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SPECIAL REPORT: Osama bin Laden ~ Is the trail as cold as the dead?

Posted by Admin on September 23, 2006


25 September 2006 – 3:30 pm (US-CST) – Added more article links

Dear Readers: I am in the process of putting together the latest news links list right now, so I only had time to review in-depth the L’Est Republicain article, its translation at FreeRepublic, and the CBS coverage, as well as collect some links for you all to peruse. I will update this post as more information becomes available. – Michelle K. 25 September 2006 – Added more article links

Is Osama dead or alive?

A purported leaked French intelligence report was exposed in the French newspaper L’Est Républicain today which stated that according to a usually reliable source, Saudi secret services have come to believe that Osama bin Laden is dead. They believe he died on the 23rd of August 2006, of typhus which involved a partial paralysis of his lower limbs. The Saudi secret service judged the information to be sufficiently reliable for them to inform the highest French authorities. According to the article a note was written on September 19th titled, “The Saudi secret services are looking to confirm the death of Osama Bin Laden.” Neither French or U.S. officials are able to confirm these reports.

As far as the source is concerned, according to Sheila MacVicar in a CBS News Exclusive video report, L’Est Republicain is not a tabloid, has a very good reputation, and it is the major news source for their geographical region of France. MacVicar also points out that the French Defense Ministry is launching an investigation into the source of the leaked secret document which suggest that the leaked document is indeed legitimate.

MacVicar also states in the video report that senior Saudi officials told her, they have “excellent information, very credible information, which does strongly suggest that bin Laden is dead. The Saudis themselves are warning that until they either find the people who were with bin Laden, or recover a body it will be impossible to confirm. But I am told that the Saudis are moving towards a pretty high degree of certainty that they believe that he’s dead.”

CBS News also has made available a video report titled, “Experts on the Bin Laden Reports“. According to a CBS News consultant, Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit and author of the book, “Imperial Hubris”, when asked by Thalia Assuras about the likelihood that these reports were true, he referenced a conversation he had with sources on the Afghan/Pakistani border this morning who reportedly told him, “If Osama bin Laden were dead the West would never know it. We would keep it secret for years.”

Jere Van Dyck, another news consultant debated Schuer’s assertion citing that Osama’s death would not be kept a secret because the culture would value him as a martyr, and they would want to celebrate his entry in to paradise, as attainment of Osama’s ultimate goal. Van Dyke postualtes that this may be an attempt on the part of the Saudis and the French to try and goad bin Laden into saying something to refute the reports of his death.

Van Dyke also added that according to rumors he has heard when in the region, and again in his conversations this morning, Osama is surrounded by a concentric circle of guards all of whom have detonators that would be activated immediately killing Osama if anything went wrong because Osama “does not want to be seen as Saddam was seen, he does not want to be humiliated in any way” and that he very much wants to be a martyr. Schuer again stated at the close of the report that he simply doesn’t know if Osama is dead or alive, and his sources repeated to him that they would “never tell”.

Michael Scheuer was also interviewed on the CBS Early Show this morning and stated that the particular source of these rumors is not particularly reliable in his opinion. He stated that Saudi intelligence can be somewhat of “an oxymoron”. He also says that Al Qaeda has never before tried to disguise the death of one of its leaders, instead announcing these events in a “fairly concise time frame”. Scheuer think the likelihood of this rumor being true is, “a long shot at the moment.”

As far as the reports of bin Laden being ill and possibly dying of typhoid, Scheuer stated that contracting that disease is a distinct possiblity that may lead to Osama’s eventual death due to the quality of water available in that region of the world. He believes illness would more likely be his downfall rather than dying in any sort of combat. Scheuer also brings up the point that bin Laden’s death supposedly occurred on August 23rd, and he finds it highly unlikely that they would have, or could have kept that a secret for this long. He firmly believes that if Osama were dead al-Qaeda would announce it, again, as confirmation of Osama’s martyr status and his attainment of paradise in accordance with his follower’s beliefs for one who dies “in a jihad”.

