The document reproduced below is a translation by an American Office of the Director of National Intelligence employee. The original document was found in Osama bin Laden’s headquarters in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, the day of his murder by American military forces as ordered by then President Barack Obama. The translated document was first made public in January 2016 and has been published on numerous websites. The original translation is available here.
The document is not dated; however, near the beginning, bin Laden writes: “I direct my talk specifically to those who support real change, especially the youth.” from which three things are clear. First, bin Laden intended to present the content as a speech. Second, bin Laden intended to speak primarily to American youth, not the general public. Third, “real change” refers to Obama’s campaign slogan, “hope and change,” which infers that bin Laden intended to give the speech most probably during the 2008 American presidential campaign or shortly after that. Later in the document, bin Laden writes: “For Obama to leave one-third of the soldiers in Iraq. On August 31, 2010, Obama stated: “While combat operations are officially over, roughly fifty thousand U.S. troops remain.” Clearly, bin Laden wrote the document in late 2010 or early 2011.
Much of bin Laden’s speech was about the problems caused by the close relationship between the American government and the American Military Industrial Complex, a situation the former President Eisenhower warned against in his “farewell address” in January 1960. (bin Laden studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University from 1968 10 1976.)
26 November 2023
Osama bin Laden: Letter to the American People
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
To the American people,
Peace be upon those who follow the righteous track.
The subject of my talk to you is the overwhelming control of capital (Var.: money) and its effect on the ongoing war between us.
I direct my talk specifically to those who support real change, especially the youth.
I say from the onset:
Your former president warned you previously about the devastating Jewish control of capital and about a day that would come when it would enslave you; it has happened. Your current president warns you now about the enormity of capital control, and it has a cycle whereby it devours humanity when it is devoid of the precepts of God’s law (Shari’a). 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. Your financial system, in its totality, was about to collapse within 48 hours had the administration not reverted to using taxpayers’ money to rescue the vultures by using the assets of the victims. As for us, our Iraq was invaded in response to pressure from capitalists with greed for black gold, and you continue to support the oppressive Israelis in their occupation of our Palestine in response to pressures on your administration by a Jewish lobby backed by enormous financial capabilities.
An observer of the new administration’s policies realizes that the change is tactical and not strategic; it does not agree with the change you seek. There are many indicators of this, especially concerning important matters related to your security and economy, particularly the ongoing war between us. The previous administration was successful in implicating you in these wars against us under the premise that they are necessary for your security or according to the promise that it would be short and would finish in six days or six weeks. Six years have passed, and that administration is gone without realizing the victory. The man calling for change promised you victory in Afghanistan and set a time for withdrawal. Before the end of the arranged time, Petraeus, from the previous administration, came and asked for an extension of six more months. If it was the six-day war that started by President Bush, and six years have not been enough to finish it, then the wise men should question how long would a six-month war take and whether you can fund a war that requires a large amount of money that weakens your economy and your dollar.
For Obama to leave one-third of the soldiers in Iraq, and the statements from the administration about this, especially from Aderno, about the possibility of Obama’s ordering the return of the forces he took out of Iraq, it would have been better for him had he disagreed with the ethics of the previous administration and adopted the truth as a friend and told you that he would not withdraw from Iraq, which may not serve the US interests. Still, it is in the interest of the large corporations.
The course of the present administration’s policies in several areas clearly reveals that whoever enters the White House, even with good intentions to safeguard the people’s interest, is no more than a train operator. His only task is to keep the train on the tracks that the lobbyists lay down 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 strong opposition and pressure from the lobbyists. Your president described the decision by the court in favor of corporations to intervene in the political arena as a victory. Still, it is not [a victory] for the American people except for the big corporations. There is no doubt that it is a right, and it is also a right for the administration to support the oppressive Israelis for the continued occupation of our land and the killing of our brothers, marking a victory for the Jewish lobby. The president could not defend you against the security and economic loss. The way for change and freeing yourselves from the pressure of lobbyists is not through the Republican or the Democratic parties but through undertaking a great revolution for freedom: not to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein but to free the White House and to free Barack Husayn so he can implement the change you seek. It does not only include improving your economic situation and ensuring your security but, more importantly, helps him make a rational decision to save humanity from the harmful [greenhouse] gases that threaten its destiny.
For the American youth to succeed in this change, they must relive their ancestors’ history and their country’s conditions more than two centuries ago. They must understand the similarities between that era and their present situation, especially in their fundamental conditions. The British Parliament sided with corporations, then against the interests of the citizens. You have noticed Congress’s stand with corporations against the people’s interests when they refused to legislate against interference in the elections by corporations.
The British military governor in the United States used to have the right to appoint judges and mayors. Similarly, corruption is deep-rooted in all higher authorities, thus giving control over these offices to corporations. Subsequently, the higher court adjudicated their support of political financing by corporations under such circumstances.
Reading the book by the intellectual Thomas Paine helped your fathers in the revolution against the oppressors. It is helpful to read it under the current, similar circumstances. You need people like Thomas Paine to publish books pointing out the similarities between the two phases, which will have a similar effect. You also need men with courage and initiative like those of your forefathers at that time when they refused to allow one company to harm the interests of the United States, a company that had a monopoly on tea and its prices. Yet many companies now endanger the United States economy, which continues to be vulnerable to collapse, and they also formulate the policies of the White House. They threw hundreds of thousands of soldiers against us and formed an alliance with the Israelis to oppress us and occupy our land; that was the reason for our response on the eleventh.
Palestine has been under occupation for decades, and none of your presidents talked about it until after September 11, when Bush realized that your oppression and the tyranny against us were part of the reason for the attack. Then he talked about the necessity for two states. Obama is trying to address the issue with the same solutions suggested by his predecessor, fruitless solutions not of concern to us. If you want a real settlement that guarantees your security in your country and safeguards your economy from being depleted like our war of attrition against the Soviet Union, then you have to implement a roadmap that returns the Palestine land to us, all of it, from the sea to the river, it is an Islamic land not subject to being traded or granted to any party.
In conclusion, be assured that we do not fight for mere killing but to stop the killing of our people. It is a sin to kill a person without proper, justifiable cause, but terminating his killer is a right. You should be aware that justice is the strongest army, and security offers the best livelihood; you lost it by your own making when you supported the Israelis in occupying our land and killing our brothers in Palestine. The road to safety starts with the stopping of aggression.
Palestine shall not be seen captive, for we will try to break its shackles.
The United States shall pay for its arrogance with the blood of Christians and their funds.
Peace be upon those who follow the righteous track.