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Old 09-08-2007, 09:21 AM   #1
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An exercise in analysis - Bin Laden

So, imagine yourself an intelligence analyst, not a politician, not a citizen voting in an election, not a Bush lover/hater, not a hawk or dove, no position on whether our troops or stay in Iraq - just an analyst trying to make sense of the latest Bin Laden video release --

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...glrdYA5IqvQ6hQ

What's your take?
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:49 AM   #2
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The change in the beard is interesting at a surface level, why does he feel a need to look younger? That seems to be Western influence getting to him.

Secondly, the call to conversion. Some say there is no threat in the tape, but anyone who has studied the history of Islam, when someone is being almost coerced into conversion and they refuse, they are then attacked.


I could be wrong, but I believe this needs to be taken much more seriously.
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:02 PM   #3
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Originally posted by U2democrat


I could be wrong, but I believe this needs to be taken much more seriously.
I agree. That tape, along with the "special gift" message makes me worried. I've got a bad feeling about the next few days. Hopefully I'm wrong. Who knows, maybe the "special gift" was the videotape.
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:18 PM   #4
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ETA fine, analytically it means zip.

Al Qaeda has released tons of transcripts, and videos over the past few years which mean nada.

Carry on as normal.
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:28 PM   #5
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Originally posted by trevster2k
And Bin Laden is specifically targeting one country, not democracy despite his rhetoric.
Huh?

No, Bin Laden is attacking Democracy, not just the US. Have you forgotten about the attacks in Spain, London, Scotland?...
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:34 PM   #6
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The U.S is bogged down in Iraq in a quagmire it created which had nothing to do with 9/11 while Bin Laden is still free to ramble on with the opposite side of the coin rhetoric we hear from extremists in the west. Will there be another attack in the U.S? Probably? Can it be prevented? Probably not. And Bin Laden is specifically targeting one country, not democracy despite his rhetoric. All that stuff about conversion is just like Bush appealing to the evangelicals, he has to say it to show his love for his "base". Assuming the tape is legitimate.
Only two posts and we broke the rules.

That's why I labeled it an exercise, I guess. I didn't think we'd have the dicipline.
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:07 PM   #7
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What would be your expertise?
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:07 PM   #8
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We've had attacks without warning, and we've had warnings without attacks. Terrorist groups operating in the West are not lead by Bin Laden, but inspired by him. These videos are little more than public relations.
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:23 PM   #9
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Originally posted by DrTeeth
We've had attacks without warning, and we've had warnings without attacks. Terrorist groups operating in the West are not lead by Bin Laden, but inspired by him. These videos are little more than public relations.
Precisely.
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:32 PM   #10
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega
What would be your expertise?
? Me? I have none. Why would you be asking?
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:54 PM   #11
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You started the thread and asked other non-experts to give their hypothetical.
So I was curious if you had one.
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:34 PM   #12
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Ok, now I understand. Expertise, as opposed to "analysis". I was going to wait a bit but here goes...

It's been 3 years since he's released a tape. He could have been ill, or just simply playing it very safe, and had little or no contact with his network. I don't believe he is involved in day to day operations, but is notified of large operations, and gives his blessing and encouragement to such. This message, in general, can be considered both a "calling to" to encourage those that are planning to strike and a "warning" to the citizens of America to accept Islam, the only true religion.

Although he dyed his beard in an attempt to present a younger appearance, he is obviously aged, and not as physically robust as in previous tapes. His absence might have been from recovering from an injury or his illness had weakened him. Regardless, the whole attempt to appear younger (beard) is to remind his followers and enemies that he is alive and kicking.

He is more than pleased with America's inability to achieve peace in Iraq. He likens it to Breschnev and Russia's failure in Afghanistan. He makes the very simple, yet true statement, that the lives of the 19 hi-jackers have caused such severe damage to the US, well beyond the twin towers.

This time, though, he plays on the current political environment, and clearly lays the blame on the US people (as opposed to Bush) for electing him to a second term. For this reason, the people of the United States are to blame, as well as the Democrats, not just Bush.

As far as impending attacks and warnings:

One of my favorite books on the subject: Imperial Hubris, by Michael Scheuer has this to say:

Quote:
The Intel Center, an independent analysis group which has studied the tape, said that bin Laden makes no overt threat, no indication of an impending attack upon America or its citizens. Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff has also said there is no reason to push the panic button now.

But Scheuer is not convinced.

"The Intel Center is almost always right," he said. "I think there's an overwhelming threat in it. Bin laden, again, offered us a chance to convert to Islam, which is required in their religion before they attack us. So to say there's no threat in this message is just 180 degrees incorrect."

And the timing of the message, on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, "is not a coincidence at all."

"He is gloating. They think they're winning, and I think they're probably correct at the moment."
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:45 PM   #13
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Re: An exercise in analysis - Bin Laden

Quote:
Originally posted by MadelynIris
So, imagine yourself an intelligence analyst, not a politician, not a citizen voting in an election, not a Bush lover/hater, not a hawk or dove, no position on whether our troops or stay in Iraq - just an analyst trying to make sense of the latest Bin Laden video release --



What's your take?

