U.S. releases Bin Laden documents


Verified Military
Jun 2, 2008
I think Bin Laden was a wise man (meaning he understood what it takes to be successful) and things could have been a hell of a lot worse had al-Qaida controlled its affiliates. I am not sure releasing this information is a good idea. The last thing we need are the affiliates to read it and have a light bulb light up in their head. Then again, maybe the damage has already been done and it isn't repairable?

In an apparent attempt to sow discord within the ranks of al-Qaida’s remaining sympathizers, the U.S. government declassified personal communications from Osama bin Laden showing the terror leader fretting about the bloodthirsty movement he launched.

If al-Qaida affiliates keep killing Muslim civilians, bin Laden wrote to an aide shortly before the Navy SEAL raid that killed him, “they will spoil [things and] alienate the people, who could be won over by enemy after enemy. … our brothers are making things worse by opening themselves up to evil and hostility!”

At the behest of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point released a declassified, translated version of 17 documents seized in the raid. SEALs left the Abbottabad compound seizing hundreds of bin Laden’s laptops, hard drives, cellphones and flash drives, a collection of thousands of pieces of data that U.S. intelligence officials have often described as a treasure trove of information about al-Qaida. Accordingly, the surprise declassification presents a selective narrative that the U.S. wants in circulation.

It is not difficult to see why. “The focus of his private letters is Muslims’ suffering at the hands of his jihadi ‘brothers.’ He was at pains advising them to abort domestic attacks that cause Muslim civilian casualties and instead focus on the United States, ‘our desired goal,’” the Center’s summary reads. “Bin Ladin’s frustration with regional jihadi groups and his seeming inability to exercise control over their actions and public statements is the most compelling story to be told on the basis of the 17 declassified documents.”

Seemingly every active al-Qaida offshoot comes in for criticism by bin Laden and his coterie in Pakistan. One of his top lieutenants, the American Adam Gadahn, urged bin Laden to publicly repudiate al-Qaida in Iraq, which targeted Iraqi civilians it considered insufficiently Islamic more than it did U.S. forces. He struggled to focus al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula on striking Americans rather than taking over sections of Yemen. Somalia’s al-Shabab offered “little practical value” in bin Laden’s eyes. The offshoot in north Africa appears to be an afterthought.

It’s worth mentioning that these four groups deeply concerned U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials who briefed reporters on Friday about the current strength of al-Qaida. Those offshoots, the officials said, have eclipsed the remnants of al-Qaida central in the danger they pose to the United States.

“Bin Ladin was burdened by what he viewed as the incompetence of the ‘affiliates,’” the summary reads, “including their lack of political acumen to win public support, their media campaigns and their poorly planned operations which resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Muslims.”

The terrorist leader may have had a point. al-Qaida in Iraq’s brutality ended up alienating the very Sunni Iraqis that it relied upon for support, resulting in the “Anbar Awakening” that enabled the U.S. troop surge of 2007 to become a tactical success. Shabab appears to have alienated many Somalis by not allowing the United Nations to provide food relief into its territory during the country’s devastating famine.

But al-Qaida’s decentralized structure became a hindrance to stopping the offshoots from damaging its brand. One Indonesian jihadist quoted in the documents described the relationship with central al-Qaida as “a business affiliate, we can ask them (i.e., al-Qa`ida) for an opinion but they have no authority over us. We are free. We have our own funds, our own men.”

That would seem to undercut U.S. intelligence officials’ frequent declarations in the wake of the raid that bin Laden played a major operational role in ordering the network’s attacks, as most of those attacks over the years have been launched by the regional affiliates, not the core al-Qaida group.

“The documents show that some of the affiliates sought Bin Ladin’s blessing on symbolic matters, such as declaring an Islamic state, and wanted a formal union to acquire the al-Qa’ida brand,” the Center concludes.

“On the operational front, however, the affiliates either did not consult with Bin Ladin or were not prepared to follow his directives. Therefore, the framing of an ‘AQC’ [al-Qaida Central] as an organization in control of regional ‘affiliates’ reflects a conceptual construction by outsiders rather than the messy reality of insiders. …

Far from being in control of the operational side of regional jihadi groups, the tone in several letters authored by Bin Ladin makes it clear that he was struggling to exercise even a minimal influence over them.”

