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All about Osama bin Laden

His life and his wars!


Osama bin Laden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (with numerous variations) 

Usamah bin Muhammad bin ' Awad bin Laden 
Born March 10, 1957

Place of birth 
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Soviet war in Afghanistan 
War on Terror:
War in Afghanistan
War in North-West Pakistan

Usamah bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Ladin; born March 10, 1957 is a
member of the prominent Saudi bin Laden family and the founding
leader of the Islamist terrorist organization al-Qaeda, best
known for the September 11 attacks on the United States and
numerous other masscasualty attacks against civilian targets. Bin
Laden is on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation's list
of FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. 1/2

Since 2001, Osama bin Laden and his organization have been major
targets of the United States' War on Terror. Bin Laden and fellow
Al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding near the border of
Afghanistan and Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Variations of bin Laden's name

There is not a universally accepted standard in the West for
transliterating Arabic words and names into English, so bin
Laden's name is spelled in many different ways. The version
translation most often used by English-language mass media is
Osama bin Laden. Most American government agencies, including the
FBI and CIA, use either "Usama bin Laden" or "Usama bin Ladin",
both of which are often abbreviated to UBL. Less common
renderings include "Ussamah Bin Ladin" and "Oussama Ben Laden"
(French-language mass media). The last two words of the name can
also be found as "Binladen" or (as used by his family in the
West) "Binladin". The spelling with 'o' and 'e' comes from a
Persian-influenced pronunciation used in Afghanistan where he was
for a long time.

Strictly speaking, Arabic linguistic conventions dictate that he
be referred to as "Osama" or "Osama bin Laden", not "bin Laden,"
as "Bin Laden" is not used as a surname in the Western manner,
but simply as part of his name, which in its long form means
"Osama, son of Mohammed, son of 'Awad, son of Laden". Still, "bin
Laden" has become nearly universal in Western references to him.
Bin Laden's admirers commonly use several aliases and nicknames,
including the Prince/Al-Amir, the Sheikh, Abu Abdallah, Sheikh
Al-Mujahid, the Lion Sheik, 3  the Director. 4

Childhood, education and personal life

Main article: Childhood, education and personal life of Osama bin
See also: Bin Laden family

Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 5  In a 1998
interview, he gave his birth date as March 10, 1957. 6  His
father Muhammed Awad bin Laden was a wealthy businessman with
close ties to the Saudi royal family. 7  Osama bin Laden was born
the only son of Muhammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Hamida alAttas.
8  Osama's parents divorced soon after he was born; Osama's
mother then married Muhammad al-Attas. The couple had four
children, and Osama lived in the new household with three
half-brothers and one halfsister. 8
Bin Laden was raised as a devout Wahhabi Muslim. 9  From 1968 to
1976 he attended the "elite" secular AlThager Model School. 8 
Bin Laden studied economics and business administration 10  at
King Abdulaziz University. Some reports suggest bin Laden earned
a degree in civil engineering in 1979, 11  or a degree in
public administration in 1981. 12  Other sources describe him as
having left university during his third year, 13  never
completing a college degree, though "hard working." 14  At
university, bin Laden's main interest was religion, where he was
involved in both "interpreting the Quran and jihad" and
charitable work. "He also writes poetry 16

In 1974, at the age of 17, bin Laden married his first wife Najwa
Ghanem at Latakia 17  According to CNN national security
correspondent David Ensore, as of 2002 bin Laden had married four
women and fathered roughly 25 or 26 children. 18  Other sources
report that he has fathered anywhere from 12 to 24 children. 19

Beliefs and ideology

Main article: Beliefs and ideology of Osama bin Laden

Bin Laden believes that the restoration of Sharia law will set
things right in the Muslim world, and that all other ideologies -
"pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, democracy" - must be opposed.
20  These beliefs, along with violent expansive jihad, have
sometimes been called Qutbism. 21  He believes Afghanistan under
the rule of Mullah Omar's Taliban was "the only Islamic country"
in the Muslim world 22  Bin Laden has consistently dwelt on the
need for violent/jihad to right what he believes are injustices
against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by
other non-Muslim states, 23  the need to eliminate the state of
Israel, and the necessity of forcing the US to withdraw from the
Middle East. He has also called on Americans to "reject the
immoral acts of fornication (and) homosexuality, intoxicants,
gambling, and usury," in an October 2002 letter. 24
Probably the most infamous part of Bin Laden's ideology is that
civilians, including women and children, are legitimate targets
of jihad. 25/26  Bin Laden is antisemitic, and has delivered
warnings against alleged Jewish conspiracies: "These Jews are
masters of usury and leaders in treachery. They will leave you
nothing, either in this world or the next." 27  Shia Muslims
have been listed along with "Heretics,... America and Israel," as
the four principal "enemies of Islam" at ideology classes of bin
Laden's Al-Qaeda organization. 28
In keeping with Wahhabi beliefs, 29  bin Laden opposes music on
religious grounds, 30  and his attitude towards technology is
mixed. He is interested in "earth-moving machinery and genetic
engineering of plants" on the one hand, but rejects "chilled
water" on the other. 31
His viewpoints and methods of achieving them have led to him been
designated as a "terrorist" by scholars, 32/33  journalists from
the New York Times' 34/35  the British Broadcasting Corporation,
36  and Qatari news station Al Jazeera, 37  analysts such as
Peter Bergen, 38  Michael Scheuer, 39  Marc Sageman, 40  and
Bruce Hoffman 41/42  and he was indicted on terrorism charges by
law enforcement agencies in Madrid, New York City, and Tripoli.

Militant activity

Main article: Militant activity of Osama bin Laden

Mujahideen in Afghanistan

After leaving college in 1979 bin Laden joined Abdullah Azzam to
fight the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan 44  and lived for a time
in Peshawar. 45
By 1984, with Azzam, bin Laden established Maktab al-Khadamat,
which funneled money, arms and Muslim fighters from around the
Arabic world into the Afghan war. Through al-Khadamat, bin
Laden's inherited family fortune 46  paid for air tickets and
accommodation, dealt with paperwork with Pakistani authorities
and provided other such services for the jihad fighters. Osama
established a camp in Afghanistan, and with other volunteers
fought the Soviets.
Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, bin
Laden moved to Peshawar in 1994.(Ocitation needed) It was during
his time in Peshawar that he began wearing camouflage-print
jackets and carrying a captured Soviet assault rifle, which urban
legends claimed he had obtained by killing a Russian soldier with
his bare hands. 47

Formation and structuring of Al-Qaeda

Main article: Al-Qaeda

By 1988, bin Laden had split from Maktab al-Khadamat. While Azzam
acted as support for Afghan fighters, bin Laden wanted a more
military role. One of the main points leading to the split and
the creation of al-Qaeda was Azzam's insistence that Arab
fighters be integrated among the Afghan fighting groups instead
of forming a separate fighting force. 48

Following the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan in
February 1989, Osama bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia in 1990
as a hero of jihad, who along with his Arab legion, "had brought
down the mighty superpower" of the Soviet Union. 49  The Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 had put the kingdom and its
ruling House of Saud at risk. The world's most valuable oil
fields were within easy striking distance of Iraqi forces in
Kuwait, and Saddam's call to pan-Arab/Islamism could potentially
rally internal dissent. bin Laden met with King Fahd, and Sultan,
Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, telling them not to depend
on non-Muslim troops, and offered to help defend Saudi Arabia
with his mujahideen fighters. Bin Laden's offer was rebuffed, and
after the American offer to help repel Iraq from Kuwait was
accepted, involving deploying U.S. troops in Saudi territory, 50
he publicly denounced Saudi Arabia's dependence on the U.S.
military, as he believed the presence of foreign troops in the
"land of the two mosques" (Mecca and Medina) profaned sacred
soil. Bin Laden's criticism of the Saudi monarchy led that
government to attempt to silence him.

Shortly after Saudi Arabia permitted U.S. troops on Saudi soil,
bin Laden turned his attention to attacks on the west. On
November 8, 1990, the FBI raided the New Jersey home of El Sayyid
Nosair, an associate of al Qaeda operative Ali Mohamed,
discovering a great deal of evidence of terrorist plots,
including plans to blow up New York City skyscrapers, marking the
earliest uncovering of al Qaeda plans for such activities outside
of Muslim countries. 51  Nosair was eventually convicted in
connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and for the
murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane on November 5, 1990.

Bin Laden continued to speak publicly against the Saudi
government for harboring American troops, for which the Saudis
banished him. He went to live in exile in Sudan, in 1992, in a
deal brokered by Ali Mohamed. 52


In Sudan, bin Laden established a new base for mujahideen
operations, in Khartoum. bin Laden continued his verbal assault
on King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and in response, on March 5, 1994,
Fahd sent an emissary to Sudan demanding bin Laden's passport.
His family was persuaded to cut off his monthly stipend, the
equivalent of $7 million a year. 53  By now bin Laden was
strongly associated with Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), which made
up the core of al-Qaeda. In 1995 the EIJ attempted to assassinate
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The attempt failed, and the ED
was expelled from Sudan. Sudan also began efforts to expel bin
Laden. The 9/11 Commission
Report states:

