Saturday, September 23, 2006

UPI: "Osama Bin Laden is Dead" - And It Isn't Even October

"Shocked, shocked I tell you!"

Reverend Moon's UPI news services (and Daddy Bush's great benefactor) is the first to report:
A Saudi intelligence source told UPI Saturday al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is 'very ill' while a Paris newspaper claimed the terrorist leader is dead.

The French regional daily, l`Est Republicain, said a memo leaked from France`s counter-espionage agency says bin Laden died last month of typhoid fever in Pakistan.

No official sources have confirmed the terror leader`s death.

'We are not saying he is dead, but there is a lot of truth in the report,' the Saudi intelligence source said, adding, 'bin Laden was very ill these past few weeks.

'There is no way we can prove that bin Laden is dead until we can see the body,' he said, (but) 'A good portion of what is in the report is true.'

There goes two weeks of campaign coverage.

And yet, the manner in which this story is coming to light has a familiar ring to it.

Why is that?

Of course!

Plamegate, where the White House called no fewer than 6 reporters and "let slip" in casual conversation the identity of a covered CIA officer and the CIA cover corporation that she and other covered CIA operatives worked (Brewster Jennings).

Can't you just picture a doughy Saudi intelligence source, just off from a phone call with a doughy and pasty Karl Rove, telling the UPI reporter, "Maybe Osama is dead, maybe he isn't, I'm just saying":
Osama bin Laden is dead. At least according to Saudi intelligence sources cited by a French newspaper, which in turn claims to have obtained a document leaked to them by French counter-intelligence services.

The news of the death of al-Qaida's chief was reported in the Saturday edition of l'Est Republicain, a respected regional daily. The French paper cites a memo they claim was obtained from the French counter-espionage agency, the Direction Générale des Services Extérieurs, or the DGSE.

Bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist is believed to have died last August as a result of typhoid fever while he was in a remote part of Pakistan, according to the French newspaper.

The report of bin Laden's death was however not confirmed by official sources in either Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

But a Saudi intelligence source told United Press International: "We are not saying he is dead, but there is a lot of truth in the report." The Saudi source, who spoke on condition that his name not be revealed, confirmed the existence of a Saudi intelligence report relating to the health of bin Laden. And according to that Saudi Arabian intelligence document, it states, "bin Laden was very ill these past few weeks."

The Saudi source told UPI the French intelligence report must have concluded that Saudi authorities believes bin Laden to be dead.

"There is no way we can prove that bin Laden is dead until we can see the body," the Saudi intelligence source told UPI. But, he stressed, "A good portion of what is in the report is true."

For the moment, the source went on to say, "We do not confirm bin Laden's death. "We don't know."

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.

If Bin Laden is dead and he died from typhoid fever, there is no body to examine or identify. It would have been cremated. How convenient. A rumor that is impossible to verify one way or the other, that sucks all the air out of the news cycles for days, if not for weeks, just when Bush needs a break from coverage of his corrupt administration before the November elections. By the time that the media gets over chasing their tails on this one, theyy will have forgotten the stories were just getting traction and were preempted -`Habeas Corpus Dead|Bush Gets to Torture in Americans' Names', `Bush's Housing Secretary Personally Blocked Contracts to Non-GOP Patrons', `Top Interior Department Official Says Govt Won't Go After $1.3 billion in Royalties Owed By Gas & Oil Corporations', and so many many others.

How Rovian.

The rub is that without proof that the GOP is behind this, to speculate gets you labeled as a `conspiracy-theorist' and a `Bush-hater.' Or worse: `Paranoid,' AND `a nutcase.' All could be true AND Rove could still be behind it.

I think what keeps those in Washington and the `Establishnment' who are credible silent is the fear that once having made the accusation, some proof exonerating Rove would surface and they'll be branded and targeted by this administration, their credibility with the public shot. Plain `dumb luck' seems to grace Bush-Cheney more than is statistically possible, and even the most level-headed can't help but wonder if Rove doesn't script non-stories, like this "Osama-is-dead" one, as fishing expeditions. Just to ferret out and destroy critics right before Bush-Cheney are about to roll out a real doozy of an assault on the Constitution.

If you weren't nuts before, overthinking this bunch will surely drive you over the edge.

The cable news channels haven't jumped all over Osama-is-dead story yet, other than CNN Headline News reporting it as a "developing story." But in this 24/7 news cycle where hours of air time are filled with police car chases, it's unlikely that news directors across America aren't hedging their bets, pulling their people off of other stories to prepare retrospectives of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the war on terror.

The seeds for the current story were planted two weeks ago when Al Jazeera played some footage of a pre-9/11/01 videotape with Bin Laden which had just come into their possession. The circumstances and timing of that videotape's surfacing were suspicious. The media began to speculate as to why, if Bin Laden was still alive, he has not been seen on a new videotape since late 2004, while his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, has made a number of videotaped appearances. Bin Laden has, allegedly, released several audiotapes, "authenticated by U.S. Intelligence," although at this point I'm tempted to add "for whatever that's worth. The last audiotape of Bin Laden surfaced in July, 2006.

The `buzz' around Bin Laden's possible death actually began right before the 2004 election. He hadn't been seen or heard from in a some time, and American public opinion was just beginning to entertain the idea that he might be dead and if so, some normalcy might return to our lives. Kerry looked like he was going to win the election, and one could sense that change might be in the offing.

But then, a videotape with Bin Laden was released just days before the election, and it quieted the "Bin Laden is probably dead" speculation along with helping to kill off a John Kerry Presidency.

Two years later and we're back at that same pass.

Ode to Karl Rove . . . . .

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