The FBI has admitted using a photograph of a bearded Spanish politician as the basis for a mocked- up photofit image showing how Osama Bin Laden might look now. The US state department was forced to withdraw the mocked up photo-image, circulated around the world last week, after the discovery that it was not quite as technically sophisticated as the FBI had originally claimed. The digitally altered image of an older and greying Bin Laden was meant to show how the world's most wanted terrorist might now look without his trademark turban and long beard. It was released in a renewed effort to locate him, more than eight years after the September 11 attack which he ordered and directed. Gaspar Llamazares (pictured left), 52, a member of Spain's communist party and the former leader of the United Left coalition in parliament, said his forehead, hair and jaw-line had been "cut and pasted" from an old campaign photograph. The FBI claimed to have used "cutting edge" technology to reproduce new images of 18 of the most wanted terrorist suspects for the State Department's Rewards for Justice website. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: Bin Laden remains unfinished business.
Free-Market Analysis: The Anglo-American power elite uses promotional methodologies to create fear and uncertainty in Western citizens – who in turn surrender their wealth and freedom to purchase the illusion of personal and familial security. This article briefly reviews how these promotions work and are put in place, how the FBI could create such an obvious PR disaster for itself and why it would do so.
Power elite promotional campaigns have a very specific lifecycle, one that is easily observed on the Internet if one chooses to look. They often begin as think tank projects, are buttressed by phony academic research, released like viruses into the mainstream via the UN, NGOs and other authorities, reported on by the controlled mainstream press and then responded to by the political class – which always proposes solutions that provide for further control as a way to extract additional wealth from citizens via taxes, levies and additional public services.
One can see this process at work in global warming. Once the relevant emails had been released, many people were surprised to find that it seemingly took only a handful of individuals to influence the entire global warming debate worldwide. But this is how a promotion (or "promotional conspiracy") works. Life is very simple among elite players. With a nod and wink much can be accomplished by a motivated handful of energetic conspirators empowered with nearly limitless amounts of cash.
We argue regularly not only that most people's lives are subsumed by power elite promotions but also that in the recent past power elite promotions have virtually defined the thought processes of even the most intelligent individuals. Power elite promotions — empowered by endless fiat-money printing — create environments where one can believe that one is doing important work arrived at through free-will, when in fact one is enmeshed in a food-chain of power-elite rhetoric and artificial promotional processes.
The power elite is patient and has in the past 100 years especially (with the worldwide implementation of central banking) created a powerful methodology of control. The power elite identifies "the best and brightest" at the top schools in Britain and America. It even has scholarships set aside to cultivate these individuals: Rhodes scholarships are just one example.
These individuals are introduced into power elite instrumentalities in both government and business. There are not necessarily any secret handshakes involved. These young people may simply feel fortunate to be exposed to the opportunities their mentors are providing for them. Indeed, some of these individuals may fall out of the environment into which they have been introduced. Others may work in these environments without ever being fully cognizant of what it is they are working for. Still others may gradually wake up to the full gamut of power-elite control and become more active and willing players.
The power elite not only puts the best and brightest to work within its instrumentalities, it also appears to penetrate the West's top companies, its owners and officials. Through national intelligence agencies and security authorities, those doing the power elite's bidding make it clear to successful entrepreneurs – who have created businesses with "national security" implications -that they will need to cooperate as a matter of public service. Those who are not willing to play along (Microsoft comes to mind) may find themselves on the wrong-side of an anti-trust lawsuit, etc.
This is how you end up with apparent massive intelligence penetration of such successful companies as Google – which reportedly runs a virtual intranet (internal back end) for American and perhaps British intelligence. The same process may have taken place with such large companies as AT&T, which under the Bush administration was apparently even more thoroughly co-opted and controlled in order to facilitate warrantless wiretapping.
One of the tensions between China and Google could be that China is well aware of reports of Google's relationship to American intel. Wouldn't it be likely the Chinese would be concerned about Google's penetration into the fabric of Chinese technological life because of the apparent linkages to such intel? American intel is doing its largest companies no favors by apparently penetrating them this way – for inevitably these companies shall be seen more and more as agents for American "imperialism" rather than as examples of the best free-markets have to offer.
What does all this have to do with Osama bin Laden? Let us try to answer that question now. In fact, the war on terror is no more or less a promotion than any other, so far as we can tell. Its profile "fits" a power elite promotion, and the continued use of clumsy promotional techniques are also a hallmark of such dominant social themes. This does not mean, by the way, that there are not "bad guys" in the world who wish to do America and Britain harm. But the reality of a specific challenge or problem has nothing to do with a power elite promotion – which exists on its own terms and proceeds with its own peculiar logic.
