Purported bin Laden speaks up

The Associated Press
Monday October 07, 2002

CAIRO, Egypt – The Arab satellite station al-Jazeera broadcast an audiotape Sunday in which a male voice attributed to Osama bin Laden said the “youths of God” are planning more attacks against the United States. 

“By God, the youths of God are preparing for you things that would fill your hearts with terror and target your economic lifeline until you stop your oppression and aggression” against Muslims, said the voice in the audiotape. 

It wasn’t immediately clear when the tape was made. The short message was broadcast with a picture of bin Laden in the background. 

Bin Laden said his message was addressed to the American people, whom he urged to “understand the message of the New York and Washington attacks which came in response to some of your previous crimes.” 

“But those who follow the activities of the band of criminals in the White House, the Jewish agents, who are preparing for an attack on the Muslim world ... feel that you have not understood anything from the message of the two attacks,” he said. 

Qatar-based al-Jazeera has become known for its broadcast of audio and videotapes of al-Qaida leaders. Last month, it aired excerpts from a videotape in which a voice said to be bin Laden’s is heard naming the leaders of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers. 

Until then, bin Laden had not been heard from since shortly after the U.S.-led bombing campaign began in Afghanistan last October. 

An interview al-Jazeera said one of its correspondents conducted in June with two top al-Qaida fugitives was aired to correspond with the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Shortly afterward, U.S. officials announced one of the fugitives had been captured in Pakistan. 

American officials have called the network biased in its coverage of the war on terrorism, the Israeli-Arab conflict and U.S. Mideast policy. Al-Jazeera journalists say they strive to tell all sides of events from the Arab and Muslim point of view, and they have angered Arab governments as often as they have Washington. 

The satellite station, initially funded by the Qatari government, began operations in November 1996. It is editorially independent of the government, which has its own official station to broadcast its point of view.