Leaked dead Osama bin Laden photo or not? *updated

Leaked dead Osama bin Laden photo or not? *updated
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Is this photo purporting to show a dead dead Osama bin Laden a fake or real photo of the Saudi-born businessman and the world’s most wanted terrorist?

Late on the evening of Tuesday, May 3, 2011, image No1 was posted on LiveLeak purporting to be a leaked US administration photo of a dead Osama bin Laden being cradled in the hands of a US special forces soldier.

The photo ran with the caveat: “Note: Liveleak cannot confirm the authenticity of this Osama Bin Laden dead picture”

Internet observers quickly pointed out that reports from the White House had previously stated that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the left eye, and Photo #1 clearly shows a wound above the right eye.

When the image purporting to be that of the dead Osama bin Laden is flipped horizontal nothing immediately looks out of the ordinary.

As some web commentators stated, one would expect better quality photos coming from the killing of Osama bin Laden. No doubt if he was still alive, Walter Cronkite would have been on the lead chopper.

Knowing that the White House watched the killing of Osama bin Laden live it is reasonable to suspect that any leaked image is likely at this early stage to be from the video feed. Stripping out the green “night vision” look produces Photo #3.

Photo #4 purporting to be that of a dead Osama bin Laden has had some minor enhancements to brightness, contrast and been increased in size marginally.


What do you think? Is this dead Osama bin Laden photo fake or real?


Update #1: Early on the morning of Tuesday, May 4, 2011 the US CIA issued a warning to people not to open eMails purporting to contain attached photos of Osama bin Laden dead. EMails so titled often contain a computer virus.


Update #2: This story was last updated at 07:46 local time on November 17, 2023 io include a PDF download of Osama Bin-Laden’s post 9-11 letter to the American People after The Guardian newspaper deleted it after a decade of it being online, due to Zionist pressure.


Download Osama Bin-Laden’s post 9-11 letter to the American People


Images: Live Leaks




  • Osama bin Laden’s last hours come into focus as White House revises its story (The Guardian)
  • US admits bin Laden unarmed when shot (ABC)
  • Backlash at Bin Laden ‚”Execution” (The Jakarta Globe)
  • Obama makes solemn trip to Ground Zero (ABC)



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John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 40 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and editor.

He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.

He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.

In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.

Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.

In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.

Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me

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130 Responses to "Leaked dead Osama bin Laden photo or not? *updated"

  1. ali   May 5, 2011 at 4:42 am

    hes dead, i killed him myself

  2. ali   May 5, 2011 at 4:40 am

    you all just wait and get a fuckin life losers, hes dead trust me i killed him

  3. Dave   May 5, 2011 at 4:26 am

    The flag is that way on uniforms because when you walk FORWARD into battle holding the American flag the stars are forward. Look at how the flag hangs on a pole. Same way when you are holding it on a pole or a stick. It symbolizes always moving forward.

  4. theone_1993   May 5, 2011 at 4:17 am

    theres no way this is real because any solider on the operation would have his face posted on the internet about it!

  5. UK Intelligence   May 5, 2011 at 3:06 am

    That’s a plastic dummy you bunch of fucking retards! And the American flag is the wrong way around because it has been mirrored by the photoshop. You fucking tards!

  6. Diane   May 5, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Yeah I saw that same American on the news with the president. It’s real

  7. Bobby Napoleon   May 5, 2011 at 1:46 am

    This is all fake. Osama seems to be smiling.
    This appears to be like all hype like the WWE circus.

    • Jules   May 5, 2011 at 6:17 am

      Ever heard of a thing called rigamortis?

  8. Dave   May 5, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Just so your tracking…… the American Flag is worn on the right sleeve. The flag will look backwards because the stars always fly forward. The one with the patch on left sleeve and gunshot wound above the right eye is the photo that is flipped.

  9. James   May 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    the wound IS over his right eye! he is facing a different direction than us so his right is our left!!!! stop being a bunch of idiotic conspiracy theorists and appreciate the fact that anotherone bit the dust and focus on the fact that we still have more to kill!

  10. JimmyJangDingaDang   May 4, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    YES the FLAG is correct because “we do not run from the enemy” Cammies are also corrrect because the Navy has not transferred over to Digital Cammies yet.

    However i still think the pic is fake. On top of that this SEAL has now been compromised If this photo were real. His face should be blocked out. So if it is real WAY TO GO posting it @$$HOLE, you just compromised this US Sailor!

