A new video has been released in which Osama bin Laden claims that Zacarias Moussaoui played no part in the 911 attacks. "He had no connection at all with Sept. 11,"  bin Laden states. "I am the one in charge of the 19 brothers and I never assigned brother Zacarias to be with them in that mission. What, do I look like some kind of idiot? Okay, forget looks for a minute. Suffice to say, I am not an idiot, but a mastermind, and even if I were to look like an idiot, I don't hire idiots to work for me. And you can take that to the bank, all praise to the prophet."

bin Laden went on to say that none of the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay were involved in the attacks, either. Except two. "That's Osama for you," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in brief remarks. "He admits that we've caught two blood engorged merchants of death, but he doesn't tell us which ones they are. To him, it's all a shell game. Well, guess what. We're keeping everybody locked up until the guilty ones come forward."

Middle-east analysts were particularly taken by a portion of the tape in which bin Laden opened a cold refreshing bottle of Heineken Light, a product which has only been on the American market for a couple of weeks.

"Heineken light has only 96 calories and 6.8 carbs, praise Allah," he said. "It's revitalizing rather than overwhelming, and it's crisp clean touch will have you reaching for more, again and again."

Some Pentagon analysts suggest that this was an attempt to seek a path for rapprochement with the West, but others saw it as a sign of  growing financial trouble within al-Qaeda. "It's pretty clear," one expert said, "that when bin Laden has to seek endorsement deals, the war on terror is beginning to turn the corner."


2006, Mark Hoback