(Pic: Associated Press)
So much for him being dead, huh?
The latest video — the first the al-Qaida boyo has released in three years — contains references to the subprime crisis, the Hiroshima bombing anniversary (August) and Nicolas Sarkozy (elected in May) so it seems Osama is still hanging on in there, wherever “there” is these days.
I love how much focus his beard is getting. Some US networks — which interrupted regular broadcasting to show a report on the footage — are making quite a big deal about how it’s black now as opposed to being grey in previous videos.
For instance, the ABC report you can find here contains the dialogue:
The FBI believe it is authentic… the one mystery is why is his beard black when in previous videos there was so much grey. That’s something that’s got people scratching their heads.
And when the reporter is asked how bin Laden looks, apart from the beard, he says:
His beard is completely black, his eyebrows are black… that’s the dominant feature you see, it’s hard to get any sense of his health it’s either a fake beard or a beard that has been dyed… That’s what stands out, the eyebrows and the beard.
Actually, he looks quite ashen faced. This could purely be down to the quality of the footage, which some analysts say could have been made on a mobile phone, or could indicate some sort of health problem. Quite why the ABC correspondent failed to pick up on this — or even mention it in passing — is beyond me
I also would have thought the “mystery” was his location, but there you go.
Content-wise it’s fairly humdrum. America bad, Islam good. ABC described it as a “broad, rambling” discourse against the US and the democratic system. He talks about ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by either escalating attacks on foreign troops or Americans converting to Islam and abandoning democracy. He also takes a shot at capitalism and the role of corporations in elections.
He also shows a grasp of current events, dropping mentions of global warming and saying Americans are “reeling under the burdens” of a mortgage crisis.
And he praises author Noam Chomsky, an early critic of the Iraq war, as well as Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, who has said poor US leadership was losing the war against terrorist groups.
It was released to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack, and also serves as a useful PR tool to let the American public know he hasn’t gone away. I’m not sure they’d forgotten about him but he’s certainly back in their conscious minds now.
I await proper analysis of the footage, which should emerge in the next few days.