Bin Laden's Latest Anti-U.S. Diatribe To Be Aired Thursday

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

Pacific Rim Bureau ( - The Arabic al-Jazeera television station will Thursday broadcast in full a 33-minute video message by Osama bin Laden, in which the prime Sept. 11 suspect calls the attacks on the U.S. "blessed terror" and accuses America of having "an unspeakable hatred for Islam."

Excerpts released by the station during a news program Wednesday evening suggested the tape could have been made in early December. The full broadcast is scheduled to air at 1:35 p.m. EST.

Bin Laden said he was speaking two months after "the fierce crusade against Islam" was launched. The U.S. began its campaign in Afghanistan on Oct. 7.

Exactly when the recording was made is of considerable significance. Where bin Laden is, and even whether he has survived the heavy U.S. bombing in eastern Afghanistan, remains unknown.

Dressed in combat gear and with an assault rifle alongside him, bin Laden said "our terrorism against America" should be praised as it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing the U.S. to end its support for Israel.

Qatar-based Al-Jazeera said the video had arrived by an air courier service from an anonymous sender in Pakistan. The full recording would be broadcast at 1330 ET Thursday, it said.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the tape "nothing more than the same kind of terrorist propaganda that we've heard before."

Speculation about bin Laden's whereabouts continues. President Bush said at the weekend the fugitive may have tried to flee into neighboring Pakistan, although that country's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, said he was "reasonably sure" bin Laden was not there.

Musharraf also spoke of a "great possibility" that the terrorist may be dead.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition, Kenton Keith, told reporters in Islamabad Monday it was "quite possible" bin Laden could have been killed during the bombing of his suspected hideouts in Tora Bora.

But Keith said there was no specific information to back up that theory, and that the hunt was continuing.

Rumors circulating in Pakistan and the region range from sightings in remote areas of Pakistan to suggestions that he had escaped to Chechnya, Somalia or Saudi Arabia. One paper, Al-Akhbar, said bin Laden had ordered his followers to shoot him to create a martyr as U.S. forces closed in.

Another, the Pakistan Observer, quoted an unnamed Taliban commander as saying the al-Qaeda leader had died of lung disease earlier this month and was buried by a small group of stalwarts in Tora Bora.

Yet another paper, the Daily Dophar, offered a death of natural causes theory, except in its case, bin Laden had died from "kidney and stomach cancer."

According to the Saudi newspaper, Al Watan, bin Laden slipped into Pakistan last month, shaved off his trademark beard and underwent cosmetic surgery to alter his appearance.

In his weekend comments, Bush conceded that he did not know where bin Laden was.

"But I can tell you this," he added. "We're going to find him."

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow