Since the Bert bin Laden page is still, after all this time, by far the most acessed on this server (if not in the frequency of thousands per minute as it was in October 2001) I decided to, at long last try to incorporate it int the current layout of the page. However, I didn’t want to ruin the ”facts-loaded-onto-eachother”-look it once had. Therefor it still looks a bit wierd, but is now at least, possible to read.
So, taking you back to two hectic days when the world needed somehting to laugh at. The Bert bin Laden aka Evil Bert mystery resolved…
Have fun! / N!kke
A new angle
[Updated 2001-11-21] It seems as if there once again might be one point up to the open society and a loss for cencor-prone fundamentalists. In an article on The Daily Rotten the nuclear documents found after fleeing Talibans seem to originate from another one of the great web scam sites. How to build you own Atomic Bomb. Go build, or read the article on The Daily Rotten.
All the PhotoShop warfare collected
[Updated 2001-11-22] My good friend Magnus Bergquist just sent me one of the best collections of PhotoShop warfare. You’ve seen most of them I think. But not all. Some are in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. Have a look at http://tihlde.org/~larstr/wtc/
It’s almost with sadness I hereby with the assistance of Dan Z J who sent in the tip declare the mystery solved. Yahoo has the story with comments from the makers of the poster. Go there for the solution. [Click here]
Printers web site?
If the AP story in the Yahoo link above is correct, I might just have found the printers web site. The printers are referred to as Azad Products in the article. Well, it looks like an hotel, but they might just have other services.
Have a peek at THIS. It sure shows a cooler Dakha than the AP and Reuters footage, doesn’t it? [link]
I finaly recieved a mail from Azad Products, the printers. Not quite clear of how to interpret it though:
|Sorry, we are not printed that poster.And yes we from Azad Products.And we printed many Usama Bin Laden’s poster which is scaned from Internet..We download the above picture from one of Laden’s website.We didn’t know the meaning of the picture..So it was our mistake and we just delete that picture from the poster after know and informed. Thanking you, Azad Products PVT.|
Bert is Evil is No More
Dino has taken down the original Bert is Evil site. We who have followed him through the years thank him for his work. The clones populating more or less shady porn banner-infested sites will take up where he ended. Take a look at his explanation. [link]
Bert working with bin Laden?
The mystery of the Bert-bin Laden connection evolves whith more imgaes coming in every day. Is this a big hoax? Has somebody got too much time? Or is somebody in Bangladesh trying to confuse the world? Or is the answer to be found at Reuters?
The other day a strange tip turned up on Buzz, a Swedish forum website I freququently visit. It was the Dutch news site Tubantia showing a picture from a rally in Bangladesh where Bert (Ernie’s friend) was clearly visible on a poster just behind the image of Usama bin Laden.
Click here for the original web site.
If it’s gone, click here for a larger screen shot.
Tubantia has since edited the pictuer so that
Bert is cut off. You’ll see the original in my screen shot above.
Now, this was more or less put of as a hoax from Tubantia’s side, but then, two days later Swedens biggest internet news website aftonbladet.se published a similar picture [here]. The tip was up on Buzz. Aftonbladet.se has taken down the image by now, but I, of course, saved it.
The image of Bangladesi picketeers as
previously seen at www.aftonbladet.se
Click here for a hi-res version of the imgage
originating from Reuter.
Now, I had to tell my friends about it. The main theory was that this was a hoax originated from the original Bert is Evil website, which was a plausible thought, so i asked Dino Ignacio, of the fractalcow website, who claims he knew nothing about it. Since, he has started linking to the Bert vs. bin Laden sites, and found another image (from Reuters) at Yahoo. He also sent me an analysis of the Reuter picture vs. the AP coverage of the same event.
The Bert – bin Laden poster as seen on Yahoo.
Click here for a larger screen shot if it’s taken away.
Now, some friends of mine (including Mikael Pawlo and Mårten Brink) did some research and found out it’s Reuters that are selling these Bert photos, while Assosiated Press (AP) have photos of the same poster whithout Bert. This could imply that Reuters have been set up whith manipulated images, but what if it is the other way around [see the update below]? (But then again, I allways love a good conspiracy.)
