Saturday, September 23, 2006

French Paper says bin Laden Dead... maybe.

Today in the French news, they say that Osama bin Laden might be dead. A document of the French Foreign Intelligence Service (DGSE) was leaked and published by a local newspaper (l'Est Républicain):
"According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead," the document said.
"The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al Qaeda was a victim while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, of a very serious case of typhoid which led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs."
He is said to have died of typhoid in Pakistan in late August - not a very flamboyant death if true. Caution is required of course, even if bin Laden has not been 'seen' on videotape since 2004. This is not the first time that bin Laden is said to be dead. The Pakistani seem to have some doubts. Strangely, I have not seen this piece of news in the US media.
In the meantime, France is probing the leak of the intelligence report ... and the NYTimes just had an op-ed on what to do with bin Laden once he is captured.

UPDATE: Now of course the American media have cought up and it's all over the news in America too. The good thing about this rumor is that there will be a way to confirm it or not simply by wathing in the next few months if some video comes out proving he is sill alive. If nothing comes out, well, that's probably because he's dead! It's rather simple.

UPDATE: Details on the report:
  • bin Laden is said to have had a tropical disease that killed him in August makes no sense. It said that his disease led to paralysis of the legs. It would have to be polio! Unlikely except in East Africa.
  • 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.


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