I read the entire transcript of the Osama bin laden videotape today and was struck so strongly that I could not speak. I will copy and paste it below and then comment on it afterwards. it is strange indeed because of the message I wrote last night; before I had even read this. now, I feel ever stronger about our position in the world and the damage we have been causing. As innocent Americans, we are really fucked. But we are not victims of other countries or terrorists as much as victims of our own government and the things they do in our name and at our expense and the expense of the rest of the world’s peoples.
But you cannot speak things like that here in America, because most Americans have no idea what is really happening. So they think you are crazy. their knowledge of world affairs is limited to CNN and other very biased and limited-scope American media. And they almost never tell the whole story. So we get bombed and everyone in America goes into shock and can’t figure out why. except for a very few. But we don’t and cannot say anything for fear of being called treasonous when all we are doing is telling the truth. Here is the transcript:
Friday, October 29, 2004 Posted: 10:05 PM EDT (0205 GMT)
(CNN) — Osama bin Laden delivered a new videotaped message which aired on the Arab language network Al-Jazeera Friday. This is a transcript of his remarks as translated by CNN senior editor for Arab affairs Octavia Nasr.
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.
Well confusing at best, agreed. Each transcript I read is different from the next. But it is very telling indeed. The truth is that we are bound to be attacked again. unless we really tighten up our homeland security even more. and even more importantly, unless we seriously change the way that we deal with the rest of the world. Our imperialistic government has gone too far for too long, while our people remain blinded by misinformation and inebriated by pop culture and a hypnotic consumerism that is beyond obsessive at this point. Bin laden knows this and warns us of these facts in his speech. He doesn’t seem to be threatening us in his newest speech as much as warning us to change our leadership and our general foreign policy.
For the few that do not know what I am speaking about and think I am insane, (they are right of course, like any sane person, I am entirely insane), read this open letter about American terrorism drafted soon after September 11th 2001 by a professor of political science. I have already called the university to verify that this man is not only a professor at the school but also wrote this paper. It is quite illuminating; disheartening. And generally heartbreaking. Once you read this of course, you can never go back. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.
September 15th, 2001
Shocked and horrified
by Larry Mosqueda, PH. D
Evergreen State College
Like all Americans, on Tuesday, 9-11, I was shocked and horrified to watch the WTC Twin Towers be attacked by hijacked planes and collapse, resulting in the deaths of perhaps up to 10,000 innocent people.
I had not been that shocked and horrified since January 16, 1991, when then President Bush attacked Baghdad, and the rest of Iraq and began killing 200,000 people during that “war” (slaughter). This includes the infamous “highway of death” in the last days of the slaughter when U.S. pilots literally shot in the back retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers. I continue to be horrified by the sanctions on Iraq, which have resulted in the death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis, including over 500,000 children, about whom former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has stated that their deaths “are worth the cost”.
Over the course of my life I have been shocked and horrified by a variety of U.S. governmental actions, such as the U.S. sponsored coup against democracy in Guatemala in 1954 which resulted in the deaths of over 120,000 Guatemalan peasants by U.S. installed dictatorships over the course of four decades.
Last Tuesday’s events reminded me of the horror I felt when the U.S. overthrew the governments of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and helped to murder 3,000 people. And it reminded me of the shock I felt in 1973, when the U.S. sponsored a coup in Chile against the democratic government of Salvador Allende and helped to murder another 30,000 people, including U.S. citizens.
Last Tuesday’s events reminded me of the shock and horror I felt in 1965 when the U.S. sponsored a coup in Indonesia that resulted in the murder of over 800,000 people, and the subsequent slaughter in 1975 of over 250,000 innocent people in East Timor by the Indonesian regime with the direct complicity of President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissenger. I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored terrorist contra war (the World Court declared the U.S. government a war criminal in 1984 for the mining of the harbors) against Nicaragua in the 1980s which resulted in the deaths of over 30,000 innocent people (or as the U.S. government used to call them before the term “collateral damage” was invented–“soft targets”).
I was reminded of being horrified by the U. S. war against the people of El Salvador in the 1980s, which resulted in the brutal deaths of over 80,000 people, or “soft targets”.
I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored terror war against the peoples of southern Africa (especially Angola) that began in the 1970’s and continues to this day and has resulted in the deaths and mutilations of over 1,000,000. I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt as the U.S. invaded Panama over the Christmas season of 1989 and killed over 8,000 in an attempt to capture George H. Bush’s CIA partner, now turned enemy, Manual Noriega.
I was reminded of the horror I felt when I learned about how the Shah of Iran was installed in a U.S. sponsored brutal coup that resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 Iranians from 1952-1979. And the continuing shock as I learned that the Ayatollah Khomani, who overthrew the Shah in 1979, and who was the U.S. public enemy for decade of the 1980s, was also on the CIA payroll, while he was in exile in Paris in the 1970s.
