Bin Laden condemns Halliburton Co in tape

Another bad week for the US construction giant as six more civilian employees go missing in Iraq while the al-Qaeda leader denounces the country’s rebuilding

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By  Rhys Jones Published  April 24, 2004

In an audio-tape broadcast by al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera satellite television channels last week, Osama Bin Laden condemned the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The al-Qaeda leader denounced the US-led occupation of Iraq as a money-making scheme for companies making weapons or aiding reconstruction efforts-specifically naming the American construction giant Halliburton. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the tape, though the voice sounded like previous tapes thought to be genuine. The CIA has said some previous tapes purportedly from bin Laden were likely to be genuine. The voice in the tape says: “This is a war that is benefiting major companies with billions of dollars, such as Halliburton and Co.” The voice, though to be Bin Laden’s, offers a truce with European states if they stop attacking Muslims and get out of Iraq, but not with the USA. “I offer a truce to them (Europe) with a commitment to stop operations against any state which vows to stop attacking Muslims or interfere in their affairs...The announcement of the truce starts with the withdrawal of the last soldier from our land and the door is open for three months from the date of the announcement of this statement,” Bin Laden said. The voice on the tape added that there would be no truce with the United States. “President (George W) Bush and leaders in his sphere, big media institutions, and the United Nations.. all of them are a fatal danger to the world, and the Zionist lobby is their most dangerous and difficult member, and we insist, God willing, on continuing to fight them,” added the al-Qaeda leader. Halliburton has been under increasing pressure in recent weeks, with seven civilian employees of the US firm now missing in Iraq. The US military confirmed that seven employees of a Halliburton subsidiary and two American soldiers were missing after their convoy was ambushed last week near Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad. Only one worker, Thomas Hamill,a 43-year-old truck driver is known to have been abducted. His captors have threatened to kill and mutilate him unless US troops ended their assault on the city of Fallujah. The deadline passed last Sunday with no word on his fate. “Our work is difficult and in a dangerous environment and we are angered and deeply saddened by this situation,” Halliburton said in a statement. The US company declined to identify the six other missing workers or discuss details of the attack.

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