Bin Laden tape rips U.S.; U.S. blasts back

June 3, 2009 at 7:04 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 3 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden purportedly saying U.S. policy in Pakistan foments hate is just more of the same old rhetoric, the White House said Wednesday.

In what the Arabic-language TV network al-Jazeera says is a voice recording issued by the fugitive terrorist, a speaker is heard saying the Pakistani government's military offensive against Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, supported by Washington, is generating "new seeds of hatred and revenge against America," CNN reported.

"I think the reports we've seen are consistent with messages that we've seen in the past from al-Qaida, threatening the U.S. and other countries that are involved in counter-terrorism efforts," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said during a news briefing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the first stop of President Barack Obama's Middle East trip.

The voice in the message says Obama is "walking the same road of his predecessors to build enmity against Muslims and increasing the number of fighters, and establishing more lasting wars."

CNN said the speaker cites what he calls Obama's "order" to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari "to prevent the people of Swat from implementing Shariah (Islamic) law. All this led to the displacement of about a million Muslim elders, women and children from their villages and homes. They became refugees in tents after they were honored in their own homes."

Asked if he could provide assurance that Americans have nothing to fear from the latest purported bin Laden tape, Gibbs said, "I can give the American people every assurance that everything is being done to protect them and to protect our homeland, as we've done since we took office."

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