Grey-Bearded Osama Watching Videos of His Youth

The Pentagon has released video found at Osama bin Laden’s home. It shows a grey bearded OBL watching images of a black-bearded OBL engaging in jihad.

The video has to be less than two years old: note the juxtaposition of images of Obama and Osama at :29.

And if this is more recent–that is, if this is an image of OBL watching videos at his compound in Abbottabad–then it should put the claim that OBL lived in a “mansion” to rest.

Can anyone explain what the repeated image of some kind of signal is (it first shows up at :05)?

  1. xyno says:

    I think your “signal” is just some kind of menu showing up in response to him clicking the remote.

    As you say, hardly palatial surroundings.

    • zAmboni says:

      Because, who tapes someone watching tv? And why?

      The same reason why kidnappers show the kidnapee holding a copy of the recent newspaper….to show they are still alive.

      The clip was probably to be used in some AQ video to be used as proof of OBL still being alive….sorta a “neener neener you still haven’t got me” message. Guess they cant use that now.

      • spanishinquisition says:

        If that was the purpose, then that would have been done with him facing the camera. Instead all you see is someone with a hat and a beard on rather than clearly IDing oneself in connection with the news…frankly from that angle it looked like Anthony Quinn with a beard given how the video shows virtually nothing of the face. Also if that was the purpose, it seems strange to show up keep pulling up the TV menu over and over again rather than looking at the camera, if the purpose was to show the world who they were and that they were alive as of a certain date.

        • john in sacramento says:

          Yea, Anthony Quinn, or one of the actors in the fake video they made

          The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from “some of us darker-skinned employees,” he said.


          The reality, the former officials said, was that the agency really didn’t have enough money and expertise to carry out the projects.

          “The military took them over,” said one. “They had assets in psy-war down at Ft. Bragg,” at the army’s special warfare center.

          We’ll never know for sure, thanks to the kill order, and the burial at sea

  2. zAmboni says:

    I would say it is just the cable/sat TV guide and he is just flipping through channels. I think he may have been flipping through the “Osama OnDemand” menu.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think you’re probably right. Though I was wondering if it was editing of some sort, or a selection from a hard drive. It’s an odd selection of video, and some of it seems unlikely to be on any real sat program in Pakistan.

  3. HanTran says:

    I am pretty sure its a satellite TV menu, i think at one point you can make out Al Jazerra in the top slot on the left column.

    • pdaly says:

      In google, I typed in the search terms “echolink tv pakistan” and then, after hitting enter, I chose to look for “images” (along the left hand column of the google search results) and I chose to look only for the color “teal/light blue”.

      Page 3 of the search results shows a similar menu screen–although the colored tabs are in a different order.
      Looks like a DVR in the example I found.

  4. JohnJ says:

    I ran it back a few times and he is pushing a button each time you can see that menu come up.

    This has the look of a home movie.

  5. bennybombom says:

    I’m thinking they were probably filming him all the time just for historical purposes since I’m pretty sure Binny boy saw himself as a “chosen one” of sorts…you know the one who started the almighty war against the “Devil”. kinda for the next generation of crazy ass morons who’d blow themselves up for Allah..they’d have something to watch to get pumped…
    Anyway that’s my theory.

  6. seaglass says:

    Show me the body! Sorry , but dumping OBL at sea smells as rotten as a dead fish head. Why, do such a thing on the lame reasoning that somehow it was in accordance with Islamic law? Weird, that the NSA and the rest of the US Gov’t is so suddenly sensitive about Islamic anything at this late date. I want to see the body. Pics , DNA not enough! It was no accident of history that when your political or war enemies were killed that the KIng had your HEAD put on a stake on the CITY wall for all to see. I also, find it almost incredible that we and the Pakis didn’t know exactly where this guy was the last 5 yrs. I think something much deeper is going on here and we are not being told. Bin, was obviously being protected and by more then just the Pakis. Is he now dead? Maybe, and maybe not? The plot thickens.

    • PJEvans says:

      What were they supposed to do, give him a state funeral?

      Think about it for a while before you start going off in conspiracy theories that make you look like another damned troll.

      • seaglass says:

        Why should I believe this Gov’t? I’m no troll I’m friggin serious. I didn’t expect a State funeral, but burying him at sea? Sorry, Obama has inspired little in the way of trust from many of us.

        • PJEvans says:

          If you haven’t figured out why they buried him at sea, you’re going to be believing whatever you hear from the idjits on TV.

          Hint: they don’t want his grave to be accessible to pilgrims.

          • spanishinquisition says:

            “If you haven’t figured out why they buried him at sea, you’re going to be believing whatever you hear from the idjits on TV.
            Hint: they don’t want his grave to be accessible to pilgrims.”