"In late 1995, when Bin Laden was still in Sudan, the State
Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) learned that
Sudanese officials were discussing with the Saudi government the
possibility of expelling Bin Laden. CIA paramilitary officer
Billy Waugh tracked down bin Ladin in the Sudan and prepared an
operation to apprehend him, but was denied authorization. 54  US
Ambassador Timothy Carney encouraged the Sudanese to pursue this
course. The Saudis, however, did not want Bin Laden, giving as
their reason their revocation of his citizenship. Sudan's
minister of defense, Fatih Erwa, has claimed that Sudan offered
to hand Bin Laden over to the United States. The Commission has
found no credible evidence that this was so. Ambassador Carney
had instructions only to push the Sudanese to expel Bin Laden.
Ambassador Carney had no legal basis to ask for more from the
Sudanese since, at the time, there was no indictment
outstanding." 55

The 9/11 Commission Report further states:

"In February 1996, Sudanese officials began approaching officials
from the United States and other governments, asking what actions
of theirs might ease foreign pressure. In secret meetings with
Saudi officials, Sudan offered to expel bin Laden to Saudi Arabia
and asked the Saudis to pardon him. US officials became aware of
these secret discussions, certainly by March. Saudi officials
apparently wanted bin Laden expelled from Sudan. They had already
revoked his citizenship, however, and would not tolerate his
presence in their country. Also bin Laden may have no longer felt
safe in Sudan, where he had already escaped at least one
assassination attempt that he believed to have been the work of
the Egyptian or Saudi regimes, or both."

In May 1996, under increasing pressure on Sudan, from Saudi
Arabia, Egypt, and the United States, bin Laden returned to
Jalalabad, Afghanistan aboard a chartered flight, and there
forged a close relationship with Mullah Mohammed Omar. 56/57 
When Bin Laden left Sudan, he and his organization were
significantly weakened, despite his ambitions and organizational
skills. 58  In Afghanistan, bin Laden and Al-Qaeda raised money
from "donors from the days of the Soviet jihad", and from the
Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), 59

Early attacks and aid for attacks

It is believed that the first bombing attack involving bin Laden
was the December 29, 1992 bombing of the Gold Mihor Hotel in Aden
in which two people were killed. 60

It was after this bombing that al-Qaeda was reported to have
developed its justification for the killing of innocent people.
According to a fatwa issued by Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, the killing
of someone standing near the enemy is justified because any
innocent bystander will find their proper reward in death, going
to Jannah (Paradise) if they were good Muslims and to Jahannam
(hell) if they were bad or non- believers. 61  The fatwa was
issued to al-Qaeda members but not the general public.
In the 1990s bin Laden's al-Qaeda assisted jihadis financially
and sometimes militarily in Algeria, Egypt and Afghanistan. In
1992 or 1993 bin Laden sent an emissary, Qari el-Said, with
$40,000 to Algeria to aid the Islamists and urge war rather than
negotiation with the government. Their advice was heeded but the
war that followed killed 150,000-200,000 Algerians and ended with
Islamist surrender to the government.

In 2009 the American law professor Ken Gromley revealed in his
book "The Death of American Virtue," 62  to be released in
February 2010, that the US President Clinton escaped from being
assassinated in the Philippines by terrorists "controlled by
Osama bin Laden" in 1996. 63

Another effort by bin Laden was the funding of the Luxor massacre
of November 17, 1997,64/65/66  which killed 62 civilians, but
so revolted the Egyptian public that it turned against Islamist
terror. In mid-1997, the Northern Alliance threatened to overrun
Jalalabad, causing Bin Laden to abandon his Nazim Jihad compound
and move his operations to Tarnak Farms in the south. 67
A later effort that did succeed was an attack on the city of
Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. Bin Laden helped cement his
alliance with his hosts the Taliban by sending several hundred of
his Afghan Arab fighters along to help the Taliban kill between
five and six thousand Hazaras overrunning the city. 68
In 1998, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri co-signed a fatwa
in the name of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and
Crusaders which declared the killing of North Americans and their
allies an "individual duty for every Muslim" to "liberate the
al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Mecca) from
their grip". 69/70  At the public announcement of the fatwa bin
Laden announced that North Americans are "very easy targets." He
told the attending journalists, "You will see the results of this
in a very short time." 71

In December 1998, the Director of Central Intelligence
Counterterrorist Center reported to the president that al-Qaeda
was preparing for attacks in the USA, including the training of
personal to hijack aircraft. 72
At the end of 2000, Richard Clarke revealed that Islamic
militants headed by bin Laden had planned a triple attack on
January 3, 2000 which would have included bombings in
Jordan of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman and tourists at Mount
Nebo and a site on the Jordan River, the sinking of the destroyer
USS The Sullivans in Yemen, as well as an attack on a target
within the United States. The plan was foiled by the arrest of
the Jordanian terrorist cell, the sinking of the explosive-filled
skiff intended to target the destroyer, and the arrest of Ahmed
Ressam. 73

