by Enver Masud
Bin Laden is the “prime suspect” in the September 11 attacks, said President Bush on September 17, 2001, and pledged to capture him “dead or alive.”
Bin Laden, in a September 28, 2001 interview with the Pakistani newspaper Ummat, is reported to have said:
I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle.
Experts dismiss the video tape “discovered in a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan” which allegedly shows Bin Laden confessing to the September 11 attacks (NPR, September 13, 2001)—another lucky find, like the passports in the rubble of the World Trade Center, and at the Flight 93 “crash site.”
In a December 20, 2001 broadcast by German TV channel Das Erste “two independent translators and an expert on oriental studies found the White House’s translation not only to be inaccurate, but manipulative.”
In a radio interview with Kevin Barrett, Prof. Bruce Lawrence, editor of Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, called the video “bogus.”
As of July 2008, the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists web page makes no reference to Bin Laden being wanted for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The FBI states:
Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world.
When asked why is there no mention of 9/11 on the FBI’s web page, Rex Tomb, the FBI’s Chief of Investigative Publicity, is reported to have said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”
In the months leading up to September 11, 2001, the Taliban “outlined various ways bin Laden could be dealt with. He could be turned over to the EU, killed by the Taliban, or made available as a target for Cruise missiles” (Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch, November 1, 2004).
On September 20, 2001 the Taliban “offered to hand Osama bin Laden to a neutral Islamic country for trial if the US presented them with evidence” that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The US rejected the offer (George Monbiot, Guardian, November 11 2003).
“The Bush administration said yesterday,” reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (September 24, 2001), “that it would release evidence that Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden masterminded the attacks” on 9/11.
I am absolutely convinced that the al-Qaida network, which he heads, was responsible for this attack,” Secretary of State Colin Powell said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Powell said the government would “put before the world, the American people, a persuasive case that … it is al-Qaida, led by Osama bin Laden, who has been responsible.
The Bush administration’s case, Powell’s case, has yet to be “put before the world”.
On March 29, 2006, on The Tony Snow Show, Vice President Dick Cheney stated: “So we’ve never made the case, or argued the case, that somehow Osama Bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming.”
On September 11, 2001, several military exercises were taking place: Vigilant Guardian, Vigilant Warrior, Northern Guardian, Northern Vigilance. What role, if any, these played on 9/11 has not been explained.
Update: 9/11 Mastermind, Bin Laden, Assassinated in Pakistan