sample in order to compare the sample from the dead body? But how did they obtain the original sample?)"

--- supposedly the comparison was made from DNA from a recently deceased sister of UBL.

sandra said...

The photographs of the DNA comparison should be shown. Most people won't know what it means, but pictures can always be altered. We have TV footage of the moon landing, but that doesn't convince the die-hard (or is it dye-hard?) skeptics.

Anonymous said...

No, it is barbaric. Can we regain some of our dignity please.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for DNA info. Yet another angle--DNA from the dead sister--that makes this story so amazing.

Mel said...

Well, Pres. Obama has made the decision -- no -- & I'm okay with it.

In broken record news, Palin once again says something stupid. STFU, you complete irrelevancy.