[UPDATE] More and mor e-mails are coming in supporting the theory that there are really two versions of the Poster. (See below) I’m really beginning to believe this must be the case, but still. How did he turn up in these posters to begin with?
This is a Bert free image of the same poster,
originating from AP. Has it been edited?
Click here for hi-res picture.
Finally, if anyone wants to examine the Reuter image, you can open it in a really large version, by clicking here.
If you have any more info about this story or know about any more websites publishing the Bert-bin Laden posters. Please tell me about it. My e-mail for this is email@example.com.
OK. Foxnews have a great story where they even managed to get comments from AP (thanks to anim8ter who put me on to it):
|”The first known Bert-bin Laden posters appeared on Oct. 5 in Dhaka, and photographs of them were printed by the Dutch news service Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau and�the Associated Press and Reuters news services. At least one other photograph including the posters was taken by Reuters photographer Rafiqur Rahman in Jakarta on Oct. 9.Reuters spokeswoman Felicia Cosby said the photos were authentic. evilbert.com The original doctored image of Bert and Usama bin Laden. ”We’ve just noticed it ourselves, since you queried, that there is Bert on that poster,” she said. ”I don’t know if they’re mass-producing these posters, but what I can say is that it is definitely our policy not to doctor photographs.”
Associated Press spokesman Jack Stokes said the AP photographs were also untouched. ”We haven’t changed the photo at all,” he said. ”We have very strict editing guidelines.”” [more at foxnews.com]
This is the best one so far! Littleboy sent me this searchstring for Google: click Littleboy’s link below:
|Hey Nikke,We reckon that four out of the 8 images used in the poster are from the very first page of results in Google for an image search on Osama Bin Laden. http://images.google.com/images?q=osama+bin+laden&hl=en&sa=N&tab=gi
This must be the final solution! The printer shop whas hurried for time and just downloaded any image they found. Threw together the poster and sold it or handed it out.
There is something strange whit the AP photos. Dino looks at them whith manipulating eyes. (And, he did the original Bert is Evil images, so he should know.)
i was examining the hi res images you posted and i almost certainly believe that the last one, the one without bert is the edited picture.looking at the pictures, judging by the angle, perspective, shadows and the crumples, it seems easier to remove bert than to place him. plus the bertfree poster has a contrast/brightness gamma problem. the corner with the picture of bin laden where bert should be has a bit darker gamma than the rest of the photo. my theory is that AP is trying to cover up this thing with the edited bertfree image.
Maybe John has got the solution?
The next response came in from John Cotterell. Also in support for the ideea that AP is covering up.
|This Bert/Osama thing has had me really puzzled. Having a look at all of those photo’s, it appears that the poster *is* real.I think I know how bert got there, too.
The original bert/osama image is definitely bogus 😉 (see below)
Look closer, and it appears that THIS image was used to make the poster!
So basically, the poster was most likely thrown together blindly by someone with images nicked from the web, including the doctored osama/bert photo! Whoever did this either had absolutely no idea who bert was, or had an evil sense of humor.
Let us know what you think.
I really think this must be how it all happened. Except for the thought that maybe it wasn’t inadvertently?
The original has been found!
Scott H found the true original (I think).
|Don’t know if this has been sent to you yet, but this page appears to be where the original Bert n’ Osama Photoshopped picture came from:
http://www.j-roen.net/bert/Here’s the pic:
He even has a tutorial on how he did it!
Well, j-roen has taken down the tutorial by now. Probably due to the threats made by Sesame Stree who doesn’t seem to ejoy this as much as we are. (See reaction in CNN article.)
Two posters, two press runs!
Matt Taylor wrote me a note. And OK, that might be true, but too boring.
|I don’t think the fact that there are images of two similar posters should necessarily mean that one is fake. It is very possible that the first run included the Bert image, and after several thousand were printed and distributed, someone noticed, and a second print was run, sans muppet.|
I recieve mor mails supporting Matt’s theory, and I must admit that I am leaning towards it. Too sad really, and maybe it changes the whole story. But still!
|Hi, The two posters look different to me the right shoulder of the small bin laden (next to bert) of the first poster is completly visible. The shoulder on the second poster is obscured, at around the same place the bert would become visble, by the large bin laden head. As if the picture had been moved in later print runs to remove the embarrasing Bert (a common problem I’m told).
I think this supports the boring hypothesis and should therefore be derided as the obvious gibbberings of a mindless imbecile.
More analysis. Two posters for sure!
Mark Falsone has put his imaging analysis at work:
|Hi Nikke,Read your site material. If its not to late I have this to add. The posters are from two different runs. If you use the image above it for a distance measurement you can see Bin Laden’s head is one and half times large in the sans-Bert poster. Also I think the posters are two different sizes. Again using a reference frame [e.g. the person holding the picture] and assuming that the holders are of roughly equal size then the poster with Bert is about 50 percent wider as well. I’m basing this off the sans-Bert poster holder’s arm positions. I’m assuming the holder is holding it up above his head or in front of his face, where as the other poster held in a similar fashion would require the arms to be more diagonal than vertical in position.
It’s getting better and better, Willem Hengeveld found a bottle of whisky on the poster:
|is that a bottle of johhny walker whiskey in bin laden’s hands in the picture just above berts?willem|
It might not be. Another mail from Willem:
|here is the original picture:some friends of mine think it might be a traditional knife/sword he is holding.
It’s definitely not a Whisky bottle! It seems to be a Yeminite knife! Here a letter from Andrew Metcalf:
|In that image, the thing that looks like a whiskey bottle is actually a knife. It is the traditional knife of Yemen (seriously). He started wearing it after the bombing of the USS cole, and most people thought it was to be interpreted as evidence of his participation in that event.andrew|
And now for a bit of photo evidence (in case anyone trusts that sort of info after reading this page) from ”blackjac”
|The knife carried by bin Laden in the ”whiskey bottle” photo is call a ”jambiya,” and it is a traditional, curved knife carried throught the Muslim world. The one Bin Laden has is in the classic Yemeni style, with a sort of hour-glass-shaped handle and very broad blade.|
I love conspircies, and so does Vic Serbe as it seems from his mail:
|I wonder if it’s some form of steganography to send a message to Al Quaida cells.—
I just got a long mail from Gary S that kills off Vic’s theory pretty good. Too bad really. But I do agree with Gary.
|Niklas:One response to your Bert/Osama page suggested that including Bert in the Osama bin Laden posters may have been a hidden message of some sort. I disagree.
Here’s why: While I am not an expert on terrorism or steganography, I think common sense dictates that there is no way Bert could have been used as a secret message.
First, this is a terrible picture to hide anything in. Because of its humorous nature, millions of people are going to examine it closely, making it easy for codebreakers to find any potential hidden messages. For steganography to work, the medium needs to be as innocuous as possible.
Second, the Bert image was an actual printed poster, not a computer file or an artifact thereof. A computer file can be altered to include messages, but this photo came from real life and was authentic (by all accounts). In fact there are several different photos in which the Bert image can be seen from different angles. So this wasn’t just one particular computer file that may have contained a message.
Third, it is not possible for them to hide some kind of message in Bert’s expression, and count on journalists to photograph it and send it around. Without knowing at what angle or at what resolution the photographs of the poster would be taken, they risked rendering the coded part of the message unreadable.
Fourth, there just isn’t much here to hide anything in. A message of any use would need to be a text message of some length, including details on what to do, where to go and when. High-level acts like the Sept 11 attacks involve a lot of coordination and planning. Even if you subscribe to the theory that this could have been simply a ”go code” to enact some existing plan, those that sent the message would have no way of knowing exactly when the message will be put out, or if all the participants will get it at the same time. Not a good way to communicate the commencement of an attack.
Finally, it is not a certainty that this would ”message” would ever have been seen! As crazy it sounds, there are several scenarios in which Bert could have gone totally unnoticed. Bad weather could have damaged the posters or made them unphotographable; the protest could have turned violent, running off western journalists; news agencies could have suspected something and edited Bert out; the printing process could have been screwed up; or, quite simply, Bert could have gone unnoticed. That’s not as unlikely as it may sound — even those that took the photos, and the agency that put them out (Reuters), didn’t notice Bert at first. My two cents on why I don’t think Bert is any kind of hidden message. I hope you found it useful. Gary
My two cents on why I don’t think Bert is any kind of hidden message. I hope you found it useful.
Nikke, 10 of october 2001
Last updated November 22, 2001
Attempted cleanup preformed on April 14 2003 (at long last…)