Osama Bin Laden his last interview by mark ulyseas

This interview was conducted in the third quarter of 2010 in Afghanistan, at a place which is a six-hour drive from Kabul airport. Many details have been omitted to safe guard those that were instrumental in setting up this interview with Osama Bin Laden. I was instructed to upload parts of the interview onto my blog sites after I had received instructions from Kabul.

The telephone call brought news from Sharif in Kabul.

“As-Salāmu `Alaykum bhai jaan”.

‘Wa `alaykum s-salām, who is this?”

“Sharifbhai, you wrote to me that you want to visit Afghanistan, why?”

Oh, I want to do a series of articles on Afghan cuisine, is this possible”.

“Hahaha…yes, very possible…but I will suggest other interesting subject”

“What should I do?”

“I will contact our embassy in Delhi. You go there after three days, brother, with your passport. All will be arranged,  wa `alaykumu s-salāmu wa rahmatu l-lāhi wa barakātuh.”

Ten days later I arrived in Kabul with a  carry bag containing some clothes, a small camera and notepads. Sharif  was adamant I didn’t bring a laptop.

As soon as I exited the airport two Pashtus approached and bundled me into a jeep with curtains and drove me away. Some minutes into the drive one of them tied my hands and the other put a black cloth over my head. Then they pushed me to the floor of the vehicle. No one spoke.

The smell of mobile oil and exhaust was overwhelming. I cried out to my companions, one of whom bent down and in a gruff voice told me that if I wanted to do the interview I had to comply with the conditions.

What conditions? What interview? With whom? Had Sharif sold me out to theTaliban?

The drive lasted, I think, around six hours. When the vehicle finally stopped my captors led me up some stairs and sat me down on a mat. When they removed my blindfold and untied my hands I noticed we were in a room. The walls were bare. In one corner was a bed on which rested a man with a turban and white flowing beard. The single tungsten bulb shed a warm light while the air smelt of antiseptic and sweat.

A cat sat in the green doorway looking at me. I could hear a baby crying.

Just then a man in army issue trousers but no shirt was dragged in. His body was badly bruised. Skin appeared to have been peeled off by some sharp instrument. I couldn’t see his eyes for they were blood soaked. The fingers on his right hand had been crudely chopped off.

The old man rose slowly from his bed, coughed and looked at me. It was then that I realised I was face to face with the most wanted man on the planet. I was terrified. Sharif had set me up.

“This man’, he said pointing to the captive,” came to one of the villages with his friends in the night. They shot Islam who was sleeping next to his wife. These are animals. Take him out, cut his throat and send his head as a message to those foreign troops”, he said in a quiet voice and started coughing again.

The man was dragged out and a burka clad woman entered with a cloth to wipe the blood off the floor, while another entered carrying two steel mugs of water. One was handed to me. The water smelt strangely of roses and tasted a bit salty. The second was placed on a low table next to the bed.

Osama stood looking at me while playing with his prayer beads. His eyes were bright like a predator sensing his prey.

“They think we are fighting for the Muslims. They are wrong. This about a new world order. For too long the USA and its friends have ruled with their foolish policies. Look at the Arab countries that do business with the West. They shall all face their own people next year (2011). What we have put in place will soon bear fruit. One by one these Arab leaders that call themselves Muslim will fall.”

I replied,“Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, Syria and even Qatar appear to have strong leaders. How can their people rise up against them? Do you think this can be changed by your people?”

Osama smiled, reached for the cup of water on the table, took a sip and flung it on the floor. The guard sitting behind me hit me on my shoulder with the butt of his gun. The pain was unbearable as I fell to the side.

“You are an idiot. I made a mistake by listening to Sharif. I should hand you over to my men. Do you know what is happening in the streets in these countries you talk about? How the common people survive? And these rulers call themselves Muslim? Islam is about brotherhood. All is one and one is all. But that’s not the case right now. Let me tell you, “ he said pointing his finger at me, “the first to fall will be Egypt. Mubarak is a thief. He will be shot. And if the Army doesn’t do it, we will. And Syria? Assad thinks his country is his family business. He too shall pay.

Understand one thing, Islam is our religion it is not our political agenda. In fact Iran has sent agents to discuss future arrangements. But how can we trust them? Look at their people, they want western democracy.”

“Why is violence necessary to bring about a new world order? Isn’t there any other way that it can be done?” I asked hesitantly keeping my eyes on the floor mat, too afraid to look into osama’s eyes.

