January 11th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Paid maternity leave: who benefits?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: 2002: when the chickens came home to roost

EVENTS: Claudio Betti to visit Australia

BIOETHICS: Embryo battle was worth the fight

STRAWS IN THE WIND: To America with love, from Osama bin Laden

LETTERS: Real world (letter)

LETTERS: Comparisons (letter)

PROFILE: Dr George Pell: Australia's leading churchman

SOUTH ASIA: India's ethnic conflicts

COMMENT: In the wake of the Cultural Revolution

BOOKS: The Life of Matthew Flinders, by Miriam Estensen

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To America with love, from Osama bin Laden

by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, January 11, 2003
To America - with love:
The collected thoughts of Osama bin Laden

Following upon the success of Alastair Cooke, Osama bin Laden has just penned his own letter to America. Bin Laden sets out a reply to two questions directed at the Americans: a) Why are we fighting and opposing you? b) What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

The answer to the first is: "Because you attacked us and continue to attack us", and, "you attacked us in Palestine". "Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years."

Before then, there were the Ottomans, for a very long time. Slavery was only banned in that empire in the late 19th Century, though continuing to be practised in many parts. The infidel British Navy had, meanwhile, virtually destroyed the Arab slave trade, which had taken over from the West as the principal scourge of the exposed parts of Africa. Of course, we don't hear much of this from our Left historians.


I don't know whether bin Laden should add the actions of the perfidious Royal Navy patrols to his list of Western crimes. From what I've gleaned from the bin Laden thesis, the Palestinians only suffer when their occupiers - and they have usually been occupied - are Western.

But yes, the setting up of a Jewish homeland - based originally on the idea of coexistence - was, in hindsight, probably a mistake, because it has finished up denying others their rights so that you may obtain, and maintain, yours.

But despite all his references to the past, bin Laden is a man of the present, and the future. The group in Palestine perhaps closest to his view is Hamas, likely to take over from Arafat. They reject even a settlement that would have Israel returned to her 1948 borders. Also, the Right of Return of some four million Palestinian refugees would be mandatory.

Presumably any other Palestinians in the Diaspora or their descendants would have a similar Right of Return.

Obviously, this would make for an impossible demographic, political and cultural situation - at this point in time - and a proposal that neither Israel, nor any sovereign state, could accept.

I take it that this is the bin laden/Hamas position: deliver a demand that no one can accept, then make it a cause celebre (like Austria' s ultimatum to Serbia in 1914).

And if the friends of the nation which says "no" to the unacceptable, support her position - even aid her in the ensuing conflict - then they are also enemies of the righteous ones; not simply of the Palestinians, but the enemies of the self-appointed leaders and spokesmen for what may be a minority of Muslims … purportedly expressing the true wishes of all Muslims; and using the authority of the Koran.

These are familiar, even overly-familiar, tactics for those of us who study the history of conflicts; of political propaganda; and of political and religious extremisms and fanaticisms.

But to move on.

"The Americans attacked us in Somalia, support Russian atrocities in Chechnya and Indian oppression in Kashmir."

"The governments of our countries, under your supervision, control, etc, attack us on a daily basis. They prevent us from establishing the Islamic sharia using violence and lies to do so."

"They place us in a large prison of fear and subdual.

(Not like the delicious freedom enjoyed by Afghans under the Taliban, or women and unbelievers in Northern Nigeria now.)

"These [corrupt Muslim] governments have surrendered to the Jews."

"After America has attacked us for more than half a century, that we will then leave her to live in security?"

As to the West saying this does not justify aggression against civilians - well … Americans choose their governments freely, so have supported the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. They pay for the bombers in Afghanistan; the armies and navies blockading Iraq; and the money sent to the Jews.

So, presumably, all Americans and many Westerners are complicit. They are all legitimate targets for revenge.

"Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge."

Question: "What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?"

Answer: "The first thing we are calling you to is Islam."

"The second thing we call you to is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you. You must be a people of manners, principles, honour and purity, to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxication, gamblings, and trading with interest."

