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Bin Laden dancing to Bush’s tune

Tehran Times | November 1 2004

TEHRAN (MNA) -- Only four days before the U.S. presidential election, suddenly a suspicious tape of Osama bin Laden is mysteriously “dropped off” at the Aljazeera office in Pakistan, warning of another September 11.

As the Republicans have been dogged by criticism of the futile attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, the disappearance of hundreds of tons of explosives in Iraq, and rising speculation about the possibility of vote-rigging, the airing of the videotape by the Aljazeera network seems to indicate that a premeditated plan devised by Bush administration neoconservatives is unfolding.

Even though some consider the tape detrimental to Bush, with the immediate confirmation of the voice by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), unlike in the past, and the immediate reaction by Bush, it becomes clear that everything is going according to schedule and that Bin Laden is dancing to Bush’s tune.

The reasons for the game are clear. Over the past four years, Bush and his team have been hyping security concerns and invoking the shadow of terror in the U.S. in order to maintain control of the White House, believing that this climate of fear would scare the U.S. electorate into voting for warmongers.

Unfortunately, Bush supporters do not have time to ask themselves where Bin Laden has been since 9/11 and why Bush and his team have failed to capture him.

It would be naïve to think that airing of the videotape would not benefit Bush. In the U.S. political system there is no major difference between Bush and his opponent, Senator John Kerry. However, if one day it becomes clear that Bin Laden worked for the Bush campaign, then we should pity the American people in particular and the whole world in general.

Bin Laden said in a videotape aired Friday that the United States can avoid another Sept. 11 attack if it stops threatening the security of Muslims. In the portion of the tape that was broadcast, the al-Qaeda leader refrained from directly warning of new attacks, although he said "there are still reasons to repeat what happened." "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands," Bin Laden said, referring to the president and his Democratic opponent. "Any state that does not mess with our security has naturally guaranteed its own security."

Admitting for the first time that he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks, Bin Laden said he did so because of injustices against the Lebanese and Palestinians by Israel and the United States.

In what appeared to be conciliatory language, Bin Laden said he wanted to explain why he ordered the suicide airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon so Americans would know how to act to prevent another attack. "To the American people, my talk to you is about the best way to avoid another Manhattan," he said. "I tell you: Security is an important element of human life and, free people do not give up their security." After the video was aired, President Bush said that "Americans will not be intimidated" by bin Laden. Sen. John Kerry criticized Bush for failing to capture bin Laden earlier and said that "I can run a more effective war on terror."

It was the first footage in more than a year of the fugitive al-Qaeda leader, thought to be hiding in the mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The video showed bin Laden with a long, gray beard, wearing traditional white robes, a turban and a golden cloak, standing behind a table with papers and in front of a plain, brown curtain.

His hands were steady and he appeared healthy.

The Bush administration said it believes the videotape is authentic and was made recently, noting that bin Laden referred to 1,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq — which happened in early September.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the administration did not plan to raise the nation's threat level for now. The U.S. official said the 18-minute tape — which carries English subtitles, though not in the portion shown on Al-Jazeera — lacks an explicit threat and repeats well-worn themes.

Aljazeera, which is based in Qatar, broadcast about seven minutes of the tape. The station's spokesman, Jihad Ali Ballout, said Aljazeera aired what was "newsworthy and relevant" and refused to describe the unaired portions, including whether they included any threats. Ballout said the station received the tape Friday but would not say how.

Before the tape was aired, the State Department asked the government of Qatar to discourage Aljazeera from broadcasting it, a senior State Department official said.

In the video, bin Laden accused Bush of misleading Americans by saying the attack was carried out because al-Qaeda members "hate freedom." The terrorist leader said his followers have left alone countries that do not threaten Muslims.

"We fought you because we are free ... and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours," bin Laden said.

He said he was first inspired to attack the United States by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which towers and buildings in Beirut were destroyed in the siege of the capital.

"While I was looking at these destroyed towers in Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women," he said.

"God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind," he said.

Bin Laden suggested Bush was slow to react to the Sept. 11 attacks, giving the hijackers more time than they expected. At the time of the attacks, the president was listening to schoolchildren in Florida reading a book. "It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face these horrors alone," he said, referring to the number of people who worked at the World Trade Center.

"It appeared to him (Bush) that a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers. That gave us three times the required time to carry out the operations, thank God," he said.

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