[T]he video freezes at about 1 minute and
3658 seconds, and motion only resumes again at 12:30. The video then freezes again at 14:02 remains frozen until the end. All references to current events, such as the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan, and Sarkozy and Brown being the leaders of France and the UK, respectively, occur when the video is frozen! The words spoken when the video is in motion contain no references to contemporary events and could have been (and likely were) made before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
That last point is debatable. The opening segment is indeed boilerplate but the second segment at 12:36 refers to the Democrats’ failure “to implement your desire to stop the war.” That would have been an odd criticism for Osama to level in 2003 given that popular support for the war in March of that year was bipartisan, with 65% approval, and it would have been in his interest at the time to portray America as united in its “crusade” to make for better jihadist recruitment. It’s a more sensible criticism circa 2005 or 2006, but even then the Democrats had no power to “stop the war” until November of last year — which would, after all, make the clip fairly recent. Besides, as BT acknowledges, the voice sounds the same throughout and two U.S. intel officials confirm that it’s Osama’s. So we’re back to square one — why the freeze frame?
Actually, maybe we’re at square two. Watch very closely from around 13:15 to 13:30; I spot two invisible cuts there, one at 13:17 and another at 13:25. Keep your eye on his left hand in particular. It’s subtle but it’s there. Was he too weak to rattle off the speech in one fluid go? Or did they have to cut the video just so to match his lips to the audio track?
Update: I’m still thinking about those invisible cuts. If I’m right that they’re there to hide the fact that Osama physically couldn’t speak for more than 30 seconds or so at a time, that might explain the long stretches of freeze frame throughout the rest of the video. 26 minutes of one invisible cut after another would be glaringly noticeable. Two minutes of invisible cuts isn’t. Add that to the fact that he looks like a corpse and you’ve got some pretty fair circumstantial evidence that he’s ailing.