Monday, September 10, 2007

Is he or isn't he?

Last week's bin Laden video, the first since 2004, would seem to provide strong evidence that bin Laden is still alive. Some factors, though, raise doubts. For one he is wearing the same clothes and sitting in front of the same background as the 2004 video. The new video has long periods of bin Laden speaking while the video only shows a still picture. further, the reference to current events is entirely or mostly when the still image is shown. This is all consistent with the video being outtakes from some old recording, processed, of course, as is easy these days, to make his beard appear darker.

Also, adding doubt, the video's talking points, adopted from the Democratic party, sound more like they were written by an American, say Adam Gadahn, than the bin Laden of old.

The principal evidence that bin Laden is still alive is then the scratchy low-quality audio that accompanies the video and seems to mention current events. A commenter at HotAir wonders, since fathers and sons often sound strikingly alike, if the voice could be from an adult son of bin Laden.

On the other hand, creating doubts about whether bin Laden is alive or not might be part of an al Qaeda's security strategy: A fake tape would not produce clues as to Osama's actual whereabouts while a real tape might.

UPDATE: According to the AP, the newest bin Laden video, released today Sep 11, 2007, uses the same trick: bin Laden speaks on the audio track but the video shows only a still image.

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