This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," November 29, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, a new chilling message from Al Qaeda's No. 2. hours ago, a tape believed to be from Ayman al Zawahiri was played on Al Jazeera TV and appears to be sending threatening advice to America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYMAN AL ZAWAHIRI (through translator): The last advice to the United States, that we are going to give them two options, either to deal with the Muslims based on respect, the exchange of interests, or to deal with them as an aggression and aggressors that are fighting the Arabs and the Muslims. You have to choose one of the two. We are the people who are willing to wait. We are patient, and we are willing to fight you until the day of judgment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Former ambassador Marc Ginsberg joins us from Washington. Ambassador, you listened to this in the original, without having to rely on a translation, like the rest of us. So help us out. What did he say, and what do you think he means?
MARC GINSBERG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MOROCCO, FOX FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Ayman al Zawahiri, Greta, essentially said one thing that I think was most ominous. He used the word "final" in Arabic, a final word of advice, or, This is my last advice to you. He essentially said the American people have a choice. And yet, paradoxically, Greta, the tape apparently was made before our presidential election. Why it was just released, I can only speculate perhaps because it's the end of the period of the holiday season after Ramadan. Or — or, more ominously, this is a signal, given the fact that he uses the word "final advice to the American people."
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, a few days before election, Usama bin Laden released — at least, it was played on Al Jazeera — I don't know when it was released. Is there any way to determine, you know, whether this one was made before or after that? Can you draw any conclusion from that timing?
GINSBERG: When I went back and looked at the previous videotape that he shot in September, on the third anniversary of 9/11, he was wearing virtually the same garb. He had the same rifle behind him. And he was wearing the same sort of petticoat or blanket on his shoulder. So one could argue that this is being shot in the same place, same videotape.
Now, why it's taken so long for these to reach Al Jazeera is hard for me to tell, Greta. But I at least have to come to one conclusion, and that is, he has sequentially released a tape every month since September, first the videotape, then an audiotape in October, and now at the end of November, this videotape.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything that we should discern — is there any signal or clue from the way he's dressed or even the rifle on the back? Does that mean anything?
GINSBERG: No. Juxtapose this against the latest bin Laden videotape that we saw just a few weeks ago, where he was standing in front of what appeared to be a lectern, in which there was no guns present. I don't know if they're Jekyll and Hyde here, where bin Laden is trying to come across as some ersatz statesman and al Zawahiri's still the warrior. But given the fact that his message was meant not only to the United States but also warning Arab countries that are continuing to support the United States that they will be continuously targeted, I have to ask myself one question. On the final period after Ramadan, during the period of what is known in Arabic as the Eid, is this a signal that we should be very careful about?
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, if you look at the recent tapes, the most recent one of bin Laden and this one, and even the one in September of al Zawahiri, and you compare them back to, like, two or three years ago, after 9/11, is there a change in tone or in presentation? Because the last bin Laden one — and I don't mean to be dismissive, but it almost looked like he was trying out for a punditry job on Al Jazeera. I mean, is there a change in the way that they're delivering these?
GINSBERG: Yes, Al Jazeera's equivalent to "Hardball," I guess. But you have a situation here where, indeed, Greta, your observation, I think, is pretty accurate. In the beginning, these audiotapes and videotapes that have been issued by each of these men from the anniversary of September 11 all the way through last year, they were very religious. They were very dismissive, angry, foreboding.
These last tapes that were issued here in 2004, both the audio and video, are far more — I hate to use the phrase, but I don't know what else to say — more statesmanlike. They're talking politics, rather than using the Quran or using words of what I essentially would call anger and animosity towards the United States. They're essentially saying to the American people, going over the heads of their leaders, You, the American people, have a choice in how you're going to deal with Muslims, calling on the American people to overrule their leaders and try to reach out to Muslims.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we only have 30 seconds left. How is this tape received in the Arab press? Because I know that you read all the Web sites and all those other press.
GINSBERG: Pretty matter-of-fact. Al Jazeera carried it on its Web site. It barely has hit, I think, the other Arab Web sites. Saw very little reference to it when I scanned these Web sites. Why, Greta? Perhaps because I believe that Al Jazeera is holding back other portions of this videotape. We haven't seen the whole tape yet, in my judgment.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, as always, thank you very much.
GINSBERG: Sure, Greta.
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