Thursday, January 19, 2006
Alleged bin Laden tape threatens U.S.
CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Jazeera on Thursday broadcast portions of an audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden, saying Al Qaeda is making preparations for attacks in the United States but offering a possible truce to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.
The voice on the tape said heightened security in the United States is not the reason there have been no attacks there since the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings.
Instead, the reason is “because there are operations that need preparations,” he said.
“The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. But the operations are happening in Baghdad and you will see them here at home the minute they are through (with preparations), with God’s permission,” he said.
“We do not mind offering you a long-term truce with fair conditions that we adhere to,” he said. “We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America.’’
The speaker did not give conditions for a truce in the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera.
There was no immediate confirmation of the tape’s authenticity, although the voice resembled that of bin Laden’s in previous messages.
It has been more than a year since the last confirmed message from bin Laden — the longest period without a video or audiotape from the Al Qaeda leader. The last audiotape purported to be from bin Laden was broadcast in December 2004 by Al-Jazeera. In that recording, he endorsed Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq and called for a boycott of Iraqi elections.
Al-Jazeera’s editor-in-chief Ahmed al-Sheik would not comment on when or where the tape was received. He said the full tape was 10 minutes long. The station aired four excerpts with what it ``considered newsworthy,” he said, but would not say what was on the remainder.
Al-Sheik said the tape seemed to have been made “recently” but would not saw what led him to that conclusion.