Osama bin Laden releases new tape
Wanted terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden appeared on an audio broadcast released Sunday, to various Arab language news sites. In the tape, bin Laden takes credit for the failed Christmas day bombing on a Northwest Airlines jet flying from Amsterdam to Detroit. “If it was possible to carry our messages to you by words we wouldn't have carried them to you by planes,” said the voice, adding, “…the message sent to you with the attempt by the hero Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a confirmation of our previous message conveyed by the heroes of September 11.” A United Nations terrorism monitoring team believed the tape to be genuine, but the U.S., along with several other allies, was still trying to independently verify its authenticity.
This is the first bin Laden tape since September 2009 and he has not released a video message since 2007. The message has reignited debate on whether or not bin Laden is still in control of the al-Qaeda terror network or if he is even alive. Early comments from Western officials noted the message’s repetition. “This is nothing new; he has said this before. Terrorists always look for absurd excuses for their despicable deeds,” said Israeli spokesman Andy David. In the tape, bin Laden promises further attacks on Israel, in reaction to the conditions in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. “America will not dream of security until we experience it as a reality in Palestine,” said the voice. David Axelrod, a key advisor to President Obama, described the tape’s reasoning as “…the same hollow justifications for the mass slaughter of innocents that we've heard before.” Some intelligence theories believe bin Laden to be dead or powerless, but that supporters continue to regularly release messages as propaganda.
While the tape claims a connection between Abdulmutallab and al-Qaeda, there is no proof to substantiate this claim. The current evidence points to Yemen where a splinter group of al-Qaeda is believed to have trained and armed the bomber. “Al Qaeda in Yemen takes strategic guidance from Al Qaeda's leadership in the tribal areas in Pakistan…,” said an anonymous U.S. intelligence officer quoted in various newspapers. “But we've never seen indications that the senior Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan have directed tactical, day-to-day operational planning for them in Yemen. Their relationship hasn't really functioned that way,” added the official. This could be a sign of a divided al-Qaeda with localized groups taking independent action, albeit for a commonly shared belief. However, top leaders of the Yemeni al-Qaeda did work with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 2001 and confirmed their relationship after U.S. capture and detainment at Guantanamo Bay.
POSTED 01/25/2010 12:34