I have nothing special blog-wise planned for tomorrow save for a short film from the New York City archives I’ll post in the a.m. We’ll commemorate the day in Vent, of course, but anything I’d have to say will be said more eloquently by others. I do commend to you this superb three-part essay by Martin Amis (part two especially) in the Observer as a reminder that one can oppose the war in Iraq while appreciating the jihadist threat in its full metastasis. It’s easy to forget that when you read the nutroots, but the fact remains. I also recommend this short remembrance of the Madrid bombings in today’s Times. This sounds familiar:
[The attack] turned the whole political landscape in Spain upside down. Politicians on both sides were more than ready to cash in on the tragedy: instead of a nation united in sorrow, Spain became a dismal battleground where lies and slander reached an appalling level of viciousness.
Even today, political partisanship has erased any chance of national agreement on remembrance, and both the government and the opposition are too busily engaged in their short-term skirmishes to remember the suffering of innocent victims and the courage of the heroes who rushed to their rescue.
We haven’t sunk that low, but the fiasco over “Path to 9/11” does seem to me to be a perfect microcosm of where the west is at five years after the war began in earnest.
So let’s forget that and focus on the real enemy. Thanks to the generosity of counterterrorism expert Laura Mansfield, we’re able to make the new Al Qaeda video available for download in its entirety. Here it is, broken into two Real Media files: part 1 and part 2. The copies aren’t very good, unfortunately, but I’m working on getting a version that’s high rez. Once I do, I’ll cut a few highlights and upload them here for those who can’t be bothered to watch the whole film. Update: Video highlights here.
Things to look for in part 1:
7:25 — Wail al-Shehri, one of the “muscle” hijackers on Flight 11, names Bosnia as among the crimes against Muslims that he hopes to avenge by attacking, um, America.
25:00 — AQ lays out the neocon conspiracy. If you watch nothing else on this video, watch this. See if any of it rings a bell.
28:50 — Fat Adam Gadahn makes his first appearance, accusing the Bush administration of having plotted to invade Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 before the attacks took place — thus making 9/11 a “preemptive” strike.
54:15 — The “smoking gun” footage, showing Osama meeting with 9/11 architect Ramzi Binalshibh. “Abu Abdullah,” who’s credited with supervising all stages of the planned attacks, is Bin Laden’s nom de guerre.
Things to look for in part 2:
1:05 — Fat Adam returns with high praise for the hijackers.
3:25 — A re-enactment of hijacker training with boxcutters.
11:03 — Jihadi jujitsu.
15:25 — Another one of the “muscle” hijackers, Mohand al-Shehri, speaks at an AQ meeting in Afghanistan. This clip was featured in the AQ video “The Nineteen Martyrs” that was released on the first anniversary of 9/11 in 2002. In that film, the clip of al-Shehri proceeds to show him handing the mike off to yet another hijacker, Abdulaziz al-Omari, whose martyrdom video was incorporated into that tape.
29:45 — Fat Adam makes his last appearance, marvelling that never in his wildest dreams did he think the “heroes” of 9/11 were plotting an attack on “enemy soil.”
There’s something else to look out for at 26:35 of part 2: very brief clips from three hijacker martyrdom videos previously released by Al Qaeda. Al-Omari’s video from “The Nineteen Martyrs” is there, as are clips from Ahmad al-Haznawi and Saeed al-Ghamdi, both of whom were onboard Flight 93 and the latter of whom might have been flying the plane when it crashed in Shanksville. Al-Haznawi was one of the “muscle” hijackers, though, whose job it was to keep the passengers at bay. I like to think Todd Beamer and company cracked his head open before the plane went down.
Here are screencaps, just so you can put some faces to the names. Al-Haznawi:
Al-Omari, a “muscle” hijacker on Flight 11 (North Tower):
As previously mentioned on this site, the new video contains heretofore unseen martyrdom clips from two more hijackers. Wail al-Shehri, onboard Flight 11:
And Hamza al-Ghamdi, onboard Flight 175 (South Tower):
How many more hijacker videos is AQ sitting on? Quite a few, it appears. I have a copy of “The Nineteen Martyrs” here, the beginning of which features a voiceover by Osama himself identifying and praising each hijacker in turn. Check out these screencaps identifying each group of hijackers by which flight they were on, and remember — this video was released in 2002.
Flight 11. Clockwise from upper left: al-Omari, Mohammed Atta, Waleed al-Shehri, Wail al-Shehri, Satam Suqami.
As you can see, the image of Wail al-Shehri in the lower right comes from his martyrdom video, which was only released this week — thus confirming that AQ’s had the video in its possession for four years. Note also the lavalier microphone on Waleed al-Shehri in the upper right; sure looks like that image comes from a video too, but to the best of my knowledge, no such video of him has ever been released. They must be saving that for a “special occasion.” The shot of Suqami in the lower left also looks like a video capture. No video of him has been released either.
Flight 175. Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Marwan al-Shehi, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Mohand al-Shehri, Fayez Banihammad.
Again, this video was released in 2002 but the video of Hamza al-Ghamdi, from which the image in the upper right was taken, was only released this week. The image of Mohand al-Shehri in the lower right comes from the film of him speaking in Afghanistan, but the image of Ahmed al-Ghamdi in the upper left looks like yet another martyrdom video screencap. No video of him has (yet) been issued.
Flight 77 (Pentagon). Khaled al-Mihdhar, Hani Hanjour, Nawaf al-Hazmi, Majed Moqed, Salem al-Hazmi.
Except for Hanjour and Moqed, these all look like screencaps from videos. None of those videos have been released.
Flight 93. Al-Haznawi, Ziad Jarrah, Saeed al-Ghamdi, Ahmed al-Nami.
The images of al-Haznawi and al-Ghamdi come from their martyrdom videos; the image of al-Nami comes from video taken of him in Afghanistan and included in “The Nineteen Martyrs.” In the clip, he’s alleged to be studying flight schedules.
One other point worth noting. Some of the images in the screencaps, including the images of the four pilots, come from photographs, not videos. It’s tempting to assume that means they never made a video, but that assumption might not be solid: in the first screencap, in the upper right, AQ used a photo of Abdulaziz al-Omari. But as we’ve seen, he did shoot a video — the one AQ chose as its showpiece for the “Nineteen Martyrs” film. Are they holding back videos shot by the four pilots too? Time will tell.
Why do I mention all this? Because, my friends, because.
I leave you with this excellent article by Jim Dwyer in last week’s Times politely poking holes in conspiracy madness. The impetus was the publication by the State Department and NIST, respectively, of concise rebuttals to various Truther talking points. Read them both. They don’t take much time.
And once again: don’t forget to meet the enemy.