Video: Analysis: Cressey on al-Qaida video

updated 9/7/2006 9:07:04 PM ET 2006-09-08T01:07:04

Al-Jazeera broadcast Thursday a previously unshown video of the preparations for the Sept. 11 attacks in which al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden is seen meeting with some of the planners and hijackers in a mountain camp in Afghanistan.

The station did not say how it obtained the video, which was produced by As-Sahab, al-Qaida’s media branch.

The video included the last wills and testaments of two of the hijackers, Wail al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi.

It was the fourth in a series of long videos that al-Qaida has put out to memorialize the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, a private U.S. company that monitors militant message traffic and provides counterterrorism intelligence services for the American government.

The previous ones were issued in April and September 2002 and September 2003, each showing video from the planning of the suicide hijackings and farewell statements from some of the hijackers, Venzke told The Associated Press.

In the latest video, bin Laden is shown sitting outside in what appears to be a mountain camp with his former lieutenant Mohammed Atef and Ramzi Binalshibh, another suspected planner of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Atef, also known as Abu Hafs al-Masri, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan in 2001. Binalshibh was captured four years ago in Pakistan and is currently in U.S. custody, and this week President Bush announced plans to put him on military trial.

Weapon-carrying followers greet bin Laden
Bin Laden — wearing a dark robe and white headgear — strolls through the camp, greeting dozens of followers, some masked, and many carrying automatic weapons.

Al-Jazeera said that among those he greets in the video are several of the 9/11 hijackers, but their faces were not clear and it was not immediately known which ones are shown.

The footage shows scenes of training at the camp. Masked militants perform martial arts kicks or learn how to break the hold of someone who grabs them from behind. Several militants are shown practicing hiding and pulling out fold-out knives.

Venzke said the footage shown on Al-Jazeera was part of a video he expected would be more than an hour long, based on the previous ones on the Sept. 11 attacks.

“They produce long videos like these not just for 9/11, but for any significant events they feel warrant their attention,” Venzke said.

One aim is to boost recruitment, but such videos have several purposes — “to speak to their supporters, to raise morale within their own group, to facilitate fund-raising, and to serve as a psychological attack,” he said.

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