Deep Background

Article excerpt

There is an American citizen behind recent ai-Qaeda propaganda. According to intelligence sources, the new Osama bin Laden tape was scripted in major part by Adam Yahiye Gadahn (born Adam Perlman), who has been principally working in the group's propaganda department. Gadahn is under U.S. indictment for treason and is presumed to be located in Waziristan, along the Afghan border, together with other senior al-Qaeda leaders. The tape portrays a heavier bin Laden who, according to photographic analysis, has applied henna dye to his beard. Experts say both voice analysis and a review of the images on the tape by medical experts demonstrate that bin Laden is weak and is suffering from some undetermined illness that might be neurological in nature. The most recent videotape, addressed directly to the American people, is well informed on American politics in general, as a probable result of Adam Gadahn's familiarity with the United States and his ability to monitor the English-language media. Curiously, bin Laden states that if Americans want to know why al-Qaeda is involved in a jihad against the West, they should read the works of Mike Scheuer, the former head of the ClA's bin Laden task force.

The White House is continuing its campaign to manage public perceptions and increase psychological pressure on Iran. The allegedly inadvertent leak of information regarding the Aug. 30 nuclear-cruise-missile-carrying B-52 flight over the U.S. that ended with a landing at Barksdale Air Base in Louisiana was part of what the military calls "perception management." Barksdale is where B-52 flights to the Middle East originate, and the news that nuclear-tipped cruise missiles were transported there is likely to alarm Iran, which fears that tactical nuclear weapons could be used against deep underground and hardened nuclear facilities. …