I have not read it in detail

I will try to do that later.

But, my impression so far?
It seems more rational than previous releases.

The call for conversion?
Does not seem much different from the Bush's call for conversion.
Bush has said he wants to convert the whole Middle East into something that more resembles the West (US).

So far, Bush has used more violence and killed more people.

Well, this is how I think many observers outside of U S politics might view this.
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Old 09-08-2007, 03:08 PM   #14
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OK, I didn't know there was so much of a difference in the two words, expertise and analysis.

I don't think any video, be it Bin Laden who speaks or one of the other leaders, is any more an indicator for a terrorist attack than no video.
Last week they have caught terrorists in Denmark and here in Germany. Both groups have planned their attacks on their own, receiving training and instructions from the Middle East.
The guys in Germany planned on attacking a US facility here in Germany, and a few weeks ago a person from Pakistan the group leader spoke to set him a time limit of fourteen days in which to carry out the plot.
If they indeed followed that order they would have carried it out last month.

This video is propaganda, showing the world that he is alive, and also showing his followers that morals are high. They are, indeed, in a strong position, and he obviously enjoys it.

We shouldn't ever feel too safe, and the next attack, if not prevented, doesn't have to happen with any warning, or video, or around any anniversary or holiday. And eventually, there will be another attack we won't prevent from happening.
I'm sure we will see videos around September for the next few years. And it won't stop once Bin Laden got caught.

He might have been ill, but even if he dies it does not mean anything will change. He is not the one and only leading person in AlQuaida.

But he should have given some proposals what to do about global warming.
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Old 09-08-2007, 07:41 PM   #15
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If I were an intelligence analyst I would conclude that this video is largely been dispensed for propaganda and morale-building purposes.

I would tend to think the issue of whether it is a "threat" is moot. It's not as if we thought Bin laden might have had a change of heart in the intervening time since his last statement. Bin laden is plotting against the U.S. That's not exactly fresh news. Another more disturbing reason that the video's possible "warning" doesn't matter it that, previous so-called "warnings" apparently did no good to the intelligence community in helping them prevent another attack.

A video that gave us clues about where,when,and how? Now that would be useful.
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:36 PM   #16
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[q]He is more than pleased with America's inability to achieve peace in Iraq. He likens it to Breschnev and Russia's failure in Afghanistan.[/q]



and he's absolutely right about this one.

it might not be rational, but i'm not taking the Metro to work this coming Tuesday. so be it.
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:58 AM   #17
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hrrmmm...

its obviously a PR video (like someone else said) but hrm.... I don't know, I feel nothing when I see this video -it doesn't scare me, or particularly worry me.

I mean there is always going to be shit going on - and I REALLY doubt anything is going to happen on the anniversary. They trot out that shite every year, and for 6 years nothing has happened.

I think the strongest, best thing anyone can do, is to ignore him. Don't live in fear and what ifs, don't get all panicy when someone accidently forgets their bag, don't stare down some turban wearing person just to let him know 'you mean business'
all this fear mongering is exactly what Osama and Bush want. They want to keep us in jittery fear, crying to our leaders to protect us.

No warnings have ever been issued for other attacks, and frankly, I doubt they will in the future. Be safe, think about what you're doing, but lets not be paranoid. Its just playing their game.
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
WASHINGTON - Osama Bin Laden isn't hiding in caves. He's almost certainly living in a cozy compound in Pakistan guarded by a few loyal fanatics, a dozen terror experts and intel officials told the Daily News.

The group of veteran Bin Laden hunters say the cave-dwelling myth is one of many tall tales about the Al Qaeda kingpin, including reports that the renegade Saudi is dying of kidney disease.

Six years after the 9/11 attacks, many Americans don't understand why he's so hard to find and kill. Frustrated agents say he skulks across some of the most hostile terrain in the world and that Pakistan refuses to let U.S. troops chase him there.

The futility of efforts to permanently silence Bin Laden was brought home Friday when he released his first video message since 2004, a 26-minute, anti-U.S. diatribe.

In the jagged peaks of the Afghan-Pakistani border, a good Bin Laden hideout typically would be a simple adobe house surrounded by a high mud-brick wall - perfect for defending a monster.

"He's probably not living in a cave," said Robert Grenier, the ex-CIA Pakistan station chief who helped topple the Taliban after 9/11 and chased Bin Laden afterward.

"He's probably living in a fairly comfortable, though Spartan, compound somewhere in northern Pakistan," Grenier said.

All of those interviewed by The News - including several top intelligence officials with the highest security clearances - agreed.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney long perpetuated the legend that Bin Laden was living in a cave to support their claims the terror mastermind had been neutralized.

"Look, it's hard to plan, plot and attack if you're running or hiding in a cave," Bush said at a GOP fund-raiser last October.

