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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, July 11, 2008

Iran -- Fighting Us with Photoshop

By Keith R. Schmitz

Seems that all the lather worked up by the Iran missle tests might have been unwarranted. Comments from a Harry Farid in the Scientific American.
Well, at first glance it looks like the second missile from the left and its trail was possibly copied in the original and then pasted in as the second missile from the right in the edited version. But I'm not so sure it's that simple a story. If we look at the trails from these two missiles, for starters, there's a black dot just under the second-from-right missile that's not there on the other one.

Then there's the smoke plumes rising from the ground. If you look at the smoke plumes underneath two rockets on the right, those folds of smoke on the right-hand side of the trail look pretty similar, too, though. But if you look very closely, they are not identical; the pixels don't line up exactly. This distortion could have happened when the JPEG file [a common kind of digital image] was compressed, so it could just be cloned image. Or, it may be that the same kind of missile can make a very similar-looking plume.

Something else to notice here is that in the edited version, the rockets look a little bigger and thicker. This means that they are closer to the camera or the ground. So, it's a possibility that that so-called edited and the original are actually different shots entirely, taken by two people who took the pictures almost at the same time but from slightly different distances from the launch.
It's a good thing there is not the same mental climate we had in 2002/2003 to go off half cocked for sure when the US chugged off to Iraq.
What is interesting is that it seems the Bush administration and Iranian Revolutionary Guard need each other to play to their respective bases:
"There have been several comments about our missiles' tests, especially by the United States, and all of them are wrong," said Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani at the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran.

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guards test-fired during the last three days several medium- and long-range missiles, including the Shahab-3 missile which is said to have a range of 2000 kilometres and therefore capable of reaching any part of the territory of Israel.

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