Osama was keenly conscious of his image

May 9th, 2011 - 3:29 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 9 (IANS) Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was keenly conscious of his image and “remained active in Al Qaeda terrorist propaganda operations, especially in shaping his own image”, going by five videos released by US.

One of the videos filmed by a confidant shows a greying Osama hunched over, draped in a blanket and using a television remote to watch a younger version of himself on a TV screen a few feet away.

Bin Laden on the TV screen has a more youthful beard, a hand held up in resolve and a photo of the burning World Trade Center.

Releasing the videos, US officials emphasised the recordings and other materials seized at bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan’s Abbottabad show the terrorist still had a firm hand at the tiller, managing strategic and tactical control of his organisation, even as he stayed out of sight.

The undated videos make clear bin Laden “remained active in Al Qaeda terrorist propaganda operations, especially in shaping his own image”, said a senior intelligence official at a briefing at the Pentagon.

Four of the clips show bin Laden, who was killed by US commandos Monday, in more formal attire. No audio of the terrorist leader speaking accompanied the images.

The intelligence official said the audio was removed because it would be “inappropriate to spread the words of terrorists and propaganda messages, especially Osama bin Laden”.

Besides the missing audio, the videos, according to the intelligence official, were not altered in any other way.

One of the videos is a message to the US that officials believe was recorded in October or November last year. It is entitled “A Message to the American People”.

In that video, which had not been broadcast by Al Qaeda, bin Laden’s beard has been dyed black and he was well-composed as he delivered his message.

The three other videos are practice sessions for videos he was planning to release to the world.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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