  11. kylan kincaid   May 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    you cannot flip a picture to prove something is wrong, all that does is screw up your own information. if you flip the picture when the wound is above the right or left eye of coarse it will be on the opposite after as well as the issue with the flag.

  12. Torch82   May 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I’m also a war veteran of the war on terror, and I also believe this photo to be fake. The flg on the uniform is correct, but I believe the uniform itself is wrong. He’s wearing what appears to be the Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU) that I also once worn, but I thought they stopped using them. I could be wrong, but I have a strong feeling the Navy SEALs no longer wear that uniform.

  13. twister   May 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    It’s a fake, here’s the proof: l

  14. joe   May 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    If its fake Osama can do another video showing his face. Of course, its hard to do when YOUR BRAINS HAVE BEEN BLOWN OUT. HELL-YA!!!! I didnt see any pics of women dancing in the streets in Palestine this week, shreiking their faces off …. how come???? Go to hell Osama AND HIS FOLLOWERS.

  15. Mariah   May 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I think that his right eye in the top picture looks like the same eye from the fake photo (left eye) which would lead me to believe this is a fake too

  16. brent   May 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

    i think this is hinky for other reasons. the whole flag argument is ridiculous, only said by people who obviously have never served. anyhow…

    SF guys always have some sort of radio/headset. wheres this guys? no helmet? its night time, he needs his NVGs…they have to be mounted on a helmet.

    they needed to go in, get him, get out. he wouldnt have time to take off his helmet inside the house while they were exfiltrating.

    of course i could be wrong, maybe the photo was real and was snapped back at the FOB upon return. who knows.

    • James   May 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      thats bs they dont always have headsets and special forces tend to not wear helmets because they make too much noise when your trying to be stealthy, night vision goggles do NOT have to be fixed to a helmet. i hate people who believe everything on the news and rely on video games as their sorce of information about how the military does stuff FUCK YOU ALL!

  17. bryan   May 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

    It’s fake as hell. Someone pasted a doctored picture of Osama’s face into that photo

  18. Crystal   May 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

    From what I’ve learned and observed about people being dead… uhm.. if Osama is dead, his face would NOT be smiling after sudden death. His muscles would automatically relax… almost like when a body releases urine or its last bowel movement in death. This is FAKE!

  19. joe   May 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Just so you know maja the American flag is not wrong. when worn on the right sleeve the “blue field” (in this case it would be a tan’ish color due to camo) is closest to the heart. If the flag was on the left arm it would be “right”. It is possible that these pictures are real.

    • mothersucker   May 5, 2011 at 12:42 am

      all u stupid ass bitches should show some respect we lost a lot of good men out there and all you can do is bitch and complain because the pics look fake…….. i say ooh rah and kiss my ass bitches

      • darkEDGEpictures   May 5, 2011 at 9:25 am

        Lost a lot of good men out where? Killing Bin Laden was hardly part of their 10 year plan? You lost a lot of good men fighting a fucking seperate war – if hunting Bin Laden was the only plan you wouldn’t have lost any. It was bloody special forces that swooped in and took the fuck head out, not your soldiers laying down their lives for a fight that was happening many miles away. And everyone isn’t bitching and complaining, they’re laying down their opinion on an open blog, you fucking idiot.

  20. Eman   May 4, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The photo is a fake. I have seen the real one. the gun wound is very clean and small on the real photo and his beard is longer.

    • angel   May 5, 2011 at 1:34 am

      so tell us when the rest of the world isn’t aloud to see the photo how did you see it?

    • LizzyBee   May 5, 2011 at 9:00 am

      You are so full of shit .You’re in the top handful of most powerful people in the world yet you can be bothered to sign in to this crappy website , risking your career by breaking the Disclosure Law to inform the likes of ‘maja’ ‘J’ and ‘Anyones guss’ that an obvious fake is an obvious fake ?
      Speaking of which ….wtf did I bother to do this!?

  21. Keith Raulerson   May 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

    uniforms always have the American flag with the stars closest to the soldier’s or officer’s heart. It is normal for it to appear backwards depending on which arm the flag is on.

  22. Adam   May 4, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Army wears reversed color flag, color IR flag, and subdued IR flag on wearer’s right shoulder (of combat uniform), with the union facing the viewer’s right. Other branches do not have a flag patch on their standard work/utility/combat uniform. Special Operations members of particular branches choose to wear flags affixed to their sleeves or body armor carrier, but they typically have them on the wearer’s left shoulder with the union facing the viewer’s right. I have really only seen Air Force CCT/PJ with the flag on their right shoulder. I have yet to see a SEAL or FR Marine with a flag on their right, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. My experience comes from being stationed at an Army installation that brings in personnel from other branches as well as federal agencies and foreign military personnel.

