Cairo, Egypt – In a purported Osama Bin Laden audio message, the Al Qaeda leader vows to enact revenge upon the West for publication of a “horribly unfunny and unoriginal” Garfield comic strip from Monday, March 10. The strip, which shows Garfield attempting to write a poem in honor of Monday, ends with his giving the day a raspberry. The strip apparently provoked a remarkably angry response from Bin Laden.
“What right have you to publish such things, a joke repeated thousands of times about a fat cat who hates Monday?” a voice assumed to be that of Bin Laden asks in the recorded message. “You insult our people, our sense of humor, our appreciation of art, and of cats. And you will pay.”
It was not made clear what specific action might be taken by Bin Laden or others acting on his orders. The recorded message was played on Arabic television network Al-Jazeera yesterday morning, and has since been analyzed by the Central Intelligence Agency. “We believe the voice is likely Bin Laden’s,” said Emerson Palmer, a CIA official. “And we’ve looked at the strip, and frankly, some of us were mad too. But, no, we’re not condoning anything he said or proposed. I’m just saying that I feel like I’ve seen that same joke before. That’s all I’m saying.”
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said there are no plans currently to raise the nation’s threat level, saying he predicts there will be a rise in the threat level early next fall, so that there is no need to raise it now. “I’m not saying I know anything for sure, or that there’s any plan in place to do anything next fall,” Chertoff said. “But I just have a hunch, my gut tells me that we may see another one of these ‘messages’ from Mr. Bin Laden around, say October, and then probably a heightened threat level at that time. Right now, I think we’ll keep it where it is. But you never know. One day, when you least expect it, Whoop! Up it may go.”