Friday, October 29, 2004

Bin Laden and Republican Dirty Tricks? It is ironic, is it not? I mean US media and government complain about AlJazeera's past airing of Bin Laden tapes and now I see that Fox News cannot stop airing the gruesome threats issued by some masked kook speaking in a very odd tone and language. (You may remember that I had told that you since Sep. 11, AlJazeera TV aired some 11 hours of Bin Laden tapes versus more than 500 hours of Bush's "tapes." You cannot but wonder who is more dangerous? Who is more fanatic? Bin Laden or Bush? How similar and how different are those two--the beard and turban difference notwithstanding)? The Fox News (and ABC News) tape was very odd. There was this man who had his face covered by a Kufiyyah, and issuing horrific threats of "blood in the streets." I cannot but wonder why did the US media decide to air such a tape? What is the news value of a tape by somebody who does not occupy any position of authority in any group or gang anywhere? He is a nobody, even in the world of violent fanatical groups. Why should Fox News (the "responsible"--and fair and balanced, always--channel which has been referring to AlJazeera as the "Bin Laden network") give a free airing to the threats of an anonymous kook whose face cannot be even seen. His eyes may look familiar. Could it be Karl Rove in disguise? Would he sink that low? No way. I have watched the Bin Laden tape on AlJazeera. First, it puts to rest the theory of the most ignorant and bigoted writers on the Middle East: Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens has been going around confidently asserting that Bin Laden is dead. Well, he is alive, and he looks far healthier than the last December 2001 video tape of him. His hands were also moving, although I could not see his kidney to judge whether he was ill. He was standing behind a podium, and was not dressed in the garb of his Afghanistan phase; I noticed that in one audio tape of Bin Laden it was accompanied by old footage of him showing him wearing Afghanistan traditional attire, as if to want to convince his enemies that he was still in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. I noted here then that I suspected Bin Laden may not be where we think (and where he wants us to think) he is. Today, he was dressed the way he would be dressed in...Saudi Arabia. Am I saying that Bin Laden is hiding in Saudi Arabia? I did not say that, but will not rule that out, especially when I read in the Sep. 11 Commission Report that Bin Laden was last whisked out of Saudi Arabia with the the help of a member of the House of Saud. I have always suspected that Bin Laden must feel secure where he is to release tapes and videos (now). He could be in Saudi Arabia, or Yemen, or somewhere else. The statement was different, I felt. He made too many specific references to American politics (although he pronounced Florida as Floreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeda). He may have seen Fahrenheit 9-11 as he made fun of Bush being occupied with the reading of the "goat story" on Sep. 11. He went on to suggest that George Bush's Sr. was so impressed with the tyrannies of the Gulf regimes that he constructed corrupt structures of government in the US modeled after those governments. His address to the American public was not what it was in past statements. As if he wanted to appease the American people, not that he will ever succeed. If this was intended as an attempt to drive a wedge between the American people and Bush, it will certainly fail. But that makes me more suspicious. Bin Laden is many bad things, but he is not that dumb. Would he really think that any American (not to mention others) would really listen to his message in the same tape in which he takes full (and criminally proud) responsibility for the horrors of Sep. 11? And please, for all of you conspiracy theorists who do not believe that Bin Laden was behind Sep. 11 (and some of you write comments on this site), read the transcript of this tape. Bin Laden is here very clear and unequivocal in his claim of responsibility of Sep. 11, and he talks about HE got the idea for the attacks. So can we now once and for all just rule out any of the bizarre conspiracy theories out there? Now? And he claims here that he was inspired to punish the US for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Having barely survived that horrific mass terrorist invasion, I have to say that Bin Laden is lying here. How could he trace his resentment toward the US to 1982, when he continued to cooperate with the US in the war in Afghanistan into the early 1990s (until 1994 according to British Intelligence sources quoted in Economist magazine--the best magazine there is)? And why did he not bring up the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in earlier statements and interviews if it was the factor behind his attacks? This is like somebody committing an act of murder and later searching for his motive; a motive that would get him the most support among his people. This is what the ancient Greeks called demagoguery. Now on the dirty tricks: I know AlJazeera's operations well. I suspect that they had the tape for a while. I do not believe that it has just reached them. The former director of Aljazeera once showed me tapes of Bin Laden in his drawer that were never aired. The Qatari government (a client government of the US) would not allow AlJazeera management to decide on the status of the tapes without it giving the green light. And the Qatari government has been coming under increasing pressures from the US over AlJazeera's coverage, and the Qatari Ruler was not invited to the G-8 summit as a punishment. So I strongly suspect that the Qatari government sought the permission of the Bush administration, which must have seen in it a propaganda bonanza in a context of an easily manipulated and ill-informed American public. Something is brewing.