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article imageOsama bin Laden's declassified papers published online

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 3, 2012 in World
The United States government has published online several documents seized in the raid in which al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed. They consist of several personal, official papers and letters of the late al-Qaeda leader.
They documents were published on the website of the US Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center.
CNN reports that the documents were found on five computers, several hard drives and more than 100 electronic storage devices seized in the Abbottabad house. According to the BBC, the 175-page cache of documents published on Thursday dated from September 2006 to April 2011 and included letters from other al-Qaeda leaders.
The published documents are among more than 6,000 documents U.S. Navy SEALs seized during the raid on bin Laden's compound. CNN reports that among several other significant revelations, the documents showed that bin Laden continued to be obsessed till his death with the next "big strike" on the U.S. He also worked to convince affiliated groups not to use the name of the organization or identify themselves as part of the network so that they would not attract the attention of enemies and discourage willing donors.
According to top U.S. intelligence officials, the documents represent the largest cache of terrorist material ever obtained by the U.S.intelligence services and include digital, audio and video files, printed materials and handwritten documents.
CNN reports that the spokesman for the office of the Director of National Intelligence, Michael Birmingham, declined comment on what proportion of the entire materials seized the published documents represent but he said some of the documents will remain classified. He also said that not all materials withheld were of value, some of them being merely what he called "household clutter" dealing with various mundane issues of limited intelligence value.
According to CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen: "The documents paint a portrait of a man who was simultaneously an inveterate micromanager, but was also someone almost delusional in his belief that his organization could still force a change in American foreign policies in the Muslim world if only he could get another big attack."
CNN reports Peter Bergen had access to the documents while researching his new book "Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad."
Very significant was the revelation that Osama bin Laden believed that the al-Qaeda brand name had been soiled by the fact that the organization had killed so many civilians. Bin Laden was especially disturbed by the fact that al-Qaeda, in its strikes, had killed so many Muslims. The leader of the al-Shabaab group, for instance, was advised not to identify his group with al-Qaeda so as not to put off potential donors.
Lt. Col Liam Collins, Director of the Combating Terrorism Center, and one of the authors of a report about the seized documents, said: "Bin Ladin was frustrated by what he viewed as the incompetence of the affiliates, including their failure to win public support as well as their poorly planned operations that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Muslims. In contrast to bin Ladin's public statements focusing on the corrupt governments in the Muslim world as well as enemies such as the United States, bin Ladin's private letters lamented at Muslims' suffering at the hands of his jihadi brothers."
AP reports that bin Laden, in a 2010 letter, spoke of "starting a new phase to correct [the mistakes] we made" that led to Muslims being alienated by the ideology of jihad. The al-Qaeda leader wrote optimistically: "In doing so, we shall reclaim, insha Allah, the trust of a large segment of those who lost their trust in the jihadis."
BBC reports that the US military, in an executive summary of the documents, said:
"The al-Qaeda leader was advised by his California-born media adviser Adam Gadahn to distance his network from al-Qaeda in Iraq because of the latter's perceived failures
His lieutenants threatened to take measures against the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban for their 'vile mistakes,' including indiscriminate attacks on Muslims
Bin Laden wrote a strongly worded letter to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula urging them to focus on attacking the US, instead of the Yemeni government or security forces
Bin Laden saw little to gain from a pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda from the Somali radical insurgent group al-Shabab, which he viewed as poorly organized."
In other papers, bin Laden told militants to look out for opportunities to assassinate Obama or General David Petraeus during any of their official visits to Pakistan or Afghanistan. According to AP, he considered attacking airplanes carrying Gen. David Petraus and President Barack Obama, saying that an assassination would elevate an "utterly unprepared" Vice President Joe Biden to the presidency and plunge the U.S. into crisis. He, therefore, told his militants not to bother about assassinating Joe Biden because, in bin Laden's view, he is totally "unprepared for that post [of president]."
Lt. Col. Collins said the documents give no evidence about Pakistani institutional support for bin Laden. He said: "There are no explicit references to any institutional Pakistani support for al-Qaeda or its operatives."
Although, some one of the documents spoke of "our trusted Pakistani brothers," the Pakistani government and military were not implicated. AP, however, points out that more incriminating references to Pakistani organizations and institutions could be contained in documents that remain classified.
BBC reports that the some of the papers suggested that al-Qaeda had strained relationship with Iran. AP reports the documents showed that al-Qaeda had no alliance with Iran but was involved in "indirect and unpleasant negotiations" with the country for the release of some al-Qaeda operatives imprisoned in the country.
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