I was reminded of the shock and horror that I felt as I learned about the how the U.S. has “manufactured consent” since 1948 for its support of Israel, to the exclusion of virtually any rights for the Palestinians in their native lands resulting in ever worsening day-to-day conditions for the people of Palestine. I was shocked as I learned about the hundreds of towns and villages that were literally wiped off the face of the earth in the early days of Israeli colonization. I was horrified in 1982 as the villagers of Sabra and Shatila were massacred by Israeli allies with direct Israeli complicity and direction. The untold thousands who died on that day match the scene of horror that we saw last Tuesday. But those scenes were not repeated over and over again on the national media to inflame the American public.
The events and images of last Tuesday have been appropriately compared to the horrific events and images of Lebanon in the 1980s which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousand of people, with no reference to the fact that the country that inflicted the terror on Lebanon was Israel, with U.S. backing. I still continue to be shocked at how mainstream commentators refer to “Israeli settlers” in the “occupied territories” with no sense of irony as they report on who are the aggressors in the region.
Of course, the largest and most shocking war crime of the second half of the 20th century was the U.S. assault on Indochina from 1954-1975, especially Vietnam, where over 4,000,000 people were bombed, napalmed, crushed, shot and individually “hands on” murdered in the “Phoenix Program” (this is where Oliver North got his start). Many U.S. Vietnam veterans were also victimized by this war and had the best of intentions, but the policy makers themselves knew the criminality of their actions and policies as revealed in their own words in “The Pentagon Papers,” released by Daniel Ellsberg of the RAND Corporation. In 1974 Ellsberg noted that our Presidents from Truman to Nixon continually lied to the U.S. public about the purpose and conduct of the war. He has stated that, “It is a tribute to the American people that our leaders perceived that they had to lie to us, it is not a tribute to us that we were so easily misled.”
I was continually shocked and horrified as the U.S. attacked and bombed with impunity the nation of Libya in the 1980s, including killing the infant daughter of Khadafi. I was shocked as the U.S. bombed and invaded Grenada in 1983. I was horrified by U.S. military and CIA actions in Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan, Brazil, Argentina, and Yugoslavia. The deaths in these actions ran into the hundreds of thousands.
The above list is by no means complete or comprehensive. It is merely a list that is easily accessible and not unknown, especially to the economic and intellectual elites. It has just been conveniently eliminated from the public discourse and public consciousness. And for the most part, the analysis that the U.S. actions have resulted in the deaths of primarily civilians (over 90%) is not unknown to these elites and policy makers. A conservative number for those who have been killed by U.S. terror and military action since World War II is 8,000,000 people. Repeat–8,000,000 people. This does not include the wounded, the imprisoned, the displaced, the refugees, etc. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in 1967, during the Vietnam War, “My government is the world’s leading purveyor of violence.” Shocking and horrifying.
Nothing that I have written is meant to disparage or disrespect those who were victims and those who suffered death or the loss of a loved one during this week’s events. It is not meant to “justify” any action by those who bombed the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It is meant to put it in a context. If we believe that the actions were those of “madmen”, they are “madmen” who are able to keep a secret for 2 years or more among over 100 people, as they trained to execute a complex plan. While not the acts of madmen, they are apparently the acts of “fanatics” who, depending on who they really are, can find real grievances, but whose actions are illegitimate.
Osama Bin Laden at this point has been accused by the media and the government of being the mastermind of Tuesday’s bombings. Given the government’s track record on lying to the America people, that should not be accepted as fact at this time. If indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of this action, he is responsible for the deaths of perhaps 10,000 people-a shocking and horrible crime. Ed Herman in his book The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda does not justify any terrorism but points out that states often engage in “wholesale” terror, while those whom governments define as “terrorist” engage is “retail” terrorism. While qualitatively the results are the same for the individual victims of terrorism, there is a clear quantitative difference. And as Herman and others point out, the seeds, the roots, of much of the “retail” terror are in fact found in the “wholesale” terror of states. Again this is not to justify, in any way, the actions of last Tuesday, but to put them in a context and suggest an explanation.
Perhaps most shocking and horrific, if indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of Tuesday’s actions; he has clearly had significant training in logistics, armaments, and military training, etc. by competent and expert military personnel. And indeed he has. During the 1980s, he was recruited, trained and funded by the CIA in Afghanistan to fight against the Russians. As long as he visited his terror on Russians and his enemies in Afghanistan, he was “our man” in that country.
The same is true of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who was a CIA asset in Iraq during the 1980s. Hussein could gas his own people, repress the population, and invade his neighbor (Iran) as long as he did it with U.S. approval.
The same was true of Manuel Noriega of Panama, who was a contemporary and CIA partner of George H. Bush in the 1980s. Noriega’s main crime for Bush, the father, was not that he dealt drugs (he did, but the U.S. and Bush knew this before 1989), but that Noriega was no longer going to cooperate in the ongoing U.S. terrorist contra war against Nicaragua. This information is not unknown or really controversial among elite policy makers. To repeat, this not to justify any of the actions of last Tuesday, but to put it in its horrifying context.