Balkan wars

See also: Bosnian mujahideen

A former U.S. State Department official in October 2001 described
Bosnia and Herzegovina as a safe haven for terrorists, after it
was revealed that militant elements of the former Sarajevo
government were protecting extremists, some with ties to Osama
bin Laden. 74  In 1997, Rzeczpospolita, one of the largest Polish
daily newspapers, reported that intelligence services of the
Nordic-Polish SFOR Brigade suspected that a center for training
terrorists from Islamic countries was located in the Bocina Donja
village near Maglaj in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1992, hundreds
of volunteers joined an "all-mujahedeen unit" called El Moujahed
in an abandoned hillside factory, a compound with a hospital and
prayer hall. According to Middle East intelligence reports, bin
Laden financed small convoys of recruits from the Arab world
through his businesses in Sudan. Among them was Karim Said Atmani
who was identified by authorities as the document forger for a
group of Algerians accused of plotting the bombings in the USA.
75  He is a former roommate of Ahmed Ressam, the man arrested at
the Canadian-U.S. border in mid-December 1999 with a car full of
nitroglycerin and bombmaking materials. 76/77  He was convicted
of colluding with Osama bin Laden by a French court. 78

A Bosnian government search of passport and residency records,
conducted at the urging of the United States, revealed other
former mujahideen who are linked to the same Algerian group or to
other groups of suspected terrorists who have lived in this area
60 miles (97 km) north of Sarajevo, the capital, in the past few
years. Khalil al-Deek, was arrested in Jordan in late December
1999 on suspicion of involvement in a plot to blow up tourist
sites; a second man with Bosnian citizenship, Hamid Aich, lived
in Canada at the same time as Atmani and worked for a charity
associated with Osama Bin Laden. In its June 26, 1997 Report on
the bombing of the Al Khobar building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,
the New York Times noted that those arrested confessed to serving
with Bosnian Muslims forces. Further, the captured men also
admitted to ties with Osama bin Laden. 79/801/81 

In 1999 it was revealed that Osama bin Laden and his Tunisian
assistant Mehrez Aodouni were granted citizenship and Bosnian
passports in 1993 by the Government in Sarajevo. This information
was denied by the Bosnian government following the 9/11 attacks,
but it was later found that Aodouni was arrested in Turkey and
that at that time he possessed the Bosnian passport. Following
this revelation, a new explanation was given that bin Laden "did
not personally collect his Bosnian passport" and that officials
at the Bosnian embassy in Vienna, which issued the passport,
could not have known who bin Laden was at the time. 71/80/81  The
Bosnian daily Oslobodenje published in 2001 that three men,
believed linked to be linked to Osama Bin Laden, were arrested in
Sarajevo in July 2001. The three, one of whom was identified as
Imad El Misri, were Egyptian nationals. The paper said that two
of the suspects were holding Bosnian passports. 79
In 1998 it was reported that bin Laden was operating his Al Qaeda
network out of Albania. The Charleston Gazette quoted Fatos
Klosi, the head of the Albanian intelligence service, as saying a
network run by Saudi exile Osama bin Laden sent units to fight in
the Serbian province of Kosovo.
Confirmation of these activities came from Claude Kader, a French
national who said he was a member of bin Laden's Albanian
By 1998 four members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) were
arrested in Albania, and extradited to Egypt at the urging of the
CIA. It is believed that the 1998 bombing of US embassies in
Africa occurred as retaliation for these arrests. 82

September 11, 2001 attacks

See also: September 11 attacks

"Allah knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but
after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the
injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against
our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the
events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events
that followed -- when America allowed the Israelis to invade
Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the
destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust
the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste
some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and
women." -Osama bin Laden 83

See also: Videos of Osama bin Laden

After initial denial, in 2004 Osama bin Laden claimed
responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United
States.  84/85/86  The attacks involved the hijacking of four
commercial passenger aircraft, 87  the subsequent destruction of
those planes and the World Trade Center in New York City, New
York, severe damage to The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, 88
and the deaths of 2,974 people and the nineteen hijackers. 89  In
response to the attacks, the United States launched a War on
Terror to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture
al-Qaeda operatives, and several countries strengthened their
anti-terrorism legislation to preclude future attacks. The CIA's
Special Activities Division was given the lead in tracking down
and killing or capturing bin Laden. 90