The White House finally stopped using the cave-dwelling myth after that.

Paul Pillar, the CIA's top counterterrorism analyst until 2005, said, "I think 'cave' has become a metaphor."

Bin Laden is more a ghost than a bat.

After a 1998 missile strike failed to kill him, analysts believed he "never stayed anywhere more than a few days," Pillar said.

But since he escaped his Tora Bora mountain lair in late 2001, experts say Bin Laden likely has stayed put in a new hideout with a tiny band of die-hard bodyguards, not an army of them.

"He's probably not moving a lot - if ever," Grenier said.

"If and when he moves," a senior U.S. intelligence official told The News, "it's with a handful of people to keep the footprint small and not attract attention."

Another myth is that Bin Laden needs constant kidney dialysis, which author Peter Bergen, who first interviewed him in 1997, called "nonsense" last year in his book "The Osama Bin Laden I Know."

However, Saudi intelligence now thinks Bin Laden is sick with some other ailment, said ex-CIA counterterror chief Vincent Cannistraro.

There also is a consensus that he's protected by Pakistani tribesmen or government agents in tribal areas and communicates by courier, using "cutouts" who don't read the message or know its author. Years ago, Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri "handed out cash to tribal elders" to protect Bin Laden's thugs, said Robert Pelton, who wrote about the hunt for the pair in the 2006 book "Licensed to Kill."

Recent fighting in Afghanistan with foreign fighters pushed out of Pakistan suggests Al Qaeda has run out of payoff money, he said.

One of Bin Laden's likely protectors is famed mujahedeen Jalaluddin Haqqani, a Pashtun ally and Taliban military genius. Haqqani maintains the outer ring of his security while loyal Arabs make up the inner ring, a counterterror agent in Afghanistan told The News.
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:26 AM   #19
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there is always going to be shit going on - and I REALLY doubt anything is going to happen on the anniversary. They trot out that shite every year, and for 6 years nothing has happened.
And I know it's becoming passe, but every couple of months we see yet another plot thwarted. I think we need to pay more attention to those working against them, offer them true respect, and ensure we don't take that effort for granted as a body of citizens in a war against such people.
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Old 09-09-2007, 09:17 AM   #20
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I found this survey of Muslims very interesting:

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L09185229.htm

Quote:
By Inal Ersan

DUBAI, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's first video in almost three years has drawn enthusiastic support from al Qaeda supporters but other Muslims in the Arab world seem less impressed, and wary of new violence.

Marking the sixth anniversary of the group's Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, the Saudi-born militant described the United States as vulnerable, a message some of his followers saw as a sign a new operation might be approaching.

Analysts were divided as to whether the appearance was intended to inspire new attacks.

Although bin Laden made no specific threat, many Islamist bloggers echoed a conclusion drawn by a moderator of an al Qaeda-linked Web forum: "The coming strike is inevitable, God willing."

Many repeated the same phrase verbatim, while others expressed happiness at seeing bin Laden, who is widely believed to be hiding out in mountains on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

"Oh, worshippers of the cross ... you will not have time to understand what is happening to you. Your arrogance will not help you, nor will the lies of your media when you see the news with your own eyes," wrote a blogger using the alias al-Yaqoubi.

Another wrote: "I would sacrifice my mother and father for you, my sheikh. Strike, may God guide your aim and that of your soldiers. Strike and bring pleasure to the hearts of Muslims."

In the video called the "the solution" by al Qaeda's media arm, bin Laden urged Americans to ditch capitalist democracy and embrace Islam if they want to end the war in Iraq.

He appeared in Arab robes rather than the military style combat fatigues he has favoured in the past.

"NOT SERIOUS"

A shopkeeper in Cairo, who gave his name as only as Mohamed, said bin Laden's call was not serious.

"I think his call for the West to convert to Islam is a prelude for him to issue new threats against them. He will then say 'I had offered you peace by asking you to convert' to justify the threats."

Several Muslims, while strongly oppose U.S. policies in Muslim countries, said they were against any operation similar to the 9/11 attacks which killed about 3,000 people.

"Attacks will never solve any problem; they will only make them worse," said Mohammad Hasan, an Egyptian civil engineer. "He attacked before. What was the result? Wars and suffering for Muslims all over the world."

Al Qaeda leaders say their "holy war" against Western powers is chiefly in retaliation for U.S. support for Israel at the expense of Arabs over the past six decades, and more recently over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hilal, a Palestinian living in the UAE, commented on bin Laden's video: "It is very difficult to say anything about him. He talks about issues that are very important and true but the way he wants to fix them is not right.

"I hear him and say 'I wish an Arab leader would be so focused on Arab issues', but I disagree with killing innocent people."

Abdel-A'la Nawwara, a lawyer in Egypt, said the appearance of bin Laden "proves that the Americans cannot get him. He has strong fortifications and they are unlikely to reach him." (Additional reporting by Alaa Shahine in Cairo)
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