Leonard Doyle – The Independent September 8, 2007
The US government is analysing videotape that appears to show Osama bin Laden in a false beard, marking the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
American intelligence sources told ABC News that the video message was authentic, recently produced and proves that the al-Qai'da leader is still alive. US authorities have a transcript, which they say encourages potential suicide bombers to commit missions against the West.
Evidence that Bin Laden is still directing al-Qai'da operations, despite the best efforts of the US military and a $50m (£25m) price on his head, will be a blow to President George Bush who staked his reputation on winning the "war on terror".
In a banner ad for the video, the al-Qai'da leader, now aged 50, looked fit, with a full beard of dark black hair, rather than his usual grey-streaked beard. Instead of the customary combat jacket, he was wearing Arabic robes.
"It does look oddly as if he is wearing a false beard," Richard Clarke, a former White House counter-terrorism official, said. "If we go back to the tape three years ago, he had a very white beard. This looks like a phoney beard that has been passed on."
The al-Qai'da leader has not appeared in a video message in almost three years and has not put out a new audio message for more than a year. His last video broadcast was days before the 2004 presidential vote.
The new videotape is expected to be released in the next few days or hours and may also be timed to coincide with next week's debate in Congress about the unpopular war in Iraq and demands for a pullout of forces.
US intelligence analysts are trying to determine the tape's authenticity and how recently it has been recorded. A government official said, on condition of anon-ymity: "We need to take a look at it to see whether it's old or new, and we're doing it very quickly."
Al-Qai'da's propaganda arm, Al-Sahab, announced the imminent release of the video on Thursday on an Islamic website often used by the terrorist group. "Soon, God willing, video message by the Lion Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may God protect him," read a banner ad in Arabic. US intelligence will examine whether Bin Laden mentions current events, to help establish when and where the tape was produced. In his last taped message, Bin Laden said he decided in 1982 to attack the World Trade Centre after Israel invaded Lebanon, backed, he said by the US Navy.
The US Department of Homeland Security said there was no "credible information" about any imminent threat to the US, but repeated the department's message that the US is "in a period of increased risk". The National Security adviser Fran Townsend, told CNN a video from al-Qa'ida would just be propaganda. "People have got to be clear that we're being manipulated every time they issue a statement, because they're trying to use the media as a way to terrorise us," she said.
US officials say Bin Laden may be hiding in tribal areas in the mountains on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. There has been no good lead on the terrorist leader's hideout since 2005.
Note the contrast, has he dyed his hair or is it even the same man?
Readers Comment – September 8, 2007
I just had to write to respond to Gerald Posner's appearance tonight on Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Pray tell, what on earth would we do if we didn't have Gerald Posner to think for us. So the Saudi Arabian rulers show up with jet black beards and mustaches do they, even if they're 80 years old?
I would just like to direct your attention to this item from a website
aimed at increasing knowledge about Islam and its customs.
Under the heading "which things are unlawful in the state of ehraam?" (ehraam means abstinence in Arabic, and refers here to the preparations for making the Hajj---the holy pilgramage)
"(14). To apply hair-dye or to colour the hair with "Wasmah" (a kind of leaves that are used to dye the beard or head) and to apply black-dye is always "Haraam" (unlawful) in normal course of life and in the state of Ehraam such acts are even worse"
Did you catch that? To apply black dye on the beard or head is always unlawful for the devout Muslim, and to do so during the Hajj is even worse. So all the devout Muslims in the world will be thinking, "what the hell??!!" when they see this new video. Now, I don't know what Saudi Arabian royalty do, but Osama Bin Laden is (or was) a fanatical Wahabbi Sunni Muslim----remember? And we're supposed to believe that after years and years of showing us his very long gray beard, all of a sudden he starts doing things that are "haraam" (unlawful in Islam)?
And Posner's source about arabs trying to look youthful and powerful was apparently Rita Katz
, the Israeli agent who runs the SITE Institute, who was quoted in the Associated Press saying similar stupid things, and whose Institute "discovered" the new Bin Laden videotape. Her father was executed in Iraq for being an Israeli spy, by the way------like she knows what the hell she's talking about. Does anyone in the mainstream media ever do basic background checking before thay run these things?
Oh, and by the way, Osama is now doing book reviews------and telling us we should all run out and read some Noam Chomsky book? Give me a fxxx!!! break! Maybe CSPAN can start doing episodes on its Book Notes program with OBL "Now all you filthy heathen infidels, I want you to run down to Borders and get Noam Chomsky's latest book----it's the bomb!" LOL!!!
