Sunday, September 03, 2006

the audio/video club

three items for a labor day weekend:

1. a new videotape of Al-Zawahiri
CNN: A new videotape has surfaced featuring Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and an American member of al Qaeda wanted by the FBI, according to a counterterrorism expert. "We invite all Americans and believers to Islam," the American says. "Decide today, because today could be your last day."
2. and a old(Jan 2006) bin Laden audiotape,
BBC:US rebuffs Bin Laden 'truce call':
Arabic TV station al-Jazeera aired the tape, later authenticated by the CIA. The message contained threats of new attacks within the US and abroad, but US security officials said they would not raise the national threat level.

It is the first time Bin Laden has been heard from since December 2004. Analysts believe the tape dates from at least 22 November as the speaker refers to reports that President Bush planned to bomb al-Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar.
In his message, the man purported to be Bin Laden referred to the allegation of a US plan to attack al-Jazeera, calling Mr Bush "the butcher of freedom in the world".
The speaker on the tape said the reason there had not been an attack in the US since 11 September 2001 was not because of superior US security, but because the group had been engaged in activities in Iraq - and because operations in the US "need preparations".
3. Back to the present: Elanor Clift, in Newsweek:
"Expect Pre-Poll War Drums on Iran"

The same people who beat the war drums for invading Iraq are now leading the way within the administration and in the media for a preemptive strike in Iran. Crazy as it sounds with U.S. troops mired in Iraq, it could happen. “I’ve been in the camp that thinks they’re not that nuts to bomb these guys,” says Matt Bennett with Third Way, a centrist Democrat group. “But I’ve talked to a lot of senior smart Democrats who think they are that nuts.”
Apart from Clift talking about the GOP being as crazy as Bennett suggests, I don't buy any of it. Earlier this week Christiana Amanpour had a special on CNN in which one of her guests warned that an overture to conversion is a last step before Islamic fundamentalists attack, and right on cue, a Zawahiri video with the same theme pops up. As far as the OBL audio goes, we don't even know if he was alive, even in January 2006, and whether or not it was simply cobbled together from previous audiotapes, such as his previous offer of a truce. Ironically, both Bush and Zawahiri need him to appear to be alive, irrespective of the facts of the matter. And why on earth(see below) would OBL parrot GWB's talking points about how we need to fight terrorism there so they won't come over here?

and, the last bit from the BBC article:
Bin Laden offered Europe a similar pact following the Madrid train bombings of March 2004.

Correspondents say it is an attempt to frighten the public and drive a wedge between them and their governments, which say it is necessary to stay to distance in Iraq, not pull out troops. The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says that in the US the
immediate political effect of the tape will probably be to boost support for President George W Bush.