- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 27, 2002

LONDON (AP) Osama bin Laden singled out Australia as an enemy of Islam because it helped East Timor win independence from Indonesia, according to a videotape broadcast yesterday by the British Broadcasting Corp.
In the brief video clip, which showed only a close-up of bin Laden's face, he said the "crusading Australian forces were on the Indonesian shores and they actually went in to separate East Timor, [which] is part of the countries of the Islamic world."
Bin Laden spoke in Arabic on the taped message that the BBC said was made in November last year.
The BBC's current affairs show "Panorama" suggested the message may have been a coded signal to extremists in Southeast Asia to begin preparing attacks against Australia.
It was not immediately known how "Panorama" obtained the tape.
A "Panorama" investigation into likely al Qaeda links to the Oct. 12 bomb attack on the Indonesian island of Bali was broadcast in Britain on Oct. 20 and around the world on the BBC World channel yesterday.
Australia led an international peacekeeping force into East Timor to stop a killing rampage by pro-Jakarta militias after East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia in 1999.
A Portuguese colony until 1974, East Timor remains a mostly Christian nation despite its 25 years of rule by Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country.
More than 90 Australians are believed dead or missing in the Bali bombings.
The main suspect in the bombing is Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which on Friday was placed on a U.N. list of groups and individuals with ties to al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, a German news magazine reported yesterday that passports for three of bin Laden's wives were found in the apartment of a Yemeni arrested last month in Pakistan who is believed to have been the key contact person between the Hamburg cell of September 11 plotters and al Qaeda.
Der Spiegel, which did not cite sources, said passports for an unspecified number of bin Laden's children also were found when Ramzi Binalshibh was arrested in Karachi last month. Binalshibh is now in U.S. custody.
Binalshibh maintains he doesn't know where bin Laden is, Der Spiegel reported, but acknowledged having met bin Laden's eldest son at a party in March.
Pakistani security officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed they did find passports purportedly belonging to some members of bin Laden's family, but that they were not sure they were genuine.
The passports were handed over to the FBI for confirmation, the officials said.
On Friday, a London-based Arabic magazine said it has obtained the will of bin Laden in which he accuses fellow Muslim leaders of betraying him in the face of the American campaign to destroy the al Qaeda movement.
The weekly magazine Al-Majallah said the typed will was dated Dec. 14, 2001, and signed by bin Laden. At that time, U.S. forces were bombing the al Qaeda stronghold at Tora Bora in Afghanistan where bin Laden was believed to have fled after the collapse of rule by the Taliban.
In the purported will, bin Laden accuses Muslim leaders of betraying him and "the students of religion," meaning the Taliban, the magazine said.
In the will, bin Laden directs his followers to postpone fighting "the Jews and the crusaders until you purge your ranks of the cowards and stooges."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide