Was Bin Laden Playacting for Incriminating Tape?

The videotape published in Washington after much deliberation shows a jubilant Osama bin Laden in conversation with a much younger Saudi sheik in a Kandahar guesthouse, crowing over the most ungodly act in the history of terrorism. The chilling effect of bin Laden’s contemptuously amused admission is only exceeded by his suggestion that the suicide bombers had no knowledge of the nature of their assignments.
Questions inevitably arise about the circumstances of the videotape’s discovery in a deserted house in Jalalabad. Was it necessary for the United States to spend two months fighting a war in Afghanistan before laying hands on conclusive evidence of the former Saudi terrorist’s guilt in masterminding the September 11 attacks in which more than 3000 died? Could not the CIA with all its advanced intelligence gadgets have done the job without war? It appears not. It took conventional action on the ground.
The most important aspect of the captured videotape is the impression of authenticity it conveys. For the Americans, it is compelling evidence of bin Laden’s guilt. But the star player also draws vindication from its contents, evidence that he is capable of carrying out his threats to bring America low and is a man of his word.
That was one of the arguments against releasing the tape. However, on at least one point, debkafile ‘s analysts are certain he was lying, using religious fanaticism to justify his terrible deeds.
On January 8, 1988, a Manhattan court sentenced a Pakistani called Ramzi Yousef to 240 years in isolation for the first attempt to destroy New York’s WorldTradeCenter eight years ago. In February 1993: he drove a truck loaded with explosives into the underground parking level of one of the WorldTradeCenter towers and set off a small blast which killed six people. The plan went awry, although the amount of explosives and the positioning of the truck were calculated precisely to cause one tower to buckle and hit the second, killing many thousands. Yousef went on to bare the second half of the terror conspiracy against New York – a plan to blow up the main bridges and tunnels leading into the city. Both parts were calculated to bring about one quarter of a million deaths. The convicted terrorist voiced regret at the failure of both plots, but never named the senior terrorist behind them.
However intelligence subsequently collected, some of it in plea bargain deals with al Qaeda members tried for the 1998 East African embassy bombings, points squarely to Osama bin Laden as the mastermind – then as now.
On the videotape he says (in reference to the September 11 attacks): “We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all.”
Bin Laden went to say: “…due 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.”
He added modestly, “This is all we had hoped for.”
However, 1993 bin Laden plotted the murder of quarter of a million Americans. Why then would he be content – and even optimistic – about the death of a few hundred on the “three or four floors” – particularly when he upgraded his weapon from an explosive truck placed under one tower to two large airliners – one for each of the two.
As a qualified engineer, he must have fully appreciated the destructive force of his action.
His show of modesty can be explained by the pious requirement of Islam not to brag, but rather to play down the believer’s “achievements” in order to assign full honor and glory for his surpassing “success” to his deity, rather than to himself.
This show of piety and humility sounds very much like Bin Laden playing to the fundamentalist gallery. He meant to impress and inspire the faithful to follow in his footsteps. In another part of the tape, it is claimed that since September 11, the numbers of applicants for places at Muslim study and prayer centers is up. His horrific deed was thus justified in the eyes of his Saudi friend.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email