Leaked dead Osama bin Laden photo or not?

Leaked dead Osama bin Laden photo or not?
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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?



JLF: 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.



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?"

  1. Oroborus   May 20, 2011 at 4:24 am

    The first picture is not flipped, just look at the goddamn US flag con the soldier’s arm.
    This means this shit is a big fake.

    • Steve   May 23, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      One inconsistency does not mean the whole thing is a fake.

    • j-j-jay   July 18, 2011 at 7:48 am

      The first pic is flipped. The injury is over the right eye and the flag is facing the wrong eye. The other ones match up fine. What’s the problem? I mean the image itself does just look strange when looking at it. Osama’s head just pops out of the picture too much and seems too clear.

      The image supports evidence for both side. So we are where we will always be…confused.


  2. mohamed Abdul Wahab Ahmed Mohamed   May 19, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    why America kill too many people and they say stop the war

    i know osama kill too much people , but osama kill this people because they are Traitors
    for islam ,,, for know am Moslem ,,,, and no piece with America and israel
    we did not want any stupid Zionist to live on the earth , because they kill too much people
    last thing : palatine
    Palestine Arab state and the Jews who inhabited since time immemorial Arabs,,, what would the Europeans jews and their not Arab, why they want palestine and the old jew thier live in palestine now there grandson’s moslem ,,,, we want piece with good people not with israel ,,,,,,,,, am sorry , if my language is bad but from my comment i know you know what i mean.

    • Mohammad the pedophile   July 21, 2011 at 1:37 am

      Shut up you filthy terrorist or you will be next. It’s the worlds duty to get rid of the cult islam.

  3. nick   May 18, 2011 at 12:08 am

    That shit is fake to be real I think Bin Laden died along time ago. I think Benazir Bhutto knew too much and said too much that’s the reason why they killed her. Now puppet Obama is noticing that his approval ratings is slipping takes it up on himself to do something drastic and makes up this incredible story of him basically taking out Osama. At the end of the day there is no solid evidence Obama killed Osama BULLSHIT.

    • 101INFSCT   June 4, 2011 at 10:47 am

      Obama didnt kill Osama dipshit. US Navy Seals shot and killed Osama.

  4. Marine1967   May 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I doubt this is real. Head shot does not look serious enough and the SEAL, would NOT have been wearing a US Flag, on this mission.

    • 101INFSCT   June 4, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Correction….A Navy Seal would wear a US flag patch. Its Operatives such as Delta and CAG, etc that wont wear insignia.

  5. Birddog   May 8, 2011 at 5:33 am

    I doubt anyone could get their hands on the actual photos or a electronic copy, howver…..who cares? He is dead! Alqada acknowledges its so lets just move on. if every one just lets it go. sooner or later the photos will be released.

  6. Lee Pontruce   May 8, 2011 at 1:09 am

    why not, dipshit? Do you want your tax dollars toward keeping this piece of shit alive?

  7. a   May 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    when the photo is flipped it has a defect in that the flag on the sleeve of the soldier is backwards. it is fake

    • a   May 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      reason i say that is the wound is suppose to be above the left eye

    • Birddog   May 8, 2011 at 5:27 am

      No it doesnt!!! It may or may not be real, but not fo that reason. the field of stars is always in the same position. the potos shown are just mirrored…….

    • Marine1967   May 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      Point of information, The flag is worn in reverse, to show that it is flying Right side Stars to the front Left stars to the rear. My concern,is that SEALs, would probably NOT wear any patches, rank or anything showing USA involvement, since it isa covert mission.

    • Somebody   May 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

      the flag is suppossed to be backwards on the soldiers right arm.

      Army Regulation 670-1, “Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia,” updated most recently September 5, 2003, 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 “the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s 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 ‘reverse side flag’.”

      Most of the world’s military wears the flag on the left shoulder. American flyers do the same but as the US Army wears their unit patch of the left shoulder, they wear the flag on the right shoulder.

      Read more: Why is American flag backwards on soldiers uniform?

    • jbn   May 11, 2011 at 4:27 am

      It would be backwards if it was facing the right way thats how they patch them to reflect the flag blowing in the wind

  8. Julie   May 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    The flag on the shoulder’s arm is suppose to be “backwards” because it is on the right arm

  9. Ayoz   May 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    My question, the world most wanted was shot dead when they can arrest him easly … WHY ????

    • Birddog   May 8, 2011 at 5:29 am

      Why not?!! He was resposnible for thousands of deaths and atleast 2 wars. What kind of lilly livered lineral would even ask that question?!!!!

    • Marine1967   May 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      Why would we want him alive??? Then Obumble could try him as a criminal in US courts and he would have lawyers and appeals and may get off..ya never know. Besides we would have the cost of his keep. A real bargain for the cost of a $0.45 bullet

    • Austin   May 18, 2011 at 1:25 am

      They didnt think he was in there but once they got in there they found him dead…but it would have been great to have him alive, so we can question him ask him about 9/11 and what not.

  10. P   May 6, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    that picture is a fake u could tell it was photoshopped, theres no way thats real because I’ve seen the picture for myself and the wound on the left right above his eye is a lot more gruesome there is a chunk of his head missing and u could see a little bit of the brains. i would of post it up but the website that had the photo got took down now i can’t find that photo anywhere so i know its the real one all i know that osama is dead there is absolutely no conspircy or anything like that the man is really dead!

    • Austin   May 18, 2011 at 1:26 am

      and why is he smiling was he finished telling a joke or somthing then BOOM dead right there?

  11. naysayer   May 6, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Just Scandals Blackhawk Down

    Scandal over, move along here tis nothing but a fake from the movie blackhawk down.