As shocking as the events of last Tuesday were, they are likely to generate even more horrific actions by the U.S. government that will add significantly to the 8,000,000 figure stated above. This response may well be qualitatively and quantitatively worst than the events of Tuesday. The New York Times headline of 9/14/01 states that, “Bush And Top Aides Proclaim Policy Of Ending States That Back Terror” as if that was a rationale, measured, or even sane option. States that have been identified for possible elimination are “a number of Asian and African countries, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and even Pakistan.” This is beyond shocking and horrific-it is just as potentially suicidal, homicidal, and more insane than the hijackers themselves.
Also, qualitatively, these actions will be even worse than the original bombers if one accepts the mainstream premise that those involved are “madmen”, “religious fanatics”, or a “terrorist group.” If so, they are acting as either individuals or as a small group. The U.S. actions may continue the homicidal policies of a few thousand elites for the past 50 years, involving both political parties.
The retail terror is that of desperate and sometime fanatical small groups and individuals who often have legitimate grievances, but engage in individual criminal and illegitimate activities; the wholesale terror is that of “rational” educated men where the pain, suffering, and deaths of millions of people are contemplated, planned, and too often, executed, for the purpose of furthering a nebulous concept called the “national interest”. Space does not allow a full explanation of the elites Orwellian concept of the “national interest”, but it can be summarized as the protection and expansion of hegemony and an imperial empire.
The American public is being prepared for war while being fed a continuous stream of shocking and horrific repeated images of Tuesday’s events and heartfelt stories from the survivors and the loved ones of those who lost family members. These stories are real and should not be diminished. In fact, those who lost family members can be considered a representative sample of humanity of the 8,000,000 who have been lost previously. If we multiply by 800-1000 times the amount of pain, angst, and anger being currently felt by the American public, we might begin to understand how much of the rest of the world feels as they are continually victimized.
Some particularly poignant images are the heart wrenching public stories that we are seeing and hearing of family members with pictures and flyers searching for their loved ones. These images are virtually the same as those of the “Mothers of the Disappeared” who searched for their (primarily) adult children in places such as Argentina, where over 11,000 were “disappeared” in 1976-1982, again with U.S. approval. Just as the mothers of Argentina deserved our respect and compassion, so do the relatives of those who are searching for their relatives now. However we should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media and U.S. government into turning real grief and anger into a national policy ?of wholesale terror and genocide against innocent civilians in Asia and Africa. What we are seeing in military terms is called “softening the target.” The target here is the American public and we are being ideologically and emotionally prepared for the slaughter that may commence soon.
None of the previously identified Asian and African countries are democracies, which means that the people of these countries have virtually no impact on developing the policies of their governments, even if we assume that these governments are complicit in Tuesday’s actions. When one examines the recent history of these countries, one will find that the American government had direct and indirect influences on creating the conditions for the existence of some of these governments. This is especially true of the Taliban government of Afghanistan itself.
The New York Metropolitan Area has about 21,000,000 people or about 8 % of the U.S. population. Almost everyone in America knows someone who has been killed, injured or traumatized by the events of Tuesday. I know that I do. Many people are calling for “revenge” or “vengeance” and comments such as “kill them all” have been circulated on the TV, radio, and email. A few more potentially benign comments have called for “justice.” This is only potentially benign since that term may be defined by people such as Bush and Colin Powell. Powell is an unrepentant participant in the Vietnam War, the terrorist contra war against Nicaragua, and the Gulf war, at each level becoming more responsible for the planning and execution of the policies.
Those affected, all of us, must do everything in our power to prevent a wider war and even greater atrocity, do everything possible to stop the genocide if it starts, and hold those responsible for their potential war crimes during and after the war. If there is a great war in 2001 and it is not catastrophic (a real possibility), the crimes of that war will be revisited upon the U.S. over the next generation. That is not some kind of religious prophecy or threat, it is merely a straightforward political analysis. If indeed it is Bin Laden, the world must not deal only with him as an individual criminal, but eliminate the conditions that create the injustices and war crimes that will inevitably lead to more of these types of attacks in the future.
The phrase “No Justice, No Peace” is more than a slogan used in a march, it is an observable historical fact. It is time to end the horror.
In a few short pages it is impossible to delineate all of the events described over the past week or to give a comprehensive accounting of U.S. foreign policy. Below are a few resources for up to date news and some background reading, by Noam Chomsky, the noted analyst. The titles of the books explain their relevance for this topic.
For the most current information see http://www.commondreams.org/. ?For information on how the media distorts the news see http://www.fair.org/. ?For excellent links on the Middle East see http://al-awda.org/newyork/links.html.
For background reading by Noam Chomsky see: ?Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies ?Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (with Ed Herman) ?Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians ?Deterring Democracy
(Pipedangler also recommends Noam Chomsky’s interviews with David Barsamian; the Z Magazine archives, the film “Hidden Wars of Desert Storm,” and the anthology Iraq Under Siege, with contributions from Chomsky, Denis Halliday, Howard Zinn and Rania Masri, edited by Anthony Arnove.)
?Professor Mosqueda allows and encourages all sharing, posting, reprinting and other distribution of this essay. He can be reached at email@example.com