AP (with additional material by CNN). 31 January 2002. Bin Laden: Americans Headed for 'Hell.'
NEW YORK -- Osama bin Laden, in a previously unbroadcast interview done in late October, said the United States war on terrorism was leading the American people "into an unbearable hell and a choking life." CNN broadcast edited portions of the taped exchange Thursday night and said it obtained the interview, done by the Arabic language Al-Jazeera television network, "from a non-governmental source." If the interview occurred in late October, that would have been about two weeks before Kabul, the capital, fell to U.S.-back Afghan alliance fighters and more than a month before the Taliban headquarters city of Kandahar was abandoned. Bin Laden wore camouflage fatigues and spoke without emotion as he told his Al-Jazeera interviewer that killing innocent civilians "is permissible in Islamic law." And he painted a grim future for Americans. "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in and the West in general into an unbearable hell and a choking life." The Al-Jazeera interviewer pressed bin Laden on his responsibility for the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and the Pentagon but got ambiguous answers. "America has made many accusations against us and many other Muslims around the world. Its charge that we are carrying out acts of terrorism is unwarranted," bin Laden said in his first answer. But moments later, CNN said, bin Laden took up the subject once more and said: "If inciting people to do that is terrorism, and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let history be witness that we are terrorists." "We kill the kings of the infidels, kings of the crusaders and civilians infidels in exchange for those of our children they kill. This is permissible in Islamic law and logically." The Al-Jazeera interviewer interrupts to ask if bin Laden means to say it was appropriate to kill innocent people in retribution against those who "kill our innocents." The al-Qaida leader responds: "So we kill their innocents, and I say it is permissible in Islamic law and logic." The interview, done about a month before the Taliban and al-Qaida fled their headquarters at the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, shows a confident bin Laden, certain his forces would defeat United States. "We believe that the defeat of America is possible, with the help of God, and is even easier for us -- God permitting -- than the defeat of the Soviet Union was before." "Our brothers with Somali mujahedeen and God's power fought the Americans. God granted them victory. America exited dragging its tails in failure, defeat, and ruin," bin Laden said. CNN said Al-Jazeera refused to appear to explain the circumstances of the interview and accused the U.S. network of obtaining the video tape illegally. CNN further said the Arab language network announced it was breaking relations with CNN. "Al-Jazeera will sever its relationship with CNN and will take the necessary action to punish the organizations and individuals who stole this video and distributed it illegally," CNN quoted Al-Jazeera as responding. Al-Jazeera has not disclosed where the hour-long interview was conducted. The reporter seemed to have a professional rapport with bin Laden and asked him if he was behind the anthrax attacks in the United States that began some weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes. Bin Laden did not offer a direct response but said, "These diseases are a punishment from God and a response to oppressed mothers' prayers in Lebanon and Palestine." During the interview, which was taped in late October bin Laden ridiculed White House concerns that other on-camera statements he has issued since September 11 might carry hidden messages. "They made hilarious claims. They said that Osama's messages have codes in them to the terrorists. It's as if we were living in the time of mail by carrier pigeon, when there are no phones, no travelers, no Internet, no regular mail, no express mail and no electronic mail. I mean, these are very humorous things. They discount people's intellect," bin Laden said. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barry Stoller http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProletarianNews