Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
Anne Cavendish suspects, Tuesday, July 17, 2007, that the latest message from al-Zawahari is a fake (and we are inclined to agree).
Are the latest messages from al-Zawahari faked by US Intelligence?
WHILE glad to learn that al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had expressed a desire that you should receive a knighthood for your work as a historian, I was even more pleased that you should decline this dubious honour in advance. ("We are quite happy as we are, thanks, Ayman.")
Here are some relevant facts which I think you and your readers ought to consider carefully. Though many taped messages have purportedly been issued by Osama bin Laden (OBL) and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, not one of them after September 9, 2002 has been authenticated as genuine by independent experts such as the Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial Intelligence based near Lausanne [Institut Dalle Molle d'Intelligence Artificielle Perceptive, now the IDIAP Research Institute].
The only "experts" to validate these tapes have been those same intelligence agencies whose reputation for deceiving the public is now legendary.
Thus genuine video tapes delivered to al-Jazeera TV in late 2001, featuring an emaciated and white-bearded OBL disclaiming responsibility for 9/11, offer a bizarre contrast to the November 9, 2001 video tape -- mysteriously "discovered" by American soldiers in an abandoned house in Jalalabad -- in which a suspiciously plump and black-bearded OBL is suddenly found fessing up to 9/11.
Bin Laden was not a man given to lying. On September 16, 2001 he issued this message to al-Jazeera, referring to the catastrophe of the Twin Towers:
"I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation."
The real perpetrators of 9/11, in OBL's estimate, were Israeli intelligence and their neoconservative accomplices in America.
Such an explosive "conspiracy theory" could hardly be allowed to take root in American minds. It was therefore necessary to pin down the blame for 9/11 on OBL and a bunch of jihadis armed with box-cutters. Hence the need for a whole slew of bogus tapes in which an actor playing the part of OBL accepts full responsibility for 9/11, thereby giving America and Britain a pretext for pulverising the Muslim world and plundering its resources.
BIN Laden is almost certainly dead. An obituary notice announcing his funeral appeared in al-Wafd (an Egyptian newspaper) on December 26, 2001. It became perfectly safe after this date to issue bogus OBL tapes ad nauseam, threatening the west with fire and brimstone, given that the real OBL was no longer around to deny the authenticity of the same tapes.
I should like to suggest that recent statements attributed to OBL's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, including the suggestion that the Queen should give you a knighthood, are also likely to be bogus. The most telling evidence is this. Recent threats against the west are no longer emerging exclusively from tapes delivered to al-Jazeera, but from an entirely new source: a jihadi website called al-Hesbah. "Is Britain longing for al-Qaeda bombings?" screams a recent headline on this website.
According to MEMRI, the Israeli propaganda website, al-Hesbah is one of the five most dangerous websites in the world.
And now for the big surprise. "The al-Hesbah chat room," a letter in The Guardian (July 3) informs us dryly, "is registered with a domain-registration company in Scottsdale, Arizona, and it is one that hides the identity of the original registrar."
The correspondent, M A Vidal, says he finds it strange that terrorist websites should be allowed to flourish in places like Texas and Virginia -- in short, that Domains by Proxy should be allowed to confer anonymity on terrorists operating on American soil, all under the implacable eye of Homeland Security!
My conclusion? It is also possibly yours. That there is something fishy about al-Hesbah. This "terrorist" website is probably being run by the usual suspects! Some of its bloodcurdling quotes sound like badly written pastiche. ("Rejoice, by Allah, London shall be bombed!") As for that audio tape, Mr Irving, in which Ayman al-Zawahiri is so anxious to confer a knighthood upon you, how can you be sure this is the real al-Zawahiri speaking and not an American/Israeli imposter?
As I write this, a new bogus bin Laden tape has been released, together with the doubling of the bounty on OBL's head to $50m. All these fake tapes and phoney websites are signs of desperation. The torturers of Abu Ghraib have lost the war on terror; and bin Laden, wherever he is, knows it and is secretly rejoicing.
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