News

    New Video Shows 9/11 Hijackers Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah at Al-Qaida Meeting

    A video of Osama bin Laden and two 9/11 hijackers obtained by the Sunday Times of London purportedly shows the men in Afghanistan in 2000. Hijackers Ziad Jarrah and Mohammed Atta are seen smiling and speaking to the camera -- the picture of normalcy, says an expert in the psychology of terrorism.

    The video's date stamp of January 8, 2000 cannot be verified, but it seems to have been made before the men shaved their beards in preparation for the September 11, 2001 attacks. Ziad Jarrah's girlfriend later said he shaved his beard in early 2000, more than a year before the attacks.

    The hour-long video has no sound. It includes images of Osama bin Laden speaking in Afghanistan to an audience of about 100 al-Qaida members, some of whom have brought their children with them. It also includes the only known footage of 9/11 hijackers Mohammed Attah and Ziad Jarrah together. The two men are seen joking and laughing as they prepare to read their statements -- apparently their wills -- into the camera.

    The Sunday Times of London said it obtained the video of the hijackers through what it called a "previously used channel." It said sources from al-Qaida and the U.S. confirmed its authenticity, but that lipreaders have not been able to determine what is said on the tape

    Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 ringleader, piloted American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center. Ziad Jarrah is believed to have piloted United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field in Pennsylvania without reaching its intended target.

    What's most striking about the video is how seemingly sane and good-humored the two men appear in the video. Jerrold Post, a psychiatrist and professor at George Washington University, says that's because terrorists are psychologically normal.

    “One of the most striking aspects about the psychology of terrorist is that as individuals, this is normal behavior,” Dr. Post said in an interview. “In fact, terrorist groups make it a point to expel, or not to admit, emotionally unstable people. After all, they'd be a security risk. You wouldn't want an emotionally unstable person in the Green Berets; you wouldn't want an emotionally unstable person in a terrorist operation or cell. So, the issue is not individual psychology. The issue is the collective, the group psychology. And as we've come to understand, the terrorists involved in 9/11 had subordinated their individuality to the group. And whatever their destructive, charismatic leader, Osama bin Ladin said was the right thing to do for the sake of the cause was what they would do, even if -- indeed, especially because -- it meant giving up their lives for the cause."

    Jerrold Post said the newly obtained tape shows the two hijackers -- even Mohammed Atta, better known for his cold passport photograph -- as ordinary men, not sociopaths or renegades.

    "We'd like to believe these are crazed fanatics, and some sort of madmen in the grip of a psychosis. Not true,” he said. “This is the norm. Indeed, as I was pursuing a study interviewing in prison incarcerated Middle East terrorists, when we asked, 'What led you to join?' we would get these weird looks. Everybody was joining; it was the weird one who didn't join: 'We all were eager to join, and I am proud of having been able to do this.' So, this is a broad social value, and that really is the struggle here, because we are talking about a situation where, in many ways, the children, the youth of this generation have already been lost. The alienated Islamic youth who find in this cause something that can redeem their sense of shame, that can give them a sense of pride, that can lead them to believe they're doing something quite noble and following the will of God."

    Dr. Post says that the ideology of terrorism has become so entrenched that it will take many years for even the wisest policies to lead to change. "Right now, we have Osama bin Ladin as an almost God-like figure, and people lining up to join the global Islamic Salafi jihad,” he said. “This is not going to turn around overnight. We need to have a sustained policy. In fact, in the West, we cannot do this directly. One of the posing questions is how can we help facilitate moderate Muslim clerics, moderate Muslim political leaders, to be confronting the extremists within their own ranks, who in many ways can be said to have hijacked their religion."

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora