Bin Laden Denies attack was his.
September 16, 2001 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Bin Laden Denies attack was his. "I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation." Maybe it was the guy on the grassy knoll again?
posted by mathowie (47 comments total)
when he's working on getting weapons of mass destruction?

yeah right.
posted by bwg at 11:51 AM on September 16, 2001

Ah, big bad Bin Laden is 'fraid of the little o' United States? Looky, him scared because we are finally going to respond after all these years and all his "claimed" attacks.

Well, we're coming bitch and it ain't gonna be pretty!
posted by Brilliantcrank at 11:59 AM on September 16, 2001

I'm sure if he were in the position he could, Hitler would have said the same thing when the Russians were invading Germany...
posted by Aikido at 12:02 PM on September 16, 2001

For someone with a death wish, he seems awfully cowardly.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:06 PM on September 16, 2001

Um, hello? I have yet to see the FBI (or anyone else) release any info linking that attacks to Osama "vicious asshole" Bin Laden, outside of circumstantial evidence and a historical precedent. Now, Osama has denied he had any part in it.

Is it not wise to consider that he was not responsible, rather than spouting absurd rhetoric such as "We're coming bitch!", if only because this will distract from the search for the terrorists who were responsible?

The bloodthirstiness - the red-eyed, rage-blinded need for revenge, even against those who may be innocent - is rather frightening to me.
posted by Marquis at 12:09 PM on September 16, 2001

Even if he should be "innocent" in this particular case, he's responsible for several other terrorist attacks on the U.S. (USS Cole, the Embassy bombings etc.). That's reason more than enough to go after this barbarian fanatic.
posted by dagny at 12:12 PM on September 16, 2001

dagny, then why didnt we go after him before this?
posted by outsider at 12:17 PM on September 16, 2001

We didn't do enough when they hit the USS Cole. And they came back at us again. What's next? Of course killing innocent Afghans is wrong and should be avoided, but we must exterminate the Taliban and Bin Laden. There's nothing wrong with that, even if they are, by some odd chance, innocent of this.

Randall: Frightening.
posted by tomorama at 12:20 PM on September 16, 2001

then why didnt we go after him before this?

If I mention a certain Clinton here, it'll only start a flame-war, so I won't. Sort of.
posted by dagny at 12:26 PM on September 16, 2001

Exactly. Whatever his level of involvement, he's made himself too big a target to escape the fallout of this.
posted by Kikkoman at 12:27 PM on September 16, 2001

What? Running a terrorist organization with cells all over the world isn't enough?

Claiming responsibility for the USS Cole among other things? He was already indicted and being sought anyway. He's a killer and a coward like all terrorists.

Quite honestly I wonder myself, but it seems like the pilots involved all had ties to him and Al-Qaeda... he may be running a very sophisticated Mafia-like organization.

He had all week to proclaim his innocence, now he does it as the shit hits the fan?

The world would be a better place without bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.... from what I've been reading recently those poor Afghan people trying to flee their country would probably thank us....
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 12:27 PM on September 16, 2001

I think it's worth considering that he may not have done this. if you were *not* bin Laden, you'd have to know that he'd be the first person everyone would look at. cover your tracks even a little bit, and you'd probably buy yourself time to escape.

it's important that we not go after the wrong person.

extradite him on charges of former terrorist acts, and move very deliberately to determining who was behind this most recent act.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:28 PM on September 16, 2001

"extradite him on charges of former terrorist acts"

I can agree with that... he has more than enough to answer for as it is.

My question since last night still stands: If he really cared about all these people that are about to be strafed in Air Strikes... why not just surrender?

Then he really will be a hero to these people in Afghanistan.

I still say he's a chickenshit.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 12:35 PM on September 16, 2001

So he's thankful this happened, even if plenty of Islamic people were almost definitely in the building? Um, let's try to understand what's driving him . . . sure.
posted by raysmj at 12:37 PM on September 16, 2001

Whatever happened and whoever did it and whether or not they were of the flight-manual-leaving class it seems plain common sense that, if we are going to war against the terrorists, Bin Laden and his cronies, certainly guilty of masacres on other counts, seem like a perfectly acceptable starting point.
Sitting around for months sifting through the evidence is a task that, amazingly, can be done concurrently.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:42 PM on September 16, 2001

This reads like Clintonian doublespeak. "I stress that I have not carried out this act..." Yeah, as in: bin Laden wasn't personally on those planes, thus "he" did not carry out the act.
posted by aaron at 12:51 PM on September 16, 2001

"So Al Qaeda ... [is] not a secret organization at all, is it?

