In a letter apparently written by Osama bin Laden, the late al-Qaeda leader denounced the corporate interests supposedly driving politics in the United States and hailed the courage of the country's Founding Fathers.
Yes, you read that right.
The letter is part of a tranche of more than 100 documents released Tuesday by the office of the Director of National Intelligence from the trove of material gathered after the 2011 raid on bin Laden's secret hideaway in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
These include missives sent by the al-Qaeda leader to accomplices, responses received as well as drafts of speeches and other rants he may have penned during his many years in hiding.
"The files reinforce the sense that bin Laden was increasingly anxious about security amid an escalating campaign of CIA drone strikes as the decade-long hunt for the al-Qaeda leader wore on," writes my colleague Greg Miller. "He also appeared increasingly disconnected from how much his organization had been degraded, calling on deputies to mount operations and fill positions even as they pleaded that they lacked capable recruits."
But one document, titled "To the American People," is particularly intriguing.
"I direct my talk specifically to those who support real change, especially the youth," it begins, before declaiming "the tyranny of the control of capital by large companies" that has evidently harmed the American economy.
The letter is undated but appears to be written around 2009, with references to the recent election of "Barack Husayn" and the "six years" of war waged by President George W. Bush in Iraq.
It goes on to bemoan the bailout of big banks during the Great Recession and then links the forces in play to the agenda of American warmongers and "Jewish" interests.
Your financial system in its totality was about to collapse within 48 hours had not the administration reverted to using taxpayer's money to rescue the vultures by using the assets of the victims. As for us, our Iraq was invaded in response to pressure from capitalists with greed for black gold, and you continue to support the oppressive Israelis in their occupation of our Palestine in response to pressures on your administration by a Jewish lobby backed by enormous financial capabilities.
The last charge is hardly a surprise, coming as it does from bin Laden, and carries echoes of the long-standing rhetoric of anti-imperialism that infuses jihadist messaging.
But the letter goes on to express some more astonishing concerns and, at times, sounds as if it could have been written by any anti-establishment politician in the United States. It prefaces a critique of the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United v. FEC ruling with this lengthy tirade against the political and corporate elites that control the levers of power.
The course of the policies of the present administration in several areas clearly reveals that whoever enters the White House, even with good intentions to safeguard the peoples' interest, is no more than a train operator. His only task is to keep the train on the tracks that are laid down by the lobbyists in New York and Washington to serve their interests first, even if it is counter to your security and economy. Any president who tries to move the train from the lobbyist's tracks to a track for the American people's interests will confront very strong opposition and pressures from the lobbyists.
It calls on young Americans not to embrace Republicans or Democrats but a "great revolution for freedom" that would empower Obama to make change.
"[That change] does not only include improvement of your economic situation and ensure your security, but more importantly, helps [Obama] in making a rational decision to save humanity from the harmful [greenhouse] gases that threaten its destiny," the letter advises. It does not go into any further details about the threat of climate change.
Now, at this point, you would think the jihadist letter writer would just cut to the chase and declare that the solution is simply to convert to his particularly puritanical form of Islam and embrace its edicts as law. But you would be wrong.
The letter recommends Americans "relive the history of their ancestors and the conditions in their country more than two centuries ago."
Read Thomas Paine, it urges (not the Koran).
"The British Parliament sided with corporations, then against the interests of the citizens," the letter states. "You have noticed the Congress’s stand with corporations against the peoples’ interests when they refused to legislate against interference in the elections by corporations."
Then it goes on to extol the convictions and endeavor of the United States' revolutionary heroes, who apparently would not want their country's policies hijacked by corporate interests, such as those of the British East India Co., that bogeyman of the late 18th century.
"You also are in need of men with courage and initiative like those of your forefathers at that time when they refused to allow one company to harm the interests of the United States, a company that had a monopoly on tea and its prices," the letter says.
It then extends the lesson to more familiar terrain, condemning what it deems the cabal of policymakers and shadowy interests that somehow perpetuate Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.
And it ends on a predictable note: "The United States shall pay for its arrogance with the blood of Christians and their funds. Peace be upon those who follow the righteous track."