In a recent video released by the hidden leader of terrorist group Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden blamed the U.S for the most heinous and, oddly, indisputable crime of the last decade. Not of torture or war crimes, nor of unholy war or of being the Great Satan. This time he blamed the United States of America for causing climate change.
The 361st Degree has long been dedicated to the highlighting of two perspectives colliding, which never would have found each other anywhere else. This week, marking my first post here since my studies in Chile, such an occurrence came on its own.
Bin Laden’s tape was the second released after a four month period of silence. Instead of predicting and calling for the destruction of the United States, he told “the whole world,” his assumed audience, to do it for him via money politics. “We should refrain from dealing in the U.S. dollar,” he said in his video, “and should try to get rid of this currency as early as possible.” Russia and China, albeit for less spiteful reasons, had already considered setting a global standard other than the American dollar, to prevent another global recession.
But he strayed farthest from his traditional angle when he chastised Bush for not signing the Kyoto Protocol. In tying himself to an international movement of environmentalism, he both changed his own (admittedly homicidal) image and may well have dragged the movement down with him. The “Greens” are already perceived in some parts of America as anti-American enemies of freedom, for instance. If the anti-Greens movement looks into Al Qaeda’s new agenda enough, they may be able to frame Global Warming activists as terrorist sympathizers. Time will tell if that happens. But it wouldn’t be a first. I’ve expressly avoided overusing the name “Osama” ever since the incident with Obama and the terrorist fist-jab. A mere suggestion like that can have culture-wide consequences.
However, our pundits weren’t the only ones to hear the terrorist’s accusations. “The whole world” did. With talks like Copenhagen and international non-profits flying an oddly similar flag to Bin Laden’s, he’s thrown a monkey wrench into the diplomacy of all parties in the War on Terror. Many people would want to agree with him, if it weren’t him speaking. But seeing as the environment has never historically mattered to his oil-drilling aristocratic family, it may just be lip service.
But perhaps most interestingly, his words sounded much like those of our own cynics. He said that Bush and Congress rejected the protocol “only to satisfy the big companies.” Despite the tone lost in translation, he’s as critical of the State and its CEOs as any pundit on AM/FM or WiFi. “When those perpetrators fall victims to the evil they had committed, the heads of states rush to rescue them using public money.” And apparently critical of the bailout. He even critiqued globalization. The views are common enough with our own people, in both political parties. Skeptics and Libertarians in all the states agree in a decent number of his points. If Bin Laden continues the line of rhetoric– or more importantly, acts on it– it could form a strange triangle between anarchy, Al Qaeda and arbor day.
Until then, the odds of terrorist factions joining hands with Greenpeace volunteers to sabotage oil wells are low.