Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fort Hood Shooting Strongly Suggests Jihadi-Based Terrorism

The mass shooting at Fort Hood must be considered an act of Jihadi-based terrorism until proven otherwise--beyond reasonable doubt.

The alleged perpetrator (Army Maj. Hasan) is Muslim, is known to have opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (no problem in itself as millions of Americans agree), said he was "a Muslim first and an American second", was reported to have been strongly opposed to being sent to Afghanistan/Iraq, is alleged to have supported suicide/homicide bombing in internet postings and apparently shouted "God (Allah) is Great" in Arabic just before commencing with mass-murder.

Based on the act allegedly committed it is inconceivable that the suspect was a peace-loving devout Muslim as has been suggested by some. Muslim Jihadist's on the other hand routinely invoke the name of Allah in the process of instigating their murderous acts of carnage. The fact that the alleged perpetrator was a physician and worse yet an army psychiatrist of officer rank (Major) is extremely unfortunate. The US armed forces should be able to properly screen their officer corp for the presence of homicidal tendencies. Hasan was recently promoted to Major.

I fear that political correctness--and the strong desire not to find any evidence of Jihadi-based terrorism at Fort Hood--has already begun to affect media coverage and official pronouncements.

The question which begs to be answered now is whether Hasan's actions were based on his personal/religious commitments alone (which obviously contradicted his US military service) or whether they were in addition part of a coordinated Jihadi-based attempt to terrorize the US populace and military.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Army, FBI investigators search for motive behind deadly shooting rampage

Suspect, an Army psychiatrist, remains in hospital
By Greg Jaffe, William Branigin and Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, November 6, 2009; 6:32 PM

FORT HOOD, Tex. -- Investigators from the Army and the FBI searched for a motive behind Thursday's shooting rampage at this vast Army post and tried to determine whether anyone helped the suspected gunman, who remained on a ventilator Friday at a hospital where he was being treated for gunshot wounds.

As they awaited an opportunity to interview Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 30 others before being shot by a civilian police officer, authorities also faced questions about the strains that have beset the U.S. military amid protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The soldiers who were shot at a Fort Hood processing center were preparing for deployments to the two combat zones, as was Hasan, officials said.

"This was a kick in the gut, not only for the Fort Hood community but also for our entire Army," Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said after the post and all other U.S. military installations around the world observed a minute of silence for the victims of the shooting.

Army Secretary John M. McHugh, who visited Fort Hood with Casey on Friday, said investigators would also look into the effects of stress, including burgeoning rates of domestic violence and suicide in the military, and would try to piece together a picture of "what drives people to do desperate things."

Referring to Hasan, McHugh said, "We have to understand what caused that suspect to act in the way in which he did" so that such attacks can be prevented in the future.

But asked whether the Army, stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is "too small" to handle its responsibilities, Casey said, "I don't think so. I think it's way too early to make a judgment that's that pronounced."

Adding to the stress on the military have been the multiple combat tours that many service members have been assigned since the United States intervened in Afghanistan in late 2001 and invaded Iraq in March 2003.

Hasan, 39, was awaiting a deployment to Afghanistan, Army officials said, even though he was deeply troubled by the U.S. military effort there, according to people who knew him. That turmoil was not apparent to others who worked with him, however. The Arlington-born officer, who was raised in Virginia and trained at military hospitals in Bethesda and the District, recently underwent a peer review in which his fellow doctors found no fault with the care he was providing.

"He was a dedicated, hard-working provider who did really care for his patients" said Col. Kimberly Kesling, the deputy commander for clinical services at Fort Hood. "Sometimes people have demons we don't know about and make bad choices. . . . People who take care of people with problems can develop problems of their own."

Col. John Rossi, a deputy commander at Fort Hood, declined at a news conference to speculate on possible motives for the attack inside the post's crowded Soldier Readiness Processing Center, believed to be the largest mass shooting ever to occur on a U.S. military installation.

Military officials said they believe Hasan, a mental health professional who was trained to treat soldiers suffering from trauma, opened fire with a pair of pistols -- one of them semiautomatic -- in the processing facility just after lunchtime.