  23. Ian   May 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Definite fake, shadows over OBLs face are incorrect, light source isnt above & behind soldier – which is where it would have to be in order to have a shadow over OBLs face like that.

  24. J   May 4, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Fake. Apparently they figured it out themselves.

  25. Anyones guss   May 4, 2011 at 7:36 am

    btw, yes I am aware that the vinyl IR flags edges do delaminate, separate, and curl, but it is usually not all the way around the patch, and its normally in the most flexed area, and coincides with obvious creases caused by flexing, and they show up on camera, very well.

  26. Anyones guss   May 4, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Special forces or not, service members wear the american flag on their RIGHT shoulder. The flag is actually reversed of the official display. This is because america is at war, and the flag is being displayed as in motion running to the battle, with the stars on the rights, stripes on the left.
    Also the flag worn by this person is not the infrared vinyl type currently issued, the edges appear to be fuzzy, like the old cloth type, it could be a subdued cloth patch. Some law enforcement agencies do wear the flag on the left shoulder, but if it is on the right, they usually display the flag correctly.
    Note the total lack of camo, and black vest, also another trait of law enforcement. I also noticed the person is very clean cut and shaven, not at all like an operative that has been out in the field for a long period of time. I would guess this person to be an embedded reporter, government official, or at a stretch, possibly a pilot in a desert flight uniform.

    • Scooby   May 4, 2011 at 8:18 am

      not very accurate analysis. you may find seals at all times looking EXACTLY as this gentleman looks. hygienically and uniform military bearing. further there were reports of delta forces, who can appear in non-camouflage or hawaiian tee shirts. stop pretending to know.

      • Joseph Scott   May 4, 2011 at 8:48 am

        Yes, but since he is wearing a battle uniform, the flag goes on the right shoulder ALWAYS! this picture is a fake

      • Alexandra Mazur   May 5, 2011 at 3:48 am

        so how do you know that the original photo is the one with the flag on the left?? maybe the one with the flag on the right is the right one maybe the person messed up on the caption of the pictures.. always something to think about people make mistakes….

    • Navy Chief   May 4, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Army Regulation 670-1, “Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia,” addresses explicitly the proper and lawful placement of the U.S. flag patch on the Army uniform.

      The regulation states that when authorized for application to the proper uniform the American flag patch is to be worn, right or left shoulder, so that ‚Äúthe star field faces forward, or to the flag‚Äôs own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer‚Äôs right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the ‚Äòreverse side flag‚Äô.‚Äù We in the Navy wear them on either side also… nice try. Although I believe the photo to be a good fake.

  27. Courtney Rogers   May 4, 2011 at 6:39 am

    k I just want to know why does it look like well it does to me that Bin Laden is smiling? lol he thinks he will get them virgins? Um no that is for the ones that go to Heaven

  28. Courtney Rogers   May 4, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Ok I just want to know why does it look like well it does to me that Bin Laden is smiling? lol he thinks he will get them virgins? Um no that is for the ones that go to Heaven

    • idk   May 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

      It does

  29. maja   May 4, 2011 at 2:45 am

    ohh, i know see, it should have been the right eye and now the flag is good.. well.. anyhows, the bastard is gone, hallelujah!

  30. maja   May 4, 2011 at 2:44 am

    There is this shotwound above the left eye when the photo is flipped, but then the american flag is wrong (on the soldiers arm)
    So these pics are fake and gay..
    co za asy

    • Fuck you   May 4, 2011 at 8:33 am

      Of course it’s backwards when you flip the pic you fucking retard.

      • dillon thomas   May 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm

        what a prick you are

      • rumburak   May 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

        but the shot wound is on the wrong side when the flag is right you moron.

      • Yomama   May 5, 2011 at 10:33 am

        Niqqahss’zz thesee Photos Are REall Okkkay Reatardss

    • Klint   May 4, 2011 at 9:23 am

      The american flag is backwards on army uniforms

      • Trent   May 4, 2011 at 11:37 am

        Thank you Klint for setting them right. As a army vet the flag is that way.

      • Nobody   May 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

        Yes, its forward like its a soldier carrying a flag into battle. It’s the ONLY way a flag is worn on the shoulder.

