Saturday, September 09, 2006

Call Me Skeptical

If I had to guess about how that tape got into Al Jazeera's hands, I'd say that we were being played. Again.

I have to ask "Who does the release of this latest Osama Bin Laden tape serve?"

The AP reports - [The Star videotape]:
Al-Jazeera Television broadcast a previously unshown video today of the preparations for the Sept. 11 attacks in which Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is seen meeting with some of the planners and hijackers in a mountain camp in Afghanistan.
The video also includes the last wills and testaments of two of the hijackers, Wail al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi.

The station did not say how it obtained the video, which was produced by As-Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media branch.

It was the fourth in a series of long videos that Al Qaeda has put out to memorialize the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Centre, said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, a private U.S. company that monitors militant messages and provides counterterrorism intelligence services for the U.S. government.

The previous ones were issued in April and September 2002 and September 2003, each showing video from the planning of the suicide hijackings and farewell statements from some of the hijackers, Venzke told the Associated Press.

In the latest video, bin Laden is shown sitting outside in what appears to be a mountain camp with his former lieutenant, Mohammed Atef, and Ramzi Binalshibh, another suspected planner of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Atef, also known as Abu Hafs al-Masri, was killed by a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan in 2001. Binalshibh was captured four years ago in Pakistan and is currently in U.S. custody. This week, U.S. President George W. Bush announced plans to put him on military trial.

In the video, Bin Laden, wearing a dark robe and white headgear, strolls through the camp, greeting dozens of followers, some masked, and many carrying automatic weapons.

Al-Jazeera said that among those he greets in the video are several of the 9/11 hijackers, but their faces were not clear and it was not immediately known which ones are shown.

The footage shows scenes of training at the camp. Masked men perform martial arts kicks or learn how to break the hold of someone who grabs them from behind. Several are shown practising hiding and pulling out fold-out knives.

Venzke said the footage shown on Al-Jazeera was part of a video he expected would be more than an hour long, based on the previous ones on the Sept. 11 attacks.

“They produce long videos like these not just for 9/11, but for any significant events they feel warrant their attention,” Venzke said.

One aim is to boost recruitment, but such videos have several purposes — “to speak to their supporters, to raise morale within their own group, to facilitate fundraising, and to serve as a psychological attack,” he said.

This is all too convenient a find, 4 days before the anniversary of 9/11/01,

If Bin Laden or anyone in Al Qaeda were to release a tape at this time, it wouldn't be a 'Golden Oldies, Hits from the Past.' There are many more current (five years worth) events, of attacks and assaults on Muslims by Bush and his coalition partners that Bin Laden could speak about to get Al Qaeda new recruits from around the world. As if Al Qaeda needed to fan Muslims' anger, anyway; Al Qaeda is having no difficulty recruiting new members after the U.S.-Israeli devastation of Lebanon, the continued bedlam in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bush's bullying rhetoric on Iran. If Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were to release anything at this time, it wouldn't be that videotape.

No, the release of that videotape, now, was aimed at the American people. To refocus our anger away from Bush's incompetence and onto Bin Laden and terrorists. To remind us of 9/11/01, to scare us anew. And Bin Laden doesn't need to do that - That's Bush-Cheney's stock-in-trade:

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