The rest of the Bin Laden tape.--
The New York Post is reporting that the unaired portions of the Bin Laden tape make clearer his opposition to Bush, the success of the Afghan election, and the success of the US military in restricting Bin Laden's actions. Bin Laden also follows the Michael Moore-Teresa Kerry line that it's all about oil:
Osama bin Laden's newest tape may have thrust him to the forefront of the presidential election, but what was not seen was the cave-dwelling terror lord talking about the setbacks al Qaeda has faced in recent months.
Officials said that in the 18-minute long tape — of which only six minutes were aired on the al-Jazeera Arab television network in the Middle East on Friday — bin Laden bemoans the recent democratic elections in Afghanistan and the lack of violence involved with it.
On the tape, bin Laden also says his terror organization has been hurt by the U.S. military's unrelenting manhunt for him and his cohorts on the Afghan-Pakistani border.
A portion of the left-out footage includes a tirade aimed at President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, claiming the war in Iraq is purely over oil.
The tape also sparked some concern that an attack aimed at disrupting Tuesday's election may be planned.
But those who have seen the tape have said there was no specific information regarding an attack.
"We are taking this very seriously," said one counterterrorism official. "This is cause for great concern and we are certainly going on higher alert because of this."
The Bin Laden Tape May Have Threatened States Not to Vote for Bush.--
[UPDATE. Yigal Carmon of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has a new translation of the Bin Laden tape, an interpretation that he also confirms by quoting from a similar analysis on an Islamist website that favors Bin Laden. This MEMRI news release was posted on NRO.] According to a shocking story on NRO, an Islamist website is claiming [as is MEMRI] that the Bin Laden tape did carry a threat against any U.S. state that voted for Bush (tip to INDC). NRO [reprinting MEMRI] quotes the site and argues:
The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on al-Jazeera on Friday, October 29 included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state") to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral-college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."
The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."
Another interesting aspect of the speech is the fact that while bin Laden makes his specific threat to each U.S. state, the speech also offered an election deal to the American voters in an attempt to influence the election by these means, rather than influencing it through terrorist attacks. This peace offer is a theme that follows up on his April speech directed to Europe, in which he offered a truce. The Islamist website Al-Islah explains: "Some people ask 'what's new in this tape?' [The answer is that] this tape is the second of its kind, after the previous tape of the Sheikh [Osama bin Laden], in which he offered a truce to the Europeans a few months ago, and it is a completion of this move, and it brings together the complementary elements of politics and religion, political savvy and force, the sword and justice. The Sheikh reminds the West in this tape of the great Islamic civilization and pure Islamic religion, and of Islamic justice...."
Not being able to translate the passages myself, I can't evaluate them. But perhaps a Volokh Conspiracy reader can enlighten us about whether the US media's translation is the better one or whether the Islamist website has the better translation.
OK, things are clearer to me now. The new translation is not just from an Islamist website, but more importantly from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which describes itself as "an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East." I have read their translations before, but didn't recognize the acronym. The NRO article I quoted is not written by NRO, but rather is a press release/alert sent out by MEMRI and written by its president, Yigal Carmon. So MEMRI is asserting the same translation of the relevant passage as an Islamist website that MEMRI also translates and quotes. Here is Bin Laden as translated by MEMRI:
"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or Al-Qa'ida. Your security is in your own hands, and any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."
This interpretation makes sense of Bin Laden's statement that your security is not in Bush or Kerry's hands, but in your own. In short, here is the interpretation of both MEMRI and the Islamist site: Bin Laden is threatening that if your state votes for Kerry, your security will be respected by Bin Laden, but if your state votes for Bush, your state's security will not. As the Islamist website quoted above suggests, this is similar to the truce offer made to European countries that were willing to drop their opposition to Al Qaeda.
Was Bin Laden's threat to attack Red States anticipated by Michael Moore?--
A reader writes to point out that the new translation of Bin Laden's threat (interpreted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) as Bin Laden threatening to attack states that vote for Bush and pass over states that vote for Kerry) also brings Bin Laden even further in line with Michael Moore.