            Nope, wrong answer. Wahhabism rejects idolatry to the point where they even destroy Islamic sites out of fears of idolatry. Saddam was buried on land rather than at sea.

  7. Shoto says:

    The image of him sitting around in his jammies, flipping the remote control in search of more video of himself is almost comical.

    • heavyrunner says:

      Almost comical? That is hilarious! He must be watching the Osama Network. Did you notice that the wall had partly disintegrated? Maybe this house was there in the big earthquake in 2005.

    • bgrothus says:

      I am a left-hander who is totally comfortable using right hand for TV remote, in fact I will try to make a study of myself on this matter, but I really think I use it with right hand mostly.

      • gigi3 says:

        Okay, I concede my point of view is rather limited. I’m a visual (eidetic) person and it just struck me as somewhat incongruous.

      • gannonguckert says:

        Indeed…I’m right-handed and, while hardly ambidextrous, will use the left for the remote, if the right hand has other duties for which I need more precise control, like snacking, or pulling my wrap a bit closer, etc.

    • Arishia says:

      I’m right handed and hold the remote in my left hand. Not sure why. Just always do.

  8. allan says:

    This is too meta for me.
    Are we next going to be treated to videos of Obama watching videos of Cheney watching videos
    of KSM being waterboarded?

    • 4cdave says:

      We already have still photos of Obama, Biden, and Clinton watching the snuff action live. What more do you want?

      • ezpz says:

        Except that’s not what they were watching:

        Chris Floyd:

        Administration officials are now denying that Obama’s national security team watched the execution of bin Laden on video feed, as was originally reported. Officials now say that the team was receiving “minute-by-minute updates” — via unspecified technology — and that, according to CIA honcho Leon Panetta, “there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on.” That would be the 20 or 25 minutes when the actual killing took place, presumably.

  9. nonpartisanliberal says:

    He’s looking at a homemade DVD, perhaps made with a DVD recorder. That’s the menu of chapters.

    I’m looking forward to the home movie clip of him playing with one of the children and getting the inevitable shot to the nuts.

  10. bennybombom says:

    Goddamn……he’s using the remote with the right hand!!!!!OMFG!!!!
    You know what that means right people?
    It means it’s ALL A LIE!!!!!!
    It means the NWO is out to destroy us!!!
    I wish they would just take over the damn world already it’s been decades and I’m getting tired of waiting for the end times…I’m ready…..

    You can’t see it but right now I’m banging my head on the wall pretty hard…

  11. wagthedog says:

    Some guy with a grey beard. Might be Bin Laden and perhaps not. Sad thing is that if it is him, how our leaders kept claiming he was the greatest threat to our nation. A guy who can’t even afford a decent TV.

    No army, no war ships, no fighter jets, no drone, not even a single prop plane, no WMDs, no submarines, no gun ships, no canons, no tanks.

    This is who our $ 1.2 trillion per year military was after for 10 years?

    • bell says:

      i think you are getting at the crux of the matter… if the military industrial complex is going to survive it needs to prop up an excuse for all the expenditures… osama and terrorism have always been seen as justification for the many wars, drone attacks and etc that have gone on for many years…

      in the meantime at what point do folks catch on to the idea that these global military operations, covert and overt are actually responsible for an increase in terrorism, not a decrease… trying to get rid of terrorism with more terrorism doesn’t sound like a recipe for success to me and it never has…. this is exactly what the usa has been involved in for the past however many years…

      • lsls says:

        Their actions create more terrorism, which generates more money for the MIC..that’s why it is the perfect war…forever war…they have to clamp down and scare the people to go along with their evil financial adventures. There is a place for those people…It is a kind of conspiracy.

  12. shekissesfrogs says:

    He’s watching live sat feed, the receiver is the white box to right of the tv at :06, and has no recorder or player, It looks to me like he signals the person holding the camera to record the TV or perhaps he asks him/her something.
    See the sat dish?
    At 1:30 the cameraperson zooms in and you can see the numbers flash on the receiver as he changes the channels.

    With the side view of him at :15 it looks the the #3 video here really was a fake. (His nose is really long and doesn’t protrude as much, from here)

  13. Watson says:

    I’m a left-hander who tends to use his right hand to operate a remote control, but I think that the only thing we know for sure is that the US says it killed OBL on May 1, 2011.

    Police and military routinely employ deception in describing their ops – e.g., to confuse the enemy, and to protect sources and methods. There is no reason to believe any particular of this story, mainly because by their account they did not take OBL alive for interrogation, and immediately disposed of his remains without autopsy or other documentation.


    The fact that OBL was a bad person doesn’t make me, you, Bush, or Obama a good person. The self-congratulations is making me nauseous.

    Obama deserves less credit for getting OBL than the Steinbrenners deserve when ARod hits a home run.

