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Years Of Deceit: US Openly Accepts Bin Laden Long Dead


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« on: December 22, 2009, 03:42:26 am »

America's latest fear: bin Laden on al-Jazeera http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1366151/Americas-latest-fear-bin-Laden-on-al-Jazeera.html
By David Wastell in Washington
Published: 12:01AM GMT 23 Dec 2001

IT is the event that strategists in President Bush's administration fear most: a grinning Osama bin Laden crackling on to the airwaves courtesy of al-Jazeera television to trumpet his escape from Tora Bora and denounce the West.

Officially, there is no disappointment in Washington that the al-Qaeda leader and many of his most senior allies appear to have vanished from under the noses of American special forces and Afghan anti-Taliban fighters.

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There is an unspoken fear within the US government, however, that the bin Laden propaganda machine might soon rise again, possibly in tandem with a new and spectacular outrage.

As one Republican congressional official said: "Imagine how it would play if another tape suddenly arrived at al-Jazeera."

The administration is frustrated that its quarry appears, for the time being at least, to have got away. Only last weekend, the Pentagon was briefing that bin Laden had been heard giving orders on a hand-held radio during the battle for Tora Bora.

There was a growing anticipation that he was about to be killed or captured. Then, as al-Qaeda resistance faded, there was suddenly silence: no body, no prisoner, no report of his death and no sign of his presence.

Gen Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, said yesterday that there was a "great possibility" the al-Qaeda leader was already dead.

During an official visit to China last week he said: "He's not in Pakistan, we are reasonably sure. But we can't be a hundred per cent sure. We have sealed the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Maybe he is dead because of all the operations that have been conducted, the bombardment of all the caves. There is a great possibility that he may have lost his life there."
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