Osama bin Laden “confession video” unplugged
Thu Sep 21, 2006 02:34

Osama bin Laden “confession video” unplugged

September 21, 2006 – On December 13, 2001 the United States Department of Defense issued Press Release No. 630-01 to accompany the U.S. government’s release of the Osama bin Laden “confession video”. Here is the exact text of the Department of Defense press release:


The U.S. government released today a copy of a videotape of Osama bin Laden obtained by U.S. forces in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in late November.

The video was filmed by unknown persons.

“There was no doubt of bin Laden’s responsibility for the September 11 attacks before the tape was discovered,” said Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The release of the tape was made after balancing the concerns about any additional pain that could be caused by its release against the value of having the world fully appreciate what we are up against in the war against terrorism.

The tape was released with an English translation and English subtitling, prepared independently by George Michael, translator, Diplomatic Language Services; and Dr. Kassem M. Wahba, Arabic language program coordinator, School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University. They collaborated on their translation and compared it with translations done by the U.S. government for consistency. There were no inconsistencies in translations.

The English translation is on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec2001/d20011213ubl.pdf.



It is important to note that in the preface of the U.S. government transcript of the videotape the government contends:

In mid-November, Usama Bin Laden spoke to a room of supporters, possibly in Qandahar, Afghanistan. These comments were video taped with the knowledge of Bin Laden and all present.

Please note: The assertion by the U.S. government that the bin Laden confession occurred in mid-November 2001 is a critical element of this analysis. Also, the fact that the U.S. government found it prudent, or even relevant; to make the statement, “These comments were videotaped with the knowledge of Bin Laden and all present” is peculiar. How did the U.S. government reach this conclusion when the video evidence suggests something else – that Osama Bin Laden was uncharacteristically neutral to the camera that was videotaping him, or that he was completely unaware of the camera’s presence? Never during the guesthouse sections of the videotape, the confession segments, does Osama bin Laden address the camera.

On July 18, 2006 the United States Department of Defense received an amended Freedom of Information Act request made to it by the Muckraker Report. In this Muckraker Report FOIA request, the Department of Defense was asked to provide documents “related to the discovery of the December 13, 2001 Osama bin Laden video”; “that demonstrate chain of custody of the December 13, 2001 Osama bin Laden video from the time it was discovered in Afghanistan until it was released for media consumption”; “that reflect the purchase order and contract made by the U.S. government with George Michael, Diplomatic Language Services, and Dr. Kassem M. Wahba, Arabic language program coordinator, School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University”; that demonstrate the authenticity process that the U.S. government undertook to authenticate the December 13, 2001 Osama bin Laden video”; and “that demonstrate the outcome of the U.S. government’s authenticity process.”

On Wednesday, September 13, 2006 the Muckraker Report received a response from the Department of Defense. Remember, the Department of Defense issued the press release that accompanied the release of this videotape. It also is the Department in the direct chain of command of the U.S. forces that allegedly obtained the videotape in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in late November 2001. This is the official response from the Department of Defense:

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs conducted a search of its files and located no records responsive to your request.

Please note that the Department of Defense is now on record as saying that it conducted a search of its files and located no records responsive to the Muckraker Report’s FOIA request to document the circumstances, logistics and dates surrounding the discovery of the videotape, nor has the Department of Defense located records demonstrating the authenticity process and authenticity of the December 13, 2001 Osama bin Laden “confession video” – a video that the U.S. government used to fully solidify already strong American support for the invasion of Afghanistan that began 68 days prior to the video’s release.

However, gaining a taped confession of Osama bin Laden wasn’t necessary to win support in the United States. Bush already had a major majority of the American people’s devotion during this time period. At home, the video only reinforced public support for the Bush Administration. It was in many other parts of the world where skepticism was found to be persisting. Remember the language used in Press Release 630-01: “The release of the tape was made after balancing the concerns about any additional pain that could be caused by its release against the value of having the world fully appreciate what we are up against in the war against terrorism.”

