Videos showing people reading Osama bin Laden’s 2002 letter justifying the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon went viral Wednesday evening, prompting a media outlet to delete its translation of the document.
The Guardian deleted the letter Wednesday after it had been active on the site since being published on Nov. 24, 2002, directing readers to an article from that date about the letter. Videos on the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok showed users reading the letter, Rolling Stone reported.
“Now trending on social media (especially TikTok) people saying that after reading Bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America,’ they now understand terrorism is a legitimate method of resistance against ‘oppression’ and America deserved to be attacked of 9/11,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“American university students have become so ‘progressive’ that they are now praising Osama Bin Laden and his essay ‘Letter to America,’” Visegrad24 posted on X. “Bin Laden started the essay by complaining about “Jewish control over money.”
The Guardian’s deletion of the letter drew comment from Yashar Ali, a writer for the Huffington Post and NY magazine. “The Guardian had a copy of ‘Letter to America’ posted, but once these TikToks went viral, the Guardian took it down, which has only led to more interest in the letter and conspiracies from TikTokers who say this is part of the media and the powers that control it trying to silence the truth,” Ali posted on X.
“Wait, all the hubub about Bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America’ that @guardian deleted … this same one @ForeignPolicy published years ago?” a military blogger using the pseudonym “CDR Salamander” said in a post on X.
Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 1, 2011.
Ryan Meilstrup on November 15, 2023