October 29, 2004


Bin Laden Takes Responsibility for 9/11 Attacks in New Tape (MARIA NEWMAN, 10/29/04, NY Times)

Osama bin Laden said for the first time that he ordered the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a videotape made public today, and he accused President Bush of "misleading the American people" about the attacks.

He also said that "the reasons to repeat what happened" on 9/11 remain, according to the Web site of the Al Jazeera satellite news network, which obtained the tape.

The videotape is the first featuring the Al Qaeda leader to surface in more than a year, and it comes just four days before the American presidential elections.

"Americans will not be intimated or influenced by an enemy of our country," President Bush said while campaigning in Toledo, Ohio, adding that he assumed his rival, Senator John Kerry, shared that view. "We are at war with these terrorists," the president said, according The Associated Press.

Mr. Kerry, in a statement on his campaign Web site, said: "As Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. They are barbarians."

In an interview with WISM in Milwaukee, Mr. Kerry also took the opportunity to suggest that Mr. bin Laden remained on the loose because of the Bush administration had bungled the campaign against terrorism.

To the naked eye and a brief glimpse, the video doesn't look like the Osama who we saw on tape right after 9/11 and authentication by our CIA is pretty much worthless. But we'll certainly not know for sure by Tuesday, so let's assume it's real.

Mr. Kerry's initial response, striking a note of unity, was excellent, but his secondary one is risible. He sure as heck wouldn't have unilaterally invaded Western Pakistan so the notion he'd have produced Osama and the remnants of al Qaeda can't be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, the actual text of the "Osama" message is revealing, Transcript of Al Jazeera Tape (REUTERS, 10/29/04)

God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed -- when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet.

In those difficult moments many emotions came over me which are hard to describe, but which produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust.

As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.

We had no difficulty in dealing with Bush and his administration because they resemble the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half by the sons of kings ... They have a lot of pride, arrogance, greed and thievery.

He (Bush) adopted despotism and the crushing of freedoms from Arab rulers and called it the Patriot Act under the guise of combating terrorism.....

We had agreed with the (the Sept. 11) overall commander Mohammed Atta, may God rest his soul, to carry out all operations in 20 minutes before Bush and his administration take notice.

It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American forces (Bush) would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone at a time when they most needed him because he thought listening to a child discussing her goat and its ramming was more important than the planes and their ramming of the skyscrapers. This had given us three times the time needed to carry out the operations, thanks be to God...

Your security is not in the hands of (Democratic presidential candidate John) Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe.

Israel, Lebanon, the Patriot Act and My Pet Goat--it's pretty much the Michael Moore talking points.

It's probably futile to conjecture about how the electorate will react to the tape--though it's funny that it was dumped on a Friday afternoon, not too media savvy, eh?--just guessing you'd tend to say that when terror's the issue the President has done well. You'd think though that one thing we should all take away from the tape though is that when they wanted to influence the Spanish election they blew up trains in Spain and when they wanted to influence the Australian election they blew up the embassy in Jakarta. Now they want to influence our election and the best they could do was a video?

And here's what the Senator's failure to understand Pakistan would have cost us, ‘CIA and FBI operating freely in Pakistan’ (Daily Times, 10/30/04)

“Under procedures agreed to by the US and Pakistani governments, agents from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency have been allowed to eavesdrop and conduct wiretaps on terrorism suspects in Pakistan, a cabinet minister said on condition of anonymity,” reports the Washington Post Tuesday.

The report filed by the newspaper’s Pakistani stringer says that “for its part, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, Pakistan’s military intelligence service, has designated special units to collect counterterrorism intelligence through hundreds of newly recruited agents and state-of-the art surveillance equipment provided by the US government. ‘There is almost daily exchange of information between the CIA and ISI. The cooperation is even better than the Afghan war days,’ said the minister.”

Pakistani police and intelligence officials, continues the report, say that once a target is tracked down, any raid is always conducted by local law enforcement agencies “under the direct supervision of senior ISI officials, many of whom have taken training courses with the FBI and the CIA.” All key al Qaeda suspects arrested in Pakistan have been “handed over to US authorities for broader investigation.” In each case, Pakistani intelligence officials have been called in by their US counterparts for coordinated follow-up, according to the report.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 29, 2004 7:27 PM

You are right— Spain gets blown up commuter trains before its election, but all we get is an amateur Halloween video from the Cryptkeeper plagarizing a Michael Moore script?

Then again, Moore was planning to distribute his movie on Pay-per-View this weekend, and that fell apart. So maybe he just recut it into this 5-minute version.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 29, 2004 7:44 PM

The headline is "Bin Ladin claims responsibility"? Well, I'm glad he cleared that up for us.

Posted by: brian at October 29, 2004 9:19 PM

Beaufort Castle, is the only tower in Lebanon that comes to mind, (It happens to have been
a Crusader fort taken over by the Syrians)Maybe
the observation towers, overlooking Sabra & Shatila; but that's an obscure reference for most
Americans. You think he was really concerned about
Lebanon, a Shia stronghold, while he was under siege of the Red Army. You know it really sounds
like passages from Mike Scheur; Mr. Anonymous,
of Imperial Hubris

Posted by: narciso at October 29, 2004 10:04 PM

OBL has been famously incompetent for predicting the US public's response to his actions. He thought that 9/11 would make America pull out of the Mideast. Now he believes that the majority of Americans think like Michael Moore.

What a twit.

Posted by: Gideon at October 29, 2004 10:38 PM

It almost makes me want to tune in to the BBC's election coverage on Tuesday, to see if anyone has athe cajones to quiz their guest analyist, Michael Moore, on how he feels about Osama pretty much reading the F9/11 synopsis in his big return to the small screen (it's only a shame he didn't come out with this a few weeks sooner, so they would have had time to include it among the back cover blurbs in praise of the movie for its DVD release).

Posted by: John at October 30, 2004 1:12 AM


So "bin Laden" (in quotation marks because I don't believe it's him) is lying?

The Israelis never blew up apartment highrises in Beirut?

Posted by: Eugene S. at October 30, 2004 8:22 AM