      • MP   May 5, 2011 at 5:03 am

        hey bud they have the wrong American flags they would use a IR Flag for ID witch would be reflective under night vision this one is not

      • kimosabe   May 5, 2011 at 4:24 am

        All flags worn the stars always lead as the stripes stream behind. =) that’s why when the flag is raise the starts go up first.

    • TIM TIM   May 5, 2011 at 12:31 am

      MORONS!!!! The flag IS on the RIGHT shoulder and the POS reporter did not double check the info beforehand! The “flipped” image, has the flag on the right shoulder and a wound above the LEFT eye. The soldier is wearing old desert BDU’s and has on a tactical backpack, much like special forces uses. In any situation, the photo is FAKE. Osama is in Virginia getting dialysis as we prattle over propaganda… and he is smiling cause he’s laughing at how petty & shallow people become over a fucking picture on the internet!!!

      • MATTY WATTY   May 5, 2011 at 4:00 am

        you said it, ever since 9/11 shit as just been assumed. if american gov. had nothing to do with 9/11, then where the fuck are the black boxes, we can find every other one except those few…. ugh ok. not to mention the pentigon, why was there no plane debri.. and did u know the bush family is actually friends with the bin laden family. fuck our country, id rather live in canada

      • j   May 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

        then move to canada, we dont want you here anyway

      • MATTY WATTY   May 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        let me guess, your one of those jesus freaks, huh. christianity is the worlds largest CULT! yes, there are alot of kinde hearted ones, the nobodies, im talking about the reverends and pastors, and even the pope. i bet you even belive eveything our gov. says and that were the good guys, dont you ever wonder why everyone hates us, america is the bully of the world.

    • Dumb ass   May 5, 2011 at 4:04 am

      If youve ever seen a military uniform youll notice that the american flag patch is supposed to be inverted.

    • MP   May 5, 2011 at 4:59 am

      you are correct they have the wrong American flags they would use a IR Flag witch would be reflective under night vision it would almost look as its glowing and last they wouldn’t show the faces of any one involved in this operation

    • Deer Slayer   May 5, 2011 at 5:39 am

      I think that they should shoot Obama to. Obama and Osama sound too much alike. Plus Obama is a retard. I think Obama is trying to hide something. What if Osama isn’t dead. Obama could be trying to take over america with those fucking towel heads. Any american who has a dick and balls start saving up on ammo because, I don’t trust Obama. Plus whos stupid idea was it to give us a stupid president with an afro. PS” Fuck YOU OBAMa
      Obama will O bomb us.

    • Jandyt   May 5, 2011 at 5:48 am

      The flag is worn on the right shoulder, with the stars field towards the front.

    • freedomfighter   May 5, 2011 at 6:12 am

      in the “but flipped” picture, that is actually the correct side to wear the american flag on our uniform, dumbass, so the “flipped” picture is actually the original pic.

    • Dave   May 5, 2011 at 8:38 am

      If you knew anything about the military you would know that the flags are backwards of uniforms.

    • Bryn   May 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Maja, you are mistaken about the “flag” insignia on the soldier’s arm. In the photo that was originally posted on LiveLeaks, the “flag” is incorrectly displayed.
      When the photo is mirrored, the “flag” appears correctly as does the left eye wound on bin laden. So, this may not be a fake after all. Check out the military’s display of our flag on their arms, when we look at it on them, it is “backwards”…research it for yourself.

    • Kat   May 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Hello genius! The flag is made backwards on military uniforms. Trust me i wash enough of my husbands to know this.

    • darren levon   May 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

      the amercian flag is suppose to be that way. its suppose to have the stars on the right instead of the left.

    • tom   May 5, 2011 at 11:48 am

      soldiers wear their american flag on the right arm and it appears to be backwards since the flag used to be carried by a single soldier and it would face backwards as they marched. It is supposed to be a representation of that. uniform regulations state that the star field is to be placed forward.

    • EbertB   May 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      The American flag is always displayed with the “stars” end moving forward. Look up any picture of military troops. Flipped or not, it’s an accurate display of the patch.

    • Dick   May 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      The American flag on our military’s arms are supposed to be flipped backwards. I was in the army…I know, it’s flipped backwards to symbolize that we are “always moving forward” you know, if you were moving forward the flag would be going backwards in the wind…and it’s worn on the right arm. So the picture that shows the wound over his left eye is in fact the correct version. However, that said, it’s still fake lol


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