Rossi said an investigation will determine how the shooter brought guns onto the post, where, like at all U.S. military installations, firearms are kept secured unless they are needed for training or security work. Soldiers and civilians are allowed to maintain privately owned weapons in accordance with local gun laws, Rossi said. But they must register those weapons on post.

Officials say they believe Hasan -- who reportedly lived off-post -- used his own personal handguns in the shooting. The military is trying to determine whether those guns were registered. Although "random checks" are performed on vehicles arriving at and departing from Fort Hood, Rossi said, soldiers aren't searched as they leave or enter the post.

Rossi said officials do not believe there were any additional people involved in planning or carrying out the rampage.

Asked if there were any other persons of interest in the shooting, Casey told reporters, "There is only one remaining suspect at this point." He did not elaborate.

Officials said they have not been able to interrogate Hasan -- a devout Muslim born to Palestinian immigrants and raised in Virginia -- because of his medical condition. They have not spoken to his relatives, either, Rossi said.

According to a federal sources, investigators seized Hasan's computer from his apartment in Killeen near Fort Hood and were performing routine tests on it. They were also looking into whether Hasan was the author of Internet postings about suicide bombings and other threats, including one that likened Islamic suicide bombers to U.S. soldiers who sacrifice their lives to save fellow soldiers and to Japanese kamikaze pilots during World War II.

Hasan was not the target of an existing law enforcement investigation but had come to the attention of authorities in part because of the Web postings, a federal source said.

The FBI dispatched an evidence response team to Texas, as well as its shooting reconstruction team and agents from San Antonio, Austin and Waco. The bureau's Washington field office has been interviewing Hasan's colleagues, neighbors and other contacts in the Washington area, and other agents were sent to Virginia Tech, Hasan's alma mater.

Authorities said they were far from establishing a motive and suggested that it could take some time, because they must track down all the witnesses to the shooting and confront possible challenges related to doctor-patient confidentiality and privacy rights. It will be a "methodical" investigation, a federal source said.

Colleagues and relatives have said Hasan opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was upset about his looming deployment.

According to a classmate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, where Hasan studied last year, he viewed the war on terrorism as "a war against Islam," the Associated Press reported. The agency quoted the classmate, Val Finnell, as saying Hasan told classmates he was "a Muslim first and an American second."

At the apartment complex where Hasan lived in Killeen, manager John Thompson said another soldier vandalized Hasan's car and tore off a bumper sticker that read "Allah is Love," prompting Hasan to file a complaint to police. The soldier had been in Iraq and was upset to learn that Hasan was Muslim, Thompson told the AP.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Hasan gave furniture, food, clothes and other belongings to his next-door neighbor, Patricia Villa, telling her that he was deploying to Afghanistan on Friday. He also gave Villa and other neighbors copies of the Koran.

Hours after Hasan handed Villa an air mattress and other items and offered her money to clean his apartment after he left, he allegedly opened fire on unarmed soldiers at the Fort Worth processing center.

The dead included 12 soldiers and one civilian, Army officials said. As of 7:30 a.m. Friday, 28 people remained hospitalized, apparently including Hasan. All 28 were in stable condition, and about half had undergone surgery, said Col. Steven Braverman.

President Obama on Friday ordered that all flags at federal buildings be flown at half-staff through Nov. 11, Veteran's Day, as a "modest tribute" to those who were injured or killed. "The entire nation is grieving right now for the men and women who came under attack yesterday," said Obama, who made a previously scheduled visit to Walter Reed Army medical Center in Washington Friday afternoon. "We honor their service; we stand in awe of their sacrifice, and we pray for the safety of those who fight and for the families of those who have fallen."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would attend a memorial service at Fort Hood once it is scheduled.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations moved quickly to call the attack "cowardly." The organization, an advocacy group for American Muslims, said it condemned the shooting "in the strongest terms possible."

"No political or religious ideology could ever excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence," CAIR said in a statement. "The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation."

