US releases five rare videos of Osama

Washington: Giving a rare insight into the lifestyle and personality of Osama bin Laden and how he "jealously guarded" his image, the US has released five videos of the slain terror kingpin seized during the raid on his Abbottabad mansion which was an "active command and control centre" of al-Qaeda.

Authorities have removed audio from the footage because it would be inappropriate to spread the words of terrorists and their propaganda messages, especially bin Laden`s, a senior US intelligence official explained, walking through details from the five video clips found among the material at the compound of the al-Qaeda leader in the Pakistani garrison city.

The rare video footage has not been altered in any other way, the official asserted, adding that bin Laden`s Abbottabad compound was "an active command and control centre" for al- Qaeda`s top leader.

"It is clear that he (bin Laden) was not just a strategic thinker of the group. He was active in operational planning and driving tactical decisions inside al-Qaeda."

The video clips, not seen in the public domain so far, were being released to underscore two main points: first, to make it clear that bin Laden remained active in al-Qaeda`s terrorist propaganda operations, especially in shaping his own image. Second, it is highly unlikely that some of this footage would have resided anywhere else but with bin Laden, the official said.

The first video is a complete yet unreleased bin Laden video. He calls it "A Message to the American People", which US intelligence agencies believe was produced sometime between October 9 and November 5, 2010.

"We don`t know why the video hasn`t yet appeared," the official said. In this video, bin Laden`s beard was dyed black.

In this message, he repeats his usual themes by condemning the US policy and denigrating capitalism, the official said.

"We`re obviously reviewing these and other materials, other videos to see if there`s any threat information contained within them.

"I`m unaware personally that this particular video contains any specific or direct threat information but we`re obviously continuing to analyse that video," the official said.