It's not a secret organization at all. It was common knowledge to many people who went there. ... Al Qaeda was public knowledge. It was a record of people who ended up in Peshawar and joined, and move from Peshawar to Afghanistan. It was very [benign] information. A simple record of people who were there just to make record available to bin Laden if he's asked by any family or any friend what happened to Mr. so-and-so. "

- PBS Documentary.

Are you people all sure that you are getting all the facts straight?
posted by incubus at 12:52 PM on September 16, 2001

I've been thinking this for a while now, and the mob-like rush to judgement isn't going to do anyone any good. The US needs to make a clear, compelling case against whatever target and then obliterate it. So far everything linking Bin Laden and this attack seems to be speculation and conjecture.

I've never encountered the World Tribune before, and don't know anything about them, but I found this article linking the bombings to Sadam Hussein through Bin Laden. Keep your BS filters on high though, I couldn't find any corroborating evidence or alternate account to validate this story.

Another interesting read, Hijacking Clues May Be Red Herrings from Stratfor raises questions about the obviousness of found clues that no one seems to be asking. This site as a whole has quite a lot of good information relating to the complexities of this event and relatiation on the world stage.
posted by joemaller at 12:55 PM on September 16, 2001

bin Laden also may not have directly ordered the attack, by some elaborate understanding of what a direct order is. And it might have been someone else's order, someone with a stronger association with a different tribe but bin Laden's assistance. Would it be better to snip off the figureheads first then chase down the remainders, or do you destroy the heads from underneath, leaving bin Laden looking like a solitary weakling? Guess what! Tough questions.
posted by argybarg at 12:55 PM on September 16, 2001

I think it's obvious that he has been involved in the 'broad picture' of training these people and they've been operating under an umbrella organization under his control. Perhaps the situation was one of 'Osama, I have a plan to unleash great destruction in America - Including the destruction of the World Trade Center' and Bin Laden's response of something like 'Wow, that's interesting. Keep me informed'. - In a strict sense Bin Laden did not carry out these acts, but he set up the situation that they were carried out under, and I'm sure he knew of them ahead of time and gave them his blessing.
posted by QrysDonnell at 12:55 PM on September 16, 2001

Um, aaron, how's about just doublespeak? That would've sufficed. We're not talking about having an affair or testimony about said affair here, OK? It's the murder of thousands of people, from throughout the globe, on American soil in its largest city. Save the partisan crap for another day.
posted by raysmj at 12:56 PM on September 16, 2001

Perhaps he take a cue from another famous falsely accused and start looking for The Real Killers™
posted by fooljay at 1:10 PM on September 16, 2001

joemaller: The US needs to make a clear, compelling case against whatever target...

Afraid it looks like that's just what is not going to happen: America widens its war targets and "up to 60 countries supporting perceived terrorists face the "full wrath" of American military might"

<.sarcasm>Gee, since that Bin Laden guy doesn't seem to have done it we'd better hit them all just to be sure<./sarcasm>

I'm appalled.
posted by arc at 1:12 PM on September 16, 2001

Here's a random thought: What if the US knew it wasn't bin Laden? A reasonable tactic would be to focus all attention on him, all to stage a surprise attack against the real perpetrators. They want to get bin Laden anyway, so it certainly doesn't hurt to let everyone think he's the "prime suspect". After all, this is going to be a long protracted war against terrorism.
posted by jgilliam at 1:12 PM on September 16, 2001

let me just mention that, as I understand it, bin Laden essentially gives our *grants* to those who wish to be terrorists. in other words, he may not mastermind *anything* he may just give out the money to those who do.

in any case, the US has to have an airtight case against him if we wish to appear in any way impartial and just in our actions against him.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:23 PM on September 16, 2001

It's interesting to note Bin Laden's rhetoric: it still leaves the question of his involvement wide open. He says he didn't 'carry out' the attack, but his followers might have; and that the perpetrators have their 'own motivation', a motivation which may have come from being under Bin Laden's leadership.
Seeing as Bush has just said that there is 'no question' Bin Laden carried out the attacks, there must be a FIRM basis for his conclusion...
posted by wibbler at 1:25 PM on September 16, 2001

It may just be he wasn't closely involved with these acts. We will learn more.

But, regardless, the fact that he has supported terrorism in the past and is still free is not tolerable. It must be clear, the world over, that every terrorist will be brought to justice.
posted by mattpfeff at 1:25 PM on September 16, 2001

I would be so much more convinced by that ananova article if it had a complete quote.
posted by rabi at 1:32 PM on September 16, 2001

When Laden says he didn’t come up with this plot, he’s probably telling the truth.