“Do you think Gandhi could practice non-violent methods against these people today? Tell me? These governments only understand violence. When they are threatened with violence they listen. Our people have done good work and our message is loud and clear. Yes I would prefer to discuss matters but how can this happen when our Holy Land is ruled by a regime ‘loyal’ to the West…but this will not happen…so violence is the only path to creating a new world order. We had begun our jihad in Pakistan. We own Pakistan. No one can change this. Afghanistan will be liberated in 2011. And when this is done a message will be sent to the West. When they receive it they will know that a new world order has come and they will have to talk to us not with bombs and guns but with folded hands.”

“Will Al Qaeda be the control center?” I said in a low voice.

Al Qaeda is not an army. It is a political party with an agenda to create the new order through a program of networks of groups that usually work independently. We have no direct control over what they do but we supply the arms and finance their operations. And like a bank we call in our loans, sometimes when our people get too undisciplined. We too have our honor. You remember Daniel Pearl. I personally gave instructions not to kill him because we will lose sympathy with the left-wing media. Yet Omar disobeyed me and killed him. So we had him betrayed to the West.”

“You have mentioned a new world order. What will this order be?”

“Not now, at a later stage I will send for you. We will talk again. I am tired.” He replied in a rasping voice, then lay on the bed and turned his face to the wall.

The guard behind me pushed me to stand up and then blindfolded me, tied my hands and led me to a vehicle waiting outside. On the drive back I kept thinking of the beheaded prison, the curious smell of antiseptic that pervaded the room and Osama’s eyes. Was his vision of a new world order a myth, a dream or a violent reality in the making?

I suppose we will have to wait for 2011 for the answer.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Virginity tests by Egyptian army, shameful!

I have just received an email from Robert Scheer, Editor in Chief, Truthdig, with the attached appeal from Amnesty International. Is this what those in Tahrir Square died for? This is the aftermath of the the popular uprising. Nothing has changed. Women in Egypt are still subject to inhumane abuse. Shameful.

Message from Amnesty International TAKE ACTION NOW !

Egypt’s military may have just hit a disturbing, new low. At least 18 women who were arrested during a peaceful protest in Tahrir Square on March 9 were forced to take “virginity tests.”

Women were threatened with prostitution charges if they “failed” virginity tests. One woman, who said she was a virgin but whose test supposedly proved otherwise, was beaten and given electric shocks.

Make no doubt about it, this is torture. The purpose of this test is to degrade women because they are women. Unacceptable.

DEMAND Egyptian officials investigate allegations and stop this shocking, degrading treatment of women. Call on Secretary Clinton to use her influence to demand immediate action.

The protests that began on January 25th did not occur so that Egypt could replace the shocking and degrading behavior by one regime with that of another.

Call for an immediate investigation into the forced ‘virginity testing’ and other acts of torture and ill-treatment committed against women in Egypt.

Egyptian women took a stand to demand an end to repression.
Stand with Egyptian Women — Investigate & Stop Forced Virginity Testing!

In Solidarity,
Geoffrey Mock
Country Specialist, Egypt
Amnesty International USA

Let us help protect the Women of Egypt from their own Army!

US Govt. Spends US$ 2b a week on wars but cuts funding for museums!

The US Government spends US$ 2 billion per week on wars in foreign countries while its citizens struggle to keep open the doors of museums and cultural centers due to government cuts.

The Industry of War gets priority over preservation of the Arts. This is shameful. Republican Senator Michael Baumgartner are you listening?

This is an online interview with Karen Mobley, a museum trustee, a long time volunteer for the art committee of the museum, an artist whose work has been in the art auction and in the museum’s sales and rental program. She is a donor, member of the museum’s Legacy Society, which means she has promised a portion of her estate to the museum. A special thanks to Candess M.Campbell for arranging this interview.

Can you share with the readers a short history of The Mac?

MAC stands for Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.
Eastern Washington is a unique region of the country. In 1918, state government recognized this distinction designating a second historical society—the Eastern Washington State Historical Society—to compliment the mandate of Washington State Historical Society established in 1891 and ensure a full representation of Washington’s diverse heritage.  MAC’s collecting encompasses generational diversity of Washington citizens amplifying voices of those who are not always heard.  The informal exploration, discovery, and connections with ideas and people that occur within programs unique to museums is empowering and equalizing for Washington citizens.

Founded in 1916, is the largest cultural organization in the Inland Northwest with 5 underground galleries, the historic 1898 Campbell House, Joel E. Ferris Library & Archives, an orientation gallery, café, store, education center, community room and the Center for Plateau Cultural Studies.

The MAC campus (expanded in 2001 with a $30 million renovation) also includes an auditorium and outdoor amphitheater.  The exhibits and programs focus on three major disciplines: American Indian and other cultures, regional history and visual art.

Our collection, with over 39,000 American Indian, 22,000 regional history, and 1,500 art objects including the 252,109 records archive is nationally renowned.

Attracts over 100,000 visitors annually including nearly 4,000 K-12 students.

The Kirkland Cutter designed Campbell House, one of the most popular museum attractions, is our largest artifact, with student and public tours staffed by trained volunteer docents, consistently our most popular attraction.

The MAC’s educational programs include vibrant student and family learning experiences such as Living History Day, the Plateau tribes Living Legacy tour and learning laboratory, Campbell House exploration and hands-on art activities in the art studio.

The MAC is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and one of the first museums in the United States to be accredited by the American Association of Museums.

What is the importance of the MAC ?

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is the largest cultural organization in the Inland Northwest.  The MAC is a repository of the artifacts from all of the Northwest Plateau tribes, many objects from the history of Spokane and a huge archive of photos from the region, the MAC has one of the few collections of art by Eastern Washington artists and is a gathering place for arts and history aficiandos from all around the west.  The exhibitions at the MAC change.  Right now the museum is gearing up for a travelling exhibition of inventions and reproductions of works by Leonardo DaVinci which opens in June of this year.  The exhibitions are listed on  http://www.northwestmuseum.org

MAC is an important contributor to the region’s economy.  Cultural travelers stay longer and spend more than other visitors. Event-related spending pumps revenue into restaurants, hotels and retail businesses. The MAC is the first non-metro market to land the international blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius exhibit opening June 3, 2011.The exhibit is expected to attract 40,000 new visitors to the region. The MAC helps recruit and maintain businesses, serving as a barometer of the region’s quality of life. The MAC contributes an estimated $10 million to our region’s economy.  The American Indian objects and sacred room will be unavailable to tribal members, which will cause significant cultural turmoil.  The building will closed  to the public, its collections inaccessible.   An unoccupied facility creates the potential for vandalism and theft and will subject the neighborhood to unwarranted blight.

Why is it in danger of being shut down?

The MAC is basically a state agency – about 60% of its budget comes from the state of Washington and about 40% comes from local sources such a grants, contributions, sponsorship and from the endowment.   The whole state is having big budget challenges.  The museum is not uniquely being targeted. There are also cuts to education, support to indigent people through health care and other services.  It is a difficult time.  The elimination of the state portion of the budget is way too much for the local community to absorb.

Karen Mobley is the Arts Director City of Spokane (Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius) since June 1997.  Prior to this she was the Director of the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, WY and Gallery Director for University Art Gallery at New Mexico State University.  She is a board member for the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, a member of the Spokane Public Radio Steering Committee, a Deacon for Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ and active in the Washington State Arts Alliance and Rotary 21.   Karen is a working artist and poet. Her art work is represented in Spokane by Art@Work (the sales and rental program of the MAC).. She reads and performs poetry at events through the region.

She likes cats and is currently working to make the longest cat hair rope in the world.

If you want to help keep the Arts alive, please contact
Karen R. Mobley, Arts Director, City of Spokane,
Spokane Arts Commission, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard
Spokane, WA 99201-3333 (509) 625-6079

The rape of Egypt by Hosni Mubarak, and the predictable aftermath.

What is happening in Cairo is endemic in countries where regimes are supported by the USA. Mr. Hosni Mubarak and his cronies have systematically raped Egyptians metamorphicaly and literally in terms of human rights, civil rights and financially i.e. by stealing the nation’s wealth.

Incidentally, Hosni Mubarak, his wife Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak and his two sons, (Gamal and Alaa), have amassed over 40 billion dollars in assets/cash in the USA, and banks in Switzerland and Britain.

Now where has this money come from and why have USA, Switzerland and Britain remained silent on this issue even as blood is spilled on the streets of Cairo ?

The ordinary working class citizens of this ancient land have been repressed by the machinations of a semi-benign police state supported by USA, a country that has historically fiddled in the affairs of other countries while ironically priding itself on freedom of speech and the first amendment; and, strangely enough by Israel, a Jewish State. In fact it is rumored that Israel does not want to see Mubarak go and further has been surreptitiously protecting him for they apparently prefer to support this malignancy because it suits their Machiavellian strategy i.e. dividing the Arab nations. Obviously this is a hangover from the Yom Kippur war of 1973 (Arab-Israeli War/Ramadan War/ October War).

The sudden surge in demonstrations and the proceeding violence is a long delayed backlash that should have come much earlier. And this is fuelled by sentiments stirred up by the Brotherhood and other vested interests. Mr. Karl Marx was right when he said that religion is the opium of the masses. What we are witnessing is the volatile concoction of culture spiced by religion which will predictably free citizens from State control but enslave them to the prevailing religious leaders’ bidding.