Ironically, bin Laden’s main concern with the affiliates resembles that of U.S. military commanders waging counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan: preventing the deaths of innocent Muslim civilians.

In 2010, bin Laden proposed making the affiliates sign a “memorandum of understanding” placing them further under the operational control of bin Laden, to ensure “we do not violate our words with some of our practices.” Killing Muslim civilians would lead to unforced errors that the U.S. and its allies could exploit: “the mistakes of the jihadis were exploited by the enemy, [further] distorting the image of the jihadis in the eyes of the umma’ general public and separating them from their popular base,” he wrote to a top aide.

Nor did the Internet extremist forums provide much of an alternative. Gadahn wrote bin Laden that their membership and contents would be “repulsive to most Muslims.” The forums “distor[t] the face of Qa’ida, due to what you know of bigotry, the sharp tone that characterizes most of the participants in these forums.”
We’ll have more from the document dump later in the day as we comb through its contents.

For ten years, U.S. analysts have debated what kind of information operations would be most effective against al-Qaida, with some lamenting the U.S.’ lack of facility with the relatively untraditional means of attack. And while it may be a low bar to clear, releasing bin Laden’s own words of discomfort with the movement he created might be the most sophisticated U.S. information operation launched to date.

Maybe George R.R. Martin should start writing A Song of Sand and Fire because that's kind of what I'm reading above.

That picture painted is one I would laugh about had it occurred hundreds of years ago in a distant land. A guy starts a revolution, has a spectacular succes which is his high-water mark, then lives long enough to see the group fracture and splinter while inspiring offshoots who ultimately hijack his message and methods. A Greek tragedy played out for my generation with tens of thousands dead. He dies on the run, trusting almost no one, with little power save for his name and what is left of his band of followers.

It almost feels like a war isn't winding down, but merely the intermission between Acts II and III.
Usama and I agreed on something? His thoughts on Biden echoed similar sentiments made during the '08 election:


"The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour in this last year of the war, and killing him would alter the war's path. So please ask brother Ilyas to send to me the steps he has taken into that work," 0
The discovery channel had a special in collaboration with NBC about all this, was quite fascinating to watch and listen to. When I told my gf about it she remarked "glad your watching something upbeat and happy" to which I replied "watching something to remind me that fucker is sitting at the ocean floor having his face eaten by crabs? your god damn right its upbeat and happy!" :p
So let me understand this a bit. An organisation that is by it's nature lateral and dispersed, whose creator says to it's adherants to be independant and launch attacks independantly of a central command, then has a problem with control. Hmmm, looks more like middle management gronk than evil genius.
Be proud media, be proud. Our enemy values you and what you are doing for them.


(not directed at Fox obviously)

why not directed at fox? they're a terrible news organization, all the media are idiots and propagandists but they are some of the worst. forget where I read it (was a post on redditt) but a recent study found those that watch fox news exclusively are overall the most mis-informed and incorrect about current news and facts. saw one of their talking heads complaining about someone at the last grammy awards dressing up as a religious person to make fun of it, one of his co-talking head's said "well that's her right to express freedom of speech..." to which he yelled "no it isn't!". a supposed journalist saying someone doesn't have the right to freedom of speech because it doesn't go along with his version of it....yep, they're all idiots :p
didn't mean the bbc was independent, was referring to news sources (mainly online) that aren't owned by a corporation and such. The sad truth is that news is less about reporting the facts and what's happening and more about answering to a board of directors, share holders, and profits.
The sad truth is that news is less about reporting the facts and what's happening and more about answering to a board of directors, share holders, and profits.

The news organizations are not completely to blame. They really have no reason to change other than it being the ethically right thing to do. People eat up the bullshit reporting these days. Most people don't want facts, statistics, and objectivity. They want sensationalism, opinion, and vitriolic diatribe. If the majority of people demanded better journalism, we would see a change. The Martin/Zimmerman case is a perfect example of this. The majority of people didn't want facts and the truth, they wanted a reason to be on TV yelling, holding signs, marching, and doing whatever else to show outraged they were over.......something.