The Times : Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda deputy brands Barack Obama a 'house negro'

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda deputy brands Barack Obama a 'house negro'

From Times Online | November 19, 2008

Al-Qaeda today invoked the speeches of Malcolm X in a propaganda exercise designed to divide African-Americans, accusing Barack Obama of being a "house negro".

In his first video message to Mr Obama since the Illinois senator was elected on November 4, Ayman Zawahiri attempted to vilify the president-elect in comparison with the black power radical, whom he described as an "honourable" African-American.

His message, entitled The departure of Bush and arrival of Obama, appeared to have been carefully choreographed. It was staged in front of pictures of Mr Obama praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem during a pre-election visit to Israel, and Malcolm X, who was murdered in 1965.

As Osama bin Laden's deputy spoke, old footage of the black power leader's speeches was played in the background. In one of the speeches, Malcolm X used the term "house negroes" in reference to domestic slaves who were considered more docile towards their masters than the field slaves.

“It is true about you and people like you . . . what Malcolm X said about the house negroes,” he said, naming Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, and his successor, Condoleezza Rice.

“You represent the opposite to honourable Black Americans like . . . Malcolm X."

He scolded Mr Obama for “choosing to be an enemy of Islam and Muslims”, saying that the Muslim “nation had bitterly received” the US President-elect's pledge of support for Israeli security and the peace process with the Palestinians.

“You have chosen to stand in the ranks of the enemies of Muslims and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim that your mother is Christian,” Mr Zawahiri added.

Also in his video, he threatened to work towards Mr Obama's removal if he went ahead with his proposals to withdraw troops from Iraq in order to concentrate on Afghanistan, urging him to remember "the fate" of President Bush, President Musharraf of Pakistan and Afganistan's former Soviet occupiers.

The recording came after an interview, broadcast on Sunday, in which Mr Obama said that he would push ahead with his campaign promise to begin pulling troops out of Iraq and switch the military focus to Afghanistan.

“What you have announced before . . . that you will withdraw [US] troops from Iraq [and send them] to Afghanistan is a policy that is doomed to failure,” Mr Zawahiri said in the message, made available by the SITE Intelligence Group.

"If you still want to be stubborn about America’s failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them,” he added.

Mr Obama refused to comment, declining to get into a "tit for tat with a terrorist group", according to CNN.

The tape was not unexpected. Intelligence officials and Mr Obama's campaign team have been bracing themselves for terrorist groups to take advantage of the presidential transition period.

Both President Bush and Mr Obama have acknowledged that extremists could stage attacks to destabilise the period, which ends when Mr Obama is inaugurated on January 20.