With the admission by the Department of Defense that it lacks the records that document the authenticity and the factualness of the reported circumstances surrounding the discovery of the December 13, 2001 Osama bin Laden “confession video” - that there is not government provided evidence to accompany and substantiate what the government has told us about the “confession video” - it’s time to revisit recent history from a dutiful perspective.

Perseverance never succumbs to fatigue. Steadfastness cannot be distracted by fancy or folly. Pursuit of factualness is the heart of morality - for freedom abhors deceit. Tolerance of inundatal interpretation of government provided information absent an unbiased and meaningful effort to first determine the absolute legitimacy of the information is to enable the fertilization of governmental corruption. Apathy towards exposing purposefully placed, government-generated misinformation paraded as the complete and unadulterated truth in newspapers, and on airways and television screens, is a forewarning of a people susceptible to oppressive rule. Adhering to an unsubstantiated belief because it is comfortably in compliance with your politics or self-designed vision of patriotism is to collaborate with a fraud. The indiscriminate truth prevailing, even when difficult to accept or unfathomable to imagine, is paramount to the future of the United States of America.

The morning of September 11, 2001 was a watershed moment in modern American history. It changed the course of our nation. It also produced an initial wave of unwavering support for the Bush Administration. The country, shell-shocked, united behind its President. Public discourse regarding the appropriate response to the 9/11 attacks was for all practical purposes – nonexistent. Those decisions were left virtually unchecked, to the President. Granted, the Bush Administration needed a seal of approval from the U.S. Congress, but given the political climate immediately after the attacks, this protocol was more of a formality than substantive. In that moment of American history the Bush Administration and its supporters within the federal government and beyond operated with impunity. If ever there was an opportunity for deception and exploitation of circumstances, a gateway in which to safely carry out alternative and covert agendas in the name of fighting terrorism, this was the time. Remember, this was a modern moment in American history that compelled Republicans and Democrats to join together on the steps of the Capitol singing “God Bless America”.

On Thursday, September 20, 2001, nine days after the attacks, President Bush addressed an anxious nation during a joint session of Congress[1]. This is some of what he had to say.


[1] CNN, Transcript of President Bush’s address, Transcript of President Bush’s address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night, September 20, 2001. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/20/gen.bush.transcript/, [Accessed on September 18, 2006]

[2] CBS News, Taliban Won’t Turn Over Bin Laden, September 21, 2001, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/09/11/world/main310852.shtml, [Accessed September 19, 2006]

[3] Counterpunch, How Osama was Really Taped Boasting of the 9/11 Attacks; Why the Release of the Tape was as Good as a De Facto Pardon, Maher Osseiran, August 21, 2006, http://www.counterpunch.org/osseiran08212006.html [Accessed September 19, 2006]

[4] The Lone Star Iconoclast, Investigator Says Bush Administration Tipped Off Bin Laden To Sting Operation, September 11, 2001, http://www.lonestaricon.com/absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=493&z=40, [Accessed September 16, 2006]

[5] CNN, Saudi officials identify man on bin Laden tape, Andrea Koppel, CNN Washington Bureau, December 16, 2001, http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/12/16/ret.tape.identity/index.html, [Accessed September 12, 2006]

[6] United Press International, U.S. Seeks Pakistan’s Aid to Get bin Laden, Friday, August 17, 2001, NewsMax.com Wires, http://www.newsmax.com/archieves/articles/2001/8/17/83103/shtml, [Accessed August 31, 2006]

[7] 9/11 Commission Report, http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf#search=%22search%20the%209%2F11%20Commission%20Report%22, [Accessed September 20, 2006]

[8] The United States Army, The United States Army in Afghanistan – Operation Enduring Freedom, October 2001-March 2002, http://www.army.mil/cmh/brochures/Afghanistan/Operation%20Enduring%20Freedom.htm#p26, [Accessed September 17, 2006]

[9] CNN, Saudis: Bin Laden associate surrenders, July 13, 2004, http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/07/13/binladen.aide, [Accessed September 12, 2006]

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