Sting Operation of US Intelligence? The Bin Laden Tape

Is It High Treason Against Humanity?.... A preview

After 9/11, the Taliban were asked to hand over Bin Laden and dismantle all his training camps or suffer the consequences. While the Taliban were willing to abide by those demands if evidence was produced, the principals of the coalition, Britain and the United States, while sharing the convincing evidence with NATO that was strong enough to invoke article 5, and with key allies such as Pakistan, they were refusing to share such evidence with the Taliban knowing very well that not sharing it would keep their plans to invade Afghanistan on track. Or maybe they just could not share it since it is the “American Video”.

  

This is a preview of a follow up article to one previously published on this site titled “Bush and Blair, if the moon could talk, what would it say?”

In the previous article, it was shown that the confessional video of Bin Laden, supplied by the Pentagon and aired on Dec 13, 2001 could not have been produced on Nov. 9 of that year as the Pentagon would like us to believe but six weeks earlier, around Sept. 28, which is prior to the start of the war in Afghanistan.

The previous article also brought to the attention of the reader that there is another tape, referred to as the “British Video” from which Tony Blair extracted quotes for a speech delivered to the British Parliament. The only entity that claimed first hand familiarity with the “British Video” was the Telegraph while Tony Blair said that he has not seen it and relied on transcripts supplied by foreign intelligence rendering his quotes pure hearsay.

Also, through the statements of the visiting sheikh, the previous article strengthened a report in the Observer that the tape was done through a sophisticated sting operation run by the CIA with the help of Pakistani or Saudi intelligence.

How possible is it that the Observer’s report is accurate? Sting operations are not uncommon in law enforcement and intelligence work. Many of you who live in the United States know too well of them. From the run of the mill sting operations by police departments that lure low level criminals to a mass event such as the promise of free tickets to a music concert where arrests take place by the dozens, to the ones that target civil servants for corruption, and, the ones that target high profile mob figures.

Intelligence services and federal law enforcement have used sting operations to capture known terrorists such as the hijacker of a Jordanian airliner, Fawaz Younis , who had been lured aboard a yacht in international waters off Cyprus, arrested by the FBI and flown to Andrews Air Force Base, and Mohamed Suleiman al-Nalfi , was arrested in Kenya while on his way to Amsterdam lured by the promise of a job. Sting operations are not unfamiliar to them and are an effective tool used to lure terrorists out of the safety of the country or environment where they are protected.

In order for a sting operation to work, one or more vulnerabilities in the target should be present. In the case of Younis, the promise of earthly pleasure on a yacht, in the case of al-Nalfi, a struggling business man, the promise of lucrative employment.

Reports of a planned sting operation for to capture Bin Laden date back to before 9/11 and to those responsible for setting it up, Bin Laden must have proved to be an unusually difficult target. He could not be lured by the possibility of lucrative employment; he does not need the money. The charm of a woman, or, a vacation in Hawaii are highly unlikely scenarios to work. He did not present much in terms of vulnerabilities. The only thing that was left was the cultural vulnerabilities, and due to his possible elective lockdown after 9/11 for security concerns, the need to get first hand information on what is happening on the streets of his native Saudi Arabia in reaction to the WTC attack.

Did the selection of the visiting sheikh as the bait play on those vulnerabilities? The answer is yes and these are the points:

  1. The sheikh, being a paraplegic and especially that his condition was the result of a war injury while fighting the same enemies as Bin Laden’s, instills in Bin Laden a sense of indebtedness. Also, as a Muslim and an Arab, Bin Laden by belief and culture should show kindness and understanding to persons with disabilities.

  2. The sheikh is connected with the streets of Saudi Arabia and knows many mosque imams and Islamist leaders and would be a good source of first hand information.

  3. Bin Laden knows the sheikh personally, that would also help bring down Bin Laden’s guards.

  4. As a paraplegic, the sheikh could not reach Bin Laden in a cave or a remote hideout, and having traveled more than 2000 miles from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan to meet Bin Laden, Arab customs more or less dictate that Bin Laden should do the short 40 miles or so trip to meet with him.

What did the selection of the sheikh give the designers of the sting operation:

  1. If the sting worked and Bin Laden came to the meeting, the meeting place would be under their control prior to his arrival.

  2. Equipment and personnel required for the support of the taping operation could be set up in advance and easily concealed in the women’s quarter of the residence circumventing any attempts by Bin Laden to fully secure it.

We have to keep in mind that during that period, forays by special forces and special operations into Afghanistan were commonplace and clandestine visits by Hamid Karzai and other exiled Afghani leaders into Taliban territories to gather support for their return are widely reported.

What are the negative aspects of a concealed camera assuming all other aspects of the sting worked perfectly as per the scenario?

  1. A fixed camera through a hole in a wall was not an option, Bid Laden could have sat anywhere or he could have moved his seating location. Also, the possibility of the camera view being blocked would undermine the whole operation.

  2. A concealed camera worn by a person pans differently from a hand held or a tripod mounted camera. Such concealed camera reflects the motion of the body and pans where the person is looking. During the four hours or so of taping, the person wearing the camera might have had to go to the bathroom, got engaged in conversation, or had to have dinner while everyone else was eating making those portions unusable. In consequence, such concealed camera forces the editing out of the unusable portions if the video is to be publicly aired.

 Did the American video contain components that hint that a person wore the camera? The answer is yes. There are three or four locations on the tape and other observations: 

  1. When Bin Laden first arrives, he seemed to catch the person with the camera by surprise and there is indication that the person got up in a hurry.

