Remember Those Terrorist Training Camp Videos From 2002?

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The ones that made a splashy debut on Sixty Minutes II, and then were shown in perpetuity on every TV news show? Looks like they may have been faked.

The source of the tapes, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier named Jonathan Keith Idema—known familiarly as Keith—was more than a little dubious. Idema claimed to be working as an adviser to the Northern Alliance, but he was also an ex-con who had served three years in federal prison for wire fraud and had a criminal record in three states. He was, in addition, a serial litigator who had once sued CBS. […]

Special Forces soldiers, other journalists, and Army Intelligence immediately questioned the tapes' authenticity. Tracy-Paul Warrington, formerly a chief warrant officer with U.S. Special Forces who now advises American police forces on counterterrorism, says the tapes are not an intimate look at anything—except clumsy military playacting. "Eighty-five percent of terrorists' attacks in the last decade have been bombings," Warrington says. "In this film we see raids. This was a method that went out in the seventies, when Idema was in the Army. I was looking at seven hours of tape of something that Al Qaeda doesn't do." Another retired Special Forces soldier, and a longtime acquaintance of Keith Idema's, contacted CIA sources and learned the agency had similar concerns about the tapes' authenticity. "The CIA ran voice analysis on the tapes and concluded they were staged," he says, adding that the agency didn't publicize its findings because it "didn't want to waste its time on someone it considered harmless." Contacted about this claim, CBS spokeswoman Kelli Edwards said the network "showed the tape to three former British Special Forces officers, who verified the tactics being practiced in the video were consistent with those of Al Qaeda, and to a top U.S. military official in Aghanistan, who told us that, in his opinion, the video was authentic." In the terror-charged atmosphere of early 2002, in any event, there was no public outcry over the piece's authenticity.

Whole fascinating story here.

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  1. Warrington’s point would appear incorrect. We are seeing a lot raids over there, to take hostages.

  2. I saw some weird footage of Zarqawi on the news yesterday which I had never seen before. He was looking creepy to the max, as a terrorist is supposed to, but part of this was due to the fact that his head seemed to be moving back and forth in slow motion as if the tape had been manipulated and put into some kind of forwards/backwards loop.

  3. This story doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would the CIA allow other security organizations to continue to believe the tapes were real?

  4. You mean terrorists aren’t actually experts on the monkey bars? I’ll sleep better now.

  5. So…

    I guess this means CBS will be criticized for accepting forged documents because they are the tools of neocon fantasists?

    Oh, sorry. Wrong script.

    They’re tools, but not anybody’s tools.

  6. Good Lord, does CBS broadcast anything that isn’t fake?

  7. Fake, but accurate.

  8. Where are the pajama people now?

  9. One day all news will be fake, and the occasional truth that slips through will be considered false. Thank you, Derrida, you dead fuck.

  10. The best way to spot fake videos of military-type training: real combatants move in such a way as to minimize exposure, while actors move in such a way as to maximize exposure.

    When those videos hit, I was at a minor ops center in the War Against Terror and no less than both of our former SF guys said: “too neatly done”, “no mistakes”, and “too many dramatic moves”. These were well crafted fakes, possibly training or recruiting material, but NOT footage of actual training sessions.

    Nobody ‘in the know’ refuted them at the time, because the PsyOps ‘Theme to be Stressed’ at the time was “These Are Dangerous People; Do Not Under-estimate Them”. These videos played well with that theme.

    To be fair to CBS [whom I despise, BTW] there was no way for them to vaidate this sort of material, they simply lack the expertise. If it popped up today, it would be a different story, as the pajamahadeen would spring into action, fact-ckecking every jot and tiddle.

    We live in an Age of Wonders.

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