Hasan graduated from Virginia Tech in 1995 and received a medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda. He spent at least six years at Walter Reed, training as a psychiatrist, before moving to Fort Hood.

He had been a "very devout" worshiper at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, attending prayers at least once a day, often in his Army fatigues, said Faizul Khan, a former imam there.

"To know something like this happened, I don't know what got into his mind," Khan said. "There was nothing extremist in his questions. He never showed any frustration. . . . He never showed any remorse or wish for vengeance on anybody."

A co-worker identified as Col. Terry Lee told Fox News that Hasan opposed the U.S. role in Iraq and Afghanistan and told others that "we should not be in the war in the first place." He said Hasan acknowledged that soldiers have a duty to follow the commander in chief's orders but was hoping that President Obama would order a pullout from the conflicts.

"When things weren't going that way," Lee said, "he became more agitated, more frustrated with the conflicts over there."

Obama promised to "get answers to every single question about this horrible incident." He offered his prayers to the wounded and the families of those killed, calling them "men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk -- and at times give -- their lives to protect the rest of us."

"It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas," Obama said. "It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army post on American soil."

In a statement issued by Nader Hasan, a cousin of Nidal Hasan, the Hasan family expressed "our most heartfelt sympathies" for those who had been killed and wounded.

"We are filled with grief for the families of today's victims," the statement said. "Our family loves America. We are proud of our country, and saddened by today's tragedy."

Thousands of soldiers have passed through the gates of Fort Hood on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 500 have not come home. Post-combat stress has been an acknowledged problem on the post, and this year alone, 10 Fort Hood soldiers have committed suicide.

Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, the former post commander, won praise for trying to reduce stress. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Army Times that "there's something going on at Hood that I think is extraordinary that we need to emulate until we find something better."

The post was locked down Thursday until about 9 p.m., and remains on heightened security alert, officials said. A day of mourning is being observed Friday, with large numbers of grief counselors and personnel available to those on the post.

"We will remember, in our thoughts and prayers, the victims," Rossi said.

The Fort Hood shooting follows a June incident outside a Little Rock military recruiting center in which one soldier was killed and another wounded. Authorities said Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who converted to Islam and changed his name as an adult, acted alone in the incident. He has pleaded not guilty.

Before the shooting, Muhammad traveled to Yemen, where he emerged on the radar of a Joint Terrorism Task Force. Local police said he was motivated in part by political and religious fervor.

The shootings at Fort Hood came 18 years after a massacre in a restaurant in nearby Killeen, where George Hennard used a pair of 9mm pistols to kill 22 people and wound 17 before using his last bullet on himself.

At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in the country, eclipsed in 2007 when 33 people were fatally shot at Virginia Tech.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Osama bin Laden Responsible for the 9/11 Attacks? Is This Belief Based on Evidence?

By David Ray Griffin

November 02, 2009 "Veterans Today" -- The idea that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks has been an article of faith for public officials and the mainstream media. Calling it an “article of faith” points to two features of this idea. On the one hand, no one in these circles publicly challenges this idea.

On the other hand, as I pointed out at length in two of my books – 9/11 Contradictions1 and The New Pearl Harbor Revisited,2 no good evidence has ever been publicly presented to support it.

Colin Powell’s Withdrawn Promise

Two weeks after 9/11, Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, said that he expected “in the near future . . . to put out . . . a document that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking [bin Laden] to this attack.”3

Powell reversed himself, however, at a press conference with President Bush in the White House Rose Garden the next morning, saying that, although the government had information that left no question of bin Laden's responsibility, "most of it is classified."4 According to Seymour Hersh, citing officials from both the CIA and the Department of Justice, the real reason for the reversal was a "lack of solid information."5

This was the week that Bush, after demanding that the Taliban turn over bin Laden, refused their request for evidence that bin Laden had been behind the attacks.6 A senior Taliban official, after the US attack on Afghanistan had begun, said: "We have asked for proof of Osama's involvement, but they have refused. Why?"7 Hersh's answer was that they had no proof.

