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BIN LADEN TAPE SOUGHT TO AID BUSH, CASTRO SAYS

Fidel Castro says the emergence of an Osama bin Laden videotape just ahead of the U.S. presidential election seemed to have been "arranged" to help President Bush.

In his first public comments about Bush's re-election, the Cuban leader said, "We have seen too much . . . trickery and shamelessness to sustain the belief that this wasn't something arranged."

Speaking this week on the communist-run island's nightly televised discussion program "Mesa Redonda," Castro added, "Bin Laden makes the documentaries that decide elections."

The Arab television station Al-Jazeera broadcast the tape Oct. 29, just ahead of the Nov. 2 election.

On the tape, bin Laden acknowledged he ordered the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and said the United States must stop threatening the security of Muslims if it wants to avoid "another Manhattan." While he did not directly warn of new attacks, the al-Qaida leader said, "There are still reasons to repeat what happened."

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