bin Laden slams capitalism on video
CAIRO, Egypt ” The new video message from Osama bin Laden appeared on militant Islamist Web sites Saturday, a day after it was released by a U.S.-based terrorist monitoring organization.
A note accompanying the video explained it had been a conscious decision to release the video to television channels before posting it on Web sites, the traditional means al-Qaida has used to disseminate its message.
“As a requested strategy the video has been sent to TV channels before posting it to the net. And it is not true that some Web sites claimed that they have received it in another way,” it added, apparently referring to the Washington-based SITE Institute, which monitors terrorist messages.
In the video, bin Laden makes no overt threats and does not directly call for attacks. Instead, he addresses Americans, telling them the Iraq war has failed and urging them to turn away from capitalism and democracy and convert to Islam.
His emergence Friday comes at a time when terrorism experts believe bin Laden’s terror network is regrouping in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region ” and it underlines the U.S. failure to catch him.
American intelligence agencies were studying the video to determine whether it was authentic and to look for clues about bin Laden’s health.
In the video, bin Laden attacked capitalism, multinational corporations and globalization.
“This is why I tell you: as you liberated yourselves before from the slavery of monks, kings and feudalism, you should liberate yourselves from the deception, shackles and attrition of the capitalist system,” he said.
Several current and former government officials said they believed an American ” 28-year-old Adam Gadahn ” may have written at least part of the speech.
Gadahn, who has been charged with treason and supporting terrorism for serving as an al-Qaida propagandist, has appeared in several past al-Qaida-produced videos, lecturing against capitalism and globalization and making insider references to American culture.
“It has Adam Gadahn written all over it,” one former senior intelligence official said of bin Laden’s tape, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
In the new video, bin Laden derided President Bush, saying events in Iraq have gotten “out of control” and the American leader “is like the one who plows and sows the sea: He harvests nothing but failure.”
Bush made the rare move of speaking about an al-Qaida video. The tape is “a reminder about the dangerous world in which we live, he told reporters on the sidelines of a summit of Pacific Rim nations in Sydney, Australia.
“It’s important that we show resolve and determination to protect ourselves, deny al-Qaida safe haven and support young democracies,” Bush said.
Bin Laden said there were two solutions to stopping the Iraq war. “One is from our side, and it is to escalate the fighting and killing against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out,” bin Laden said.
“The second solution is from your side. … I invite you to embrace Islam,” he said.
One result of that, bin Laden said, would be an end to the Iraq war. He said “warmongering owners of the major corporations” would rush to appease voters who showed they are looking for an alternative, “and this alternative is Islam.”
Bin Laden wears a white robe, a white circular cap and a beige cloak seated behind a table while reading an address to the American people from papers in front of him.
His trimmed beard is shorter than in his last video, in 2004, and is fully black ” apparently dyed, since in past videos it was mostly gray. He speaks softly, as he usually does, and has dark bags under his eyes, but his appearance dispelled rumors that he had died.
The al-Qaida leader had not appeared in new video footage since October 2004, and he had not put out an audiotape in more than a year, his longest period without a message.
The video appeared to have been recently made. At one point, bin Laden mentions that “several days ago” Japan marked the 62nd anniversary of the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. He also refers to the Democratic Party’s congressional victory in last fall’s election and to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was elected in May.
Associated Press writers Lara Jakes Jordan, Pamela Hess and Matthew Lee in Washington and Sarah DiLorenzo in New York contributed to this report.
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