Tony Blair's Weak Document

The task of providing such proof was taken up by Bush's chief ally in the "war on terror," British Prime Minister Tony Blair. On October 4, 2001, Blair made public a document entitled: "Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States." Listing "clear conclusions reached by the government," it stated: "Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the terrorist network which he heads, planned and carried out the atrocities on 11 September 2001." Blair's report, however, began by saying: "This document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama Bin Laden in a court of law."8 Although the case was not good enough to go to court, Blair seemed to be saying, it was good enough to go to war.

The weakness in Blair's report, in any event, was noted the next day by the BBC, which said: "There is no direct evidence in the public domain linking Osama Bin Laden to the 11 September attacks. At best the evidence is circumstantial."9

The FBI's Surprising Statement

What does our own FBI say? Here is a surprising but little-known fact, because it has scarcely been reported in the mainstream media: The FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorist" webpage on "Osama bin Laden" does not list the 9/11 attacks as one of the crimes for which he is wanted. It does list bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi as terrorist acts for which he is wanted. But it makes no mention of 9/11.10 In 2006, Rex Tomb, then the FBI's chief of investigative publicity, was asked why not. He replied: "The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama Bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11."11

After this story started flying around the Internet and was even covered by a TV station in Louisiana,12 Dan Eggen tried to downplay its significance in an August 2006 Washington Post article entitled "Bin Laden, Most Wanted For Embassy Bombings?"13 Complaining about "conspiracy theorists" who claimed that "the lack of a Sept. 11 reference [on the FBI's "Most Wanted" webpage for bin Laden] suggests that the connection to al-Qaeda is uncertain," Eggen quoted the explanation offered by a former US attorney, who said that the FBI could not appropriately "put up a wanted picture where no formal charges had been filed."

But that explanation, while true, simply pushes the issue back a step to this question: Why have such charges not been filed? Rex Tomb's fuller statement, which Eggen failed to mention, had answered this question the previous June, saying:

The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice then decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.14

The 9/11 Commission

What about the 9/11 Commission? Its report gave the impression that it was in possession of solid evidence of bin Laden's guilt. But the Commission's co-chairs, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, undermined this impression in their follow-up book, which they subtitled: "The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission."15 (I discussed this book at length in Chapter 2 of my 2007 book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking.16)

As the end-notes for The 9/11 Commission Report reveal, whenever the Commission referred to evidence of bin Laden's responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, the Commission was always referring to CIA-provided information, which had (presumably) been elicited during interrogations of al-Qaeda operatives. By far the most important of these operatives was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, generally called simply "KSM," who has been called the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The Commission, for example, wrote:

Bin Laden . . . finally decided to give the green light for the 9/11 operation sometime in late 1998 or early 1999. . . . Bin Laden also soon selected four individuals to serve as suicide operatives. . . . Atta - whom Bin Laden chose to lead the group - met with Bin Ladin several times to receive additional instructions, including a preliminary list of approved targets: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Capitol.17

The note for each of these statements says: "interrogation of KSM."18

Kean and Hamilton, however, reported that they had no success in "obtaining access to star witnesses in custody . . . , most notably Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."19 Besides not being allowed to interview these witnesses, Commission members were not even permitted to observe the interrogations through one-way glass or to talk to the interrogators.20 Therefore, Kean and Hamilton complained: "We . . . had no way of evaluating the credibility of detainee information. How could we tell if someone such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed . . . was telling us the truth?"21

An NBC "deep background" report in 2008 pointed out an additional problem: KSM and the other al-Qaeda leaders had been subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques," i.e., torture, and it is now widely acknowledged that statements elicited by torture lack credibility. "At least four of the operatives whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report," NBC pointed out, "have claimed that they told interrogators critical information as a way to stop being ‘tortured.'" NBC then quoted Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, as saying: "Most people look at the 9/11 Commission Report as a trusted historical document. If their conclusions were supported by information gained from torture, . . . their conclusions are suspect."22

The "Bin Laden Confession Tapes"

As we have seen, neither the 9/11 Commission, the Bush-Cheney White House, the FBI, the British government, nor the 9/11 Commission provided good evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Many people, however, have assumed that the question of his responsibility was settled by the existence of videotapes and audiotapes in which he himself confessed to the attacks. There are, however, good reasons to believe that these so-called confession tapes are fakes. I will illustrate this point in terms of the two best-known videotapes of this nature.