  2. After Bin Laden picked his seating position, you notice the camera almost jostling to pick a good taping spot followed by the person sitting down. During the sitting process, the camera pans the seating location (on the floor), and the person with the camera seems to rest his left hand on where he is to sit in order to prop himself, then the camera lowers and swings and Bin Laden is then in the focal point.

  3. The camera does a lateral move, considering the seating position is Arab style, cross-legged, for a person to move laterally, he needs both hands to lift his weight and slide over. That puts into question the possibility that it was not hand held.

  4. No one on the American video looked at the camera, and often, individuals were either walking through its field or blocking its field. It is hard to believe that through the duration of the taping, about 4 hours, taking into account Middle Eastern culture, no one looked at the camera or apologized in any way for invading its field.

  5. There were a lot of edits that can only be viewed when the video is viewed in slow motion or through a frame jogging process. Those edits seem unwarranted.

  6. A good portion of the tape is covered by the helicopter footage, which could indicate unusable portions were covered up by the helicopter footage. The unusable portions could be for the reasons stated above, and/or, to cover the portions supplied to NATO or quoted by Tony Blair.

You might ask yourself, if the tape was so easy to expose, why take the risk of airing it? The answer is, the Bush administration did not have much of a choice and we need to go back and examine what the state of mind of public opinion was outside the United States.

After 9/11, the Taliban were asked to hand over Bin Laden and dismantle all his training camps or suffer the consequences. While the Taliban were willing to abide by those demands if evidence was produced, the principals of the coalition, Britain and the United States, while sharing the convincing evidence with NATO that was strong enough to invoke article 5, and with key allies such as Pakistan, they were refusing to share such evidence with the Taliban knowing very well that not sharing it would keep their plans to invade Afghanistan on track. Or maybe they just could not share it since it is the “American Video”.

The Taliban were not the only ones to ask for evidence, the whole Muslim world was asking for it. President Moubarak of Egypt, fearing internal unrest, asked for it, European allies were asking for proof, so was China. Due to the rush of Britain and the United States to invade Afghanistan, and, Bush’s position of “with us or against us”, the world through its request for evidence was actually asking for breathing room to reflect and make up their mind on more solid grounds. After all, the world did not want to see more innocent blood shed after what was shed on 9/11.

The evidence given to NATO and the others has remained secret to this date and since Britain and the United States got their way, formed their coalition, and officially started military operations on Oct. 6 one would think that there was no need to bring more evidence into the public arena.

That would have been correct if the media blackout of the Pentagon had succeeded. To their dismay, it did not. Tayssir Alluni , the Al-Jazeera reporter in Kabul left the city with the retreating Taliban and documented the atrocities of the war and its toll on the civilians who Powell promised to protect . Alluni’s reporting negatively affected world opinion and sent shock waves among 1 billion Muslims and exposed Powell’s broken promise forcing the “American video” into the public arena. After all, like many believe, Afghanistan was just a practice exercise for invading Iraq, Bush’s first choice after 9/11, and if those Muslims could not be appeased and brought into the fold, mere weeks after the attack on the WTC, how would they perceive the invasion of Iraq.

The first public mention by name of video evidence came from the Telegraph on Nov. 11, 2001 as a prelude to Blair’s Speech of Nov. 14 that contained quotes from the video. While the Telegraph reported watching video footage, and that it would be a centerpiece of British and American evidence against Bin Laden, Blair said that he had never seen it and only relied on transcripts supplied by foreign intelligence and the Americans were nowhere to be seen as connected to it. Why was that?

There was reluctance to make the footage public, the Blair quotes were a trial balloon, and depending on how that went in terms of appeasing public opinion, future course of action would be decided on.

The trial balloon burst since it was mere hearsay and what might have been enough for NATO did not seem to convince the Muslim world . Shortly after, the decision must have been taken to air the American tape but the need to clean it up to conceal how it was produced, and possibly to remove what was supplied to NATO and the Blair quotes took a long time; another month of round the clock work.

Still, any document, electronic, or otherwise, that has been highly manipulated to fit a specific end, puts the manipulators at risk of leaving huge fingerprints.

As an example, the words of the sheikh, which no one seems to have paid attention to, were effectively used to pin point the date of the taping to around September 28, 2001, prior to the start of the Military operations in Afghanistan.

There are other holes in the video as I have described above and in order to convert this article for the status of “storm in a teapot” to that of “irrefutable evidence”, there is the need for a qualified forensics laboratory to conduct an independent analysis of the video

Unlike other missteps by the administration, such as the Valeri Plame issue where the administration is hiding behind the first amendment shield of Robert Novak, or that of WMD’s where misinformation was blamed on Ahmed Chalabi, this video issue has shed its plausible deniability, all the material is public domain and I cannot think of any explanation that would distance the administration from culpability.

At this stage, and that is why the article is a preview, the cost of a forensic analysis is beyond my means as an individual, and till now, doing the research, the writing, and purchasing supporting documents has stretched me thin. I am not standing still though; I want to know the truth regardless of what the truth is. I have contacted universities all over the world with graduate multi-media programs that have the capability to conduct the analysis and requested their assistance. I have also contacted many organizations and individuals who might be interested in assisting financially to see the work finished as soon as possible.

As an individual, you could help in this effort by emailing this article to anyone you think would be interested. If you know anyone at a University who could assist in the technical analysis, please make them aware of it. And, if you would like to donate towards this effort, you could use the “click to donate” button.

Articles by: Maher Osseiran

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