A sign of a power elite promotion is that it continues against all logic and recognizes no significant indicators that it might be wrongheaded. If the FBI were truly interested in the fate of Bin Laden, one would think the agency's heads might have openly investigated a massive amount of evidence that seems to prove Bin Laden passed on long ago. One tiny piece of evidence (merely a single strand in a tapestry) is a statement by Benazir Bhutto (a few weeks prior to her murder) that can be seen on Youtube.com. In the interview, she says matter-of-factly that Bin Laden has been murdered and identifies his murderer. To watch the interview, click here.
Recently, the BBC (a British state-run media outlet) took up the cudgel regarding Bin Laden's whereabouts and availability. To the best of our knowledge they ignored the Benazir Bhutto interview. They did report the following on January 10:
Numerous audio and video statements purporting to be from Bin Laden have been released, but their authenticity has been continually questioned. The veracity of all of the videos is questioned by David Ray Griffin, a former theology professor and member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, which also questions mainstream accounts of the attack on the World Trade Centre. "None of them can be proven to be authentic," he says. "At least three of them can be shown to be almost certainly fake. "And if somebody is faking Bin Laden videos, then that leads to the suspicion that all the videos and audio tapes have been faked."
Experts have examined many different images of Osama Bin Laden His first example is a video released by the US Department of Defense in December 2001. In it, Bin Laden confesses to 9/11, yet Mr. Griffin points out that al-Qaeda has only rarely admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks. He also maintains that the Bin Laden figure looks very different to previous footage – fatter, with shorter fingers, and that he is even writing with the wrong hand. Most of Bin Laden's statements are audio only. Only two that show Bin Laden speaking have been issued since 2001. Griffin claims both are fakes. He argues that a video released in October 2004 – just days before the presidential election – lacks the religious rhetoric contained in previous statements. This video, he says, helped George W. Bush secure a second term.
But it is the last video, released in September 2007, that has attracted most attention. 'Western conspiracy' Mr. Griffin calls it "Blackbeard: the terrorist tape". Bin Laden's trademark grey beard has been replaced with a neat, jet-black beard, and there are a number of frames in the video, where Bin Laden carries on speaking but the picture of him freezes. One former CIA agent also questions its authenticity. Robert Baer dismisses the suggestion of a conspiracy by Western intelligence but thinks that al-Qaeda may have faked the video. "[al-Qaeda has] an interest in manipulating it to look like current tapes," he says. "You can digitally manipulate voice to say anything. You can change months, years, you can tape vowels and syllables and put it into a recording and change it."
Art Keller, former CIA agent Andy Laws, a former military imaging analyst for the RAF, was asked by the BBC to forensically test an undisputed Bin Laden tape from 1998 against the 2001 so-called "confession tape" and the 2007 "blackbeard tape". He says the fact that Bin Laden appears fatter in the 2001 tape is down to the editing process, when subtitles were added and the image was squashed. His conclusion is that all the videos are of the same person – Bin Laden. Furthermore, Mr. Laws says it is not realistic to think that the US military would fake such tapes. "Technologically in this day and age, those kinds of things can be done, but not quietly," he says. "There would be a number of people involved and word of it would have spread by now."
Bin Laden has issued around 40 statements since 9/11, and many include clear contemporaneous date references. Two recent statements released last year mentioned US President Barack Obama. Mike Scheuer, the former CIA officer who set up and ran the agency's Bin Laden unit, thinks Bin Laden is still alive. "Whenever he speaks on audio tape, he always says something in there that's fairly current. Also, the US National Security Agency (NSA) and UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) are very good at voice prints," he says. Mr. Scheuer concludes that if it was not Bin Laden's voice, these organisations would make sure governments were well aware that the tapes were fakes.
Another former CIA agent, Art Keller, is more damning: "I think those conspiracy theories that he is dead are pretty much laughable," he says. "It's easier to explain things away with a conspiracy than to face up to the difficult reality.
And yet there is this from the "conspiracy" site Infowars back in November 2007:
In a "new" audio tape broadcast today on Al-Jazeera television, Osama Bin Laden confesses that he was solely responsible for the attacks on 9/11 and that it was unjust for the United States to have invaded Afghanistan. However, given that every single tape and video of Bin Laden released since 2002 has been in some way highly suspect, the question that will automatically be on everyone's lips is "Is this tape another fake?"
Al Jazeera aired a few seconds of the tape in which the speaker is reported to say, "The events of Manhattan were retaliation against the American-Israeli alliance's aggression against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, and I am the only one responsible for it. The Afghan people and government knew nothing about it. America knows that."
The tape, which Reuters describes as having been recorded by "a speaker who sounded like bin Laden" once again contains no reference to current events that would indicate when it was recorded. The last time Bin Laden specifically "confessed" to having planned the 9/11 attacks was in a video that was later declared to be a total fake.
The December 2001 "Fat nosed" Bin Laden video, was magically found in a house in Jalalabad after anti-Taliban forces moved in. It featured a fat Osama laughing and joking about how he'd carried out 9/11. The video was also mistranslated in order to manipulate viewer opinion and featured "Bin Laden" praising two of the hijackers, only he got their names wrong.
