Bin Laden’s Latest Message to the U.S.

“American people: This address to you is a reminder of the causes of 11 (September) and the wars and consequences that followed and the way to settle it once and for all. I mention in particular the families of those who were hurt in these events and who have recently called for opening an investigation to know its causes. This is a first and important step in the right direction among many other steps that have deliberately gone in the wrong direction over eight barren years that you have experienced.

“The entire American people should follow suit, as the delay in knowing those reasons has cost you a lot without any noteworthy benefit.

“If the White House administration, which is one of the two parties to the dispute, has made it clear to you in the past years that war was necessary to maintain your security, then wise persons should be eager to listen to the two parties to the dispute to know the truth, so listen to what I am going to say.

“At the beginning, I say that we have made it clear and stated so many times for over two decades that the cause of the quarrel with you is your support for your Israeli allies, who have occupied our land, Palestine. This position of yours, along with some other grievances, is what prompted us to carry out the 11 September events. Had you known the magnitude of our suffering as a result of the injustice of the Jews against us, with the support of your administrations for them, you would have known that both our nations are victims of the policies of the White House, which is in fact a hostage in the hands of pressure groups, especially major corporations and the Israeli lobby.

“One of the best persons to explain to you the causes of the events of the 11th is one of your citizens, a former veteran CIA agent, whose conscience awoke in his eighth decade and decided to tell the truth despite the threats, and to explain to you the message of the 11th. So he carried out some activities for this purpose in particular, including his book “Apology of a Hired Assassin.”

“As for explaining the suffering of our people in Palestine, Obama has recently acknowledged in his speech from Cairo the suffering of our kinfolk there, who are living under occupation and siege. Things will become clearer if you read what your former president, Carter, wrote about the racism of the Israelis against our kinfolk in Palestine, and also if you listened to his statement weeks ago during his visit to the destroyed and besieged Gaza Strip. He said in that statement that the people of Gaza are treated more as animals than human beings. For us God suffices, and He is the best disposer of affairs.

“We should have a lengthy pause at this point. Any person with an iota of mercy in his heart cannot but sympathize with those oppressed elderly, women, and children living under the deadly siege. Above that, the Zionists pound them with US-made incendiary phosphorous bombs. Life there is tragic beyond limits, to the point that children die b etween the arms of their parents and doctors due to the lack of food and medicine and the power outages. It is indeed a disgrace for world politicians who are content with that, and their loyalists, who are behaving as such with prior knowledge and premeditation, and under the influence of the Israeli lobby in America. The details of that are explained by two of your fellow citizens. They are John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their book “The Israel Lobby” in the United States.

“After reading the suggested books, you will know the truth and you will be severely shocked at the magnitude of deception that has been practiced against you. You will also know that those who make statements from inside the White House today and claim that your wars against us are necessary for your security are in fact working along the same line of Cheney and Bush, and propagating the former policies of intimidation to market the interests of the relevant major corporations, at the expense of your blood and economy. Those in fact are the ones who are imposing wars on you, not the mujahidin. We are just defending our right to liberate our land.

“If you thoroughly consider your situation, you will know that the White House is occupied by pressure groups. You should have made efforts to liberate it rather than fight to liberate Iraq, as Bush claimed. The White House leader, under such circumstances, and regardless of who he is, is like a train driver who cannot but travel on the railways designed by these pressure groups. Otherwise, his way would be blocked and he would fear that his destiny would be like that of former President Kennedy and his brother.

“In a nutshell, it is time to free yourselves from fear and intellectual terrorism being practiced against you by the neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby. You should put the file of your alliance with the Israelis on the table of discussion. You should ask yourselves the following question so that you can determine your position: Do you like the Israelis’ security, sons, and economy more than your security, blood, sons, money, jobs, houses, economy, and reputation? If you choose your security and stopping the wars — and this has been shown by opinion polls — then this requires that you act to stop those who are tampering with our security on your end. We are prepared to respond to this option on sound and fair foundations that have been mentioned before.

“Here is an important point that we should pay attention to with regard to war and stopping it. When Bush assumed power and appointed a defense secretary who had made the biggest contribution to killing more than two million persecuted villagers in Vietnam, sane people predicted that Bush was preparing for new massacres in his era. This was what took place in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Obama assumed power and kept the men of Cheney and Bush — namely, the senior officials in the Defense Department, like Gates, Mullen, and Petraeus — sane people knew that Obama is a weak person who will not be able to stop the war as he had promised and that he would procrastinate as much as possible. If he were to decide, then he would hand over command to the generals who oppose this aimless war, like the former commander of troops in Iraq, General Sanchez, and the commander of the Central Command who was forced by Bush to resign shortly before leaving the White House due to his opposition to the war. He appointed instead of him a person who would escalate the war. Under the cover of his readiness to cooperate with the Republicans, Obama made the biggest trick as he kept the most important and most dangerous secretary from Cheney’s men to continue the war. The days will show you that you have changed only faces in the White House. The bitter truth is that the neoconservatives are still a heavy burden on you.

“Once again, if you stop the war, then that is fine. If you choose not to stop the war, then we have no other option but to continue the war of attrition against you on all possible axes, just as we did with the Soviet Union for 10 years until it disintegrated, with the grace of God. Continue the war for as long as you wish. You are fighting a desperate, losing war that is in favor of others. There seems to be no end in sight for this war.

“Russian generals, who learned lessons from the battles in Afghanistan, had anticipated the result of the war before its start, but you do not like those who give you advice. This is a losing war, God willing, as it is funded by money that is borrowed based on exorbitant usury and is fought by soldiers whose morale is down and who commit suicide on a daily basis to escape from this war.

“This war was prescribed to you by two doctors, Cheney and Bush, as a cure for the 11 September events. However, the bitterness and losses caused by this war are worse than the bitterness of the events themselves. The accumulated debts incurred as a result of this war have almost done away with the US economy as a whole. It has been said that disease could be less evil than some medicines.

“Praise be to God, we are carrying our weapon on our shoulders and have been fighting the two poles of evil in the East and the West for 30 years. Throughout this period, we have not seen any cases of suicide among us despite the international pursuit against us. We praise God for this. This proves the soundness of our belief and the justice of our cause. God willing, we will continue our way to liberate our land. Our weapon is patience. We seek victory from God. We will not give up the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We hold on to Palestine more than we hold on to our souls. Continue the war as long as you wish, we will never bargain over it (Palestine).

“Endless war will not tire me
“For I am now fully grown and strong
“For this, my mother begot me (lines of poetry)
“Peace be upon those who follow guidance.”

~ Al-Qa’ida leader Usama Bin Ladin

Suzuki Morihisa Tetsubin

Taking Their Tea, and Past, Seriously
Teapot makers use age-old methods to create functional objets d’art.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
August 02, 2001|VALERIE REITMAN

MORIOKA, Japan — When Shiiko Kumagai’s grandfather, a legendary craftsman who made exquisite handmade cast-iron teapots, died, she was making jewelry in Tokyo, a few hundred miles and light-years away.

A few years later, her father died, and the family teapot-making business, which had survived for 15 generations, was in danger of collapse. “This family has a long history,” she says. “Someone had to take over.”

And so, 12 years ago, Kumagai, a petite woman with delicate features, adopted the business name of her grandfather and those before him: Morihisa Suzuki. She donned work clothes and repaired to the primitive workshop tucked just behind the family’s storefront and home, where as a child she would watch her grandfather pour molten iron into molds for the teakettles that had won him the government’s prized designation as a “living national treasure.”

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Kushime Tetsubin Small 櫛目丸形鉄瓶 1.0 Liter
Prime Minister Book Prize

The techniques of Kumagai, now 54, remain much the same as her grandfather’s–and, for that matter, differ little from those of her 17th century ancestors. Her forefathers were vassals making household goods for the daimyo, or lord, who ruled an area, then known as Nambu, on the northern part of Japan’s main island.

She was skeptical that the other dozen or so men who still make teapots in Morioka–many of them also descendants of 17th century craftsmen–would accept and respect a woman in this small city renowned for its cast-iron wares. Their solid, heavy pots with a dull luster convey a feeling of strength and substance, and many feature a raised-knob pattern.

“It’s not a matter if you’re a man or a woman, but this is really heavy physical work,” says Takahiro Koizumi, a male Morioka teapot maker.

But with help from the two craftsmen who worked for her grandfather, she has managed not only to keep the business afloat, but also to win the respect and admiration of her peers with the delicate shapes of her teapots.

One lovely creation, which retails for about $600, is shaped somewhat like a rounded version of Cinderella’s coach, with vertical lines delicately enveloping the orb’s sides. She created the pot by painstakingly etching a pattern into a sand-and-clay mold, into which iron is poured.

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“Women are more imaginative, creative than men,” says her male counterpart, Tomoyuki Maeda, who also makes teapots in a craft village on the city’s fringe. “Her works are very sensitive. She can draw very thin drawings like hair–the kind of thing men can never imagine or think about doing.”

Turning their Nanbu tetsubin , as the teapots are called in Japanese, into more objets d’art than kettles is one way these traditional craftspeople are trying to keep their livelihoods intact.

The challenge for Morioka’s dozen or so tetsubin makers is to keep their traditional cast-iron tea ceremony vessels and tetsubin alive and relevant in an era in which electric hot-water heaters are the norm and a lingering economic decline has tightened pocketbooks.

Teapot maker Koizumi, for example, is advertising on the Internet and also sells ceramics in his store. Others, such as Nobuho Miya, have tried to find more contemporary uses for cast iron, rendering it into fashionable casserole dishes with wooden handles and trivets, to supplement teapot sales.

Until a recent resurgence, the use of once-requisite tetsubin –usually perched on a charcoal-burning hibachi inside the home–had been declining for decades. The iron teapots are no longer a necessity for daily life, thanks first to the advent of propane burners, then gas stoves and now the electric thermos-like water heaters that are omnipresent in Japanese homes these days. The thermoses provide a ready supply of hot water to make ocha, Japanese green or brown tea.