As Larry Ribstein recently reminded us (tip to Althouse), on September 12, 2001 Moore was skeptical whether Bin Laden had done the attacks and suggested that it made no sense for Bin Laden to attack in New York and Washington, DC, because these areas did not vote for Bush:
In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again. He withdraws from the Kyoto agreement, walks us out of the Durban conference on racism, insists on restarting the arms race — you name it, and Baby Bush has blown it all. . . . .
Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California — these were places that voted AGAINST Bush! Why kill them? Why kill anyone? Such insanity...Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in.
If the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and the Islamist website translated by MEMRI are right in their translations and interpretations, then sometime over the last three years, Bin Laden has recognized Michael Moore's "insight" that it would make no sense to kill people in states that didn't vote for Bush. Moore, of course, after making his bizarre and creepy comments, quite emphatically calls it "insanity" to kill "anyone" in this way.
The New York Post has more on the Bin Laden threat against the red states.--
As I posted below (here and here), the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has determined that the initial translation of Bin Laden's tape was in error. According to both MEMRI and an Al-Qaeda website monitored by MEMRI, Bin Laden in effect offered peace to US blue states that voted for Kerry and warned red states with violence. The New York Post covers the same ground and adds a few details:
Osama bin Laden warned in his October Surprise video that he will be closely monitoring the state-by-state election returns in tomorrow's presidential race — and will spare any state that votes against President Bush from being attacked, according to a new analysis of his statement.
The respected Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and translates Arabic media and Internet sites, said initial translations of a key portion of bin Laden's video rant to the American people Friday night missed an ostentatious bid by the Saudi-born terror master to divide American voters and tilt the election towards Democratic challenger John Kerry.
MEMRI said radical Islamist commentators monitored over the Internet this past weekend also interpreted the key passage of bin Laden's diatribe to mean that any U.S. state that votes to elect Bush on Tuesday will be considered an "enemy" and any state that votes for Kerry has "chosen to make peace with us."
The statement in question is when bin Laden said on the tape: "Your security is up to you, and any state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."
That sentence followed a lengthy passage in the video in which bin Laden launches personal attacks on the president.
Yigal Carmon, president of MEMRI, said bin Laden used the Arabic term "ay-wilaya" to refer to a "state" in that sentence.
That term "specifically refers to an American state, like Tennessee," Carmon said, adding that if bin Laden were referring to a "country" he would have used the Arabic word "dawla."
MEMRI also translated an analysis of bin Laden's statement from the Islamist Web site al-Qal'a, well known for posting al-Qaeda messages, which agreed that bin Laden's use of the word "ay-wilaya" was meant as a "warning to every U.S state separately."
"It means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president, it means that it chose to fight us and we will consider it an enemy to us, and any state that will vote against Bush, it means that it chose to make peace with us and we will not characterize it as an enemy," the Web site said, according to MEMRI's translation.
Al Jezeera releases a full transcript of the Bin Laden tape.--
The full transcript is now online
of the Bin Laden tape. Excerpts:
People of America this talk of mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan, and deals with the war and its causes and results.
Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom. If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example - Sweden? ...
No, we fight because we are free men who don't sleep under oppression. We want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation. So shall we lay waste to yours.
No-one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it happening again.
But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred....
This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr. did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known, and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children - also in Iraq - as Bush Jr. Did, in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq's oil and other outrages.
So with these images and their like as their background, the events of September 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs, should a man be blamed for defending his sanctuary?
Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor in kind, objectionable terrorism? If it is such, then it is unavoidable for us.
This is the message which I sought to communicate to you in word and deed, repeatedly, for years before September 11th.
And you can read this, if you wish, in my interview with Scott in Time Magazine in 1996, or with Peter Arnett on CNN in 1997, or my meeting with John Weiner in 1998.
You can observe it practically, if you wish, in Kenya and Tanzania and in Aden. And you can read it in my interview with Abdul Bari Atwan, as well as my interviews with Robert Fisk.
