Pentagon aims to 'strip away bin Laden mystique'

Pentagon aims to 'strip away bin Laden mystique'
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Not a martyr – but a frail old man wrapped in a blanket watching himself on TV.

By releasing new videos showing Osama bin Laden inside the compound where he was killed last week, the Pentagon appears keen to strip away some of the myths concerning the former al Qaeda leader.

Despite the makeshift surroundings, it describes his house in Abbottabad as a “command and control centre”.

“I think this is by US officials an attempt really at posthumous humiliation,” says ITN Washington correspondent Robert Moore. “They killed him, so he can’t be a direct threat. Now there is an effort to reduce his legacy and strip away his mystique. They want the world to remember bin Laden not as a sort of terrorist leader, but as a feeble old man who dyed his beard out of vanity.”

Other video clips released by the Pentagon confirm the change of beard colour, as he practises his lines before the camera.

One message he recorded is said to have been a “message to the American people” condemning the US.

Life in the house where bin Laden spent his last years seems to have been simple and mundane.

On the night he died, bin Laden was with the youngest of his three wives in the bedroom. She was apparently shot in the leg as she charged at commandos.

Intelligence officials will be trying to piece together more details about bin Laden’s existence from other material seized in the compound – described as the largest intelligence trove ever obtained from a single terrorist suspect.

Bin Laden is dead – but the propaganda war rages on.

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