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

"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

"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

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

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Barry Stoller

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