Many Arab rulers are known to ‘run’ their countries reminiscent of medieval feudal States. A quick reference to the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Haile Selassie and the aftermath of their inglorious exit is ample proof of the path Egyptians will inevitably tread in the coming months. Finally when the dust settles the Brotherhood will settle in and as time ticks on one despot will be replaced by another in a form probably palatable to the ordinary people for they cannot argue with their self appointed religious leaders whose sole agenda is to use Islam as a tool to subjugate the people by perverted representation of this Great religion.

We have no one to blame but the USA and its allies for deliberately supporting Hosni Mubarak even though he and his accomplices have looted their own country.

The emotive images of blood, sweat and tears of ordinary unarmed, innocent Egyptians displayed on TV screens worldwide will finally come to naught for in the grand scheme of things, freedom will be but a fleeting glimpse of truth till organized religion takes the reins.

May God bless and protect the unfortunate people of Egypt.

The Devil’s Advocate for President Obama

I am the Devil’s Advocate for President Obama.

2010 has been a year of humiliation with the Republicans thrashing his party at the hustings and other incidentals like security leaks that have trickled into a raging stream of column space, a media blitzkrieg; The ongoing revelations igniting hatred and warped nationalism that continues to mingle with the debris of happenings of yesteryear, rewriting chapters of history that were assumed to be sacrosanct. And as torrents of data keep spewing out into the world-wide web contaminating the rarefied atmosphere of movers and shakers the recriminations begin to surface like piranhas snapping at prey.

Amidst this mayhem stands a Black man, a president of a country that refuses to accept the daunting reality that it is palpably on the verge of becoming a second class nation. It was barely a few years ago that Obama’s election impregnated the nation with hope for a better future.  His detractors across the globe grudgingly acknowledged his presence. Citizens believed that this Black man was a shaman with a magic wand who could cure all ills by merely waving away the past Terms of his predecessor and its devastating effect on the country’s socio-economic- political infrastructure, where religion lurks menacingly in the cracks and crevices of a suspicious society.

The new broom swept despondency away, only to have it blown back by disillusionment by a people with a short memory and a penchant for quick fixes. A people living a dream…a day dream.

So who is this man, a Black who usurped a whites only prerogative?
Is he really a Black man with a White heart, as some have quipped?
Or is he the great Black Hope for a White America?

His Party thought him a safe bet to win the election and he did. The Blacks perceived him as the great Black Hope, giving them a sense of exclusivity. And the rest of the world, in parts, imagined that Obama would redraw the profile of a nation that had assumed the unsolicited and self-righteous role of an international gendarme with its unilateral diplomatic and military actions.

All this didn’t fructify as envisaged.

Admittedly he didn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. And the acceptance speech justifying war as a means to an end – one of peace – was unpalatable for many who were aware of the fact that Obama is a self professed admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and his belief in Ahimsa (non-violence). It is also an accepted fact that platitudes and conciliatory overtures do not win wars or enemies in this age of deep-rooted septic religious fundamentalism.

My client has become a prisoner of his own party and people. The belief that there is no such thing as a Free Lunch is apparent – Obama being coerced into approving sweet tax cuts for the Haves while making the average American sweat for the basics. Joblessness is the order of the day. And young soldiers continue to die on a foreign battlefield fighting for an alien cause.

Obama is a self made man who is attempting to make a sea change but is being held prisoner by the very system that installed him in the whitehouse – all pervasive influence of Corporations and their sidekicks, politicians.

Some compare him to JFK and the Vietnam fiasco. But this is not so for he is an adroit funambulist who reckons that humanity is basically good and that with statemanship and negotiation  situations can be controlled and improved upon. He believes in an America that is morally solvent, a country that can rise pheonix like from the ashes of past deeds and coexist harmoniously with the rest of the world. But the wolves around hold him responsible for the inheritance of bad faith and the effects of a consumer society run amuck. They pinion his beliefs and attempted acts of goodwill to that which is going horribly wrong whilst conveniently overlooking reality – that all this and more has been passed down to his presidency.

The masters of spin have successfully interpreted events to entrap Obama with a history he has played no part in.

History will absolve him.

In the meantime, I have advised my “client” to stay on the path of acceptance, forgiveness and understanding even when new revelations hit the newstands depicting the lies of truth. For without truth how can we discern a lie?

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Rise of McCarthyism in a new avatar?

