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Bin Laden files: Nintendo, crochet and blockbusters

Former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had videos on how to crochet flowers, pirated Nintendo games and Hollywood films, and the documentary Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? on a computer seized during the deadly 2011 raid on his compound.

This framegrab from an undated video released by the US Department of Defense on May 7, 2011, reportedly show Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden making a video at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a frame grab released by the US Department of Defense in 2011.
Photo: AFP

The CIA has publicly released thousands of files from bin Laden’s hard drive found at his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as well as scanned images of the terrorist mastermind’s personal diary, in order to “further enhance public understanding” of Al Qaeda.

Copyrighted material, pornography, malware and material deemed sensitive to national security has been withheld from public release, the US agency said of this fourth tranche of public documents.

Practice reels of public speeches, jihadist propaganda and previously unseen home video footage of bin Laden’s son Hazma bin Laden are among the files.

Non-profit online war-against-terror news site FDD’s Long War Journal, which had advocated for the full release of files, said the footage of Hamza bin Laden was significant as it was the first public look at the wanted terrorist as a young adult, compared to the boyhood images Al Qaeda uses in its propaganda.

Young Pakistani boys play near demolition works on the compound where Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was slain.

Young Pakistani boys play near demolition works on the compound where Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was slain.
Photo: AFP

In recent years, Al Qaeda has released audio messages from Hamza bin Laden and a photo of him as a boy.

To mark a recent anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Al Qaeda superimposed a childhood photo of him over a photo of the World Trade Centre.

He is expected to rise to prominence in the jihadist movement and is being closely watched as the rival Islamic State organisation suffers setbacks in the Middle East.

One hour-long video shows Hamza bin Laden, sporting a trimmed moustache but no beard, at his wedding.

This framegrab from an undated video released by the US Department of Defense on May 7, 2011, reportedly show Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden watching television at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

This framegrab from an undated video released by the US Department of Defense on May 7, 2011, reportedly show Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden watching television at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Photo: AFP

Mario games, Hollywood flicks and documentaries

A list of files on the computer also showed Osama bin Laden also had documentaries about himself, such as the CNN reports In the Footsteps of bin Laden and World’s Most Wanted.

The 2008 comedy documentary Where in the World is Osama bin Laden, starring Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, was also included.

Saved game files showed someone had played Nintendo DS games like Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, New Super Mario Bros, Metroid Prime Hunters and Yoshi’s Island DS.

The CIA said Hollywood films among the files included Antz, Cars, Chicken Little, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

Bin Laden’s 228-page journal, written in Arabic, reveals his thoughts of Al Qaeda’s place in the world and the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings, according to Long War Journal.

A sticker on the notebook shows it was bought at Idris Book Bank in Rawalpindi, about 60 kilometres south of the compound in Abbottabad.

In all, nearly 470,000 additional files from the hard drive were released, offering an opportunity for the public “to gain further insights into the plans and works of this terrorist organisation”, CIA director Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“CIA will continue to seek opportunities to share information with the American people consistent with our obligation to protect national security.”

The materials show Al Qaeda’s preparations for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and efforts to exploit the Arab Spring uprisings, the CIA said.

Bin Laden was killed after a near 10-year search during a late-night US Navy SEAL raid on a compound in Abbottabad, near Pakistani capital Islamabad, on May 2, 2011.

– ABC

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