This Osama also used the wrong hand to write with and wore gold rings, a practice totally in opposition to the Muslim faith. Despite the fact that the man in the video looks nothing like Bin Laden, the CIA stood by it and declared it to be the "9/11 confession video". Shortly after 9/11, Bin Laden had denied any involvement in the attacks on at least two separate occasions. Furthermore, the London Independent reported a claim attributed to a friend of one of the six men accused of plotting to detonate bombs on London's underground tube system on July 21 2005, that suggested that Osama bin Laden personally told hook handed radical cleric Abu Hamza that Al-Qaeda was not behind the attacks of September 11, 2001.
This isn't like a kid caught thieving in a sweet shop – terrorists always claim responsibility for attacks they have perpetrated otherwise why bother killing people to send a political message? One must therefore ask why has Bin Laden flip flopped around on the issue of 9/11? Even more intriguing is the fact that there has still been no formal indictment of Bin Laden six years on, when it only took three months to charge him with the 1998 embassy bombings.
Every analysis of a newly released Al Qaeda or Bin Laden tape has revealed inconsistencies, flaws and suspicions. Just a couple of months ago a "9/11 anniversary" video was released by Osama which was quickly deemed to be an iron clad forgery, and not even a good one at that. All references to current events made by the figure said to be Bin Laden occurred at a point in the video where the picture was frozen and only audio was present. Bin Laden also presented a pre recorded martyrdom video of one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, Waleed al Shehri, who was reported by the BBC as still alive and well in Saudi Arabia.
Analysts were also baffled by the wholly fake beard Bin Laden seemed to have donned. A computer expert later provided evidence that suggested the video was old footage re-released and manipulated. Other analysts came to the same conclusion. It was also revealed that Adam Pearlman, a suspected Mossad double agent, who once wrote stinging essays condemning Muslims as "bloodthirsty terrorists," was the scriptwriter of the video.
In another previous groundbreaking investigation, we exposed IntelCenter, the middleman between "Al-Qaeda's media arm" and the press, and the organization that routinely obtains the tapes, as little more than a Pentagon front group staffed by individuals with close connections to Donald Rumsfeld and the U.S. war machine.
Computer analyst Neal Krawetz discovered that the As-Sahab logo (the alleged media arm of Al-Qaeda) and the IntelCenter logo were both added to the Al-Qaeda videos at the same time. Though Krawetz re-affirmed his conclusion in an interview with Wired News, after the fact became public, he mysteriously recanted.
Krawetz original analysis, before he was obviously pressured to withdraw it, clearly suggests that IntelCenter is directly manufacturing the tapes and that "As-Sahab" is a contrived hoax to promulgate the myth that the tapes are coming from Al-Qaeda. IntelCenter's later denial of this whole episode was taken with a pinch of salt, for it was the same company that knowingly re-released 6 year old footage of Bin Laden that many quarters of the media treated as new. IntelCenter itself had released the same footage in October 2003 and it still appears dated as such on their own website.
The organization was also behind the so-called "laughing hijackers" tape, which was passed off as originating from Al-Qaeda's media arm, but was later exposed as being secret surveillance footage filmed by U.S. intelligence in 2000. In previous articles, we have also outlined how almost every so-called "Al-Qaeda" tape has been released at the most politically opportune time for the Bush administration and the Neo-Cons, including a Bin Laden video right before the 2004 election and a tape in which he ludicrously declared himself in league with Saddam Hussein in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq.
Is it possible that Bin Laden is alive? Well … anything is possible, we suppose. But what is most problematic from our point of view is that if an analysis of Bin Laden's condition was undertaken by a private-sector enterprise, the result would be considerably more nuanced than the fairly blunt presentations of Bin Laden's availability continually promoted by Western intel. The FBI's most recent PR flub as regards an updated picture of an older Bin Laden is right in line with these sorts of heavy-handed declarations. It strikes us, in fact, as a kind of arrogance – as if Western intel agencies are simply unwilling to accept that they are working in a much different era. In fact, in a pre-Internet era, none of this would matter. The updated FBI pictures would have been disseminated and the protestations of the Spanish politician whose features were used would never seen the light of day, certainly not in the American or British mainstrean press.
The trouble for Anglo-American elite is that it is seemingly still using a 20th century playbook in the 21st century. The Internet makes these promotions increasingly suspect and is gradually undermining even the most pervasive dominant social themes. It is no coincidence, in our opinion, that the FBI's effort to treat Bin Laden's existence as a given – rather than deal seriously with contradictory evidence – has blown up. Until the elite responds seriously to the challenges of the Internet, these incidents will continue to occur.
The push back is not going away and will only grow, on a number of fronts. It is a function of modern technology, as irreversible and inevitable as were the ramifications of the Gutenberg press 500 years ago. Given what history shows us, it might be time for Western intel to cultivate a more honest relationship with the public rather than to pursue what seems to be business as usual. The ramifications, in fact, run well beyond a clumsy use of Photoshop.