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Osama bin Laden Tape - 2003-02-13


Al Jazeera, the Arabic television network, funded by the Government of Qatar has broadcast another audiotape it says is the voice of terrorist Osama bin Laden. The voice says it is a "message to our Muslim brothers in Iraq". It seems designed to boost the morale of the Iraqi people who face the possibility of war.

ALLEGED VOICE OF OSAMA BIN LADEN (Arabic)
"We are following with great concern the preparations of the crusaders to launch war on the former capital of Muslims and to install a puppet government that will be loyal to the Americans and Tel Aviv.”

Those who are familiar with bin Laden's voice say: "it sounds a lot like him…". But a technical analysis has not been completed.

ALLEGED VOICE OF OSAMA BIN LADEN (Arabic)
"We stress that this oppressive war, a war of infidels - that is led by America - and its coalition (will fail)…"

The Bush administration responded quickly with U.S. State Department Spokesman, Richard Boucher, also appearing on al Jazeera TV, repeating Secretary of State Colin Powell's position that there is a bond of "common hatred" of the U.S. by the al-Qaida terror network and Iraq.

RICHARD BOUCHER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN
"That is what brought them together, and I think that's really what you did have Bin Laden confirming today in this tape. In the tape he says, 'It doesn't matter if people are socialists, we're going to fight together with them, to destroy everything that we can.”

Mr. Boucher says the U.S., in his words, "is not claiming more than exists.”

RICHARD BOUCHER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN
"We're talking about contacts; we're talking about safe haven; we're saying Iraq has given a harbor to this group, and that, therefore, channels of communication exist…".

There has been interesting speculation about bin Laden's use of audio tapes, instead of video. They include: he may have been injured during an earlier battle in Afghanistan. He may want to keep experts from guessing where he is from the backgrounds in the pictures or he may have shaved his beard and changed his appearance to evade capture.

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