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N Korea Propaganda Photo Goes Horribly Wrong After Expert Notices Humiliating Issue KJU Missed

It was supposed to be a military drill that showed off North Korea’s air power to all the world. And it apparently did, albeit not the way it was intended. Just days after Pyongyang ran a massive air drill with 150 planes reportedly sortied to the skies, a top data expert said images of the drills were plainly photoshopped to make the exercise look larger than it was. According to U.S.-funded outlet Radio Free Asia, sources said the drills, conducted between Oct. 6-8, “required a month’s worth of intensive pilot training and burned through precious jet fuel that has been in short supply since the 1990s.” According to The Associated Press, North Korean warplanes flew as close to seven miles from the South Korean border late Thursday and early Friday, prompting South Korea to scramble F-35 fighter jets and other aircraft in response. Meanwhile, RFA noted, “Saturday’s exercise appeared to be largely meant for propaganda purposes, as state TV and radio carried repeated programs about the event since Monday.” “For this training exercise, the entire air force has made a fuss and conducted intensive training since last month,” a North Korean source told RFA. “Despite the shortage of jet fuel these days, many aircraft participated in the drill. The drill was directly observed by Kim Jong Un and the air force command officials came to each division to supervise practice for over two weeks.” The Pyongyang-run Korea Central News Agency lauded the “gallant combat pilots,” who showed “the might of the people’s air force and creditably carried out the Party’s order of training by displaying matchless bravery and indomitable fighting spirit in the large-scale air attack combined drill unprecedented in the army-building history.” Even if the drill went off as it was billed, it left few foreign powers quaking in their military boots: While North Korea has 572 planes in its air force, according to a Forbes report from June 2021, a large number of these are Soviet-designed fighters from the 1950s and ’60s, including MiG-17s, MiG-19s and MiG-21s. Instead, it was apparently intended for domestic consumption. RFA reported another source who said it was “an attempt to downplay the shabbiness of the North Korean air force.” “The public is aware of the poor condition of our air force, including the outdated airplanes and lack of jet fuel,” the source, described as a former air force officer, told the agency. And now the North Korean “public” could become aware of the mediocre condition of North Korea’s Photoshop skills, as well. [firefly_poll] According to the U.K. Express, Dr. Thorsten Beck — an image-manipulation expert with the Humboldt-Elsevier Advanced Data and Text Center in Berlin — said analysis of the photos with “clone detection” software indicated pictures released by Pyongyang were likely fakes. The software analyzes “identical or similar elements in images and shows some of the similarities quite nicely,” Beck said. “I think the assumption that elements have been cloned in a number of images is correct.” He added that it wasn’t necessarily a botched job: “Whoever created or manipulated these pictures certainly had some command of Photoshop,” Beck noted. “It does not look amateurish, but the composition, the purpose and the nature of the manipulation speak a different language. “Partly because the images dramatize the power of North Korea’s air force, they appear somehow too good to be true and that creates a funny effect in some of the images.” In one shot, a number of fighter jets appear against a backdrop of clouds: “The image looks very artfully composed, almost too good to be true,” Beck said. And it likely was, he added: “In clone analysis, you can see which groups show similarity, and my visual analysis largely coincides with this.” Another photo with over 30 planes in the shot had another telltale giveaway: “Here, the planes don’t change size toward the viewer, despite their different heights and distances,” Beck said. “It also looks like they have the same sharpness — no matter how far they are away.” The analysis, it’s worth noting, isn’t definitive proof of a Photoshop job. “It would not be unusual for aircraft of the same type flying in formation like this to be recognized as clones,” Beck said. [ic_related] However, he added that the clone-detection software picked up the same irregularities he noticed upon visual inspection. “In summary, copied elements are likely in many of the images — even if visual analysis cannot give absolute certainty,” he said. The fact it looks like a fraud, however, is enough to embarrass North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the Pyongyang regime. It would totally make sense — image manipulation is cheaper than jet fuel and hardly as scarce, after all — but the fact the West seems to have detected it could be enough to get a poor graphic artist killed by the Juche regime. After all, this is a country that’s forbidden laughing during a national commemoration of the anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il. and executed people for peddling TV shows. Don’t think for a second it will be more forgiving about a botched Photoshop job that embarrassed North Korea’s decrepit air force — and the country’s leadership, too. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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