Exclusive: Ignoring Osama bin Laden could be Catastrophic
by GADI ADELMAN
March 29, 2010
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has released a warning in a new audio message that if the United States executes the accused mastermind (Khalid Sheik Mohammed ) of the September 11th terror attacks it will be “a decision to execute any of your people that we take prisoner.”
U.S. officials are still reviewing the tape; however, sources say there is no reason to doubt the tape's authenticity.
Osama bin Laden made the threat during a 74-second audio message which was broadcast on the Arab satellite news channel Al Jazeera last Thursday morning.
“Your leader appears to be following in the footsteps of his predecessor. The White House has announced that it will seek to execute the hero Mujahid, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and his companions,” says bin Laden. “The day the U.S. takes such decision, it's as if it's taken a decision to execute any of your people that we take prisoner.”
One official stated that the al Qaeda leader’s threat to kill American captives was “so ridiculous” that it hardly merited a response.
Another counterterrorism official said it was absurd. “It's the height of absurdity for anyone associated with al Qaeda to even suggest that now, at long last, they're going to start treating captives badly,” he tells Reuters. “They may have forgotten Danny Pearl and all the others they've slaughtered, but we haven't.”
There is no argument that al Qaeda is far from being the poster child of jurisprudence, but does this mean that we should just ignore this latest threat all together?
From our government’s point of view, al Qaeda is not holding any American prisoners now and if any were to be captured we already know what their fate would be. The Haqqani group (the Pakistan-based Taliban faction closest to al Qaeda) is holding American soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009. A video of Bergdahl was released in December. So why take this latest threat seriously?
Maybe we should be looking at this from a different perspective.
Osama should have been dead years ago. After the invasion of Afghanistan back in October of 2001 by the U.S. and coalition forces as well as the Afghan opposition forces of the Northern Alliance searching for him; after thousands of pinpoint bombing runs both in and out of the mountains as well as the caves where many believed him to be; after hundreds of thousands of man hours searching for him; after the offer of a reward of millions of dollars to the people of both Afghanistan and Pakistan on leaflets that were distributed in the Tribal Areas, not to mention the match boxes with his picture that were distributed in Peshawar advertising a $5 million reward and t-shirts with bin Laden’s photo to encourage people to provide information about him, he is still alive.
I have read reports that he was dead. I have heard he was dying in a cave because he needed dialysis on a regular basis. I have even seen reports of him being spotted in the U.S. As I have said many times, of all things that bin Laden is, stupid is not one of them.
What do Jose Padilla from Brooklyn, the Lackawanna Six from Buffalo, Iyman Faris of Columbus, Ohio, the Virginia Jihad Network (11 men), James Elshafay from Staten Island, Shahawar Matin Siraj from Queens, Yassin Aref and Mohammad Hossain from Albany, New York, Umer Hayat and Hamid Hayat from Lodi, California, Levar Haley Washington, Gregory Vernon Patterson, Hammad Riaz Samana, and Kevin James of Californina, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, and Zand Wassim Mazloum from Ohio, Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee from Atlanta, Narseal Batiste, Patrick Abraham, Stanley Grant Phanor, Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustin, Lyglenson Lemorin, and Rotschild Augustine all of Miami, Assem Hammoud who had resided in Canada, the Fort Dix six of Philadelphia and New Jersey, the JFK four of Brooklyn, Hassan Abujihaad of Phoenix, Christopher Paul from Columbus, Ohio, James Cromite, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen of NY, Daniel Patrick Boyd, Hysen Sherifi, Anes Subasic, Zakariya Boyd, Dylan Boyd, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, and Ziyad Yaghi of North Carolina and Nidal Malik Hassan of Roanoke, Virginia all have in common?
They were all arrested as terrorists, either home grown or living and planning terrorist acts here in the U.S.
Al-Qaeda has thousands of both members and followers throughout the world. They are an international network that has a global reach and have supported through financing, training and logistics, Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bosnia, Chechnya, Eritrea, Kosovo, the Philippines, Somalia, Tajikistan, and Yemen, and now Kosovo. Additionally, al-Qaeda has been linked to conflicts and attacks that have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe, the former Soviet Republics, the Middle East, as well as North and South America.
Understanding the reach that al Qaeda currently has coupled with the fact that his followers and members are known carry out any “fatwa” (Islamic religious or scholarly ruling) he issues, we need to examine his words very carefully. Osama tends to speak in an almost Nostradamus quatrains like manner and one needs to read his words in detail in order to even begin to understand its meaning.
Bin Laden did not say “we will execute any of your people that we take prisoner in Iraq, Afghanistan or on the battlefield.” He did not even specify American soldiers or military personnel. He said they would “execute any of your people that we take prisoner.” During his latest audio tape threat he also added something interesting, he also stated “They used to think that America across the oceans is protected from the rage of the oppressed until our reaction was loudly heard at your home on the 9/11, with God's help.” Why was this past tense correlation to 9/11 added? It is obvious to me that he is telling us (or more likely, his followers) something. If this is a message to his people and followers here in the U.S., as well as all any other country where they may be, is it not possible that he has just given a signal that once Khalid Sheik Mohammed or any of the other suspected al Qaeda terrorists awaiting trial are executed to start taking and killing Americans at will? This is not unlikely given the manner in which he stated it.
This man and his group of terrorists managed to plan 9/11 for two years, his “cells” then lived and trained here in the U.S. and then carried out the largest single attack of terror in our history in which nearly 3,000 people were murdered. We know his group has people and followers worldwide. We know that they listen to, obey, and carry out his “fatwas.” I listed just a few of the names of people in this country that have already been arrested in connection to terror plots since 9/11. Is it really anymore of a stretch to think that they wouldn’t just start killing Americans at random? He warned us in advance about 9/11, but people here thought it was “absurd” and that he was just some nut. I don’t think we can ignore anything this man says and to do so would be extremely dangerous. Perhaps it’s time we started to listen when people like Osama bin Laden or Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speak?
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gadi Adelman is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He is currently writing his first book, "Terrorism; Understanding the Threat". He can be reached through his website http://gadiadelman.com