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imperialism & war


The fact is that government's do lie, and never is this more true than during times of war.

"American Places Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression" announced the Washington Post on August 5th, 1964. The front page of the New York Times, on the same day, reported, "President Johson has ordered retaliatory actions against gunboats and 'certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam' after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin".

It was a lie. There was neither a second attack nor renewed attacks on US destroyers. The US government created the lie, a pliable media propagated it, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was passed in congress, and the Vietnam war began. The end result? 50,000 Americans returned home in body bags and millions of Vietnamese dead or injured.

The fact is that government's do lie, and never is this more true than during times of war.

So now, we have the US releasing, amid much anticipation, its "smoking gun" video of Bin laden. This was meant to be the incontrovertible evidence to allay the fears of the "Arab street" that the "forced disappearance" of 1,000 mainly Muslim men, the closure of the three largest Islamic charities in the Western world, and the ongoing war in Afghanistan was a war against Islam.

The first problem with the video is that the character in it doesn't even look like Bin Laden. He is significantly chubbier than in any previous video or photograph. He wears a ring on his hand, which he has never worn in any previous image, and he is gesticulating with his right hand whilst it is known that Bin Laden is left handed.

The video camera seems to have a bad case of "selecting hearing". The inaudibility of bin Laden leads makes it almost impossible to hear what he is saying as compared to the crystal-clear voice of his guest. A further problem is the high levels of ambient noise - far more than one would expect in an Afghan village. As such. the transcribed conversation is disjointed and jumps between topics with just large transcription gaps, denoted as "inaudible".

What little can be heard of bin Laden's voice contains significant variances to the subtitles and transcript. For instance, "al-Muhajireen wa'l Ansar" is represented as "The Mujahideen and the Helpers", whereas it actually means, "The Immigrants and their helpers". Arabic experts have also raised the issue of the translation of the speaker's words into 'we' when the pronoun used also also mean, 'they' - the difference between the mastermind and a casual observer.

The most concerning aspect relates to the circumstances of the tape's arrival in US hands. The US claims to have come into possession of the tape in late November, with the actual tape date-stamped 9th November. Yet, the Sheikh on the tape mentions that he saw the full moon in the month of Ramadhan. As Ramadhan is a lunar month, the full moon is visible during the middle of the month, which equated with the first week of December. It is impossible that the Sheikh could have seen the moon, unless he was able to travel through time. However, given that Bin Laden's paraplegic guest found travel in Saudi Arabia difficult ("My movements were truly constrained"), one doubts he would have found time-travel any less daunting.

The information provided in the "confession" conflicts with what has been the FBI position on the terrorist attack. We are told that the hijackers spent long periods of time training for their five minutes of infamy. They enrolled in flying lessons, without asking how to land planes. Some analysts are suggesting the planning took place over years. Yet, in the video, we hear Bin Laden saying he only knew of the attack five days in advance, and that the hijackers themselves didn't know what they were doing till just before boarding the plane.

So is it possible that the video is a fake? A child of the terror fighting alliance between the US Government and Hollywood, that was announced soon after September 11?

Given its mysterious history and content, it's not unreasonable to question the veracity of the tape. Sean Boughton, director of London's Smoke and Mirrors, and a leading expert on special effects, has said that it would be relatively easy for someone to fake such video.

This video poses more questions than it answers. The most important of which is, if this late November 2001 discovery is the "smoking gun", then what was the evidence used to justify the three months of aerial bombardment on Afghanistan?


Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee (AMPAC)
PO Box 180
Email:  info@muslimaffairs.com.au
Web:  http://www.muslimaffairs.com.au

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