Thursday, October 07, 2004
B. Ramen, formerly in the ministry of the Indian government, notes some peculiarities in the story of Osama bin Laden, who was last heard from on April 15 of this year. Ramen makes these points:
- There was no follow-up to the April 15th message "in which, in the wake of the Madrid bombings, he had offered a so-called three-months' truce to West European governments if they distanced themselves from US policies."
- A 9/11 anniversary message from Osama bin-Laden has not been issued, which he has done on the previous two anniversaries.
- Osama is thought to have suffered an injury in the Tora Bora post 9/11 that affected his speech.
- The last person claiming to have seen bin-Laden is Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who said he had seen him a few weeks before being arrested, which was in March 2003. Ramen notes that the 9/11 investigation had no confirmation of this.
- Bin-Laden is seldom mentioned by any group claiming connection with al-Qaeda.
- Statements from Osama's No. 2 man al-Zawahiri have a number of discrepancies in tone and substance from those of bin-Laden "indicating that bin Laden and his No. 2 were not in the same place and probably did not have the means of co-ordinating the contents of their respective messages."
These lead him to some speculative questions—
Is bin Laden still alive? If alive, is he still healthy enough to be active and leading? Is he in US or Pakistani custody to be produced before the US voters on the eve of the US presidential elections? Are there differences between him and his No.2? Has the Al Qaeda or the [International Islamist Front] split? If so, why?