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TheEveningStar
30-10-04, 14:42
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By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden changed his usual lofty, sharply militant rhetoric to address Americans in a more conciliatory tone though one tinged with threat in his new video, dropped off at the Pakistan offices of Al-Jazeera television days ahead of the U.S. presidential elections.

While the message was directed to Americans, the video aired Friday had something to encourage al-Qaida supporters around the world: the image of bin Laden dressed in dignified, clean robes looking and sounding fit, firmly in control and well informed on current events despite three years on the run from U.S. forces.

In the video, bin Laden acknowledged for the first time directly that he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks and said he did so because of injustices against the Lebanese and Palestinians by Israel and the United States.

He said the United States must stop threatening the security of Muslims if it wants to avoid "another Manhattan" and while he did not directly warn of new attacks, he warned: "There are still reasons to repeat what happened."

"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands," bin Laden said, referring to President Bush and his Democratic opponent, John Kerry. "Any state that does not mess with our security has naturally guaranteed its own security."

Al-Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, received the 18-minute videotape at its offices in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, where "somebody dropped it yesterday at the gate," Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, the Pakistan bureau chief, said Saturday.

"The guard brought it to me along with other mail. It was in an envelope, I opened it and it was a big scoop," he said.

Bin Laden and his top deputy, Egyptian surgeon Ayman al-Zawahri, are both believed to be hiding in the mountains that straddle the Afghan-Pakistan border, although there has been no hard evidence of their whereabouts for more than three years.

Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said authorities have no information about who might have given the network the tape, but he stuck to Pakistan's position that there was no proof bin Laden is in the country.

"We have no idea where they got it," he told AP. "I don't think he is in Pakistan."

In Afghanistan, the U.S. military dismissed the videotape as "propaganda," and insisted bin Laden would be caught.

"Although we don't have a timeframe for when bin Laden will be captured, we have full confidence that he will be," U.S. military spokesman Maj. Scott Nelson told reporters.

Asked where bin Laden was hiding, Nelson said the military still suspected he could be somewhere near the Afghan-Pakistani border.

The video was cannily timed, four days before Tuesday's presidential elections in the United States, and it aimed to debunk any contention that bin Laden is cut off from the world, hiding Saddam Hussein-style in a hole in the ground.

The aging terror mastermind has a long, gray beard, wearing clean, traditional white robes, a turban and a golden cloak, standing behind a table with papers in front of a brown curtain that hides any background. His hands were steady as he addressed the camera, gesturing when he made a point.

It was a contrast to the last video of bin Laden, issued on Sept. 10, 2003, in which he was shown without speaking strolling with al-Zawahri on a rocky terrain and carrying assault rifles.

"It was a surprise to see him back again," said Abdul Khaleq Abdulla, a political analyst in the United Arab Emirates and professor at Emirates University in al-Ain. "It was a surprise he was in good health; it was a surprise he was in control of his thoughts. ... This will energize much of his followers."

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 he could be more effective.

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.

In the year since the al-Qaida leader has appeared on video, a crackdown against al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, one of the most fertile al-Qaida recruiting grounds, has hit the local leadership there hard. But al-Qaida also formed an alliance recently with one of the most-active, and most-wanted, terror suspects: Jordanian Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, an insurgency leader in Iraq.

Bin Laden's measured tones, beyond being more accessible to Americans, could benefit bin Laden in the Arab world as he played up a cause dear to the region, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said he was first inspired to attack the United States by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, a siege in which buildings in Beirut were destroyed in what by then already was a civil war-ravaged capital.

"He no longer needs to talk and address devout Muslims, they already support him," said Abdel Rahim Ali, an expert on radical Islamic groups and author of Alliance of Terror, Al Qaida Organization.

"What he wants is to enlarge the circle in order to mobilize more young Muslims among those who are not committed (to radical Islam). These young men feel deep frustration because of the daily Israeli practices and bin Laden is using their anger and frustration," Ali said.

U.S. officials have said the 18-minute tape parts of which were subtitled in English lacks an explicit threat and repeats well-worn themes. Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar, broadcast about seven minutes of it despite a U.S. State Department request to the government of Qatar to discourage the station from airing it.

Station spokesman Jihad Ali Ballout said Al-Jazeera aired what was "newsworthy and relevant."
Yahoo.com

TheEveningStar
30-10-04, 14:52
I can also say that the tape that Olivia (AE) was talking about a dew days ago, was also released to the press and was showned in the news that i watch everyday... The man basically said that americans will pay every single drop of innocent blood that was droped in Iraq...

[ 30. October 2004, 15:53: Message edited by: TheEveningStar ]

nikos
30-10-04, 15:15
ha!the best present for president bush!
the old good friend,send a hand of help!
now u.s citizens will scared and they will vote for bush for sure!
is anyone surprised?
i hope god will help us all,with this pathetic situation,and no more innocent blood will be lost!but......

[ 30. October 2004, 16:18: Message edited by: nikos ]