Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bin Laden Dead?

Josh Marshall describes unconfirmed reports from a leaked French Intelligence document which says that Saudi Arabian Intelligence believes that bin Laden died August 23d in Pakistan of typhoid. The leaked report is presented in regional French newspaper.

I say again, this is at this time unconfirmed. Josh has links to the sources.

OK. Here are more rumors and analysis of the rumors.
UPI has pretty good sources, and some really good anylists. Doesn't make them right, but it is better than what I have at present.

UPI Analysis: Is bin Laden truly dead?

[H/T to Josh Marshall TPM. Or actually to the midwestern lawyer TPM Reader DK who is sitting in on weekends. (We don't know who he is because he is a corporate lawyer whose position would not allow this kind of public exposure. But he is approved by Josh, and does a damned good job on weekends.]

Here is the key statement from UPI:
Making the report all the more credible was the choice by those in French counter-intelligence of where to leak the Saudi report, the regional L'Est Republicain, rather than one of the larger Paris-based dailies.

"There is a history with that paper," the Saudi source told UPI. The newspaper is known to have had intelligence reports leaked to it in the past. "They are very reliable," said the Saudi official.

The information purporting the death of the world's most sought after terrorist is based on what the newspaper calls "a usually reliable source," stating that Saudi intelligence sources "are convinced" of bin Laden's death.

The French intelligence report goes on to say, still according to the French daily, that bin Laden died in Pakistan on August 23 after suffering "from a severe bout of typhoid fever," and a bacterial infection provoked a paralysis of his lower body.

The Saudi intelligence report states that bin Laden's geographic isolation "rendered all medical assistance impossible. Indeed, U.S. intelligence sources have long believed bin Laden was hiding in remote parts of Pakistan, close to the border with Afghanistan, areas where sophisticated medical help would be difficult to obtain.

The news of bin Laden's death reached the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Sept. 4. If confirmed, that, in part, might explain the complete absence of Osama bin Laden from making any appearances on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon just outside Washington, DC.

Instead, a videotape by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was released to television news networks.

The French daily reports that the internal and confidential memo from the DGSE reporting the death of "the enemy number one" of the United States and of the West, was handed over to the Presidency of the French republic on Sept. 21.
This is reasonably convincing, and there seems to be no value to al Queda to present this as propaganda. Nor, in fact, do I see any reason for French Intelligence to lie about this. (But what do I know about French Intelligence? Don't ask. It's classified. (Joke))

All in all, I find this somewhat convincing. That is, I think the people reporting it believe it. I will be looking for more evidence, however.

No comments: