New OBL Tape: Iraq, Democratic Control

By Theresa Cook

Sep 7, 2007 2:15pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Pierre Thomas, Luis Martinez and Theresa Cook Report: ABC News has obtained a transcript of the latest taped message from the United States’ most wanted terrorist, and a senior U.S. intelligence official has confirmed to ABC News that "initial technical analysis suggests the voice on the tape is indeed Osama Bin Laden."

According to the transcript, which can be viewed by clicking here, bin Laden opens with "praise to Allah" and his "law of retaliation" — "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed."

Bin Laden also spoke to the ongoing situation in Iraq throughout the tape, heavily criticizing the Bush administration.

‘One of Your Greatest Mistakes’

He says to the American people, "you made one of your greatest mistakes, in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war, not even the most violent of its murderers, [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld…”

"You permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you — with your full knowledge and consent — to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Then you claim to be innocent!  The innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th — were I to claim such a thing."

Bin Laden says President Bush’s words echo "neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle."

‘Democrats Haven’t Made a Move’

"People of America:  the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped.  Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven’t made a move worth mentioning.  On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there."

ABC News Report

The transcript indicates that bin Laden refers to statements from U.S. soldiers in Iraq, from an interview taped by a British journalist.  Portions of the interview aired in an exclusive report on ABC News in July, which can be viewed by clicking here.

In the July 16 report, two soldiers with the 2nd Infantry division, Corporal Joshua Lake and Specialist Michael Vassell, spoke candidly about their experiences in Iraq.

"We got grenades going off. We’ve got an IED blowing up your vehicle. And then you’re expected to go back in those four to six, four to five hours and get, and relax to come back out and do another six hours," Lake said.  "You don’t have time, you just don’t have time to do it."

"Because we have people up there in Congress with the brain of a 2-year-old who don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t experience it," Vassell said.  "I, I challenge the President or whoever has us here for 15 months to ride along, alongside me. I’ll do another 15 months if he comes out here and rides along with me every day for 15 months. I’ll do 15 more months. No, I – they don’t even have to pay me extra."

‘Listen to the Poignant Messages of Your Soldiers’

"It would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying — with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs — the price for these sorts of irresponsible statements,” bin Laden says in reference to the interviews in the ABC News report.

"Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days," the statement continues.

Ways to Win the War

According to the transcript, bin Laden says there are two ways to end the war:

"The first is from our side, and it is to continue to escalate the killing and fighting against you."

The second is to do away with the American democratic system of government.  "It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations."

Chertoff Responds

Calling the tape "propaganda," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told ABC News Thursday afternoon, “Assuming it is an authentic, genuine tape and it’s not just a compilation, his being alive would I don’t think be a surprise to anybody.  I think we would have had some indication if he were not alive.”

"Having a tape issued in connection with the anniversary of 9/11 is also not a big surprise," Chertoff continued.  “In the past, Al Qaida has issued tapes in connection with September 11th.  It is a big day for them in terms of their view of having had a victory against the United States.”

"So while we’re analyzing the details of the tape, I don’t think the existence of a tape as such is necessarily significant of an imminent attack or anything of that sort," Chertoff said.

Acknowledging that, "in one sense, they’re [al Qaeda] always up to something," Chertoff said that the government does not have any credible evidence that an attack is looming.

Ramblings and Time References

The rambling transcript also mentions French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which suggests the tape was made after Sarkozy’s election in May.

While the exact date of the taping cannot be determined by bin Laden’s words, he suggests it was made in August by saying, "… just a few days ago, the Japanese observed the 62nd anniversary of the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by your nuclear weapons."  The anniversary was on Aug. 6.

He goes on to call Noam Chomsky "among one of the most capable of those from your own side," and mentions global warming and "the Kyoto accord."

He also speaks to recent issues grabbing headlines in the United States, referring to "the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes…"

"To conclude," bin Laden says, "I invite you to embrace Islam."  He goes on to say:  "There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling 2.5 percent."

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