Video Expert: Osama is Memorex

CNET News’ Robert Vamosi reports on analysis of the latest missive from Osama bin Laden digital image forensics expert Neal Krawetz, which Krawetz’s analysis suggests is a mashup of old audio and video with new audio, quite possibly supplied by someone other than Osama himself.

My findings? I strongly believe that Bin Laden is dead. …

So how did they make the video? They took 3.5 minutes of old video and spliced in a frozen-frame with new audio. The new audio has no accompanying “live” video and consists of multiple audio recordings.

The big question is: is the audio from Bin Laden? I’m not an audio expert (yet) and since I don’t know Arabic, I cannot tell if there is an accent or if the accent changes. I do know that the room echo and background sounds change during different audio clips. And there are so many splices that I cannot help but wonder if someone spliced words and phrases together. I also cannot rule out a vocal imitator during the frozen-frame audio. The only way to prove that the audio is really Bin Laden is to see him talking in the video, but all references to current-events come during the frozen-frame section.

So is Bin Laden still alive? I see no proof of his existance that is newer than three years ago. Bin Laden is as alive as Elvis.

I’ve always tended to think of Osama as being more of a figurehead and cheerleader than an operational expert, so the likelihood he’s worm food or cave plasma really doesn’t make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. But given the potential propaganda value of a video featuring an obviously alive bin Laden, the fact that al Qaeda continues to resort to digital trickery suggests that he’s dead or at least horribly disfigured.

(Original link found via McQ at QandO.)

FILED UNDER: Terrorism, , , , ,
Chris Lawrence
About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (with concentrations in American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi. He began writing for OTB in June 2006. Follow him on Twitter @lordsutch.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I’ve thought that OBL was dead since Tora Bora.

    I agree that whether he’s alive or dead doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things. Why do people get lambasted for saying that?

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    BTW after examining the video I’ve come to the conclusion that the beard is real; it’s the rest of the video that’s a fake.

  3. legion says:

    We were attacked in 2001 by a beard?!?

    Quick, somebody arrest Margaret Cho!

  4. Well, the guy who planned the 9/11 attacks was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, not OBL, and he’s been a guest of the CIA for quite some time. That he’s not cellmates with OBL is a minor propaganda win for AQ, but between the two of them I’d say KSM is far more dangerous.