Update 1 May 2011
This time he's really dead [See updated article on who will replace Bin Laden as the most evil person on Earth].
The following article was written in 2006 on a rumor that Bin Laden was dead.
I'll tell you why I'm saddened in a moment. First, here's the swirl of news bits:
Here is my translation of the L'Est Republicain report in question [link to article no longer available]:
Osama Bin Laden Dead
The Saudi secret service is now convinced that the Al-Qaeda founder died. If it's confirmed soon, that information could help American president George Bush, whose party is trailing in the polls less than two months from the elections.
The information we reveal today comes from a confidential note classified "defense" from the Directorate-General of the external services (DGSE). The French secret service transmitted it on Thursday, September 21 to the President of the republic, to the Prime Minister, and to the Ministers of the Interior Department and Defense.
Here are the contents of that note in full:"According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services is now convinced that Osama Bin Laden died. The evidence gathered by the Saudis indicates that the chief of Al-Qaeda fell victim to a very serious case of typhoid involving a partial paralysis of his lower limbs while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, which because of its geographical isolation in his bid to escape detection, made any medical care impossible.
"On September 4, 2006, the Saudi Security Services obtained the first hint of his possible death. They were waiting to obtain more details, and in particular the exact place of his burial, to announce the news officially."
The information collected by the DGSE on the death of Bin Laden was considered to be sufficiently reliable that they decided to inform the highest French authorities of them. A first note had been written and delivered on September 19. It was entitled: "the Saudi services seek to confirm the death of Osama Bin Laden". Prior to the disclosure of this news, is has been over three years since the American unit in charge of counter-terrorism has received any credible information about Bin Laden. The last trace was when one of the Al-Qaeda leaders, Walid Mohamed Bin Attash, was arrested in April 2003. It had been established then that Bin Attash had last met the spiritual chief of Jihad three months before in the province of Khost in Afghanistan.
During the past few months American commandos, who were in the process of tracking Bin Laden, concentrated their search at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the north of the tribal areas. I.e. in those areas not controlled by the authorities of Islamabad and where the army never ventures. It should be said that Pakistani soldiers suffered enormous losses when they tried to occupy the ground in 2004 and 2005.
Despite tremendous efforts by Americans to capture him, despite the use of satellites, drones and sophisticated listening devices, Bin Laden remained elusive. Due to information obtained through the arrest of several members of Al-Qaeda, the Americans knew that Bin Laden left his lair infrequently and only during the night under the cover of thick clouds. And thanks to his local troops, the Saudi billionaire had a very good knowledge of the area and its numerous hiding spots. In spite of the odds, the American administration never wanted to give up: Vice President Cheney declared Sept 13: "He is our principal priority". The Senate had approved a budget of $200 million to create a special unit to track the man responsible for September 11, 2001 and dared to defy America, and whose organization took responsibility for 16 attacks with 644 dead and 2700 wounded, perpetrated in the world in the name of Al-Qaeda since September 2001. An organization which has become an ideological icon in whose name thousands of fanatics throughout the world are ready take up terror autonomously as for example, the perpetrators of the attacks In London on July 7, 2005.
smh in Australia - French investigate report of bin Laden's 'death', Excerpt:
France's Defence Ministry said on Saturday it could not confirm a newspaper report quoting French secret services as saying al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had died but would launch an inquiry into the leak of secret papers.
The Defence Ministry issued the statement after the French regional newspaper L'Est Republicain said Saudi Arabia was convinced bin Laden had died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.
"The information published this morning in the L'Est Republicain newspaper relating to the supposed death of Osama bin Laden cannot be confirmed," the Defence Ministry said.
Now let me tell you why, if it is true, I am saddened. I would have preferred that he died while on a stretcher carried by US Marines so that he could look in his last moment at American eyes. And with a hope that that soldier would have whispered into his ear the last words before he descended into hell, "I'm going to piss on your body before we bury you!"
On a small personal note I was also hoping to continue my series of Osama/cave/goat stories I had in mind.
We might see the Muslim world declaring that OBL died on August 22 and thus turning a disaster into a martyrous event.
Here's a thought - Recall that funeral we did not fire upon last July? Just suppose that was Bin Laden's funeral and that instead of passing it by, we bombed it. Then imagine what would have happened if we found Bin Laden's body all over the place? It would then have looked as if we indeed killed him ourselves. Who would know different? In light of this speculation, I think US policy should change so that all terrorist funerals from now on get the royal treatment.
India Daily says "Report on Osama Bin Laden's death from typhoid a set up by Pakistan's ISI after truce with Taliban to confuse French secret service and the world".
Others blogging on this:
stop the aclu - Dead again?, Excerpt: This guy is like a cat!... All of this is unconfirmed. I advise taking all of this with a huge grain of salt. I won’t believe it till I know for certain and see the scumbucket’s dead body. I have heard this rumor too many times to get my hopes up.
the wide awake cafe - Non, Non, Non, Excerpt: Silly Fwenchman Jacques Chirac is more concerned about who leaked the news than the actual content. Other than that, he has no comment.
Captain's Quarters - Typhoid Osama? Well, Maybe, Excerpt: We've been down the "Ding, Dong, Osama's Dead" path before. Analysts convinced themselves of Osama's room-temperature state in the past, only to sputter excuses when he showed up on a new video or audio tape. When they can prop up the body for the cameras or when AQ admits he's gone to his 72 virgins, then I'll bite. Until then, color me skeptical about unconfirmed rumors from either Saudi or French intelligence.
Riehl world view Osama bin Laden Dead?, Excerpt: I checked and Pakistan does have a Typhoid issue, as does the rest of the developing world. There are a few other issues of note that could support this.
ace of spades HQ - OSAMA BIN LADIN DEAD, Excerpt: Question the Timing BIG TIME: Now, if my theory is right, the Bush Administration has of course sort of known about this for a while (for at least three weeks) but hasn't been able to confirm it, and thus hasn't been able to announce it. But they've known there might be some good news on the way.
all things beautiful - Osama bin-Laden Dead....Again?, Excerpt:
This may be the best present to Israel today for Rosh Ha-Shanah....The Day Of Judgment....How appropriate...
Could this possibly be true? Was it something I said yesterday.....
right truth - Osama pushing up daisies?, Excerpt: We have heard reports of bin Laden's death before and take them with a grain of salt, but Mansoor Ijaz on Fox News states that maybe we should not discount this one so quickly, since the original source is Saudi Arabia. If anyone would have information about Osama bin Laden's death, it would be them.
blue crab boulevard - Grain Of Salt, Excerpt: Reuters has a report that a French newspaper has announced unconfirmed reports that Osama bin Laden has died. It's a sort of "I know a guy who knows a guy who heard" type of report and nobody else is reporting this, so don't go breaking out the bubbly.
strata-sphere - bin laden dead?, Excerpt: BTW, does anyone else feel it is odd that the Pakistan denial is "no other country has provided us information” on an event that supposedly happened in their country? The denial does not say they (Pakistan) have no information. It says no one has told them yet.
Notice something missing? Not one word about "if he is dead, great." OBL's use to the left is simply as political fodder. Half of them do not even believe he was behind 9/11.
the median sib thinks she knows where Osama is ending up.
So who's in line to take over?