He did not claim responsibility for the USS Cole. All the people arrested in connection to the millenium bomb plots, embassy and Cole bombings were linked to Laden’s training camps or lieutenants in al-Qaida. The US only has a evidence that bin Laden trains terrorists, not that he masterminds entire operations.

re: the USS Cole: “The planning and execution of the bombing of the USS Cole appears similar to previous attacks linked to Osama bin Ladin's network. In particular, the use of small compartmentalized cells, who receive their instructions from persons unknown to them is typical of al-Qaidah's mode of operation. However, so far the only links to bin Ladin are circumstantial--the operational methods and the fact that the plotters were Afghan veterans, who shared bin Ladin's particular interpretation of Islam.”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Likely, bin Laden hasn’t masterminded any of these operations. I firmly believe he is just a rich, charismatic figurehead. Which doesn’t change the fact he needs to be stopped. We need to understand that if Laden is brought to justice terrorism won’t stop. al-Qaidah won’t stop either.
posted by raaka at 1:34 PM on September 16, 2001

Bin Laden's name came up on the radio about 30 minutes after the first plane crashed. At the time, I thought, geez -- is that the only bad guy you can think of?

But since then it's just been nothing but bin laden bin laden bin laden; nobody really seems all that interested in checking to see whether maybe there are some other people out there that might not have America's best interests at heart.

The other thing I keep hearing is, gosh, it must've taken years to plan; his group is the only one that could possibly have organized it. Which is patently absurd: the hard part is finding a bunch of guys willing to die for a cause; once you've covered that, it just doesn't seem that difficult to buy a handful of boxcutters and pocketknives, teach them enough about flying that they can steer into a building, and send them on their merry way... OK, so I'm being a bit facetious, it's not something you cook up over the weekend at the frat house. But it's not a moon landing, either. There are probably hundreds of groups around the world that could've done this if they really wanted to.

Yes, I think Osama Bin Laden is a bad guy. But you don't just go out and start killing bad guys on general principle. (And I know I'm going to get flak on that one, and it bothers me a lot.) I'm not saying he did or didn't do it -- my knowledge of middle eastern politics is about the same as the average American's -- which is to say diddly divided by squat. But I do hope like hell we find out for sure he did it before he takes the fall for someone else.
posted by ook at 1:45 PM on September 16, 2001

Here's a profile of Bin Laden by Robert Fisk, who's met him a couple of times and speculates he could well not be the bomber.
posted by Summer at 1:47 PM on September 16, 2001

He's a venture capitalist for terrorism. And just as we know what happened to the dot-com sector once the VC money stopped rolling in, we have to hope that by desiccating bin Laden's financial and ideological power, the capacity of his minions is wiped out.

I can't help, though, but wonder whether the War on Terrorism is set to be fought against the same protean enemies as the War on Drugs.
posted by holgate at 1:47 PM on September 16, 2001

And to as little effect. Let's hope not.
posted by ook at 1:59 PM on September 16, 2001

One of the problems in analyzing the whole thing is that Bin Laden has zero credibility. Then again it's possible that he was not directly involved in any of what went on this week.

Then again it was he who declared a Jihad on all american and israeli interests, military or civilian; and since we are on the slippery slope to war against all terrorism and not just the perpetrator of this week's actions, essentially he put his own head on the chopping block there. Whether or not he was directly involved in the hijackings it is clear that he condones this sort of action, and has unequivocally done so in the past.

Frankly I can't believe that any Muslim would want to consider him anything else than the lowest form of scum he is. The attacks on the US embassies in East Africa killed far more Muslims than Americans, and as such he has not only the blood of innocents, but more pointedly in this respect he has shed innocent Muslim blood and rejoiced in the attacks. And he has done so from the safety of his refuge thousands of miles away from the scene of the action. Those who wish to see him as a brave freedom fighter ought to consider this, and rethink his reputation.

Osama Bin Laden has acted much like a cockroach, which feels safe crawling about under the cover of darkness, and scatters when the lights are turned on.
posted by clevershark at 2:04 PM on September 16, 2001

Once the War on Terrorism starts, when does it end? What are the conditions for victory? When will we ever reach a situation where a politican can stand up and say, "It is now safe to reduce our military expenditures to pre-War on Terrorism levels, as the chance of any non-CIA supported terrorist group ever arising is now absolutely nil"?

Do we really need to INCREASE military funding for this? If the $300 billion+ annually allocated to the CIA and the Department of Defense isn't enough, what amount possibly will be?

