Bin Laden dead ?

by John Q on September 23, 2006

French newspaper L’Est Republicain has published a report, citing sources in the French security services who claim that Osama bin Laden is dead of typhoid, having been unable to obtain treatment by virtue of his isolation.

« Selon une source habituellement fiable, les services saoudiens auraient désormais acquis la conviction qu’Oussama Ben Laden est mort. Les éléments recueillis par les saoudiens indiquent que le chef d’Al-Qaïda aurait été victime, alors qu’il se trouvait au Pakistan le 23 août 2006, d’une très forte crise de typhoïde ayant entraîné une paralysie partielle de ses membres inférieurs. Son isolement géographique, provoqué par une fuite permanente, aurait rendu impossible toute assistance médicale. Le 4 septembre 2006, les services saoudiens de sécurité ont recueilli les premiers renseignements faisant état de son décès. Ils attendraient, d’obtenir davantage de détails, et notamment le lieu exact de son inhumation, pour annoncer officiellement la nouvelle ».

Via ABC News (Australia)



chris y 09.23.06 at 6:30 am

Well damn, there goes Karl Rove’s October surprise.


jonst 09.23.06 at 7:38 am

This just might BE Rove’s October Surprise. The Niger Documents: 2006: The Saga Continues


a 09.23.06 at 7:38 am

Why is such earthshaking news making its first appearance in a small regional newspaper?


John Emerson 09.23.06 at 8:25 am

A “source habituellement fiable” is now with Elvis? I think we should wait for verification.


Aidan Kehoe 09.23.06 at 8:42 am

Why is such earthshaking news making its first appearance in a small regional newspaper?

Chirac just confirmed that the report exists, but that it’s not something that they’re trusting. And, yes, of course we should wait until it’s confirmed before reacting seriously.


otto 09.23.06 at 8:43 am

It’s always difficult to see the doc when you are on the run.


John Emerson 09.23.06 at 8:47 am

“The French regional publisher L’Est Republicain is to purchase, for approximately 300 million euros, a group of Lyon newspapers (Le Progrès, Le Bien Public and Le Dauphiné Libéré) owned by Socpresse. This move will make L’Est Republicain France’s biggest regional publisher and a major European publisher.”

Regional but not small, apparently.

And of course, I meant to say that Osama is now with Elvis, not the “source habituellement fiable”.


jonst 09.23.06 at 9:26 am

“wait to react until its confirmed”. LOL….do you think, for a second, Rove et al would give a shit about confirmation/non confirmation, half assed confirmation or any such thing? Just let it hit the wingnut talk radio circuit…or their newsletters and you will increase voter turnout for the GOP in some measure. “Wait for it to be confirmed”…..LOL.


KCinDC 09.23.06 at 10:21 am

Jonst, I don’t understand why Bin Laden’s death would increase Republican turnout. If he’s dead, it will be hard for him to give his traditional pre-election advertisement for the GOP. It also might (unjustifiably) make people less worried about terrorism, which could be bad for the Republicans.


a 09.23.06 at 10:34 am

“Regional but not small, apparently.” You’re conflating the publisher and the newspaper. The newspaper is a small regional one.


Jim Harrison 09.23.06 at 10:57 am

One things for sure. If Bin Laden has died of natural causes, Bush will say “See, I told you we’d get him!”


spartikus 09.23.06 at 11:11 am

Typhoid. Serious about national security.


abb1 09.23.06 at 11:13 am

I thought this year’s October surprise is that their Exxon sponsors will be selling gas for 50c/gallon less for about a month and a half. Who cares about bin Laden?


fred lapides 09.23.06 at 11:45 am

this is what Time Mag says,8599,1538569,00.html
Dead? then declaire Mission Accomplished and bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan


bob mcmanus 09.23.06 at 12:02 pm

Bin Laden

Abu Aardvark doubts, based on ME media and his understanding of al Qaeda


Randy Paul 09.23.06 at 12:03 pm

habeus corpus?


abb1 09.23.06 at 12:39 pm

I think Aardvark has a point: if he’d died, it’s seems likely that their politburo would’ve announced it immediately. What would they gain by concealing it?


Aidan Kehoe 09.23.06 at 12:47 pm

Bob McManus, Abu Aardvark doesn’t appear to understand the story. He (it) seems to think that the newspaper report said that he’s dead and he’s then sceptical of that claim; but the story as cited is that the Saudi intelligence services have heard from a normally reliable source that he’s dead, but that has yet to be confirmed. This is the sort of tentative factoid that most interesting intelligence starts out as; I tend to provisionally believe it.


Aidan Kehoe 09.23.06 at 12:54 pm

Abb1, that said, what sort of martyr’s death is dying from typhoid because your organisation couldn’t get medical care to you in a region where there’s sufficient support for your ideals that you can live there for a half-decade while the richest and most powerful country in the world wants you dead?


luci 09.23.06 at 1:22 pm

My guess is he’s been dead for quite some time – since the US bombing of mountain/cave redoubts in Afghanistan. Why no video attached to his “announcements” since? Couldn’t he, if alive, have appeared in a video without giving away any info on his location?

It seems the PR value of appearing in person, flouting US efforts to kill him, would be huge. Why bother to make announcements, but in audio only?

So I believe his post-Afghanistan announcements have been fakes, produced by remnants of al Qaeda, or other Islamist groups wanting to connect themselves to bin Laden, or Western (or Middle Eastern) intelligence agencies.

Similar to the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign using Zarqawi, exposed by the Washington Post.


abb1 09.23.06 at 1:30 pm

Well, Aidan, that’s your story. And they could say that the prophet on a white horse came to pick him up or something. I just don’t see the point of pretending that he’s alive if he’s dead. Of course they might have their reasons, who knows what they think.


Seth Finkelstein 09.23.06 at 2:36 pm

abb1 – Just speculating, if he’s dead and al-Qaeda admits it, they lose “name recognition”. If they pretend he’s alive, they can try for whatever uncertainty and PR they can generate from their version of Elvis sightings.


TheDeadlyShoe 09.23.06 at 3:42 pm

Why no video attached to his “announcements” since? Couldn’t he, if alive, have appeared in a video without giving away any info on his location?

I’m reasonably certain there’s confirmed video of Bin Laden from immediately after the bombings, from him moving away from the caves. So I don’t think he died in the bombings. And the videos since have been reasonably authentic. Also, I don’t believe that they could have maintained secrecy for so long.


John Emerson 09.23.06 at 3:46 pm

King Arthur and Prester John were there in the McDonald’s, too.


abb1 09.23.06 at 3:56 pm

What about that tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich?


etat 09.23.06 at 6:21 pm

Cheney Rove et al need bin Laden alive as a propagandist for their cause. Once he’s dead, through no action of theirs, the question of Iraq moves up the agenda incrementally, and not in their favour. You could almost think of it as a victory for the conservative wing of the Republican party (i.e. McCain) and/or for the entire range of people opposed the the WoT/Guantanamo/etc as currently enacted.


dave heasman 09.23.06 at 6:41 pm

Bush will say “See, I told you we’d get him!”

With American typhoid! Republican typhoid!


vivian 09.23.06 at 9:40 pm

not e. coli?


abb1 09.24.06 at 1:42 am

Operation “Spinach”.


bad Jim 09.24.06 at 2:31 am

Juan Cole is skeptical:

This report appears to be based on a single source. Single sources are famously unreliable.

The report was denied by Saudi Intelligence, which said that UBL was alive and well. It was also denied by Pakistani intelligence. US intelligence said that it didn’t have any such information.

In other reasons, there is no reason to believe this report whatsoever, as Peter Bergen on CNN also concluded.

Would this be good news if true? There’d be one less militant anti-communist in the world.


Quo Vadis 09.24.06 at 6:40 pm

What if some clever counter-terrorist suspected that Bin Laden was no longer alive, and that his organization was hiding that fact in order to perpetuate his wily Holy Warrior image?

What better way to simultaneously demonstrate that he is dead and destroy his legacy than to float a story of an ignominious death due to disease in a remote hiding place. Great Holy Warriors don’t die because they’re afraid to leave their caves.


BruceR 09.25.06 at 11:49 am

Luci, it’s pretty much confirmed UBL was still alive in mid-2004. The Oct. 29, 2004 videotape has him speaking on camera, referring to Kerry’s sewing up of the March, 2004 Democratic nomination, and making a reference to the three-year Sept. 11 anniversary. Even if all the audiotapes since have been clever fakes, there’s no real doubt that he survived Tora Bora.

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