The "Jalalabad Video" Released December 13, 2001: The first and most famous of the "Osama bin Laden confession video tapes" was released by the Pentagon on December 13, 2001. It had purportedly been made on November 9, 2001, after which it was allegedly found by US forces in a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In this video, an Osama bin Laden figure is seen talking about the 9/11 attacks with a visiting Sheikh. During the course of the conversation, the bin Laden figure boasts about the success of the attacks, saying that he had planned them.23 Both US and British officials claimed that this tape left no doubt about bin Laden's guilt.24

Stories in both the Canadian and British media, however, raised questions about the tape's authenticity. These stories, besides pointing out the existence of the technical ability to create fake video tapes, also mentioned the suspicion of some people that the bin Laden figure was not Osama bin Laden himself.

A BBC News report said: "Washington calls it the ‘smoking gun' that puts Bin Laden's guilt beyond doubt, but many in the Arab world believe the home video of the al-Qaeda chief is a fake."25 This report was, in fact, entitled, "Could the Bin Laden Video Be a Fake?"

This question was also raised in Canada by CBC News, which pointed out that some people had "suggested the Americans hired someone to pretend to be the exiled Saudi."26

This question was raised even more insistently in a Guardian story with the title, "US Urged to Detail Origin of Tape." Reporting "growing doubt in the Muslim world about the authenticity of the film," writer Steven Morris said:

The White House yesterday came under pressure to give more details of the video which purports to show Osama bin Laden admitting his part in the September 11 attacks.27

Morris, pointing out that the White House had provided no details about how the Pentagon came to be in possession of the tape, added:

According to US officials the tape was found in a house in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, and handed to the Pentagon by an unnamed person or group. . . . But for many the explanation is too convenient. Some opponents of the war theorise that the Bin Laden in the film was a look-alike.

Morris then quoted one such opponent in Pakistan, who said: "This videotape is not authentic. The Americans made it up after failing to get any evidence against Osama."

Morris also cited Bob Crabtree, the editor of Computer Video magazine, who explained that it was impossible to determine whether the video was authentic without more details of its source, adding: "The US seems simply to have asked the world to trust them that it is genuine."28

This skepticism about the authenticity of this "Jalalabad video" was based on sound reasons. For one thing, this video's bin Laden figure appeared too heavy and healthy, compared with the bin Laden who made the last of the undoubtedly authentic bin Laden videos, which was made sometime in 2001 between November 16 (on which occurred an event mentioned on the tape) and December 27 (the date on which the tape was released). In this post-November 16 video, bin Laden's beard was white, he had a "gaunt, frail appearance," and his "left arm hung limply by his side while he gesticulated with his right."29 This immobile left arm, Dr. Sanjay Gupta observed on CNN, suggested that bin Laden had suffered a stroke, adding that this plus a "frosting of the appearance" suggested that bin Laden was in the final stages of kidney failure.30

But in the "Jalalabad video," which was reportedly made at about the same time (being dated November 9 and released December 13), the bin Laden figure was heavier and also darker, in both skin and beard color; his nose had a different shape;31 and his hands were shorter and heavier than those of Osama bin Laden as seen in undoubtedly authentic videos.32

Still another problem is that, whereas bin Laden was left-handed, the man in the "Jalalabad video" wrote with his right hand. Although it might be thought that this was because his left arm was immobile, the bin Laden figure in this video was easily able to lift his left arm above his head.33

If this video was made on November 9, as claimed, then it would have been made at most only a few weeks before the post-November 16 video. It is very hard to believe that the heavy, dark-skinned, healthy-looking man with a dark beard could have, within two or three weeks, turned into the pale, gaunt, white-bearded, man seen in the post-November 16 video.