"You are the worst civilisation witnessed by the history of mankind. You are the nations that permit usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. As the result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life, making you their servants."

So there.

In passing, this closely reasoned analysis of the world political, financial and economic system provided by our friend, approaches the logical rigour of Lyndon La Rouche's people, e.g., their book Dope that tells us that all the world's drug rings are part of one big system headed by the Queen of England (no kidding).

But if the Jews have cornered all the money, it might explain why al Qaeda, the Taliban, the KLA and so many Muslim terrorist groups are heavily in to selling drugs, trading in arms, money-laundering and people smuggling. (Approved by the Koran?)

Bin Laden did earlier describe Islam as "the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights. It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart."

Bin Laden would have to say that his actual deeds, as against his professed behaviour, are alas necessary means to a glorious end. It might be simpler to label him and his friends as bloodstained hypocrites and apostates, which is what many Muslims are saying, and that he demeans their religion and brings unmerited disgrace upon his co-religionists. That is the interpretation I buy.


Not that this creates problems for his Western admirers - who have iron stomachs and stone hearts. They have cheered on Lenin and Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Mugabe; and idealised every terrorist groups that's turned up (except the Stern Gang and the Irgun). So bin Laden presents few problems for them.

Bin Laden then lays down a set of conditions which America and her friends in the West must accept or else face the vengeance of Allah.

I'll just say that they amount to the West being prepared to abandon its friends, many of its institutions and social practices, and that America, in particular, should virtually relinquish all attempts to influence the international system, and leave it to face the winds of chance, and the hurricane of Muslim fundamentalism.

Most especially, the US must stop protecting the governments of Muslim nations, so they can then confront the full power of the fundamentalists and accept the imposition of sharia law - as it was enforced in Afghanistan and is now operating in northern Nigeria.

What do the Western sympathisers of bin Laden - especially the feminist members - think of this? For bin Laden is serious, even if they are not. He is not playing a game, whereas, most likely, most of his Western sympathisers are. And the al Qaeda leader has spoken elsewhere of the Islamicisation of the world as the ultimate goal.

The only reason bin Laden gives for agreeing to any of his demands is the threat of force. The weapon of the would-be tyrant or conqueror through the ages. The only reason why he, or for that matter Saddam, are still in the game, is because of their sympathisers in the West (and I don't mean Muslims living in the West). The same people who went around France in the Thirties saying "Better Hitler than Blum" (a moderate socialist Prime Minister, by the way); or "Better Stalin than Blum".

The first lot went on to support the Vichy Government, Hitler's stooge creation. The second lot pined for the arrival of the Communists. They were fated to be disappointed - for in the end America and Britain stood in the way.

The French Left have never forgiven the Anglos for that. During the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the Judas cry was, "better Hitler (and Stalin) … than any French Government".

Saddam and bin Laden can count on the same kind of people now. But at least bin Laden has put it to us straight and we should be grateful; even if it all does come over as a bad remake of Mein Kampf: with the Balfour Declaration taking the place of the Versailles Treaty; the West Bank, etc, as the Lost Territories; America the villain instead of perfidious Albion; the indispensable Jews as the real demons to be exorcised; the usual suspects - homosexuals, druggies, alcoholics, and the sexually permissive (you Beautiful People should be especially attentive at this point, because I think the man is talking about you, as was Adolf).


Both pieces of great, pathological literature denounce big business, the banks, capitalist materialism. As he approached the seizure and then the assumption of power, Hitler began to say he really meant Jewish capital, banks, materialism and international financial power, as doubtless would bin Laden. He meant Jewish and Western bankers. His is not to be a world where everyone lives on dates and rides donkeys. That would be for the untermensch. The Unbelievers would possibly enjoy the fate of the Jews, the Communists and the homosexuals in the Third Reich.

So we are looking at two varieties of fascism - from the rabid section. Race is the key organising concept in one version, and religion and race (the white race) in bin Laden's delusional system.

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