Al Qaeda Videos May Be Doctored
By Daan de Wit
Translated by Marienella Meulensteen
Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are seen by friend and foe as superpowers. But is this realistic? Does Al Qaeda even excist? Questions and answers in this article. 'What is this al-Qaeda? Does such a group even exist? Some terrorism experts doubt it. Adam Dolnik and Kimberly McCloud reckon it's time we 'defused the widespread image of al-Qaeda as a ubiquitous, super-organised terror network and call it as it is: a loose collection of groups and individuals that doesn't even refer to itself as al-Qaeda'. Dolnik and McCloud - who first started studying terrorism at the prestigious Monterey Institute of International Studies
in California - claim it was Western officials who imposed the name 'al-Qaeda' onto disparate radical Islamic groups and who blew Osama bin Laden's power and reach 'out of proportion'. Both are concerned about the threat of terror, but argue that we should 'debunk the myth of al-Qaeda
'', writes Spiked
U.S. changes Bin Laden into superman
'In the quest to define the enemy, the U.S. and its allies have helped to blow it out of proportion. Posters and matchbooks featuring bin Laden's face and the reward for his capture in a dozen languages transformed this little-known "jihadist" into a household name and, in some places, a symbol of heroic defiance', McCloud wrote
earlier. This sounds as if the U.S. made a big mistake to make Bin Laden out to be a supreme power. Unless it's that the war against terrorism has the goal to promote terrorism. Creation of a superman image for Bin Laden cannot be explained in any other way than a strategic step forward for the U.S. The more dangerous an enemy, the better the position of authority for the defender. The authority of Bush has grown proportionally to exaggerating the status of Bin Laden.
The origin of the Al-Qaeda myth
ow it all started can be seen
in the excellent documentary series of the BBC, The Power of Nightmares
. Jason Burke, author of the book Al-Qaeda : The True Story of Radical Islam tells
in part three of the series how in January 2001 a number of men were placed on trial in Manhattan for the attack on the American Embassy in Kenya in 1998. The Americans are stuck with a well-paid witness named Al Fadl, who is well paid by them, but up to then is not taken seriously by many countries. They decide to throw their influence onto the scale by having the witness describe a powerful organisation called Al Qaeda who would be responsible for the attack. That is necessary to comply with the existing American laws that really have been designed to tackle 'organized crime' like the Mafia. Burke: 'You have to have an organisation to get a prosecution. And you have al-Fadl and a number of other witnesses, a number of other sources, who are happy to feed into this. You’ve got material that, looked at in a certain way, can be seen to show this organisation’s existence. You put the two together and you get what is the first bin Laden myth—the first Al Qaeda myth. And because it’s one of the first, it’s extremely influential.' Bin Laden himself denies
having ties with Al Fadl, which would be strange if the two would be responsible together for the attack in Kenya. In fact, every attacker is dying to claim his deed.
Voice Over: 'The picture al-Fadl drew for the Americans of Bin Laden was of an all-powerful figure at the head of a large terrorist network that had an organised network of control. He also said that bin Laden had given this network a name: “Al Qaeda.” It was a dramatic and powerful picture of Bin Laden, but it bore little relationship to the truth.' Building on the quicksand of a weak witness, the false idea is constructed of a terrorist superpower, lead by the super terrorist Bin Laden.
There is no Al Qaeda organisation
The Voice Over in part three
of The Power of Nightmares states further: 'There is also no evidence that Bin Laden used the term “Al Qaeda” to refer to the name of a group until after September the 11th, when he realized that this was the term the Americans have given it. [...] In reality, Jamal al-Fadl was on the run from bin Laden, having stolen money from him. In return for his evidence, the Americans gave him witness protection in America and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many lawyers at the trial believed that al-Fadl exaggerated and lied to give the Americans the picture of a terrorist organisation that they needed to prosecute Bin Laden.'