You can read the original article in French here;
OUSSAMA BEN LADEN SERAIT MORT – Les services secrets saoudiens auraient acquis la conviction que le fondateur d’Al-Qaida est mort.” – by Laïd Sammari – L’Est Républicain – France – 23 September 2006

A member of the Conservative News & Discussion Forum, has posted a translation of the article here;
TRANSLATED TEXT OF FRENCH NEWSPAPER REPORT OF BIN LADEN’S DEATH: ‘OSAMA BIN LADEN COULD BE DEAD’” – Posted by “StJacques” – Source: L’Est Republicain – Translation by “StJacques” – – California, US – 23 September 2006


      French President Jacques Chirac said Saturday that information contained in a leaked intelligence document raising the possibility that Osama bin Laden may have died of typhoid in Pakistan last month is “in no way whatsoever confirmed.”

     Chirac said he was “a bit surprised” at the leak and has asked Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to investigate how a document from a French foreign intelligence service was published in the French press.
[. . .]
      “We have no response to the question of whether bin Laden is dead or alive,” the [Saudi] interior Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
     A senior White House official says of the information,”I wouldn’t hold your breath,” reports CBS News White House correspondent Jim Axelrod.
     A senior official in Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry said he is “very skeptical of the truthfulness” of the document, noting past false reports of the death of bin Laden. He was not authorized to address the issue and asked that his name not be used.
     Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tasnim Aslam, called the information “speculative,” saying that Pakistan like other countries was “clueless about him.” [Cont’d…]
French Want Probe Into Bin Laden Leak” – CBS News

  • OFFICIALS, FRIENDS: BIN LADEN DEATH REPORT UNCONFIRMED” – Kate Turner, Pam Benson, Peter Bergen, Elise Labott & Nic Robinson, Contributors – CNN News – Cable News Network LP LLLP – Atlanta, Georgia, US – 23 September 2006
    [NOTES: From the article; “Story Highlights: France’s Chirac, U.S. intelligence downplay report that bin Laden is dead – Report’s source is leaked French defense ministry documents – Saudi source tells CNN bin Laden is ill with a water-borne disease – Bin Laden’s brother-in-law says he has heard no report of al Qaeda leader’s death”]
  • BIN LADEN: DEAD OR ALIVE? – CBS News: Arab Diplomats Discuss Reports Of Bin Laden’s Death” – by Farhan Bokhari & Sheila MacVicar – CBS News – CBS Broadcasting, Inc. – New York, New York, US – 23 September 2006

     Osama bin Laden’s health has deteriorated in the past year, forcing him to curtail his movements, according to Arab diplomats in Pakistan who routinely track reports of his movements.

     A senior source with an intelligence service friendly to the United States told CBS News that Saudi intelligence has collected what it considers to be “very credible information” that bin Laden has been very seriously ill, and that the Saudi services are now suggesting, though not confirming, that they “have a pretty high certainty” that he is dead.

Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” – CBS News


  • film3.gif EXCLUSIVE: OSAMA BIN LADEN DEAD?” – Report with Sheila MacVicar – CBS News – CBS Broadcasting, Inc. – New York, New York, US – 23 September 2006
  • film3.gif EXPERTS ON THE BIN LADEN REPORT” – Thalia Assuras talks with CBS News consultants Jere Van Dyk, and Michael Scheuer – CBS News – CBS Broadcasting, Inc. – New York, New York, US – 23 September 2006
  • film3.gif ANALYSIS OF BIN LADEN REPORTS” – CBS Early Show interview with Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit – CBS News – CBS Broadcasting, Inc. – New York, New York, US – 23 September 2006

Opinions expressed in the items linked to in this post are that of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect my opinions. Some editorials (and articles) linked to on this site are done with the intention of furthering knowledge of differing opinions, and encouraging debate on important issues.

Also, please keep in mind that some news sources linked may require more scrutiny than others when relying on the truthfulness of information contained in them; particularly those news outlets such as Foreign Government Controlled News Agencies, or political party websites.

Thank you for reading the Liberty Rocks Blog – Michelle K.

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