We have a lot of dueling theories out on the web as a Osama video is expected.
Personally, I’m somewhat skeptical of Osama’s condition being well enough to be able to show up in front of a video camera for any extended period of time. While there remains a lot of speculation on just how crippled/deteriorating his medical condition was in the run up to 9/11, there was enough chatter to convince me that he’s probably not sipping mai tais somewhere.
Hey, it’s possible.
On to the news. First from GINA COBB comes a link to the blog of a video analysis expert. I have a little bit of a background in video editing, so it all makes sense to me. See how it sounds to you:
On the Friday before the sixth anniversary of 9/11, Osama bin Laden appeared in a new video, his first since prior to the U.S. presidential elections in 2004. In analyzing the video, Neal Krawetz of Hactor Factor, an expert on digital image forensics, said in his latest blogs that the video contained many visual and audio splices, and that all of the modifications were of very low quality.
Krawetz says the inner frame of bin Laden was resaved at least twice, and not at the same time. The images show fine horizontal stripes on bin Laden and a background indicating these came from interlaced video sources. In contrast, the text elements, such as the As-Sahab logo, appear to be from non-interlaced sources.
Interlaced video is where your film doesn’t have a full picture on every frame. Basically the images are chopped up into strips and half the strips are shown in one frame then the other half is shown in the next frame. So if you play with the video too much after the fact, you can end up with what looks like striping or fine bands across your video.
This is what appears to have happened with the Al Qaeda video, because they took an interlaced (striped) source and then shoved some non-interlaced elements over it. That would make the interlaced video stand out. There are more interesting problems with the video:
The September 7 video shows bin Laden dressed in a white hat, white shirt and yellow sweater. Krawetz notes “this is the same clothing he wore in the 2004-10-29 video. In 2004 he had it unzipped, but in 2007 he zipped up the bottom half. Besides the clothing, it appears to be the same background, same lighting, and same desk. Even the camera angle is almost identical.” Krawetz also notes that “if you overlay the 2007 video with the 2004 video, his face has not changed in three years–only his beard is darker and the contrast on the picture has been adjusted.”
More important though are the edits. At roughly a minute and a half into the video there is a splice; bin Laden shifts from looking at the camera to looking down in less than 1/25th of a second. At 13:13 there is a second, less obvious splice. In all, Krawetz says there are at least six splices in the video. Of these, there are only two live bin Laden segments, the rest of the video composed of still images. The first live section opens the video and ends at 1:56. The second section begins at 12:29 and continues until 14:01. The two live sections appear to be from different recordings “because the desk is closer to the camera in the second section.”
Then there are the audio edits. Krawetz says “the new audio has no accompanying ‘live’ video and consists of multiple audio recordings.” References to current events are made only during the still frame sections and after splices within the audio track.” And there are so many splices that I cannot help but wonder if someone spliced words and phrases together. I also cannot rule out a vocal imitator during the frozen-frame audio. The only way to prove that the audio is really bin Laden is to see him talking in the video,” Krawetz says.
That probably is the most important part. How can we date something when they’ve tossed in still frames over the relavent parts? More importantly, why would they have to splice in still frame images if bin Laden is perfectly fine and plotting?
Doesn’t it seem more likely that he isn’t in very good shape if they can’t show new video of him? If they can only produce audio, it implies that he wouldn’t make for a very compelling video subject due to sickness or that wherever he is, it isn’t safe enough for him to show his face or surroundings.
Looking forward, Al Qaeda is supposedly going to release another Osama bin Laden video that will discuss the motivation for the September 11 attacks.
They’re getting awfully chatty as of late, aren’t they?
More on the new video at The Jawa Report: Osama in Yemen? (Or Africa?) (Interesting speculation on bin Laden’s whereabouts) | http://www.qando.net/ – More al Qaeda video to be released | Gateway Pundit: Another OBL Tape— This One Will Explain Why NY & DC Were Attacked | The Jawa Report: Another al Qaeda Vid? The Ghazwa on Manhattan and Washington | |