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stated that classified 91
evidence linking Al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the attacks of
September 11 is clear and irrefutable. 92  The UK Government
reached a similar conclusion regarding Al Qaeda and Osama bin
Laden's culpability for the September 11, 2001, attacks although
the government report notes that the evidence presented is
insufficient for a prosecutable case. 93  Bin Laden initially
denied involvement in the attacks. On September 16, 2001, bin
Laden read a statement later broadcast by Qatar's A1 Jazeera
satellite channel denying responsibility for the attack. 94
In a videotape recovered by US forces in November 2001 in
Jalalabad, bin Laden was seen discussing the attack with Khaled
al-Harbi in a way that indicates foreknowledge. 95  The tape was
broadcast on various news networks on December 13, 2001. The
merits of this translation have been disputed. Arabist Dr. Abdel
El M. Husseini stated: "This translation is very problematic. At
the most important places where it is held to prove the guilt of
bin Laden, it is not identical with the Arabic." 96

In the 2004 Osama bin Laden video, bin Laden abandoned his
denials without retracting past statements. In it he stated he
had personally directed the nineteen hijackers. 85/97 In the
18-minute tape, played on AlJazeera, four days before the
American presidential election, bin Laden accused U.S. President
George W. Bush of negligence on the hijacking of the planes on
September 11.1851
According to the tapes, bin Laden claimed he was inspired to
destroy the World Trade Center after watching the destruction of
towers in Lebanon by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War. 98
In two other tapes aired by Al Jazeera in 2006, Osama bin Laden
announces, I am the one in charge of the nineteen brothers ... "I
was responsible for entrusting the nineteen brothers ... with the
raids" [5 minute audiotape broadcast May 23, 20061, 99
and is seen with Ramzi Binalshibh, as well as two of the 9/11
hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail alShehri, as they make
preparations for the attacks (videotape broadcast September 7,
2006). 100

Criminal charges

On March 16, 1998, Libya issued the first official Interpol
arrest warrant against Bin Laden and three other people for
killing two German citizens in Libya on March 10, 1994, one of
which is thought to have been a German counter-intelligence
officer. Bin Laden is still wanted by the Libyan government)
101/102  Osama bin Laden was first indicted by the United States
on June 8, 1998, when a grand jury indicted Osama bin Laden on
charges of killing five Americans and two Indians in the November
14, 1995 truck bombing of a US-operated Saudi National Guard
training center in Riyadh. 103

Bin Laden was charged with "conspiracy to attack defense
utilities of the United States" and prosecutors further charged
that bin Laden is the head of the terrorist organization called
al Qaeda, and that he was a major financial backer of Islamic
fighters worldwide. 103  Bin Laden denied involvement but praised
the attack. On November 4, 1998, Osama bin Laden was indicted by
a Federal Grand Jury in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York, on charges of Murder of US
Nationals Outside the United States, Conspiracy to Murder US
Nationals Outside the United States, and Attacks on a Federal
Facility Resulting in Death 104  for his alleged role in the
1998 United States embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The
evidence against bin Laden included courtroom testimony by former
Al Qaeda members and satellite phone records, from a phone
purchased for him by al-Qaeda procurement agent Ziyad Khaleel in
the U.S. 105

Bin Laden became the 456th person listed on the FBI Ten Most
Wanted Fugitives list, when he was added to the list on June 7,
1999, following his indictment along with others for capital
crimes in the 1998 embassy attacks. Attempts at assassination and
requests for the extradition of bin Laden from the Taliban of
Afghanistan were met with failure prior to the bombing of
Afghanistan in October 2001. 106  In 1999, US President Bill
Clinton convinced the United Nations to impose sanctions against
Afghanistan in an attempt to force the Taliban to extradite him.
Years later, on October 10, 2001, bin Laden appeared as well on
the initial list of the top 22 FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, which
was released to the public by the President of the United States
George W. Bush, in direct response to the attacks of 9/11, but
which was again based on the indictment for the 1998 embassy
attack. Bin Laden was among a group of thirteen fugitive
terrorists wanted on that latter list for questioning about the
1998 embassy bombings. Bin Laden remains the only fugitive ever
to be listed on both FBI fugitive lists.

Despite the multiple indictments listed above and multiple
requests, the Taliban refused to extradite Osama Bin Laden. It
wasn't until after the bombing of Afghanistan began in October
2001 that the Taliban finally did offer to turn over Osama bin
Laden to a third-party country for trial, in return for the US
ending the bombing and providing evidence that Osama bin Laden
was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This offer was rejected by
George W Bush stating that this was no longer negotiable with
Bush responding that "There's no need to discuss innocence or
guilt. We know he's guilty." 107