If one accepts the Jalalabad video as authentic, one not only has to accept these radical changes in bin Laden's physical appearance; one must also accept a complete change in his statements about 9/11. In the previous weeks, he had repeatedly - on September 12, 16, 17, and 28 - stated that he had had nothing to do with the attacks.34 In the September 28 statement, he had even declared:

I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle. . . . [W]e are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.35

Is it likely that he would have made such statements if he himself had authorized the attacks and thereby the killing of innocents?

Whatever be one's opinion about that, the bin Laden figure in the "Jalalabad video" made other statements that Osama bin Laden himself would surely not have made. For example, he said:

[W]e calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy who would be killed based on the position of the tower. . . . [D]ue to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for.36

But in light of the real bin Laden's "experience in the field" as a building contractor, he would have known that high-rise buildings are framed with steel, not iron. Even more important, he would have known that the buildings' support columns - whether made of steel or iron - would not have been melted by the "fire from the gas in the plane." Why? Because he would have known, on the one hand, that a building fire, even if fed by jet-fuel (which is essentially kerosene), could not, even under the most ideal conditions, have risen above 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius). And he would have known, on the other hand, that iron and steel do not begin to melt until they are heated to a temperature far higher than that: to almost 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,540 degrees Celsius). The real bin Laden, therefore, would not have expected any iron or steel to melt.

A final reason to consider the "Jalalabad video" a fake is that bin Laden experts have declared it to such. When Dr. Bruce Lawrence, a Duke University history professor widely considered the country's leading academic bin Laden expert,37 was asked what he thought about this video, he said, bluntly: "It's bogus." Some friends of his in the US Department of Homeland Security assigned to work "on the 24/7 bin Laden clock," he added, "also know it's bogus."38

General Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), suggested that the man in the video was an "Osama bin Laden lookalike."39

Former Foreign Service officer Angelo Codevilla, after saying "[t]he guy just does not look like Osama," added: "The fact that the video had been made for no self-evident purpose except perhaps to be found by the Americans should have raised suspicion."40

A fourth expert opinion has been issued implicitly, it would seem, by the Department of Justice and its FBI. If they considered this "confession video" authentic, would they not consider it "hard evidence" of bin Laden's responsibility for 9/11? They say, however, that they have no such evidence, so they must not consider this video authentic.

The "October Surprise Video of 2004: The other most famous of the "bin Laden confession tapes" is the video tape that was released on October 29, 2004, just before the presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry, leading to its being called "the October Surprise video." In this one, for the first time, a bin Laden figure directly addressed the American people. The Associated Press, focusing on the most important aspect of the speaker's message, entitled its story: "Bin Laden, in Statement to U.S. People, Says He Ordered Sept. 11 Attacks."41 However, although the AP accepted the authenticity of the tape, there are serious reasons to doubt it.

A reason to be at least suspicious is the very fact that it appeared just four days before the presidential election and seemed designed to help Bush's reelection - an assessment that was made even by CIA analysts.42 The video, moreover, evidently did help: Bush's lead over Kerry in national polls increased right after it appeared,43 and both Bush and Kerry said that this tape was significantly responsible for Bush's victory.44 Given the fact that this video would quite predictably help Bush win reelection, it would seem to have been issued by his friends, not his enemies.

There are also substantive reasons to doubt this tape's authenticity, one of which is the speaker's language. The clearly authentic bin Laden messages were filled with religious language. A bin Laden video released October 7, 2001, for example, began thus:

Praise be to God and we beseech Him for help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with the Lord of our bad and evildoing. He whom God guides is rightly guided . . . . I witness that there is no God but God and Mohammed is His slave and Prophet.45

Even though this talk as a whole had only 725 words, bin Laden referred to God (Allah) 20 times and to the prophet Mohammed 3 times. Likewise, his message of November 3, 2001, which contained 2,333 words, referred to God 35 times and to the prophet Mohammed 8 times.46 By contrast, the 2004 October Surprise video, which had almost the same number of words as the November 3 video, referred to God only 12 times. The only "Mohammad" mentioned, moreover, was Mohamed Atta.

