I doubt that I've ever before used the acronym WTF, but this story
delivers good reason to take up the habit. In his most recent broadcast to the
world, Osama Bin Laden proclaimed that Zarqawi's successor in Iraq is one Abu
Ayyub al-Masri. The United States concurred, and offered both a bounty and
The military said al-Masri was born and brought up in Egypt. He then went
to Afghanistan, where he trained in bomb-making before going to Iraq in 2002.
However, an Egyptian newspaper reports that this fellow has been holed up
in a prison in Egypt
for the past seven
"Sharif Hazaa [al-Muhajir] is in Tura prison, and I met him two days
ago while I was visiting some of my clients," Ismail, a lawyer known
for defending Islamist groups, told the newspaper.
Sharif Hazaa al-Muhajir is another name used by the same fellow. (Incidentally,
"al-Masri" means "the Egyptian.")
Mistaken identity? Possibly. I'm tempted to bump that up to a "probably."
As recently as three years ago, I would have scoffed at any other suggestion.
But this administration has compiled such an impressive resume of deception,
we can no longer dismiss outright the wilder theories.
One such theory would hold that Sharif Hazaa/Abu Ayyub al-Masri is nothing
more than a scarecrow, erected to replace Zarqawi -- the original scarecrow,
outed as such in the press and thus required to "die." To make the
new bogeycreature into a credible threat, the scarecrow-stuffers created a fake
Bin Laden tape. Digital sampling works wonders, eh wot?
Many Bin Laden tapes have been questioned -- see here
and here. Conspiracy
buffs aren't the only ones voicing doubts: Even Walter
Cronkite has toyed with these suspicions.
Those suspicions come backed by expert opinion. In 2002, a respected Swiss
research institute proclaimed a then-recent Osamacast
to be phoney. See also this
piece by Arabist Kevin Barrett, from last February:
The trouble is, it's all based on a Big Lie. Take the recent "bin Laden"
tape, please! That voice was no more bin Laden than it was Rodney Dangerfield
channeling my late Aunt Corinne from Peoria. I recently helped translate a
previously unknown bin Laden tape, a real one from the early '90s, back when
he was still alive. I know the guy's flowery religious rhetoric. The recent
tape wasn't him.
The top American bin Laden expert agrees. Professor Bruce Lawrence, head
of Duke University's religious studies department, has just published a book
of translations of bin Laden's speeches. He says that the recent tape is a
fake and that it is possible bin Laden is not even alive.
Who knows? Maybe Bin Laden really did die in 2001, as many have claimed.
Maybe al-Masri really has been in Tura prison. Maybe Zarqawi is living under
an assumed name in Albuquerque. Maybe Al Qaida's central committee is a conclave
Read from Looking Glass News
hear dead people
do messages from OBL, Zawahri come from?
Tape Appears Fake, Experts Conclude
making of the April 2006 bin Laden tape
Abu, and Ayman: al-CIA-Duh Telethon
Video Is A Pentagon Propaganda Psy-Op
Zogby Poll Frightens Masters Of Terror Into Releasing "Bin Laden Tape"
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Makes a Video Debut
not right about the Osama Bin Laden audio tape
Recycles Old Bin Laden Tape For New Propaganda
Bin Laden Tape: Another of the NeoCons' "Greatest Hits"
Dog and Pony Show Rolls On
Battle for Your Mind: Persuasion & Brainwashing Techniques Being Used on
the Public Today
moles, patsies and provocateurs