Attempted capture by the United States 

Clinton Administration

Capturing Osama bin Laden has been an objective of the United
States government since the presidency of Bill Clinton.  108
Shortly after the September 11 attacks it was revealed that
President Clinton had signed a directive authorizing the CIA (and
specifically their elite Special Activities Division) to
apprehend bin Laden and bring him to the United States to stand
trial after the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa; if
taking bin Laden alive was deemed impossible, then deadly force
was authorized. 109  On August 20, 1998, 66 cruise missiles
launched by United States Navy ships in the Arabian Sea struck
bin Laden's training camps near Khost in Afghanistan, narrowly
missing him by a few hours. 110  In 1999 the CIA, together with
Pakistani military intelligence, had prepared a team of
approximately 60 Pakistani commandos to infiltrate Afghanistan to
capture or kill bin Laden, but the plan was aborted by the 1999
Pakistani coup d'etat; 110  in 2000, foreign operatives working
on behalf of the CIA had fired a rocketpropelled grenade at a
convoy of vehicles in which bin Laden was traveling through the
mountains of Afghanistan, hitting one of the vehicles but not the
one in which bin Laden was riding. 109

In 2000, prior to the September 11 attacks, Paul Bremer
characterized the Clinton administration as "correctly focused on
bin Laden", while Robert Oakley criticized their "obsession with
Osama". 73

Bush Administration

According to The Washington Post, the US government concluded
that Osama bin Laden was present during the Battle of Tora Bora,
Afghanistan in late 2001, and according to civilian and military
officials with firsthand knowledge, failure by the US to commit
US ground troops to hunt him led to his escape and was the
gravest failure by the US in the war against al Qaeda.

Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be
decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent
interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden
began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along
Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border. 111 

The Washington Post also reported that the CIA unit composed of
their special operations paramilitary forces dedicated to
capturing Osama was shut down in late 2005. 112

US and Afghanistan forces raided the mountain caves in Tora Bora
between 14-16 August 2007. The military was drawn to the area
after receiving intelligence of a pre-Ramadan meeting held by al
Qaeda members. After killing dozens of al Qaeda and Taliban
members, they did not find either Osama bin Laden or Ayman
alZawahiri. 113

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, US government officials named
bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda organization as the prime suspects and
offered a reward of $25 million for information leading to his
capture or death. 4/114  On July 13, 2007, this figure was
doubled to $50 million 115

The Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association
are offering an additional $2 million reward. 116

Obama Administration

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in December 2009 that
officials have had no reliable information on Bin Laden's
whereabouts for "years". One week later, general Stanley
McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said in
December 2009 that al-Qaeda will not be defeated unless its
leader, Osama Bin Laden, is captured or killed. Testifying to the
U.S. Congress, he said Bin Laden had become an "iconic figure,
whose survival emboldens al-Qaeda as a franchising organization
across the world", and that Obama's deployment of 30,000 extra
troops to Afghanistan meant that success would be possible. "I
don't think that we can finally defeat al-Qaeda until he's
captured or killed", McChrystal said of Bin Laden. Killing or
capturing Bin Laden would not spell the end of al-Qaeda, but the
movement could not be eradicated while he remained at
large. 117

Conflicting reports of his death and his survival since 9/11

Shortly after the attacks of 9/11, US president George W. Bush
issued a statement that as a consequence of the 9/11 attacks, he
now hoped to "kill or capture" Bin Laden. Subsequently, Bin Laden
retreated further from public contact as an obviously defensive
measure against potential US capture. Since that time, numerous
speculative press reports have been issued concerning various
hearsay stories about his whereabouts, and also about alleged
evidence of his supposed death. Meanwhile, A1 Qaeda has continued
to release time sensitive and professionally verified videos
demonstrating Bin Laden's continued survival as recently as
August 2007. 118  In the years since 9/11, A1 Queda has also
released a regular series of audio and video tapes averaging once
every two to three months, which seem to be generally accepted as
authentic. Most recently, US General McChrystal emphasized the
continued importance of the capture or killing of Bin Laden, thus
clearly indicating that the US high command continues to believe
that Bin Laden is probably still alive. Following are some of
these conflicting reports regarding both his claimed death, and
his claimed continued whereabouts:

Reports of his death

December 2001 Quoting an unnamed Taliban official, the Pakistan
Observer reported that Bin Laden died of untreated lung
complications and was buried in an unmarked grave in Tora Bora on
December 15. 119  This report was picked up by Fox News in the
United States on December 26. 120  Also on December 26, the
Egyptian newspaper AlWafd - Daily carried a short obituary by a
prominent official of the Afghan Taliban, who was allegedly
present at the funeral, stating Bin Laden had been buried on or
about December 13: 121

"(Osama bin Laden) suffered serious complications and died a
natural, quiet death. He was buried in Tora Bora, a funeral
attended by 30 Al Qaeda fighters, close members of his family and
friends from the Taliban. By the Wahhabi tradition, no mark was
left on the grave"