The so-called War on Terrorism requires a refocusing and reconfiguring of our military, but it does require an enlargement of it.
posted by drywall at 2:05 PM on September 16, 2001

I think it's safe to say that the American response is not going to be limited to "get bin Laden." You don't need a war for that.
posted by aaron at 2:08 PM on September 16, 2001

You go, Ook. Right on.
posted by daver at 2:12 PM on September 16, 2001

Nuclear suitcase bombs?!

I think I just crapped myself. Just what the hell are we going to see in the future?
posted by dopamine at 2:57 PM on September 16, 2001

A scary, scary thought, especially for those of us searching for a reason that WMD (weapons of mass destruction) had NOT been used:

Isn't it at least possible that Bin Laden's organization, which is already rumored to have WMD, was uninvolved? Because if they WERE involved, and do have WMD - an assertion I've seen made many times - why would they not use them?

At very least, wouldn't Bin Laden take responsibility if the acts were his? He supposedly considers himself already dead, so why would he use some form of "legalese?"

I'm starting to think it's plausible that he's not the perpetrator, because he might understand that one WMD begets another (nuclear attacks), which even now, the US is unlikely to use. The threat of WMD is a greater bargaining chip than their use.

What if the guilty organization was not Bin Laden's, and in wiping them out - assuming that's even possible - we stir up that hornet's nest?
posted by Sinner at 4:12 PM on September 16, 2001

Jesus, that was incoherent. Another try:

If Bin Laden has WMD, wouldn't he use them? If not, why not? There has to be a reason (of course, "he doesn't have them," is one).

One possible answer is that he knows that he does not want to escalate this conflict beyond conventional weapons, for fear of nuclear retaliation.

And why deny responsibility? If the attacks were his, he becomes that much more of a hero to his followers. And most accounts say he wants to be martyred, anyway, so how much can he fear death.

All of that considered, if he is attacked, and my first point is accurate, might the US not tip his hand towards WMD?
posted by Sinner at 4:20 PM on September 16, 2001

It's interesting that he announces upcoming attacks, and after they happen, he denies being envolved. He doesn't have the guts to follow through.
posted by aaronshaf at 5:09 PM on September 16, 2001

Good thoughts raaka. I hope apprehending Laden does us at least... some good.
posted by aaronshaf at 5:11 PM on September 16, 2001

Seems never ending.... Going after bin laden even if he wasn't behind this would create a different war altogether. Even if he is behind this and was brought to justice, what happens about so many of his suicidal freaks who might strike back. killing all the terrorists at once doesn't seem feasible. We better make the right move or else.....
posted by pyr at 6:51 PM on September 16, 2001

The sad thing is, I'm not sure that there is such a thing as the right answer in this case...
posted by fooljay at 7:57 PM on September 16, 2001

Maybe it's just me, but I thing it's worth noting that if Bin Laden wasn't behind what happened, he sure as hell wishes he was. So he still needs to go down just as hard as those who actually did it.

The fact of the matter is that most of the victories in the "War Against Terrorism" will most likely come in the dead of the night, through the night-vision scope of a Delta Force or Navy SEAL soldier, and we'll never hear squat about it. But if Bin Laden, who deserves to be in those crosshairs as much as anyone, goes down in the process...that's fine with me.
posted by Cyrano at 9:35 PM on September 16, 2001

I'll say again -- quietly... you don't just go out and start killing the bad guys on general principle. If for no other reason that that we appear to be shockingly bad at it. Saddam Hussein seems to have come through his term as Designated Bad Guy pretty well, didn't he?

Seriously, though: doesn't the idea of the american government going out and assassinating people in secret strike you at all as a little bit, well, troublesome?

Gotta say this, and here's as good a place as any. I've been posting a lot of messages to MeFi over the past couple days that, taken as a whole, might sound a bit... er... unpatriotic, given recent events.

Here's the thing: the idea that there are people out there in the world who are willing to kill me, because I'm an American, scares the pants off me.

But the flailing, bloodthirsty way America seems willing to respond on my behalf has my pants, socks, shoes, BVDs, and a good bit of epidermis flying into the next time zone.

I mean, c'mon. Two weeks ago, if somebody had seriously posted on MeFi that it would be a good idea for the CIA to hunt down and kill, in secret, anyone they think is Bad, he'd have been laughed off the boards.

Wouldn't he?

Maybe we were just complacent and spoiled before, and this is a taste of what the real world is like.

But god, I hope not.
posted by ook at 10:06 PM on September 16, 2001

Saddam Hussein seems to have come through his term as Designated Bad Guy pretty well, didn't he?

I'm not sure that his term has ended... He's simply been demoted to Vice-Designated Bad Guy...
posted by fooljay at 12:24 PM on September 17, 2001

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