Like all of Osama bin Laden's previous messages to the West, his most recent communiqué contains three Ladenese trademarks — lying, defying, and demoralizing — that are always present whenever the al Qaeda chieftain addresses the West.
That bin Laden has publicly lied before, there is no doubt. After the strikes of 9/11, he repeatedly denied any direct responsibility. It was only in a message delivered in late 2004 — after more than three years of dissembling — that bin Laden first indicated that he was in fact involved in the strikes of 9/11.
Finally, in this latest message, bin Laden casually declares his master role in commissioning 9/11:
In truth, he [Moussaoui] has no connection with 9/11, and I am certain of what I say, for I was responsible for commissioning the 19 brothers, and I did not commission brother Zacarias to join them in that operation…. Brother Moussaoui was arrested two weeks before the events [of 9/11]: so if he knew anything about the 9/11 group, we would have notified commander Mohammad Atta and his brethren — Allah have mercy on them — of America's treachery immediately, before their operation was discovered.
In light of bin Laden's mendacity, what good is his word now — about anything — when he openly lied in front of the whole world then?
Bin Laden tries to vindicate Moussaoui by saying that when the wannabe terrorist confessed to his complicity in the 9/11 plot, he (too) was only lying: "His [Moussaoui's] confession that he was commissioned to participate in those strikes is false…"
So confirmed liar bin Laden tries to exonerate liar Moussaoui by saying that the latter was only lying?
None of this should be surprising since certain Muslims believe that lying and deceit in general are legitimate in Islam, if one is trying to empower or defend Islam and Muslims. This is known as the doctrine of Taqiyya, and al Qaeda has made clear in its numerous treatises that it endorses this doctrine. Bin Laden's right-hand man, Aymin al-Zawahri, writes: "We grin to the faces of some peoples, though our hearts curse them….Protection is not accomplished with deeds but with the tongue …. [D]emonstrate friendship to the infidels with your tongues, while harboring hostility towards them….The Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, said, 'War is deceit.'
Nor is Taqiyya-style lying to be conflated with the typical lies of realpolitik, the latter so prevalent in the Cold War era and thus overlooked here in the West. Unlike the lies, exaggerations, and half-truths of Western politicians (which range from the selfish to the practical), the deceptions of al Qaeda are ultimately geared for one purpose alone — seeing the West (infidelity) destroyed and Islam made supreme.
Thus bin Laden's motives in directing this recent message to the U.S. have nothing to do with exonerating the rabid anti-American Moussaoui. Today the latter is a moot point and bin Laden knows it. Instead, bin Laden's deceptions are wrought for two greater purposes — defying and demoralizing the U.S.
Aside from maintaining Moussaoui's innocence, bin Laden goes on to defy the U.S. by constantly portraying al Qaeda and its members as untouchables, while simultaneously depicting U.S. actions as a great injustice against humanity, thereby demoralizing American resolve:
I am also certain when I say that all of the hostages at Guantanomo — who were captured between 2001 and the first half of 2002, and whose numbers are in the hundreds — have no connection whatsoever with the events of 9/11. What's even stranger is that none of them have any connection with al Qaeda from the start. More amazingly, some of them even disagreed with al Qaeda's call to battle America!… In sum, I say that all of the prisoners up to this day have no connection to the events of 9/11, nor did they even know about it…. This is the truth, as Bush and his administration know it, though they refrain from mentioning it for reasons that cannot be hidden from any intelligent person. One, for instance, is the need to justify the hundreds of billions spent on the Defense Department and arms in their war against the mujahideen.
With classic bin Laden flare, the al Qaeda leader establishes that the U.S. war against the terrorist organization is hopeless — not a single one of that "Alcatraz for terrorists" prison camp is an al Qaeda member or affiliate. Indeed, we are told, some of them opposed bin Laden. And while he freely admits that he orchestrated the 9/11 strikes, drawing first blood, he now portrays the war as Bush's initiative to make some quick cash.
In the end, however, bin Laden comes clean and confesses why he is communicating all this to the American people, by, ironically, once again appealing to "truth":
"I mention these truths not because I have any hope that Bush and his party will treat our brethren with justice — for this is not something any intelligent person could expect — but instead to show you how oppressive, outrageous, and tyrannical your administration is in their [ab]use of power."
In fact, this is what bin Laden always strives for in his messages — to portray Bush and his administration as "oppressive, outrageous, tyrannical," et. al.
All partisan politics aside, however, any "intelligent person" — to use bin Laden's terminology — will realize that whenever double-talking Osama, the self-proclaimed enemy of the U.S., who issued a fatwa in 1998 obligating Muslims to kill and plunder every American they come across — whenever this same man attacks and defames the Bush administration, he is unwittingly demonstrating that they are doing something right to defeat terrorism. Otherwise, why constantly bother trying to turn U.S. public opinion against them?