Fri, Nov 03, 2017 - Page 7 News List

CIA releases more bin Laden files


Never-before-seen video of Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor was released on Wednesday by the CIA in a trove of material recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader at his compound in Pakistan.

The video offers the first public look at Hamza bin Laden as an adult. Until now, the public has only seen childhood pictures of him.

In recent years, al-Qaeda has released audio messages from Hamza bin Laden. To mark a recent anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the US, al-Qaeda superimposed a childhood photograph of him over a photo of the World Trade Center.

He is expected to rise to prominence in the jihadist movement and is being closely watched as the rival Islamic State group suffers setbacks in the Middle East.

One hour-long video shows Hamza bin Laden, sporting a trimmed mustache, but no beard, at his wedding. He is sitting on a carpet with other men. A man chanting Koranic verses can be heard in the background.

Sporting a traditional white headdress, he verbally accepts his marriage to his bride “on the book of God and the example of the prophet. Peace be upon him.”

“Takbeer,” the others shout, marking his marriage with a kind of religious hooray.

It was the fourth trove of documents, images and computer files recovered during the raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Earlier materials were released in May 2015, March last year and in January.

The CIA said the nearly 470,000 additional files offer insights into the inner workings of the terrorist organization responsible for Sept. 11 and detail its clashes with the Islamic State group, a spin-off of al-Qaeda’s operation in Iraq.

They also shed light on hardships that al-Qaeda faced at the time of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Included is a 228-page, handwritten personal journal of Osama bin Laden and about 79,000 images and audio files, including practice reels of public speeches. Also released were home videos and more than 10,000 video files.

Also included in the material is information about how al-Qaeda planned to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and the network’s work to spread its message through Western media; the group’s effort to exploit the Arab uprisings in 2011; bin Laden’s quest to keep his organization together amid disagreements over beliefs and operational tactics; and the organization’s work to burnish its image with fellow Muslims amid negative media.

There are still materials that have not yet been released. The CIA said this includes materials that are sensitive to US national security; those protected by copyright; pornography; malware; and blank, corrupted and duplicate files.

However, not all the material was of a serious nature. There was a video known as “Charlie bit my finger!” depicting a boy and his baby brother who bit his finger. There also were YouTube videos about crochet.

The video collection included Antz, Chicken Little, The Three Musketeers and Where in the World is Osama bin Laden.

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