  12. heee   May 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    super secret elite soldier never smile to camera!

  13. delta6   May 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    FALSE, FORGED, Photoshopped and fabricated photograph.

  14. jibbles   May 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    If you flip the photo like that the american flag on his arm is backwards.

  15. fake   May 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

    uniform is outdated dcu.

    • SOG Team 6   May 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      You are correct about the uniform. We would wear delta gear. And when performing covert misions, we do not wear markers to identify country of origin. This is a fake.

  16. Devin   May 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

    The flipped image is the correct version. Observe the direction of the American flag on the standard-issue ACU uniform:
    Global Security Org.

  17. E   May 6, 2011 at 2:18 am

    This is photoshopped from a scene from the movie Blackhawk Down, the soldier in the pic is an actor from that movie…go watch it.

  18. doubtful   May 6, 2011 at 1:04 am

    The arm patch can be worn on either arm. The calibre of the weapon and the entry point into the skull makes me think this is a faked photo. The photo is supposedly too gruesome to view yet this one doesn’t have a gruesomeness inherent to head wounds caused by a high velocity weapon.

    • Davey jones   May 6, 2011 at 9:34 am

      The flag is only worn one way. stars then stripes…. first photo is correct. I too think is faked

  19. EGZONi Kosova   May 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    a picture of osames for the dek corpse believed that was also a different video for us not to believe that there mujt dek the strongest I ma niri bot

  20. Dro1440   May 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Idk that photo was def supposed to be flipped so that the US flag is on the right arm of the soldier, making the wound over his left eye. Never kno…

  21. common scenes   May 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    why do people make such a big deal about shit that don’t pertain to them, only family of those who died 911 should be notified and explained to its no one else business what happen or is it true or were besides that their should be a law that keep things like this out the media and the public the only thing that would create is to put every one in danger in a case like this one it would piss Iraqis off n make them retaliate against Americans all over the world ! the only thing i got to say about this pics stuff is DUM ASS SES.m

  22. mr_mojo   May 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    These may be real…military uniforms usually have the flag on the right and backwards…so the pic at the bottom should be correct…in which case the bullet hole is on the left of OBL..
    photos normally are dated on the bottom right too…

    I have seen another color photo shot straight on…they are remarkably similar…only the color one has a lot of blood…


  23. Johan magnus Aanderaa   May 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Well done America, I am very glad that, that Fucker is dead.

  24. the lone gunner   May 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    i wanted to see a pic of obama next to the body, then i would belive, plus does any1 know where and what ocean he was supposedly dumbed in??

  25. Moshe Sharon   May 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    So here’s the deal: 1) The White House announced that a Navy Seal team raided Osama’s residence in Pakistan; 2) They allegedly conducted a DNA analysis and confirmed that the man shot in the head is Osama but never showed us the actual result or explained where they got the prior control sample to set up the profile for a match test; 3) They announced that they took the body to an aircraft carrier and dumped it overboard after a Muslim funeral; 4) They said they have pictures but are refusing to show them to the general public. I’m certain that if the Seals killed a decoy and Osama is still alive somewhere else, he won’t wait long before appearing on AL Jazeera Television to thumb his nose at the world (G-d forbid). So, unless Osama made a deal with Obama to trade information for witness protection, in the absence of any visible shred of corroborating forensic evidence, time will tell whether the dead chicken of the sea is really Osama Bin Laden or has Obama been Lying? More at Moshe Sharon

  26. tom   May 5, 2011 at 11:55 am

    That’s not him. That guy was the bouncer at Loyal Brothers bar in Glenwood Springs, CO. I know because I saw him last night when I was really drunk and eating ecstacy.

  27. Todd Diesel   May 5, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Aside from the arguments about the uniform and how the flag should be properly worn.. cause different generations and branches can argue that all day long… but look at what “Osama” is wearing… a tactical vest with a combat knife?? And even if that’s not a combat knife, in all the pictures of Osama, he’s never seen wearing that kind of outfit. Much less for being in one of his mansions. And the only other photo released showing a full facial in color is fake. They took a photo of somebody else, and photoshopped in the lower portion of the face. Why else does the upper portion of the face look crisp and clean, and the lower portion grainy?

  28. Julia   May 5, 2011 at 7:49 am

    i’m 100% positive that the photo is real. it was emailed to my dad from someone within US admin. certain people are allowed to see it they are just not allowing everyone to see it. i’m not doubting they have better pictures but this one is definitely real, and the reason why it’s above the right eye is because cameras can flip things, but that’s obvious

    • no1   May 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      those photos sent out to emails, that was a mass virus sending

      • kami   May 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

        its a fake ,, 100% ,, with proof ,, go to youtube ,, search “Black Hawk Down Part 13 ” uploaded by 1SGx1Brianx ,, you will see exact this image at time 5:48/10:01 ,,,

  29. Fake   May 5, 2011 at 6:35 am

    It’s fake… It’s taken from a scene from Black Hawk Down, check it out for yourselves. Liveleak got it. Too bad, still fakes.

  30. Adam   May 5, 2011 at 5:57 am

    That guy does appear to be wearing DCU’s, with a dark in color (possibly black) load bearing vest. Kinda looks like what Army rotary wing pilots and crew wore a few years back. Also, at least with the Army, as of relatively recently (been out a few years), you could still see OD-A’s wearing tiger stripe and DCU blouses and trousers, along with ACU and 3 color woodland BDU. His lack of a heavy loadout could be his personal preference for this particular operation, or that photo could be from a secure location during the debrief. Or it could be totally fake… we shall see


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