First, a link to the translated Al Qaeda message. Then Chuck Spinney’s commentary on the rmessage (there is no assurance it is actually from Bin Laden, who may be long dead). Finally, a Phi Beta Iota comment that will outrage the lame of mind and resonate with every average American.
Jihadist Websites — OSC SummaryDocument Type: OSC Summary
Read all the comments by Americans. That set’s the stage for the PBI Comment at the end.
Chuck Spinney Sends:
Attached FYI is a US government translation of Osama bin Ladin’s latest 9-11 anniversary message to justify his anti-American Jihad. Given the expenditure of resources and blood this man has triggered, it deserves careful reading by every taxpaying American. But be warned, it is weird in a familiar sort of way.
Osama’s messages have history dating back to the 1990s. In 1998, he in effect declared war on the United States, citing three reasons in what he grandiosely named a Fatwa. Bin Ladin’s “fatwa” called on Muslims to kill Americans because of (1) the US’s continued military presence in Saudi Arabia after the conclusion of the 1991 Persian Gulf War; (2) the US led imposition of sanctions on Iraq, which continued throughout the 1990s well after the conclusion to the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and resulted in the unwarranted deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens, including many women and children; and (3) the US unconditional support of Israel and therefore its complicity in the suffering of the Palestinians.
At the time of bin Ladin’s declaration of war, many counter-terrorist experts in the Clinton Administration and the press believed that the Palestinian and Iraqi planks in bin Ladin’s so-called Fatwa were opportunistic sops to the Palestinians and Iraqis, intended to garner wider support in the Muslim world, and that his real target was driving the US out of and possibly unseating the government in Saudi Arabia. Whether or not that was indeed the case will never be known, because violent events, like those of 9-11, have a way of triggering evolutionary pathways that often turn out to be quite different from the intentions of the belligerents.
By the late 1990s, Osama was hiding in and working out of Afghanistan. Interestingly, three years after bin Ladin’s fatwa, but almost three months before 9-11, Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, told the American journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave in an interview (Washington Times, June 18, 2001) that bin Ladin “is not a mufti, and therefore any fatwas he may have issued are illegal and null and void.” Omar said bin Ladin did not have the requisite twelve years of Quranic studies to qualify in the position of a mufti and therefore was not authorized to issue fatwas. Omar also told de Borchgrave that he wanted to “resolve or dissolve” the bin Ladin issue, and in return for Omar’s efforts in this regard, Omar wanted the US to establish a dialogue that would lead to a “an easing and then lifting of U.N. sanctions that are strangling and killing the people of the Emirate.” Which begs the question: Was Omar offering to dump bin Ladin?
We will never know the answer to that question either, because although bin Ladin had been a prime target of our so-called counter terrorism policies for years, no one in the Bush administration followed up Mullah Omar’s tantalizing signal. In the summer of 2001, the Bushies were more interested in cutting taxes of the rich and rewarding defense contractors by packing the Pentagon’s budget with outdated high-cost legacies of the Cold War, like missile defense or the F-22, than to be bothered with an opportunity to close down some two-bit terrorist.
And now eight years after he toppled the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, no one knows whether bin Ladin is dead of alive, but someone is still issuing Osama-like pronouncements. In the meantime, the United States destroyed its own civil liberties, wrecked Iraq, and in the process dishonored herself by committing willful violations of Geneva Conventions. The United States is now bogged down in a losing war against Mullah Omar and the Taliban in Afghanistan, even though the new American commander, General Stanley McChrystal recently reported that there is no sign of an Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, President Obama is pondering a decision to escalate the Afghan war, which will increase the possibility of further destabilizing Pakistan and expanding the war even further.
Yet, in a weird parallel to the shifting American logic underpinning the aimlessness of our own endless war global war on terror, Osama’s latest message is also based on a shifting logic that is now entirely dependent on the Palestinian Crisis, something he has never really cared about. Iraq and Saudi Arabia are forgotten, and Afghan war is almost unmentioned. And, this shift is occurring, ironically, when President Obama is at least making rhetorical gestures toward taking a more even handed approach to the Palestinian question.
So, Osama’s message brings the war on terror into focus: It has evolved a life of its own, and each side is concocting reasons to keep it going. This is a game that plays well in the post-information, self-referencing character of contemporary political discourse, dominated as it is by the hyperbolic 24hr news cycle. This all would make for a great Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, were it not for the mindless death, misery, and destruction accompanying it.
Phi Beta Iota:
1. CIA had more than one opportunity to take out Bin Laden, including a direct offer from the Taliban to a US Consular Officer that the CIA blew off; and multiple direct opportunities in relation to his stay in a hospital and in Sudan, which offered to arrest him.
2. The top CIA analyst responsible for “chasing Bin Laden,” Michael Sheuer, ultimately concluded, in Imperial Hubris that Bin Laden was in the right and the USA was in the wrong–that all of Bin Laden’s grievances were real and valid, and the best thing we could do is stop supporting the perverted despotic pathologically corrupt Saudi regime and get out of the Middle East and especially out of Saudi Arabia (another of Dick Cheney’s many high crimes and misdemeanors). Robert Baur, a top counter-terrorism clandestine case officer concluded that we were Sleeping with the Devil in Saudi Arabia, making the US political class nothing more than whores with their legs open and eyes lusting for the Saudi wallet (his last line in this book, memorable).