Thursday, July 29, 2004

Osama and the Bomb

I have been reading he 9/11 commission final report and hope to have an article written soon about it. On page 112 there is the admission that "sooner or later bin Laden is going to strike the United States and he may use WMDS."   Here's an article from 2001 from Yoram Schweitzer of ICT that bears reading

Osama and the Bomb
A Grain of Truth?
Yoram Schweitzer
ICT Researcher
Recently the international media has been much peoccupied with Osama bin Laden’s statement to a Pakistani reporter, according to which he possesses nuclear capability. In another interview, bin Laden was quoted as saying that only if the U.S. uses non-conventional weapons against him, would he respond in an equal manner.
Bin Laden’s declarations as to his motives and capabilities, particularly those made in the past month, should be examined within the context of his psychological warfare against his declared enemies—a type of warfare at which he is a past master.
Bin Laden opened his campaign back in 1996, with his “declaration of war” against the West. This was followed by his announcement in February ‘98 of the establishment of the “International Front for Jihad against the Crusaders and the Jews.” Then, in May 1998, in a now famous interview with ABC, he openly threatened, in front of the TV cameras, to murder American citizens arbitrarily, because of their country’s policy towards the Moslems worldwide and because of the American control of the Islamic Holy Sites. Since then, bin Laden and his associates have succeeded in perpetrating devastating terror attacks, climaxed by the terror campaign in the heart of the U.S. in September 2001.
Since U.S. President Bush’s declaration of war on international terrorism and the beginning of the campaign in Afghanistan, bin Laden and his senior aides have been interviewed several times on Qatar’s Al-Jezeera TV, which has become an important channel for Al-Qaida’s propaganda channel and threats. In these appearances, bin Laden and his colleagues have taken great pains to stress their ability to mortally harm their enemies, while at the same time attempting to convey the seemingly contradictory impression that al-Qaida and the Taliban are innocent victims of American aggression.
What is interesting is the shift in bin Laden’s tone with regard to non-conventional weapons—a shift that was obvious in his latest interview with the Pakistani reporter. In previous interviews, in 1999, he claimed that the acquisition of non-conventional weapons was an Islamic religious duty, and he resolutely evaded the question as to whether he was in possession of such weaponry. Now, however, he openly declares that he does indeed have such weapons.
The source of this about-face is not hard to find. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for bin Laden to have a deterrent capability. His latest announcement must be seen as serving this interest. Bin Laden knows that the growing impatience of America’s allies with the slow progress of the war can be turned to his advantage. So long as the U.S. and its allies fail to effectively neutralize the threat posed by bin Laden and the Taliban to the rest of the world, bin Laden can continue to intimidate and deter the public opinion upon which the campaign against him depends.
Despite the fact that bin Laden has demonstrated that he would not hesitate to carry out mass “non-conventional” killings as far as the number of casualties is concerned, he has, until now, used conventional weapons. His proclamation that he has succeeded in obtaining nuclear weapons should be taken with a grain of salt. Larger and more established regimes have for years endeavored, and failed, to achieve practical nuclear capability.
Nevertheless, meticulous attention should definitely be paid to his creative ability. Bin Laden did not invest in aircraft, offensive equipment or explosives in order to carry out the September 11 attacks. Instead, he simply used his opponents’ tools against them. By taking control of four passenger airliners using minimal resources, he succeeded in perpetrating the worst terror attack ever in the history of mankind.
The lesson should be clear to security and law enforcement officials worldwide. Stringent measures must be taken to inspect installations and non-conventional materials. We must not be taken by surprise again, should Osama bin Laden attempt to take advantage of complacency and negligence to turn our own weapons against us.

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