Friday, October 29, 2004

Osama Dead or Alive 

With two days remaining in the month, it now appears that the capture of Osama bin Laden will not be the Republican party's "October surprise." His latest taped message offers no indication that he plans to disrupt the presidential elections; nor does he appear to prefer one candidate over the other, although he does get in a nasty dig at the incumbent:
Osama bin Laden, addressing the American public ahead of presidential elections, said in a video aired Friday that the United States can avoid another Sept. 11 attack if it stops threatening the security of Muslims.

Reading a statement, the al-Qaeda leader refrained from threats of new attacks and instead appealed to Americans.

"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. "Each 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 . . . .

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.
Al Jazeera has since claimed that it broadcast only one minute of the five-minute tape. A station spokesman declined to describe the unaired portion of the tape and would not say whether it contained any specific threats.

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