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[ Terrorism ]

"There is a very thin line between a terrorist and a freedom fighter.A terrorist who, somebody does something that you don't agree with, a freedom fighter is somebody who does something that I agree with. ... So, today's terrorist is tomorrow's reedom fighter. Or today's freedom fighter could be tomorrow's terrorist." -- Ahmed Sattar

Osama bin Laden has become Americas most wanted man due to US allegations that he is the preeminent sponsor and mastermind of international terrorism. The US indictment against bin Laden charges that since 1989 "an international terrorist group existed which was dedicated to opposing non-Islamic governments with force and violence"(NY Times) which was founded by Osama bin Laden and Muhammad Atef and which was known as Al Qaeda. However, it must be noted that at that time the Mujahideen were fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and were therefore referred to by the US as "freedom fighters" and not "international terrorists" a term the US now prefers. The US administration has attempted to link Osama bin Laden to virtually every terrorist activity, official terrorist activity- that is terrorism perpetrated by those who the US opposes but not terrorism perpetrated by those who the US supports, through Al Qaeda. Despite the fact that most of the allegations lack hard evidence or are proven utterly false they continue to circulate.

The most prominent terrorist activities that the US has charged Osama bin Laden with having a connection to are: The World Trade Center bombing (February 26, 1993), attacks on US on United States military personnel in Mogadishu, Somalia, (Oct. 3 and 4, 1993) the Riyadh bombing (November 13,1995), the Dhahran/Khobar Towers bombing (June 25, 1996), and the simultaneous bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While adamantly accusing Osama bin Laden with complicity, whether through funding, association, or planning, in these acts of terrorism the US administration has provided no hard evidence.

In the case of the bombings in Saudi Arabia "Osama bin Laden was blamed by American officials for instigating the attacks. But no known evidence implicates him, and the Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Nayef ibn Abdel Aziz, has absolved him." (NY Times)

In the case of the bombings of US embassies in Keyna and Tanzania "Federal prosecutors appear to be building a case that his violent words and ideas, broadcast from an Afghan cave, incited terrorist acts thousands of miles away" (NY Times) because "according to the public record, none of the informants involved in the case have direct knowledge of bin Laden's involvement." (NY Times).

Osama bin Laden denies involvement in these attacks but he praises and advocates attacks on Americans which raises doubts as to his proclaimed innocence but it is still speculation. John Miller recounts his interview with Osama bin Laden "he was quick to sidestep the question of his culpability, very careful not to implicate himself. He wasn't in Somalia, but he liked what he saw. He didn't blow up American bases in Saudi Arabia, but those who did are martyrs. He didn't pay for the World Trade Center bombing or the plot to kill Clinton, but they were good ideas." Despite Osama bin Laden's statements and opinions no direct link has been established between bin Laden and the US allegations of these specific incidents of terrorism. The US allegations of an "international Islamic terrorist conspiracy" are simplistic and lack any supportive evidence. These terrorist attacks should be investigated and the perpatrators brought before the International Court of Justice (it's a shame that the US does not support the ICJ) to stand trial.