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Context of 'Before November 11, 2001: Western Intelligence Obtains Copy of Secret Al Jazeera Interview of Bin Laden'

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Western intelligence services obtain a copy of a secret Al Jazeera interview of Osama bin Laden. Al Jazeera had decided not to broadcast the interview, conducted on October 20 (see October 20, 2001), because its correspondent had not been allowed to ask his own questions, but had been told what to say by bin Laden. [Miles, 2005, pp. 179, 181] The fact that the video is obtained by Western intelligence is first revealed by the Daily Telegraph, which says the transcript proves bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11 and that it will soon be used as the “centrepiece of Britain and America’s new evidence against bin Laden.” [Daily Telegraph, 11/11/2001] Author Hugh Miles will note that bin Laden is actually ambiguous about his responsibility for 9/11 on the tape, and will speculate about how it was obtained. According to Miles, al-Qaeda kept a copy of the tape, but it is unlikely that al-Qaeda would give it to Western intelligence or CNN, which will air it later (see January 31, 2002). Therefore, the tape was probably obtained for the West by US authorities, who “made it their business to know all of Al Jazeera’s internal affairs.” [Miles, 2005, pp. 179-182] On November 14, British Prime Minister Tony Blair will refer to the video in a speech before the House of Commons and say, “The intelligence material now leaves no doubt whatever of the guilt of bin Laden and his associates.” [CNN, 11/14/2001; UK Prime Minister, 11/14/2001] Yet the British government will say it does not have a copy of the video, only information about it from intelligence sources. [Washington Post, 11/14/2001]

Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Al Jazeera, Tony Blair, Hugh Miles

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

According to Robin Cook, Tony Blair says, “Left to himself, Bush would have gone to war in January. No, not January, but back in September.” [Independent, 10/6/2003; Cook, 8/2/2004]

Entity Tags: Robin Cook

Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in speech before the US Congress, pleads for the UN to become “an instrument of action as well as debate,” saying the Security Council needs to be reformed to reflect the “21st Century reality.” [Guardian, 7/18/2003]

Entity Tags: US Congress, Tony Blair

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

May 4, 2005: Blair Denies Plans to Invade Iran

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 television, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, insists his country has no intention of invading Iran. “I’ve got no intention of bombing their nuclear installations or anything else,” Blair says. [Islamic Republic News Agency, 5/4/2005]

Entity Tags: Tony Blair

Timeline Tags: US confrontation with Iran

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