And now, a message from Bin Laden …

“Okay everyone … take your seats as quickly as possible. Let’s get this press conference started …. Everyone … hello? Is this thing working?”

Assam the Spokesperson, aka Gamaat the Destroyer aka Todd Fenster the converted Muslim from Glendale, taps anxiously on the microphone while a disorderly crowd of journalists slowly take their seats.

“Listen up people… the big guy himself will be here any minute and I do not want any trouble.” He looks sternly at the assembled crowd … “We all remember what happened to Masood from the Karachi Times when he failed to follow the simple ground rules … not good. Seriously.“

The lights dim slightly and a PowerPoint slide appears on the screen at the front of the room.

“Let’s take just a second to review. And thanks to Bashir in the A/V Department for putting together these slides, really nice.

“Rule one … do not talk unless called upon. Seriously. I can’t emphasize this enough. No interruptions and no unsolicited questions.”

“Number two … turn off your damn cell phones. I don’t mean switch to vibrate, I’m talking off. We hear a phone once the Lion Sheik starts his gig, you just bought yourself a place on the suicide bomber squad. I’m not kidding here.”

“Rule three… watch your grammar. You know how he feels about run-on sentences and things that dangle where they shouldn’t. Keep your phrasing tight and focus on your enunciation. He’s got a thing about slouching, so if we call on you, stand up straight. Good posture shows confidence.”

Assam glances at his watch and continues… “Okay, got it? Good. Finally, remember our location is a secret, so no disclosing that in your stories. That would be a major screwup and we’d definitely kill you for that one.

“Right … without further adieu, it’s my real pleasure to present the incomparable titan of terror … the tallest drink of water this side of Waziristan … none other than the bearded giant of mayhem, your friend and mine, Usama bin Laden….”

The crowd of sympathetic local journalists rises as one and bursts into applause. In shuffles Bin Laden, dressed nattily in a white robe, green fatigue jacket and sporting a Girls Gone Wild ball cap. His security contingent files in behind him and nervously takes up positions around the room.

“Okay… nice… thanks for that…” Bin Laden takes his place behind the microphone and signals for the crowd to take their seats. The applause continues as none of the journalists want to be the first to stop clapping.

“Thanks… good… OK, let’s wind it down…” he fidgets with some index cards and takes a sip of tea from a cup on the podium. “Okeedokee… enough with the sucking up, let’s go people, bums on seats.”

“Thanks for attending today’s conference… I’ll make a brief statement and then take a few questions. Just as a reminder, we are in a secret location, people, so keep your pieholes shut. You all remember what happened to Masood when he disclosed our last secret location.”

The crowd shifts uncomfortably in their seats.

“Sooo, you all know I just released another audiotape the other day…frankly not our best work, the quality could have been better,” he glances over at Bashir from the A/V department “… but we’re counting on the next release being more professional.” Bashir nods keenly and gives a thumbs up.

“Just to follow up on that audiotape with some key points... some of this stuff honestly can’t be repeated enough. Okay, in no particular order: Al Qaeda stands in unity with our Hamas brothers as they struggle against the Israeli devil … Israel and the U.S. suck … we don’t like the Egyptians cause they’re so freakin’ moderate and what the hell happened to the New York Giants in the playoffs?”

Bin Laden looks over at Assam and gestures to the crowd. Assam leans over to the microphone … “There you go. Any questions?”

“Oh Lion of the Desert, your humble media servant Jalil from the Kandahar Review. In your audiotape you stated that Al Qaeda is prepared to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq for seven more years, and seven more after than, then seven more. Can you explain what you mean by that?”

“Thanks Jalil… love Kandahar… great food, always stop in at Zippy’s Goat 'n’ More whenever we’re passing through, really top notch shwarma. I’ll tell you what I meant… we’re prepared to fight for 21 more years. That’s it, no more. I think you need timelines when battling superpowers. I got the impression our fighters wanted an exit strategy…so I’m saying 21 years. There you go.”

“Yes sir…Aswan from the Baluchistan Daily Sonnet. You said in your audiotape that the Islamic nation’s jihad is one of the reasons for the U.S. economic crisis… could you elaborate?”
“Aswan is it? Nice use of the word elaborate. Did everyone catch that? You know, good vocabulary is so important, seriously. A nice vocabulary and good posture can take you places. I tell that to my security team all the time... Ayman got them those word-of-the-day calendars for the holidays. Really nice.”

He looks over at Muktar the Security Chief. “Am I lyin’ Muktar? What do I always tell you?”

Muktar stands to attention. “It’s true Wise One, you always tell us “… stand up straight and improve your word power.””

“It’s true, people, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.” Bin Laden gestures towards Aswan. “But to answer your question… the infidels have spent tons of jack trying to destroy us and I think it’s fair we take a little credit for their current crappy economy. They bang on about bad mortgages, toxic debt and frozen credit… all I’m saying is how about a little recognition for the terrorists.”

“Great one, Hassan from the Taliban Radio Network. With respect, the 4th Quarter numbers weren’t so hot for the supreme terrorist organization. Are there any plans to ask for some of that bailout money from the anticipated stimulus package?”

“Well, everyone else seems to be lining up for their share. Obviously we’d have to work out the logistics but if we can benefit, why not? Who couldn’t use a few billion while times are tough.”

“Oh tall dude of the desert, Bobo from the Peoples Weekly Brief… the new Attorney General designate, Eric Holder, just stated during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill that waterboarding is torture. Thoughts?”

“Thoughts?” Bin Laden motions to his security team. “First of all Bilbo, how’d you get past security? Did anyone check this kid’s credentials?”

Muktar looks nervously at his boss. “The PWB was on the list sir. It’s a conundrum to be sure.”

“Nice… conundrum. That’s what I’m talking about.” Bin Laden turns back to look at Bobo, now surrounded by security personnel. “Listen Bimbo, we couldn’t believe this Holder guy would go up on the hill and announce that, in his particular view, waterboarding is torture. How great is that? We’re getting all lawyered up… this time next year we’ll be serving papers against everyone in the Bush administration. Man do I love the U.S. legal system. I sent a message to Khalid Sheik Mohammed to tell him he’s gonna’ be rich by the time we finish with the lawsuits. He wants to buy a condo down in South Beach and open a club.”

Assam steps forward. “Okay, time for one more then that’s it.”

“Sheik, Abu Assam from Al Jazeera. The U.S. devils are welcoming a new president… he’s quite smart I hear, handsome and fit too. I read in People that he’s super nice. Any plans to maybe soften up the terrorism thing now that the new guy is in the White House?”

Bin Laden sets his teacup down and scratches his beard. “Honestly? Are you an idiot? Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama… what the hell does the president have to do with Islamic extremism and jihad?” He glares at the reporter… “Have you not been paying attention?”

“What do I care who’s in the White House? You think some smart guy talking hope and change with a really nice vocabulary and a not bad jump shot is gonna cause us to think “hey, maybe those infidels ain’t so bad after all?” What a load of crap. Get real. We didn’t need Bush to start hating infidels and we don’t plan on stopping now.”

Bin Laden stomps off the stage, followed by his security team, while Assam takes the microphone.

“Right… that wraps it up. Remember, secret location… don’t get all artsy and start giving flowery descriptions of the area. Next thing you know we’ve got an armed drone up the tailpipe. And remember to pick up your gift bags on the way out.”

Postscript: Bobo eventually made his way safely back to PWB headquarters. He is currently being debriefed by government authorities down at Buzzy’s 8 Ball Lounge and Billiard Room.
The PWB staff would like to thank all the faithful readers for their research and efforts to identify additional famous Leons as a result of the previous column. The response was overwhelming, indicating that PWB loyalists are both somewhat disturbed and enjoy really useless research projects. Well done and thank you.

As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts and insight. Send your emails to peoplesweeklybrief@hotmail.com.

Til’ next week, stay safe.

Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector and has recently returned to Diligence LLC, a company he cofounded in 2000, as President. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on counterterrorism, intelligence and homeland security. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant, writer and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks," as well as major motion pictures.