    Bin Laden was apparently a devout believer, which by Western standards constitutes a complete moral defense. A serious ‘war on terror’ would discourage the magical thinking promoted by organized religion. Like cigarettes, organized religion should be permitted but discouraged. We should run public service ads emphasizing the negative consequences of religion such as obscurantism, division, conflict, violence, and terrorism.

  14. x174 says:

    some thought provoking comments on the pentagon-released video.

    one thing about the video that i thought was odd was why does the camera person keep focusing on the wall that’s missing plaster.

    this video could have been made yesterday for all i know.

    bottom-line: most likely just more crap from the pentagon

  15. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    I just want to say a few words about the idea of OBL being in a villa or “mansion”.

    I have been to India three times, though the last time was ten years ago. Though India is not Pakistan, the countries are close together and some things are similar not doubt. The standards in this part of the world are very different. Mansions in India are very different from the United States as are the areas where the poor live, the slums. See Slumdog Millionaire if you haven’t already. People actually live like that. A large compound like this, regardless of the interior finishes and furniture would be considered a mansion or villa in that part of the world.

    To give you an example. I was taken by a family friend to their “Country Club” and was assured that it was quite fantastic. When we arrived at the country setting. It was nice to get out of the city hustle and bustle and the filth, however this country club was nothing fantastic. The “club” would hardly hold a candle to a regular chain hotel in the states with one exception. Indoor squash courts was the most luxurious thing they had. Small outdoor pool. Dirty, outdated furniture. Incomplete construction that was inexplicably interrupted. This part of the world has middle class families living in one bedroom apartments and feeling well off that they are not living in slums and pooping in the street. Literally I saw children pooping in the street because they had no latrine to poop in. The things we take for granted in our own homes are not available there or are not necessary or are thought of as unnecessary. It would be very very unusual for a person to have flashy sorroundings, many times taxes are levied arbitrarily based on the appearance of the house so keeping a low profile is the norm not the exception.

    There is no such thing as “Home Depot”. If you want to paint your house you call a painter. Skilled labor is required to get anything done to your home. Buildings are built by hand, brick by brick. It is a very different world. The norms are very very different both for what is acceptable and what is actually available in terms of housing.

    In any case, from my experience in this part of the world, I would indeed consider this a mansion or villa. If he had anything unusual put in, like luxury items he would have had to get workers from the area come in to put them in. It would cause a buzz if you will and draw attention. This guy did not need or want attention. Conspicuous consumption draws lots of attention when so many have so little.

    That is just my two cents.

    If this was / is him, I would have preferred a trial with evidence presented to a extra-judicial killing. It seems to me they were unarmed it seems a little too neat and convenient not to put him on trial. The trials we are having are kangaroo court trials with evidence gleaned from torture. Not so great for our image of the shining city on a hill.

    • pdaly says:

      If this was / is him, I would have preferred a trial with evidence presented to a extra-judicial killing. It seems to me they were unarmed it seems a little too neat and convenient not to put him on trial. The trials we are having are kangaroo court trials with evidence gleaned from torture. Not so great for our image of the shining city on a hill.

      I agree (and interesting background about buildings, taxes, living standards).

      Perhaps Clarence Thomas’ words from his confirmation hearings could be put to better use here:

      “This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace.
      And from my standpoint, as a black American,
      it is a high-tech lynching…”

      Unlike in the Nuremberg trials, the US appears to be concerned this time that having an international trial would allow inconvenient truths to come out.

      And I’m surprised John Yoo is the only Neo-con complaining about Osama’s death at the hands of Obama–ironic, too, since Yoo’s critique skates perilously close to an attempt to diminish the power of the Unitary Executive. But are there no other Neocons upset by Osama’s sudden death without trial? What about the major loss of revenue for some private security firm hired to protect the city/island where any such Osama bin Laden trial would have been held? Maybe the corporations didn’t see the money making opportunity or perhaps didn’t make big enough campaign donations to “win” the contract? Curse those expensive politicians!

    • bobschacht says:

      Your take is quite correct. I have been to Iran several times (before the revolution), and “mansion” is a culturally relative concept. It does not take very much in the way of furniture to furnish a “mansion”– a table with a few chairs provides lots of “mansion points”– most people eat on the floor, maybe with a rug and some cushions. Similarly, a couch or sofa of almost any description provides more mansion points, because so few people have one. A bed with an innerspring mattress– well, that’s pure luxury to 95% of the people in the world.

      So OBL’s compound must be judged in terms of the local norms. It was larger, and the walls were higher, than most homes in the area. The barbed wire on top of the walls sounds excessive to me, but I don’t know how common that is in that neighborhood. The internal furnishings were probably quite unremarkable– most readers here probably have better stuff than he had. It may have been a “mansion” in local terms, but not in our terms.

      Bob in AZ