Posted Monday, December 17, 2001

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On December 12, 2001 the Pentagon released a videotape (and translation) allegedly showing Al Q'aida leader Osama bin Laden in conversation with other Arab potentates. Controversy rages about its authenticity and content.

Official newspaper of the Arab Baath Socialist Party -- Iraq

Baghdad, Sunday 16 December 2001.

Issues and Opinions: The Alleged Video Tape: what America gains and loses from it.

By Adnan Shihab Hamad

THE American information agencies, using their well known channels, have bestowed on us a new tumultuous commotion concerning the American army's discovery in Afghanistan of a video tape that recorded Osama Bin Laden discussing something related to the events that occurred on the 11th of September this year in the United States of America.

First of all, and before I deal with what I want to deal with in this article, I want to explain that I am not going to deny the truth or exactness of what appears on the tape or the exactness or truth of the existence of the tape itself, despite my own convictions regarding this commotion and these claims. Thus, I will suppose that the existence of the tape is a fact and that what appears in it is exactly correct in order that I might discuss this topic from the angle that I want to deal with and only for the sake of argument.

America aroused the world at the beginning of these events when it said that it had sufficient proof to convict Osama bin Laden and his organization of the events that took place on 11 September. It activated its diplomatic and intelligence agencies in an extraordinary way to send envoys and agents to deliver a message to many of the world's countries in an effort to convince them to convict and, based on that to convince them of the legitimacy of the military action that America intended to under take on that basis. In other words, that meant, from the American standpoint, that its agencies were able to get at the facts about, and persons who were responsible for, the 11 September events. This means, if American claims are true, that a search for additional proof was unnecessary, particularly since America considered the proofs it already had were so definitive and irrefutable that it actually launched its aggression relying on those claims and using those proofs as justification.

Let us return to the subject of the video and the happy way that the news was presented and the surprising way that its contents were presented. In the light of the video, America claimed that its military action was proven correct and appropriate as it claimed, because the video represented a proof that Osama bin Laden and his organization were responsible for the events of September.


SO, was America lying when it first made its claims, before it had found the video? Did it in fact have no proof then? Is its aggression thus a double indictment for America, first for its aggression against an innocent people, and secondly for its not having any proof to justify for that aggression? Of course, even if it had proof in fact, it would still have been possible for it to deal with the problem on the basis of the existing international laws, regulations, and agreements that govern the treatment of such events. But on the other hand, what if America was truthful from the beginning? In which case it had no need of the additional proofs or of the sideshow antics connected with the discovery of the tape, the way the news was presented, and then regarding its contents. Is it appropriate for a "great" power, with a "powerful" army, possessed of the "most modern" technical services to get involved in this type of show business? Who will affirm that the US is telling the truth this time when they were lying the first time? What keeps someone who has already lied from lying yet again?

Thus this latest effort works to the detriment of America and not in its favor and leads one to condemn America and not take it seriously.

These facts point to an important matter. It behooves the world to be wary of America's claims and its actions that are based on those clams because, as events have demonstrated, it is not truthful but is, rather, stumbling about. Such American actions cannot be put down as plusses but rather as minuses. They constitute a clear indictment of the aggressive actions that it is committing or intends to commit as we hear from time to time.

Related items on this website:

 Letter from Arabist Eric Mueller about these articles
 Articles in Saudi newspaper ash-Sharq al-Awsat
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