The big surprise news of the day is the release of an apparently new video of Osama bin Laden. The translated transcript is as follows:
You, the American people, I talk to you today about the best way to avoid another catastrophe and about war, its reasons and its consequences.
And in that regard, I say to you that security is an important pillar of human life, and that free people do not compromise their security.
Contrary to what [President George W.] Bush says and claims — that we hate freedom –let him tell us then, “Why did we not attack Sweden?” It is known that those who hate freedom don’t have souls with integrity, like the souls of those 19. May the mercy of God be upon them.
We fought with you because we are free, and we don’t put up with transgressions. We want to reclaim our nation. As you spoil our security, we will do so to you.
I wonder about you. Although we are ushering the fourth year after 9/11, Bush is still exercising confusion and misleading you and not telling you the true reason. Therefore, the motivations are still there for what happened to be repeated.
And I will talk to you about the reason for those events, and I will be honest with you about the moments the decision was made so that you can ponder. And I tell you, God only knows, that we never had the intentions to destroy the towers.
But after the injustice was so much and we saw transgressions and the coalition between Americans and the Israelis against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it occurred to my mind that we deal with the towers. And these special events that directly and personally affected me go back to 1982 and what happened when America gave permission for Israel to invade Lebanon. And assistance was given by the American sixth fleet.
During those crucial moments, my mind was thinking about many things that are hard to describe. But they produced a feeling to refuse and reject injustice, and I had determination to punish the transgressors.
And as I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon, it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the same — and that we had to destroy the towers in America so that they taste what we tasted, and they stop killing our women and children.
We found no difficulties in dealing with the Bush administration, because of the similarities of that administration and the regimes in our countries, half of which are run by the military and half of which are run by monarchs. And our experience is vast with them.
And those two kinds are full of arrogance and taking money illegally.
The resemblance started when [former President George H.W.] Bush, the father, visited the area, when some of our own were impressed by America and were hoping that the visits would affect and influence our countries.
Then, what happened was that he was impressed by the monarchies and the military regimes, and he was jealous of them staying in power for tens of years, embezzling the public money without any accountability. And he moved the tyranny and suppression of freedom to his own country, and they called it the Patriot Act, under the disguise of fighting terrorism. And Bush, the father, found it good to install his children as governors and leaders.
We agreed with the leader of the group, Mohammed Atta, to perform all attacks within 20 minutes before [President George W.] Bush and his administration were aware of what was going on. And we never knew that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his people in the two towers to face those events by themselves when they were in the most urgent need of their leader.
He was more interested in listening to the child’s story about the goat rather than worry about what was happening to the towers. So, we had three times the time necessary to accomplish the events.
Your security is not in the hands of [Democratic presidential nominee John] Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.
There really is no point in going through this piece by piece. It is the twisted ramblings from the twisted mind of a terrorist. He tries to justify murderous, barbaric acts with erroneous history. His understanding of the elder President Bush and the passing of the Patriot Act is quite pathetic, and his claim of U.S. permission and assistance in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon flies in the face of facts.
In June 1982, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon, drove to Beirut and encircled the PLO and Syrian forces in West Beirut. Israel cited the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London and a build-up of Palestinian armaments in South Lebanon as reason for its breech of the previous cease-fire.
On 6th June, the UN Security Council passed a unanimous U.N. Security Council Resolution which demanded Israel withdraw from Lebanon and observe the cease-fire on the border. On 4th August, the UN Security Council voted to censure Israel. The PLO and Syrian forces withdrew after a US-brokered agreement, monitored by the UN peacekeeping force.
A multinational force was deployed to oversee the withdrawal composed of 800 U.S., 800 French, and 400 Italian troops. The US Marine Corps went ashore in Beirut on 25th August 1982, four days after the French had arrived. The PLO withdrawal was completed with significant incident, and the marines returned to their ships on 10th September.
Following a massacre on 16-18th September of between 700-800 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, President Reagan reacted in shock and formed a new MNF with France and Italy. The force returning for a limited time to establish Lebanese government over Beirut.
The elder brother of the Assassinated President-elect was elected president and inaugurated on 23rd September. The new MNF deployed on 29th September, the first marines arriving that day in Beirut. Along with securing the area against Syrian intervention, the Marines provided humanitarian relief to the Lebanese.
In February 1983, a small British contingent including RFA Reliant, helicopters and RAF transport deployed to join the MNF.
Throughout their stay, the MNF was attacked by rogue elements in Beirut, responding with force to defend themselves. The US Sixth Fleet was offshore, providing naval gunfire support where necessary both to the marines and eventually to the Lebanese armed forces. In mid-September the USS New Jersey was sent to the area, to bring its sixteen inch guns to bear.
Much of the rest of Osama’s speech sounds like it could’ve been written by the Michael Moore or the Kerry campaign (e.g. Bush misleading, the goat book crap). There is nothing here to be seriously considered. What is to be questioned, though, are bin Laden’s motivations in releasing the tape after so much time hidden. What does he hope to accomplish?
I’m not going to pretend that I can authoritatively understand a madman, so I can only speculate on the significance. My speculation boils down to two possibilities, both intertwined by desperation and the pending U.S. election.
First, bin Laden could be vying for his own October surprise, hoping that his filmed “Nanny nanny boo boo, Bush and Kerry don’t matter” can pull off the result that CBS and the New York Times have so far failed to do. I think Osama badly misjudged our reaction to 9/11, and I think he still misjudges the American people. It may not matter whether Bush or Kerry leads bin Laden’s ultimate demise, but there certainly is a difference in their view of facing the danger of the Islamist threat past bin Laden. Kerry wants bin Laden, then wants to declare victory and bring the troops home for the celebration. Bush wants to change the atmosphere that created bin Laden and allowed him to build such a supported terrorist movement. Bush realizes the war is more than one man. There truly is a difference to be decided in our election, and bin Laden knows it and wants to influence the choice.
The second possibility is more sinister, yet still based on the same desperate motives. That possibility, very real, is that the video is a signal meant to trigger some terrorist activity. It should be noted that this comes after terrorist chatter around the election has been decreasing. Is this only coincidental, or are the pieces already in place? If there is terrorist action, two things are certain. First, you can thank Spain’s precedent of cowering. Second, their is no way to accurately predict the effect on the election or the American people. I would expect a revival of the bloodthirst so many felt after 9/11, but I doubt there’s time for this to build to critical mass before the balloting. What is important in such a compressed timeframe is the immediate mindset of an attacked America and how that would drive the voters.