The following are excerpts from a speech by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden addressing the American people in a videotape, parts of which were aired by the al-Jazeera television network, as translated by Reuters.
O American people, I am speaking to tell you about the ideal way to avoid another Manhattan, about war and its causes and results.
Security is an important foundation of human life, and free people do not squander their security, contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom. Let him tell us why we did not attack Sweden, for example.
It is known that those who hate freedom do not possess proud souls like those of the 19, may God rest their souls. We fight you because we are free and because we want freedom for our nation. When you squander our security, we squander yours.
I am surprised by you. Despite entering the fourth year after September 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you, and therefore the reasons are still there for a repeat of what happened.
God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers. But after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed -- when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. 6th Fleet.
In those difficult moments, many emotions came over me that are hard to describe, but that produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust.
As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and stop killing our children and women.
We had no difficulty in dealing with Bush and his administration because they resemble the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half by the sons of kings. . . . They have a lot of pride, arrogance, greed and thievery.
He [Bush] adopted despotism and the crushing of freedoms from Arab rulers and called it the Patriot Act under the guise of combating terrorism. . . .
We had agreed with the [the Sept. 11] overall commander Mohamed Atta, may God rest his soul, to carry out all operations in 20 minutes -- before Bush and his administration could take notice.
It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American forces would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone at a time when they most needed him because he thought listening to a child discussing her goat and its ramming was more important than the planes and their ramming of the skyscrapers. This gave us three times the time needed to carry out the operations, thanks be to God. . . .
Your security is not in the hands of [Democratic presidential candidate John F.] Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands, and each state that does not harm our security will remain safe.