Thursday, March 20, 2008
Bin Laden Speaks
Click HERE for audio excerpts of Bin Laden's latest message.
[PLOP] Democrats were dramatically reminded today that their sole target in the War on Terror is still alive, incredibly dangerous, and possibly suffering from a slight head cold:
DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened the European Union with grave punishment on Wednesday for publication of cartoons mocking Islam's Prophet Mohammad.
In an audio recording posted on the Internet coinciding with the birthday of Islam's founder, bin Laden said the drawings, considered offensive by Muslims, were part of a "new crusade" in which Pope Benedict was involved.
"Your publications of these drawings -- part of a new crusade in which the Pope of the Vatican had a significant role -- is a confirmation from you that the war continues," said the Saudi-born militant leader, addressing "those who are wise at the European Union".
You are "testing Muslims ... the answer will be what you shall see and not what you hear."
It was bin Laden's first message since November 29 when he urged Europe to end participation with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The message, produced by al Qaeda media arm As-Sahab in the lunar month which ended on March 8, carried an animation of a spear piercing through a red map of Europe with blood splashing as its tip penetrated the surface.
It also carried what appeared to be an old picture of bin Laden firing an assault rifle. The message also coincides with the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Michael Scheuer, a former CIA bin Laden tracker, said: "It's not a coincidence that it was released on the day that is observed in the Muslim world as the Prophet's birthday."
He added: "It's only ominous when he says 'don't listen to our words, watch for our actions' ... that means they clearly are intending to attack in Europe."
THREAT AGAINST EUROPE
The U.S.-based IntelCenter, a terrorism monitoring firm, said the message was "a clear threat against EU member countries and an indicator of a possible upcoming significant attack, however, it is unclear in exactly what timeframe it may occur."
Bin Laden said the publication of the cartoons was a graver offence than the "bombing of modest villages that collapsed over our women children", in reference to U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan with European participation. "This is the bigger catastrophe ... for which the punishment is graver."
"Animosity among people is very old but wise people ... have always been keen on maintaining the manners of disagreement and the ethics of fighting ... but you have abandoned many of these ethics although you use them as slogans," he said.
Bin Laden said Europe was intentionally targeting Muslim women and children at the behest of their "unjust ally who is close to departing the White house".
He said "brutality" had not defeated Muslims and made them determined to "avenge our folk and eject the invaders from out countries."
A U.S. counterterrorism official said the authenticity of the recording was under examination but added it was in line with "al Qaeda's ongoing propaganda effort."
Congressional leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi held a joint press conference to denounce the failure of the Bush administration to "bring this understandably angry but misguided freedom fighter to justice -- or at least to the negotiating table." Reid added, "While Bush has drained American blood and treasure slaughtering insurgent patriots in Iraq, Bin Laden continues to run amok in Afghanistan... or Pakistan... or wherever. It's unconscionable."
UPDATE. CIA experts say they are "completely absolutely sure, almost" that the latest tape is indeed the voice of Osama Bin Laden. The news was greeted with wild cheers and the commencement of a day-long block party at the U.S. State Department.