Another substantive difference involved the type of causal analysis provided. Bin Laden's clearly authentic messages had portrayed historical events as occurring only because they were caused, or at least allowed, by God. In his message of October 7, 2001, for example, he said: "God Almighty hit the United States. . . . He destroyed its greatest buildings." Human agents were involved, to be sure, but they were successful only because "Almighty God . . . allowed them to destroy the United States."47 In his message of November 3, likewise, bin Laden said that, if people are helped or harmed, it is always by "something that God has already preordained for [them]."48

The message on the 2004 confession video, however, reflected a worldview in which events can be understood through a causal analysis based on secular rationalism. "One of the most important things rational people do when calamities occur," the lecturer asserted, "is to look for their causes so as to avoid them." He himself, in analyzing "the [Iraq] war, its causes and consequences," provided a causal analysis involving purely human actors: Bush, al-Qaeda, and the American people. Far from suggesting that everything is finally in the hands of God, he said to the American people: "Your security is in your own hands" - a statement that a devout Wahabi Muslim such as Osama bin Laden would surely have considered blasphemous.

Still another reason to doubt the authenticity of this 2004 video is that, although the speaker was addressing the American public, he spoke Arabic rather than English. This is strange, because Osama bin Laden was reportedly fluent in English, which he had started studying when he was 11 years old.49 A British journalist reported that, when he and bin Laden met in 1989, they conversed in English for 45 minutes.50 General Hamid Gul, speaking to United Press International in 2001, said: "I know bin Laden and his associates. They are graduates of the best universities and . . . speak impeccable English.51 If bin Laden spoke impeccable English, would he not have used it when speaking directly to the American people?52

Accordingly, this video does not, any more than the "Jalalabad video," provide evidence that Osama bin Laden himself confessed to planning the 9/11 attacks.


I showed in a previous essay that, according to the best evidence presently available, Osama bin Laden has been dead for many years.53 In the present essay, I have shown that there is not even any good evidence for the claim that bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Accordingly, insofar as the justification for the continuation of the AfPak war is based on the fact that bin Laden in the region both before and after the 9/11 attacks, that justification would seem to be doubly baseless.

David Ray Griffin is the author of 36 books, nine of which are about 9/11. His most recent book is The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 Is Unscientific and False (Olive Branch, 2009). In 2008, he put out two books: The New Pearl Harbor: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (which was named a "Pick of the Week" by Publishers Weekly) and Osama bin Laden: Dead Or Alive? (which has generated considerable media coverage in England).