And just to address the conception that a fake tape of a dead Osama Bin Laden can't be convincingly done, here are some quotes from an article in the Washington Post that was published on Feb. 1, 1999. That's over 8 1/2 years ago, and the military had the technical capability to produce a fake Osama tape way back then. One can only imagine what they could do today:
"Gentlemen! We have called you together to inform you that we are going to overthrow the United States government." So begins a statement being delivered by Gen. Carl W. Steiner, former Commander-in-chief, U.S. Special Operations Command.
At least the voice sounds amazingly like him.
But it is not Steiner. It is the result of voice "morphing" technology developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
By taking just a 10-minute digital recording of Steiner's voice, scientist George Papcun is able, in near real time, to clone speech patterns and develop an accurate facsimile. Steiner was so impressed, he
asked for a copy of the tape.
Steiner was hardly the first or last victim to be spoofed by Papcun's team members. To refine their method, they took various high quality recordings of generals and experimented with creating fake statements. One of the most memorable is Colin Powell stating "I am being treated well by my captors."
"Once you can take any kind of information and reduce it into ones and zeros, you can do some pretty interesting things," says Daniel T. Kuehl, chairman of the Information Operations department of the National Defense University in Washington, the military's school for information warfare.
Digital morphing — voice, video, and photo — has come of age, available for use in psychological operations. PSYOPS, as the military calls it, seek to exploit human vulnerabilities in enemy governments, militaries and populations to pursue national and battlefield objectives.
To some, PSYOPS is a backwater military discipline of leaflet dropping and radio propaganda. To a growing group of information war technologists, it is the nexus of fantasy and reality. Being able to
manufacture convincing audio or video, they say, might be the difference in a successful military operation or coup.
Allah on the Holodeck
Pentagon planners started to discuss digital morphing after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Covert operators kicked around the idea of creating a computer-faked videotape of Saddam Hussein crying or showing other such manly weaknesses, or in some sexually compromising situation. The nascent plan was for the tapes to be flooded into Iraq and the Arab
So, "being able to manufacture convincing audio or video, they say, might be the difference in a successful military operation or coup." Well, well, well. And this was in 1999.
Get the picture?
Oh, and one final thing. IntelCenter, based in Alexandria, Virginia, a.k.a. Spook Junction, which monitors the internet for radical terrorist activity, and etc. says that a militant Islamic website where Al-Sahab, Al Qaeda's media arm, frequently posts messages, ran a banner ad telling about the forthcoming Bin Laden video.
Question: Can anyone supply the url of this website? Has it ever been posted anywhere? And if not, why not? I can't help but notice that the website addresses of these "militant islamic websites are NEVER given.
"Sources say that Osama bin Laden is releasing a new video in the next coming days, just in time to “celebrate" 9/11. Supposedly, he is going to address the American people.
The announcement and photo appeared in a banner advertisement on an Islamic militant Web site where al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, frequently posts messages.
"Soon, God willing, a videotape from the lion sheik Osama bin Laden, God preserve him," the advertisement read, signed by Al-Sahab. Such announcements are usually put out one to three days before a video is posted on the Web.
So, sometime within the next 72 hours, expect to see video of OBL on your favourite television news outlet...
Back in 2004, the last time OBL released a video, his facial hair was gray. Al-Sahab, al-Qaeda's media arm, shows a still photo from the video in which OBL has his beard dyed black:
Osama's trying to look younger and more virile for his followers, I guess.
I have a couple of questions for you, my dear, intelligent readers:
All of a sudden, OBL has enough freedom to do get his hair done, get a video made, sent out, and have his picture posted on the internet? He's able to have all of this done, but our intelligence has no idea where he is? Does our intelligence not know where al-Sahab is based? Or from what IP address this information was uploaded? Geez, I think we need to get a 14-year-old hacker on this!
Why are we not able to navigate to al-Sahab's website? I mean, I don't plan to sign up with AQ or anything, but if the SITE Institute and IntelCenter are able to monitor this website, why not the rest of us? It took a lot of surfing just to find the pictures above, and it was a roundabout way to be sure. If my natural curiosity leads me to wanting to view this particular website, why can't I? If I want to see an aged, dyed Osama, why shouldn't I be able to? Am I being protected? I'm willing to bet it would be easier for an average person to find child pornography on the web than it would be to find al-Sahab's website.
And, probably the most important question:
Why now? We haven't heard from ol' OBL for some time now; so, why now? Why not last year on 9/11? We haven't even heard of an audiotape from OBL since July 2006, and no video until right before the 2004 presidential elections; so, why now? Is this just in time to ramp up some support for bombing the hell out of Iran? Perhaps it's just the right time to try to get the American folks to get behind The Decider? Why now?
I'm sure you have some theories, AND some questions of your own: Let's hear them."
Posted by Mixter at 6:22 PM
Last updated 11/09/2007