A videotape was released on December 27 showing a gaunt, unwell
Bin Laden, prompting an unnamed White House aide to comment that
it could have been made shortly before his death. 119  On CNN, Dr
Sanjay Gupta commented that Bin Laden's left arm never moved
during the video, suggesting a recent stroke and possibly a
symptom of kidney failure. 122  According to Pakistani President
Musharraf, Bin Laden required two dialysis machines, which also
suggests kidney failure. 123  "I think now, frankly, he is dead
for the reason he is a... kidney patient," Musharraf said. 123 
If Bin Laden suffered kidney failure, he would require a sterile
environment, electricity, and In April 2002, U.S. Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated, "We have heard neither hide nor
hair of him since, oh, about December in terms of anything hard."
124  FBI Counterterrorism chief Dale Watson and President Karzai
of Afghanistan also expressed the opinion that Bin Laden probably
died at this time. 125/126

October 2002: In a CNN interview, Afghan President Hamid Karzai
stated that "I would come to believe that [ bin Laden] probably
is dead." 127 

April 2005: The Sydney Morning Herald stated "Dr Clive Williams,
director of terrorism studies at the Australian National
University, says documents provided by an Indian colleague
suggested bin Laden died of massive organ failure in April last
year ... 'It's hard to prove or disprove these things because
there hasn't really been anything that allows you to make a
judgment one way or the other,' Dr. Williams said." 128

Late 2005 CIA disbands "Alec Station", unit dedicated to Bin
Laden. 129

September 2006: On September 23, 2006, the French newspaper L'Est
Republicain quoted a report from the French secret service
(Direction generale de la securite exterieure, DGSE) stating that
Osama bin Laden had died in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, after
contracting a case of typhoid fever that paralyzed his lower
limbs. 130  According to the newspaper, Saudi security services
first heard of bin Laden's alleged death on September 4, 2006.
131/132/133  The alleged death was reported by the Saudi Arabian
secret service to its government, which reported it to the French
secret service. The French defense minister Michele Alliot-Marie
expressed her regret that the report had been published while
French President Jacques Chirac declared that bin Laden's death
had not been confirmed. 134
American authorities also cannot confirm reports of bin Laden's
death, 135  with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying only,
"No comment, and no knowledge." 136  Later, CNN's Nic Robertson
said that he had received confirmation from an anonymous Saudi
source that the Saudi intelligence community has known for a
while that bin Laden has a water-borne illness, but that he had
heard no reports that it was specifically typhoid or that he had
died. 137

November 2007: In an interview with political interviewer David
Frost taken on November 2, 2007, the Pakistani politician and
Pakistan Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto claimed that bin
Laden had been murdered by Omar Sheikh. During her answer to a
question pertaining to the identities of those who had previously
attempted her own assassination, Bhutto named Sheikh as a
possible suspect while referring to him as "the man who murdered
Osama bin Laden." Despite the weight of such a statement, neither
Bhutto nor Frost attempted to clarify it during the remainder of
the interview 138  Omar Chatriwala, a journalist for Al Jazeera
English, claims that he chose not to pursue the story at the time
because he believes Bhutto misspoke, meaning to say Sheikh
murdered Daniel Pearl and not Osama Bin Laden 139  The BBC drew
criticism when it rebroadcast the Frost/Bhutto interview on its
website, but edited out Bhutto's statement regarding Osama Bin
Laden. Later the BBC apologized and replaced the edited version
bbwm=l&news=l&nol_storyid=7075843) with the complete interview
( 140  In October
2007, Bhutto stated in an interview that she would cooperate with
the American military in targeting Osama bin Laden 141

March 2009: In an essay published in The American Spectator in
March 2009, international relations professor Angelo Codevilla of
Boston University argued that Osama bin Laden had been dead for
many years. 142

April 2009: During an interview with the Telegraph, Pakistan's
President Asif Ali Zardari raised the prospect that Osama bin
Laden could be dead after he said that intelligence officials
could find "no trace" of the alQaeda chief. Mr Zardari's
predecessor, Pervez Musharraf, similarly suggested that the Saudi
terror chief could be dead. Additionally, Pakistan's intelligence
agencies also believe Osama bin Laden may be dead. 143

October 2009: An article in the British tabloid Daily Mail points
out that the theory that Bin Laden died in 2001 "is gaining
credence among political commentators, respected academics and
even terror experts" and notes that the mounting evidence that
supports the claim makes the theory "worthy of examination". 121

Reports of his current whereabouts

Main article: Location of Osama bin Laden

Claims as to the location of Osama bin Laden have been made since
December 2001, although none have been definitively proven and
some have placed Osama in different locations during overlapping
time periods. Since a major military offensive in Afghanistan in
the wake of the 2001 al Qaeda attacks in the United States failed
to uncover his whereabouts, Pakistan had regularly been
identified as his suspected hiding place.

