- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 15, 2001

The British government yesterday made public what it said was convincing evidence that Osama bin Laden plotted the September 11 attacks against the United States including excerpts from a secret video now circulating among the terror suspect's supporters.
The 23-page brief details the British government's contention that bin Laden, as head of the terrorist network al Qaeda, masterminded the September 11 attacks against the United States and that he operated with the connivance of Afghanistan's Taliban regime.
In part, the paper compiles statements made by bin Laden in the weeks after the attack that suggest his involvement.
"Here is America struck by God Almighty so that its greatest buildings are destroyed. I swear to God that America will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine, and before the army of the infidels departs the land of Muhammad."
In another incriminating statement attributed to a bin Laden spokesman, the September 11 attacks were described as "a good deed" that "transferred the battle into the U.S. heartland."
The spokesman reportedly continued: "The storm of plane attacks will not abate."
The paper, published in Parliament, included quotes the government said bin Laden uttered on a video that has not been broadcast but is circulating among his al Qaeda network members.
"The battle has been moved inside America, and we shall continue until we win this battle, or die in the cause and meet our maker," the document quotes bin Laden as saying.
According to Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman, the paper is meant to answer critics of the anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan. The details and sources of some of the evidence are not included, the brief explains, "but the facts are clear from the intelligence."
A preamble states that the document "does not purport to provide prosecutable evidence against Osama bin Laden," but its structure does resemble a legal brief.
Under a section headed "Background," the paper describes bin Laden's move to Afghanistan, his links with the Taliban regime, and al Qaeda's involvement in a number of attacks against the United States, including the 1993 deaths of 18 U.S. soldiers in Somalia.
Under a section headed "The Facts," the paper outlines the close ties between al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership, detailing how the two have shared resources, training facilities and an unbending Islamic doctrine.
In extended quotes, the paper details bin Laden's early statements inciting violence against the United States.
"We with God's help call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill Americans and plunder their money whenever and wherever they find it," bin Laden reportedly said in February 1998.
Over several pages, the brief unravels al Qaeda's structure and association with other terrorist groups worldwide, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The paper also claims that al Qaeda members pledge their personal allegiance to bin Laden.
The brief is designed in some measure to consolidate public support for the campaign in Afghanistan but with its breadth and detail, it could also form the basis for a legal case against bin Laden and his associates if they are apprehended.
Under international law, the British government could claim jurisdiction in such a case because many victims of the World Trade Center attack were British citizens.
"The British government has stressed the need to bring Osama bin Laden to justice," said Colin Harvey, law professor at Leeds University, in a telephone interview.
"In order to do that in a court of law, they need to prepare a convincing legal argument. The British government has been very careful with their documents and statements. They have been very legalistic."


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