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The electric thermoses are far easier to use than the iron pots, from which water must be dumped immediately or rust will form. And they’re far less expensive than the handmade tetsubin, which start at about $200 and can cost 10 to 20 times as much. The similar cast-iron pots used for boiling water in the refined Japanese tea ceremony can easily cost several thousand dollars.

The pots last forever if well cared for, so there’s little demand for replacements. “Ironware is too strong,” tetsubin- maker Koizumi says jokingly. “We need to sell something that’s easily broken.”

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And the handmade pots are also being supplanted by sales of machine-made tetsubin, some of which are manufactured in Southeast Asia. Others are made right in Morioka by the huge Iwachu factory.

The factory, which makes handsome cast-iron pots, pans, skillets, woks and decorative ware, exports brightly colored cast-iron teapots with raised knobs that can be seen in department stores from France to Los Angeles. The pots exported to the U.S. have an enamel surface, to prevent rusting, an Iwachu spokesman says.

While also making them rust-proof, the enamel coating eliminates one of the key factors that have helped the handmade pots enjoy a resurgence in Japan in recent years: Water boiled in the tetsubin is infused with iron, purportedly helping to counteract widespread anemia in Japan. Water boiled in the pots also tastes sweeter, somehow eliminating the chlorine-taste of city water.

Those who do use tetsubin often combine old and new, boiling the water in the teapots, then dumping it into the thermos to keep it warm throughout the day.

It’s a wonder the tetsubin craft has survived at all. The beautiful pots made before World War II are scarce because the tetsubin- makers were required to donate any pots in their stores to the war effort, and the pots were melted down to make ammunition. Kumagai has just two pots that were made by her grandfather.

Craftsmen were endangered during the war as well because the Japanese government required most men to serve in the war. But some craftsmen successfully petitioned the government to spare them from having to serve, while also allowing them to make a few pots annually to preserve their skills. Koizumi’s family, for example, was allowed to make 20 pots annually, a coup because making the pots also consumed precious fuel.

Museums and books show the beauty of the old teapots–some in shapes such as Mt. Fuji, others with flowers or wild horses in relief. Among the most prized were silvery kettles formed from the sand-iron panned from local river beds–a kind of material known as a phantom metal said to possess extraordinary qualities. Today, however, most of the pots contain iron imported from Brazil and elsewhere.

Making the pots is still painstaking. The molds contain an inner core on which sand and clay are laid and then patterns–ranging from sprays of flowers to thousands of dots that form knobs of sorts on the exterior–are etched or punched by hand.

Shape is also important. It’s said that the sound the teapot makes when it boils should sound like the wind blowing through pine trees. The lid should rise up and click slightly when the water is boiling.

The inner mold for the teapots is contained within two outer pieces that fit together and resemble an old cask. The molds are filled with molten iron, then delicately opened, and imperfections are hammered out. (The molds can be reused if they remain intact; they are easily broken when the iron is poured or when the mold is opened.)

The pots are then oven-fired to remove the carbon and burnished with a lacquer made from pine-tree ash and a mixture of brown rust, vinegar and green tea.

The teapot-makers’ workshops–usually located behind their shops and adjacent to their homes in downtown, urban Morioka, resemble ancient blacksmiths’ quarters, with lots of old-fashioned tools and no modern machinery.

They are a study in browns, with the cask-like moldings piled high on dirt or sand floors.

Miya, whose grandfather founded his store a century ago, has developed a technique to help prevent–or, more accurately, disguise–rusting: He melts rusted Japanese cast-iron items such as tubs and pots, then reuses the iron in his very expensive tea-ceremony kettles. The pots take on an attractive, burnished-red finish that essentially is already rusted so won’t show any more rust.

Some Japanese are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for these items. “People need something to depend on mentally, and they have started getting tired of mass-produced items,” Miya says.

On a recent day, Nobuyoshi Tanabe, 72, and his wife, Ichii, 73, traveled five hours north to Morioka to buy a tea-ceremony pot, known as a chagama, at Maeda’s shop. The couple–who met for the first time on their wedding day in an arranged marriage–were looking for a tea-ceremony pot to commemorate their 55th wedding anniversary next year.

On their 45th anniversary, Nobuyoshi Tanabe drew a family tree that took 15 years to research–but would be gone instantly in a fire, he notes. For their 50th anniversary, they went to a hot spring, inviting many friends and relatives along. When that was over too, nothing remained, he said. “This time,” he says, “I wanted to have something that will remain forever with our name on it.”

The couple settled on a custom-made pot on which Maeda’s shop will put the kanji characters for their names, along with “55th wedding anniversary.” And they settled on a price: about $1,600.

They’ll particularly savor it, Nobuyoshi Tanabe says, because they live in a farmhouse with a traditional wood-burning irori hearth, where they can boil the water and perform the tea ceremony along with their son, daughter-in-law, grandson and his new wife in the house they all share.

“As I became older, I wanted to drink tea longer, and water boiled in Nambu ware is superior–it’s different than in an electric pot,” he says. “I want to boil water over charcoal. I want to really taste the tea.”

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Morihisa Iron Studio, Moriawake