A December 11, 2005, letter from Atiyah Abd al-Rahman to Abu
Musab al-Zargawi indicates that bin Laden and the al-Qaeda
leadership were based in the Waziristan region of Pakistan at the
time. In the letter, translated by the United States military's
Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, "Atiyah" instructs
Zarqawi to "send messengers from your end to Waziristan so that
they meet with the brothers of the leadership ... I am now on a
visit to them and I am writing you this letter as I am with
them..." AI-Rahman also indicates that bin Laden and al-Qaeda are
"weak" and "have many of their own problems." The letter has been
deemed authentic by military and counterterrorism officials,
according to the Washington Post., 144/145

In 2009 a research team led by Thomas W. Gillespie and John A.
Agnew of UCLA used satellite-aided geographical analysis to
pinpoint three compounds in Parachinar as likely hideouts of
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. 146

In March 2009, the New York Daily News reported that the hunt for
bin Laden had centered in the Chitral district of Pakistan,
including the Kalam Valley. According to the report, author Rohan
Gunaratna states that captured Al Qaeda leaders have confirmed
that Chitral is where bin Laden is hiding. 147

In the first week of December 2009, a Taliban detainee in
Pakistan said he had information that Bin Laden was in
Afghanistan in 2009. The detainee said that in January or
February (of 2009) he met a trusted contact who had seen Bin
Laden about 15 to 20 days earlier in Afghanistan. But, the US has
had no reliable information on the whereabouts of Bin Laden in
years, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted on December 6,
2009. 148  Pakistan's Prime Minister Gillani rejected claims that
Osama bin Laden would be hiding within his country. 149

On January 15, 2010 the FBI published digitally aged pictures of
Osama bin Laden showing what he may look like after a decade of
aging. Spanish newspaper El Mundo revealed that a picture of a
Spanish politician, Gaspar Llamazares was taken from Google
images and used to create the image. The FBI has admitted to this
and removed the image from its website. Gaspar Llamazares has
responded by stating that he was stupefied by the FBI's decision
to use his photograph to compose its latest image of al Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden and that he is considering taking legal
action if the FBI does not provide an explanation 150  An
internal investigation has been launched by the FBI to find out
if this was done intentionally 151/152

On February 2, 2010 an anonymous official of the Saudi Foreign
Ministry declared that the kingdom had no intention of getting
involved in peacemaking in Afghanistan unless the Taliban would
sever ties with extremists and expel Osama bin Laden. This
condition was announced as the Afghan president Karzai arrived in
the kingdom for an official visit, for a discussion of a possible
Saudi role in his plan to reintegrate Taliban militants 153


* Peter L. Bergen, "The Osama bin Laden I Know": New York: Free
Press, 2006
* Michael Scheuer, "Through Our Enemies' Eyes," Washington, D.C.
Brassey's, c2002
* Wright, Lawrence, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To
9/11," New York: Knopf, 2006.

External links

Pepe Escobar (2001-08-30). "Get Osama! Now! Or else..."
( Asia Times. Retrieved
2008-04-28. "Osama bin Laden - also the No 1 target of the CIA's
counter-terrorism center - is now a superstar playing the bad guy
in some sort of planetary Hollywood fiction. Yet inside
Afghanistan today, where the Saudi Arabian lives in exile, Osama
is a minor character. He is ill and always in hiding - usually
"somewhere near Kabul". Once in a while he travels incognito to
Peshawar. His organization, the Al Qa'Ida, is split, and in
tatters. The Taliban owe him a lot for his past deeds towards the
movement and in putting them in power in Afghanistan -
contributing with a stack of his own personal fortune of millions
of dollars. But no longer an asset, he has become a liability."

Hunting Bin Laden(
shows/bin laden/) - PBS Frontline (Nov. 2002)

Who is Osama bin Laden (
asia/155236.stm) - BBC News (Sept. 2001)

FBIS Report, Compilation of Usama Bin Laden Statements
1994-January 2004

FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives poster

New Yorker article on Osama's youth

Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America'

Retrieved from " bin Laden"
Categories: 1957 births / Afghan Civil War / Al-Qaeda founders /
Civil engineers / FBI Most Wanted Terrorists / Radical Islam /
Fugitives wanted on terrorism charges / Islamic terrorism / Osama
bin Laden / People involved in the Soviet war in Afghanistan /
People of the War in Afghanistan (2001-present) / Possibly living
people / Salafis / Saudi Arabia expatriates / Saudi Arabian
al-Qaeda members / Saudi Arabian poets / C-A„rli Arabian inn
Wnhhahists / September 11 attacks / Current FBI Ten Most Wanted




Keith Hunt

To be continued with "9/11 Conspiracy Theories"

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