One has been witness to the dance of talking heads with a mob mentality that derides and threatens what Wikileaks has done, is doing and hopefully will continue to do. Yes, we are talking about the hysteria in USA generated by the exposure of secret documents.

The dirty linen keeps coming out at regular intervals much to the chagrin of these folk. Apparently there is an ongoing discussion about using the Espionage Act of 1917 as a weapon to corral Julian Assange. It is rumoured that a Grand Jury is meeting to discuss this issue.  There appears to be a general political consensus with this method of imposing the American Will on an Australian citizen for crimes against the homeland.

The ground swell of antipathy towards Wikileaks in government/private circles gives the distinct impression that McCarthyism in an insidious avatar is returning to haunt the freedom loving people of America. All the signs are there. Pseudo-nationalism spiced by the desire to reach out and incarcerate anyone that is perceived as a threat to America’s security…the us and them syndrome.

So what will the Real America do?
Will self respecting citizens challenge this upsurge?
Will lawsuits and protest rallies emerge from the woodwork of its society?
Or will apathy take its toll?

I suppose Time and its rancid cousin, history will tell us in due course.
In the mean time, May God Save America from these people.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

FREE Erwin Arnada ex-Editor of Playboy, Indonesia

Free Erwin Arnada !

This letter has been published in the following international media.
Please write in for Press Freedom, Now!!!

CPJ.ORG – Committee to Protect Journalists







To the Honourable Justices
Supreme Court of Indonesia

Your Honours,

I respectfully present my unsolicited objections to the conviction of Erwin Arnada, ex –editor in Chief of Playboy Indonesia. Your judgment – incarcerating him for two years for the crime of publishing photographs of ‘scantily’ clad women in the edition of Playboy Indonesia is an aberration of justice. Sadly the honourable court has succumbed to the power of warped religious hardliners and interpreted the Law of the Land selectively to appease those who seek to drag the modern state of Indonesia back to the medieval age.

Erwin Arnada did not commit a crime that many other ‘glossies’ haven’t done…depict women in little or nothing. Walk down some streets of Jakarta and you can buy publications that are smutty and blatantly sexual…one well known publication had even printed detailed illustrations of sexual positions. Further, if Erwin is guilty of printing ‘indecent’ photographs then you would have to jail most of the people in Bali. Why just those from Jakarta? Is it because the hardliners cannot influence the Balinese?

Your Honours, I present my defense of Erwin Arnada, a victim of blinkered justice.

There is  evidence that the Pornography Law has been applied.  If this is so then those associated with  glossies, advertising, massage parlours and even tourists on the beaches of Bali could be  jailed for indecency using your judgment as a yardstick.

The independent judiciary has been subject to influence by hardliners who have become the self appointed guardians of morality. They (hardliners) have subverted justice by claiming that the icon of American culture, Playboy, was harmful to the ‘morals’ of the Muslim population of Indonesia. This is pathetic and downright absurd. One has only to view the glossies in Bali, the TV programs and more to know that the hardliners objections have no Locus Standi.

Erwin’s version of Playboy was not immoral nor was it XXX.

Indonesia has struggled to shrug off its Dark and turbulent Past and has emerged as a vibrant, modern and progressive State – a Republic that has the largest Muslim population in the world under the dynamic leadership of President Dr. H.  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This is  a miracle. Unfortunately, your ruling has given the impression that Muslim hardliners control Indonesia and that their diktat rules supreme in Java but thankfully not in Bali!

If Erwin had been Balinese and had published Playboy from Bali, I wonder what the hardliners would have done.

In Bali, old black and white photographs of topless Balinese women are sold. One can purchase coffee table art books with these pictures taken many decades  ago; Beautiful, haunting and indicative of a vibrant ethos. My question is – Do we convict the photographers, sellers, publishers and seize all this material? Why not? If we can convict Erwin Arnada for the crime of showing scantily clad females then the aforementioned ‘offenders’ should be given life sentences as per the views of the lobotomized hardliners.

For me and many other friends of Indonesia this is truly a sad day when we have to witness justice dispensed selectively. It is a message to the world that the Republic of Indonesia is under threat from hardliners where free speech is subject to their interpretation and that freethinkers in Indonesia now live under this Sword of Damocles.

On the eve of the visit of The President of the United States of America, His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama II, to Indonesia, this judgment will most likely give the world the impression that the country is slipping back into the Dark Ages.

And who do we blame for this?

On behalf of the freethinkers in Indonesia and elsewhere I appeal to your true sense of justice – FREE Erwin Arnada ex-Editor in Chief of Playboy, Indonesia – And show the world that Indonesia has an independent and liberal judiciary.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om