The US has released a trove of declassified documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan in May 2011—and it turns out the former al-Qaeda leader really cared about the environment.
In a letter to the American people (pdf), bin Laden calls on Americans to start “a great revolution for freedom.” It’s this revolution that will pressure president Barack Obama to “save humanity from the harmful [greenhouse] gases that threaten its destiny.”
He also rants against the “tyranny” of corrupt corporations and lobbyists, whom he blames for the 2008 global financial crisis, sounding more like an anti-establishment left-wing politician than a jihadist:
The tyranny of the control of capital by large companies has harmed your economy, as it did ours, and that was my motivation for this talk. Tens of millions of you are below the poverty line, millions have lost their homes, and millions have lost their jobs to mark the highest average unemployment in 60 years.
[The president’s] 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.
In another letter, which US intelligence officials attribute to bin Laden (pdf), the deceased terrorist argued that the world “should put its efforts into attempting to reduce the release of [greenhouse] gases” than continuing waging war in the Middle East. He argues the that the war on terror is being fought “in the shadow of catastrophic climatic condition.”
The declassified documents also include bin Laden’s will (pdf)—he wanted to distribute about $29 million to jihad—and highlight his fears of infiltration, fearing an Iranian dentist could have planted a tracking device in his wife’s tooth. “The size of the chip is about the length of a grain of wheat and the width of a fine piece of vermicelli,” he wrote in another later.
The newly released documents are similar to the declassified batch released last year that revealed bin Laden’s eclectic reading list.