1. 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008), Chap. 18, "Does the Government Have Hard Evidence of Bin Laden's Responsibility?"
2. The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008). This book was named Publishers Weekly's "Pick of the Week" on November 24, 2008 (
3. "Meet the Press," NBC, September 23, 2001 (
4. "Remarks by the President, Secretary of the Treasury O'Neill and Secretary of State Powell on Executive Order," White House, September 24, 2001 (
5. Seymour M. Hersh, "What Went Wrong: The C.I.A. and the Failure of American Intelligence," New Yorker, October 1, 2001 (
6. "White House Warns Taliban: ‘We Will Defeat You,'" CNN, September 21, 2001 (
7. Kathy Gannon, "Taliban Willing to Talk, But Wants U.S. Respect," Associated Press, November 1, 2001 (
8. Office of the Prime Minister, "Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States," BBC News, October 4, 2001 (
9. "The Investigation and the Evidence," BBC News, October 5, 2001 (
10. Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Most Wanted Terrorists: Usama bin Laden" (
11. Ed Haas, "FBI says, ‘No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11'" Muckraker Report, June 6, 2006 (
12. "Bin Laden's FBI Poster Omits Any 9/11 Connection," KSLA 12 in Shreveport, Louisiana
13. "Bin Laden, Most Wanted For Embassy Bombings?" Washington Post, August 28, 2006 (
14. Haas, "FBI says, ‘No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.'"
15. Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, with Benjamin Rhodes, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).
16. David Ray Griffin, Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory, revised and updated edition (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2007). This book won a bronze medal in the 2008 Independent Publishers Book Awards.
17. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, authorized edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 149, 155, 166; henceforth 9/11CR.
18. See 9/11CR Ch. 5, notes 16, 41, and 92.
19. Kean and Hamilton, Without Precedent, 118.
20. Ibid., 122-24.
21. Ibid., 119. I have discussed this issue at greater length in Ch. 8, "9/11 Commission Falsehoods about Bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Pakistanis, and Saudis," of The New Pearl Harbor Revisited.
22. Robert Windrem and Victor Limjoco, "The 9/11 Commission Controversy," Deep Background: NBC News Investigations, January 30, 2008
23. "U.S. Releases Videotape of Osama bin Laden," Department of Defense, December 13, 2001 (; "Pentagon Releases Bin Laden Videotape: U.S. Officials Say Tape Links Him to Sept. 11 Attacks," National Public Radio, December 13, 2001 The entire video can be viewed at this NPR Web page.
24. See my book Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? (Northampton: Olive Branch [Interlink Books], 2009), 23-26.
25. "Could the Bin Laden Video Be a Fake?" BBC News, December 14, 2001 (
26. "'Feeble' to Claim Bin Laden Tape Fake: Bush," CBC, December 14, 2001 (
27. Steven Morris, "US Urged to Detail Origin of Tape," Guardian, December 15, 2001 (
28. Ibid.
29. Toby Harnden, "US Casts Doubt on Bin Laden's Latest Message," Telegraph, December 27, 2001
30. "Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Bin Laden Would Need Help if on Dialysis," CNN, January 21, 2002
( For the tape, see ""Osama Bin Laden Tape Dezember [sic] 2001" (
31. For a nose comparison, see "Osama bin Laden Gets a Nose Job" (,
or "Bruce Lawrence," Radio Du Jour (
32. Compare his hands with bin Laden's hand as shown in the post-November 16 video (
33. This can be seen in a portion of the Jalalabad video placed on YouTube (
34. For documentation and discussion, see Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? 27-29.
35. "Interview with Usama bin Laden," Ummat (Karachi), September 28, 2001
Bin Laden's statement about innocents repeated what he had said in an interview with John Miller of ABC News in 1998: "Our religion forbids us from killing innocent people such as women and children"
36. "Transcript of Usama bin Laden Video Tape," Department of Defense, December 13, 2001 (
37. Bruce Lawrence is the editor of Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden (London and New York: Verso, 2005).
38. Lawrence made these statements on February 16, 2007, during a radio interview conducted by Kevin Barrett of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It can be heard at Radio Du Jour (
39. BBC News, "Tape ‘Proves Bin Laden's Guilt,'" December 14, 2001 (
40. Angelo M. Codevilla, "Osama bin Elvis," American Spectator, March 2009 (
41. Maggie Michael, "Bin Laden, in Statement to U.S. People, Says He Ordered Sept. 11 Attacks," Associated Press, October 29, 2004 (
42. Ron Suskind, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006), 336.
43. Philip Sherwell, "Bush Takes a Six-Point Lead After New Bin Laden Tape," Telegraph, November 1, 2004 (
44. "Kerry Blames Defeat on Bin Laden," BBC News, January 31, 2005; "Bush Says Bin Laden Tape Aided Re-Election: Report," Reuters, February 28, 2006
45. "Bin Laden's Warning: Full Text," BBC News, October 7, 2001 (
46. "BBC Transcript Of Osama Bin Laden Statement," November 7, 2001 (
47. "Bin Laden's Warning: Full Text."
48. "BBC Transcript Of Osama Bin Laden Statement."
49. See "In the Footsteps of Bin Laden," CNN, August 23, 2006, and Steve Coll, "Young Osama," New Yorker, December 12, 2005
50. "In the Footsteps of Bin Laden."
51. "Arnaud de Borchgrave Interviews Hameed Gul, Former Chief of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence," UPI, September 26, 2001 (; also available at(
52. I have given a more thorough analysis of the problems in these two "confession videos" in my book Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? (Northampton: Olive Branch [Interlink Books, 2009).
53. "Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?" Veterans Today, October 22, 2009 (