The BBC is reporting that the following photograph of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, released earlier this week, may be a fake:
From the above distance, everything looks fine. It's just Dear Leader, the paragon of health, inspecting the troops as normal. But zoom in, the BBC found, and a few inconsistencies raise red flags:
Maybe North Korea has stolen CNN's hologram technology?
On a serious note, the inconsistencies in the photograph raise the question of whether Kim is in fact incapacitated, or even dead. The latest speculation is that Chang Sun-Taek, Kim's brother-in-law, is running the show. But nobody really knows for sure.
So, should we be worried about a destabilizing succession battle in this paranoid, impoverished, nuclear-armed regime? Stuart Reid of Foreign Affairs, in a new piece for ForeignPolicy.com, says the answer is, surprisingly, no. Check it out.
UPDATE: It appears the top photo is not the exact same one as that examined by the BBC. Thanks to readers for alerting me to this, and sorry for the mistake. Also, South Korea's intelligence community believes the Kim photo is real.