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Will The Real Osama Stand Up?

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

10 September, 2007

It took a few minutes to sink in – the new tape of Osama Bin Laden that was shown and analyzed on MSNBC’s Keith Oberman show on Friday, September 7, 2007. Perhaps the most striking thing was his black beard. From all accounts, what sets OBL apart from others, even his most devout followers, is his devotion to Islam*. While Islam allows the trimming of the moustache, it calls for fully growing the beard in full. Henna, a known dye, is permissible in Islam as not only does it have medicinal qualities, but it may be used to enhance beauty – in women. How likely is it that OBL who is a strict adherent of fundamental Islam, would dye his beard and trim it to appear in front of a camera in order to meet the expectations of the ‘Western terrorist specialists’?

What was said was even more suspicious. OBL was said to have been surprised that the democrats were not able to bring the troops home. The intended message by ‘OBL’ was that Democrats may have House majority, but they are as impotent as they have always been and clearly the Cheney/Bush team are the emperors running the world.

I was even more shocked to hear him endorse books by two American authors, one of them being Noam Chomsky’s “American Imperialism”. Here my head started spinning. It was far graver than Mr. Bush addressing the APEC audience OPEC. American Imperialism was authored by non other than Michael Scheuer, a superhawk who was the top CIA agent for years tracking OBL. Chomsky wrote “Hegemony or Survival; America’s Quest for Global Dominance” 2004. oops – Is the word ‘intelligence’ an oxymoron in this country or what?

Given the benefit of the doubt, or lost in translation, I have to wonder how ‘OBL’ being on the run and being pursued by the world’s greatest military, the only superpower, and while hiding in a cave with a bounty of $50m on his head, got the book in the first place? Perhaps if we followed DHL to some place in Bora Bora, we may catch him dying his beard while reading Chomsky. My guess is that this was a smear campaign to connect Chomsky to al-Qaeda. Here is a brilliant intellectual who speaks to the truth and spills the beans on American foreign policy, what better way to destroy his reputation than to have America’s number one enemy, the leader of al-Qaeda, endorse his work?

And finally, there is the fear factor. As a judge slams down parts of the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, it would seem that Mr. Bush has found a way to remind the American public that they should remain petrified. Nothing intimidates a nation better than fear, not even ignorance. Mr. Bush said the message was "a reminder of the dangerous world in which we live". CIA director Michael Hayden, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Friday, warned that al-Qaeda was plotting new attacks on the US. "Our analysts assess with high confidence that al-Qaeda's central leadership is planning high impact plots against the American homeland," he said. “[i]

Fear will allow more liberties to be taken away. Not only will there be justification for the troops to remain in Iraq, as planned, but there will be justification for another war – Iran. The options are in the air – the nuclear armed B-52 bombers, all that is needed is a panicked populace. There was never a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq. With persistent lies, this White House committed genocide in Iraq. With the same lies, they are planning genocide next door.

* Osama Bin Laden framed his anti-US arguments in the language of Islam, but what he was, and continues to voice, is anti-colonist sentiments. The banner of Islam broke the geographical boundaries to fight and imperial power that had sprawled all over the Moslem world.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has lived and studied in Iran, the UK, France, and the US. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is currently pursuing her education in Middle East studies and Public Diplomacy. Soraya has done extensive research on US foreign policy towards Iran and Iran’s nuclear program. She can be reached at


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