Sam Schmidt was an attorney during the court case: 'I think he lied in a number of specific testimonies about a unified image of what this organisation was. It made Al Qaeda the new Mafia or the new Communists.' Jason Burke summarizes it clearly when he says
: 'The idea—which is critical to the FBI’s prosecution—that bin Laden ran a coherent organisation with operatives and cells all around the world of which you could be a member is a myth. There is no Al Qaeda organisation. There is no international network with a leader, with cadres who will unquestioningly obey orders, with tentacles that stretch out to sleeper cells in America, in Africa, in Europe. That idea of a coherent, structured terrorist network with an organised capability simply does not exist.'
Al Qaida is blamed for the attack in Kenya 2002
Israelis were killed in November 2002
in Kenya during an attack, Al Qaeda immediately got blamed by Israël
and by Bush
, even though it was not based on anything
. The same day, the Jerusalem Post published a story
in which the attack was claimed by the "Government of Universal Palestine in Exile, The Army of Palestine". Days later, a story
appeared that Al Qaeda would have claimed the attack. 'Ephraim Halevy, former head of Mossad and currently Sharon's special liaison for Iraq issues' said
that the attack and a failed attack
on airplanes the same day 'changes the national spirit and creates international dynamics which open before us new options that until now were unacceptable by international public opinion'. It is a gift, but also Israel's foreign minister Netanyahu saw the same sunny side of the situation and called the attack a 'golden opportunity' to strengthen the mutual ties between Israel and the U.S. Earlier, one day after the attacks of 11 September, 'Bibi' had been just as frank in his rosy pronouncements. The New York Times noted
: 'Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, "It's very good." Then he edited himself: "Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy."'
Mossad tries to establish bogus Al Qaeda cell in Palestinian territory
So Israel recognises the power of an enemy like Al Qaeda. Only days after the attack in Kenya, Sharon states 'that Israeli intelligence had "hard evidence" of al-Qaeda operations in the Gaza Strip', writes
the always well informed Executive Intelligence Review (EIR). The BBC cites
the Washington Post who states that the American government totally agrees with the story and obtains the proof from a website: 'The website carried a statement purportedly from the new al-Qaeda branch - the Islamic al-Qaeda in Palestine - pledging allegiance to Osama Bin Laden.' The Council on Foreign Relations reacts immediately and calls
it 'horrifying news'. Visions of a Palestinian link with Al Qeida also appear in other statements
of Sharon, in which he included the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the famous war against terrorism. Would it not be nice if those visions about cooperation between Al Qaeda and the Palestinians could really be proven, Sharon must have thought. Time passes between dream and deed, thirteen months to be exact. The Mossad and other Israeli secret services worked for thirteen months to establish a bogus Al Qaeda cell in Palestinian territory to be able to use it as an excuse for attacks on the Palestinians, so paraphrases
EIR 'Col. Rashid Abu Shbak, head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Services in the Gaza Strip' who aired this during a press conference in December 2002.
Palestinian Authority prevents attacks on Israel by Mossad
Yasser Abed Rabbo, information minister of the Palestinian authority (PA) was cited
by EIR when he summarizes: '"There are certain elements who were instructed by the Mossad to form a cell under the name of al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip in order to justify the assault and the military campaigns of the Israeli occupation army against Gaza."' At a later press conference it appears that the PA encountered eight cases in nine months of Israelis who pretended to be Al Qaeda members to recruit Palestinians, 'asking them to operate as an "al-Qaeda" group'. The story becomes more intriguing when at the next press conference one Ibrahim is presented. He is a Palestinian who was contacted by one Youssef to become part of an Al Qaeda cell. Youssef later proved to be an employee of Israel's secret service Mossad who pretended to be a member of Al Qaeda. Ibrahim felt intuitively that something was wrong and soon informed the Palestinian Authority who told him to continue so that they could monitor the whole process step by step. 'Ibrahim stressed that the man [...] (the Mossad officer) "had the capability to carry out major bombing operations inside Israel, but that the al-Qaeda group in Gaza should claim responsibility for the attack and no other group." While the (so-called) Al Qaeda agent would execute the attacks ('mega military operations'), Ibrahim and his friends were to claim them in the name of Al Qaeda from the Palestinian territory. 'This would mean that as soon as he gets the signal after a major terrorist act against Israeli civilian targets, Ibrahim and his group would send a communiqué to the press or a videotape, similar to the ones sent by bin Laden to Al-Jazeera, claiming responsibility for the attack.' In the end it did not come get far because the Palestinian Authority arrested
Youssed and some of his Mossad colleagues The motto
of the Mossad: By way of deception thou shalt do war.
