Letters seized from the compound of executed terror leader Osama bin Laden have revealed the deeply prosaic bureaucracy of running a global terror group, and the concern shared by senior members over climate change.
Even as American drone strikes were picking off senior members of al-Qaeda and making meetings, or even going outside impossible, correspondence revealed as part of an American terror-trial and republished by Foreign Affairs magazine has shown the unusual set of priorities for bin Laden and his acolytes. The language employed by the writers suggests an acceptance of significant global warming as a matter of fact, and the terror leader even expounds at great depth his plans to mitigate the effects of what might otherwise be called ‘weather’.
One such letter reads: “You don’t fail to notice that due to climate change, there’s drought in some areas and floods in others. The brothers in Somalia must be warned so that they can take the maximum precautions possible. This lays on the shoulders of the leadership more than on the residents living along the rivers and valleys.
“One of these precautions is to establish an alert system to warn the families and establish an advanced observation point on the upper part of the river to warn people when heavy rainfall and flooding occur using a wireless device.”
The letter even included an appendix of research with an attached note ordering that it be sent to Qatari owned media group al-Jazeera for broadcast.
In another document, bin Laden expounds on how he would like to see the Gulf Princes use some of their enormous wealth to aid those who he believes have been hardest hit by climate change. He wrote: “I have an opinion that I would like you to study, and if you like it, forward it to the brothers in Somalia.
“The idea is to encourage a delegation of trusted Somalia tribal leaders to visit some businessmen and ulema [religious scholars] in the Gulf to brief them about the living conditions of Muslims in Somalia and how their children are dying of extreme poverty.
“[They should] remind them of the their responsibilities towards their Muslim brothers, to describe the suffering of people there using photos and statistics from the aid organizations, and to inform them that the unfortunate and the impoverished are waiting for a simple effort on their part to save the lives of their children (these impoverished Muslims are the most deserving of the Ummah’s [Muslim community’s] funds that are being hoarded by the Gulf Princes)”.
The fact that bin Laden’s most sensitive (and eccentric) correspondence was hand written and delivered by courier to correspondents all over the world is itself telling, and demonstrates a certain prescience by the al Qaeda leader.
Remarking that mujahideen should never use modern digital devices, he wrote to a colleague: “As you know, this science is not ours and is not our invention. That means we do not know much about it. Based on this, I see that sending any dangerous matter via encrypted email is a risky thing. It is expected that whoever made the program can open the encrypted letters no matter how it’s encrypted”.