US officials have released five clips from videos found in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The videos are the first documents released to the public from among the computer files, CDs and other media found when a team of US Navy Seals killed Bin Laden early on Monday. According to an unnamed senior intelligence official, the videos suggest that Bin Laden was “deeply immersed in the propaganda efforts of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda” and remained at the center of its activities, says the New York Times.
In videos containing recorded messages to his followers, bin Laden appears with his beard dyed black “to make him appear younger.” Other videos, including one of him watching television, show him with a primarily white beard; the US official says that this suggests “bin Laden’s concern about his appearance suggested that he was intensely interested in the image he presented to his supporters.” Indeed the Abbottabad compound is, says the official, “command-and-control center for Al Qaeda, where the group not only plotted attacks but was also deeply involved in the operations of Qaeda lieutenants.”
Audio has been removed from the clips for security concerns. The Pentagon also says that the audio contains “a message to the United States,” according to the BBC.
MSNCB describes each video:
Video 1: A complete, unreleased message to the American people. U.S. intelligence said it was dated some time between October 9 to Nov. 5, 2010. Bin Laden is shown sitting down, dressed in a gold robe, his beard is dyed black and the background is blue. There is no audio but the official said bin Laden is giving his standard message of condemning U.S. policy and capitalism.
Video 2: Bin Laden is sitting on the floor watching a television with video of his own images playing. A video of bin Laden appears on the screen. Then the camera pans over to bin Laden sitting on the floor. He has a gray beard and a black hat on, and is wrapped in a blanket. He is holding the remote control and pointing it at the television, which is sitting on a small, simple wooden table.
Video 3: A practice video. He has a dyed black beard and a wooden background, which was described as an armoire. The official said they have concluded that the armoire in the video is the same one that was found on the compound. There is no date on the video.
Video 4: Another practice clip. He has a brown background and is wearing a white shirt with a T-shirt underneath. There is no date on this video.
Video 5: Another practice video. He is in front of a wrinkled sheet, wearing a gold covering or robe and white shirt. He is wearing a white hat and his beard is dyed black. There is no date on this video.
US officials released the videos as part of a continuing effort to set to rest doubts that it was indeed Bin Laden who was killed in the raid last Monday.