Experts: Israel supported Hamas to sabotage peace process
Not totally unique is Israel's strategy to create enemies. Richard Sale, 'Terrorism Correspondent' of United Press International writes
: '[...] according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel "aided Hamas directly -- the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies. Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official.' There was another reason: '"To help identify and channel Hamas members who were dangerous terrorists toward Israeli agents."'
'"The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishments was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place," said a U.S. government official who asked not to be named.'
Attack in Madrid was not Al Qaeda
Adam Dolnik of the Monterey Institute of International Studies: 'In a world where one email sent to a news agency translates into a headline stating that al-Qaeda was behind even the blackouts in Italy and the U.S.A., anyone can claim to be al-Qaeda - not only groups but also individuals'. 'Al Qaeda Claims Credit for Madrid Blasts', headlines
FoxNews one day after the attack in Madrid. It feeds the myth that super power Al Qaeda has spread its tentacles everwhere. '"The Madrid railway bombings were perceived by Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to have advanced their cause"', says Attorney General Ashcroft in another FoxNews-article
. The world shudders, but the day before yesterday in the documentary 11-M, Historia de un Atentado
in the Belgian tv-program Panorama , Rohan Gunaratna
, author of Inside Al Qaeda
, says about the attack in Madrid: 'It was not an Al Qaeda attack. It was an attack by a group of Moroccans, marginalized in Spain, and had informal ties to Al Qaeda, ideological ties, not operational ties.'
Bin Laden is dead
If it is maintained that Al Qaeda is a myth, then the question is also justifiable if Bin Laden is not more than an inflated image. Stronger, is Bin Laden still alive? The website WhatReallyHappened has lined up a number of statements that sketch an eerie picture for Western leaders and radical moslim fighters: Bin Laden is no more. Even the Bush administration thinks he is dead. In a reaction to a video message of Bin Laden The Daily Telegraph notes
in December 2001: 'The recording was dismissed by the Bush administration yesterday as sick propaganda possibly designed to mask the fact the al-Qa'eda leader was already dead.' An ally of the U.S. in the training
of Bin Laden during the fight against the Russians was Pakistan. 'Pakistan's president says he thinks Osama bin Laden is most likely dead because the suspected terrorist has been unable to get treatment for his kidney disease', writes
CNN in connection with an interview with president Musharraf in 2002. The medical correspondent of CNN continues
: '[...] renal dialysis -- talking about hemodialysis -- is something that really is reserved for patients in end-stage renal failure. That means their kidneys have just completely shut down.' Also the Afghan president Karzai thinks that Laden probably is dead, as he tells
CNN in 2002. A few weeks later CNN writes
that it is posession of Bin Laden's will, but the authenticity of the document cannot be proven. There even is an article
that describes Bin Laden's funeral. Bush, who earlier stated
that Bin Laden was no serious danger for the U.S., said
last Friday that stopping Bin Laden is his biggest challenge.
Videos Bin Laden are fake
If it is true that Bin Laden is not alive any more, how can it be that we received a video message from him last year? WhatReallyHappened also has an answer
to this. It cites the Washington Post which writes in an article with the heading When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing: 'Digital morphing — voice, video, and photo — has come of age, available for use in psychological operations'. WhatReallyHappened shows
that Bin Laden in 2004 did not look like himself any more (see photo on right). He even became right-handed spontaneously (see thee video
, WMV). In short, it involves an actor, and not even a very good one. And his voice? In the meantime, thanks to technique, it is possible to totally forge a voice and let it say anything you want: '"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', writes
the Washington Post.