The latter is one of your compatriots and co-religionists and I consider him to be neutral. ...
At a time when some of our compatriots were dazzled by America and hoping that these visits would have an effect on our countries, all of a sudden he [Bush, Sr.] was affected by those monarchies and military regimes, and became envious of their remaining decades in their positions, to embezzle the public wealth of the nation without supervision or accounting.
So he took dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act, under the pretense of fighting terrorism. In addition, Bush sanctioned the installing of sons as state governors, and didn't forget to import expertise in election fraud from the region's presidents to Florida to be made use of in moments of difficulty.
All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two Mujahideen to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies. ...
So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.
That being said, those who say that al-Qaida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise, because when one scrutinizes the results, one cannot say that al-Qaida is the sole factor in achieving those spectacular gains.
Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations - whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction - has helped al-Qaida to achieve these enormous results. ...
And it was to these sorts of notions and their like that the British diplomat and others were referring in their lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. (When they pointed out that) for example, al-Qaida spent $500 000 on the event, while America, in the incident and its aftermath, lost - according to the lowest estimate - more than 500 billion dollars.
Meaning that every dollar of al-Qaida defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.
As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.
And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the Mujahideen recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is evidence of the success of the blee-until-bankruptcy plan - with Allah's permission.
It is true that this shows that al-Qaida has gained, but on the other hand, it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something of which anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Haliburton and its kind, will be convinced. And it all shows that the real loser is...you.
It is the American people and their economy. ...
And it's no secret to you that the thinkers and perceptive ones from among the Americans warned Bush before the war and told him, "All that you want for securing America and removing the weapons of mass destruction - assuming they exist - is available to you, and the nations of the world are with you in the inspections, and it is in the interest of America that it not be thrust into an unjustified war with an unknown outcome."
But the darkness of the black gold blurred his vision and insight, and he gave priority to private interests over the public interests of America.
So the war went ahead, the death toll rose, the American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threaten his future. He fits the saying, "Like the naughty she-goat who used her hoof to dig up a knife from under the earth"
So I say to you, over 15 000 of our people have been killed and tens of thousands injured, while more than a thousand of you have been killed and more than 10 000 injured. And Bush's hands are stained with the blood of all those killed from both sides, all for the sake of oil and keeping their private companies in business.
Be aware that it is the nation who punishes the weak man when he causes the killing of one of its citizens for money, while letting the powerful one get off, when he causes the killing of more than 1000 of its sons, also for money. ...
Finally, it behooves you to reflect on the last wills and testaments of the thousands who left you on the 11th as they gestured in despair. They are important testaments, which should be studied and researched.
Among the most important of what I read in them was some prose in their gestures before the collapse, where they say, "How mistaken we were to have allowed the White House to implement its aggressive foreign policies against the weak without supervision." It is as if they were telling you, the people of America, "Hold to account those who have caused us to be killed, and happy is he who learns from others' mistakes," And among that which I read in their gestures is a verse of poetry, "Injustice chases its people, and how unhealthy the bed of tyranny."
As has been said, "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."
And know that, "It is better to return to the truth than persist in error." And that the wise man doesn't squander his security, wealth and children for the sake of the liar in the White House.
In conclusion, I tell you in truth, that your security is not in the hands of Kerry, nor Bush, nor al-Qaida.
Your security is in your own hands. And every [U.S.] state that doesn't play with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security.
And Allah is our Guardian and Helper, while you have no Guardian or Helper. All Peace be Upon he who follows the Guidance.
I added in brackets the MEMRI translation
of one phrase
, which has been confirmed by several other sources.
The most disgusting part of Bin Laden's speech is the part where he charaterizes what he believes the people who died in 9/11 were thinking as they gestured while dying. And Bin Laden closes by saying that we "have no Guardian or helper," but that "Peace be Upon he who follows the Guidance," presumably of bin Laden claiming to speak for Allah.