Who knows if bin Laden is still alive or not, much less whether he's issuing peace treaties from a dark cave in Tora Bora, but I wanted to read what was supposedly written, and finding it was not easy. I finally stumbled upon a couple of sites, Jihad Unspun and Information Clearinghouse, both of which I'd known about, or at least heard about. I thought for sure that Juan Cole would have either done a translation or at least pointed to one, but maybe he's been too intimidated by his school, the U.S. government, and the right-wing wackos who, I would guess, continue to threaten his life.
From Jihad Unspun, here is one translation of what was supposedly said in the bin Laden tape:
In The Name Of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.
My message to you is about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the way to end it. I was not intending to speak about this subject, because for us it’s obvious; blood for blood, and all praise be to Allah, our situation is getting better and better while your situation is the opposite.
What motivated me to speak out is the repeated fallacies made up by your president Bush commenting on the results of your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he (Bush) has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that “it is better to fight them (Muslims) on their land than their fighting us (Americans) on our land”.
My response to these great fallacies is this. I say that the war in Iraq is boiling up without end and the operations in Afghanistan are continuing in our favor, all praise be to Allah. And the Pentagon’s numbers declare the rise in the death and injuries toll, needless to mention the grave material loss and the mental defeat of the soldiers and the mounting number of suicides among them. So you can imagine the state of psychological breakdown that afflicts a soldier as he gathers the remains of his colleagues after they stepped on land mines that tore them apart. After this situation the soldier is caught between two hard options. He either refuses to leave his camp and is dogged by punishments handed out by the Vietnam Butcher (American army) or he gets destroyed by the mines. This puts him under psychological pressure, fear and humiliation while his nation ignores him. The soldier has no solution except to commit suicide. That is a strong message to you, written by his soul, blood and pain, to save what can be saved from this hell.. The solution is in your hands if these soldiers matter to you.
However, the news about our Mujahideen brothers is quiet different from what the Pentagon publishes. What is published in the media is not the truth or the reality on the ground. What makes the doubts greater is the information leaked out about the intentions of the White House administration in targeting media stations that are trying to publish some of the truth. Documents have surfaced lately about how the world’s freedom butcher (Bush) had intended to bomb the offices of Al Jazeera in Qatar after bombing its offices in Afghanistan and Baghdad.
On the other hand, Jihad is continuing, all praise be to Allah, despite all the atrocities committed by the American army and its agents; to a point where there is no differentiation between its crimes and those of Saddam’s. Its crimes have reached the degree of raping women and taking them as hostages instead of their husbands. As for torturing men, they have used burning chemical acids and drills on their joints. And when they give up on (interrogating) them, they sometimes use the drills on their heads until they die. Read, if you will, the Human Rights Watch reports of the horrors in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bagram prisons.
Let me say, despite all the sadistic means used, they did not break the sharp blade of the resistance or the Mujahideen, all praise be to Allah. Instead the resistance is rising stronger. All the reports show that the defeat and grave failure for the cursed quartet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Declaring this defeat is only a matter of time, partly due to how much awareness the American people have about the magnitude of their misery.
The wise among you know that Bush does not have a plan to reach his alleged victory in Iraq. If you would compare the small number of deaths when Bush announced his fake declaration on top of the airplanes’ carrier; the termination of the grand operations, with the tenfold number of dead and wounded who were killed in the smaller operations, you would know the truth of what I say. This is that Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons.
This takes me back to the original subject, I say that results of polls please those who are sensible, and Bush's opposition to them is a mistake. The reality shows that the war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he (Bush) claims. Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of (our) energies. At the same time, the Mujahideen, all praise be to Allah, have managed repeatedly to penetrate all security measures adopted by the unjust allied countries. The proof of this is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of the European nations who are in this aggressive coalition.
As for the delay in similar operations in America, is not because of the inability to pierce your security measures. Operations are in preparation and you will see them in your own homeland as soon as they are ready, Allah willing.
Bush’s falsehoods have been laid bare. However, the one thing that went over his head, which is at the heart of polls calling for withdrawing the troops is this: “It is better that we (Americans) don't fight Muslims on their lands and that they don't fight us on ours.”
We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. 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 that prevents wasting billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars that makes clear the insistence by Bush and his gang to carry on with war.
If you (Americans) are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book "Rogue State," which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."
Finally, I tell you that the victory in this war is either ours or yours. If it’s is ours, you will be disgraced and this is the direction it is headed, all praise be to Allah. And if it was the latter, then read history and you will know that we are a nation that does not sleep on defeat, and that we will seek revenge for ever, and that the days and nights will not pass until we revenge, like we did on September 11, Allah willing. And you will continue to live in disgrace and fear and in the end you will be defeated.
As for us we have nothing to loose. He who swims in the ocean does not fear the rain. You have occupied our land, you have attacked our honor and dignity, you have spilled our blood, stolen our wealth, destroyed our homes and you have shattered our security. And we will give you the same treatment.
You have tried to prevent us from living with dignity, but you won’t be able to prevent us from dying with dignity. Sitting down and leaving Jihad behind in our religion is a great sin that we fear. And dying under the shade of the swords is the best that we wish for. Do not be deceived with your power and your armaments, it can only make you win some battles but you will loose the war. Patience and standing fast is better than what you have, and it’s the finish line that you should be watching for.
We were patient fighting the Soviet Union with small humble arms for ten years and we depleted their economy till they vanished, all praise be to Allah. You should take a lesson from that, we will be patient fighting you, Allah willing, till either one of us dies. We will never run away from fighting you until the end.
I swore that I will not die except free…. despite the bitter taste of death.
Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.
Osama bin Laden
19 Thw al-Hijjah 1426 A.H.
January 19, 2006
I realize that I am jeopardizing my life by publishing words that Eric Alterman and President Bush may not approve of, but I believe that I am acting in full accordance of the Constitution, particularly with respect to the First Amendment.
Free speech in this country is under serious threat, folks. Just ask Sherman Austin of Raise the Fist.
UPDATE: I picked up Rogue State - the book that Osama recommended (in the text above) Americans read, if you believe that was is written above is an accurate transcript of whatever video was shown on Arab tv. So far, it's awesome.
Hat tip: Salon.com - The bin Laden book club.