Originally Posted by John A Roark
I got accused a while back of being a "super spy"--facetiously, of course--because I have a couple of friends leftover from my days in the DAT, one in the NSA and one in Army Intelligence in Fort Hood, Texas.
Lately, the Major (she's up for Lt. Colonel--go, Katherine, go!) in MI has gotten a few of her higher-ups to consider that Osama has been out of the picture for a while... she insists we got him all the way back in November of '01.
It really is astounding that there is anyone, anywhere--much less everyone, everywhere--who could still believe that Bin Laden is still alive. What are all these people smoking out there? Do they honestly think that for four+ years he's had consistent access to extremely low-fi audiotape, but has never once been able to get his billionaire hands on a new camcorder or cell phone (and if he can't afford one, why are people afraid of him)? Is there any conceivable reason he would not want to conclusively prove he's survived the worst the Great Satan can throw at him?
But, hey--people have believed stranger things...
I've been saying that for a very long time.
Until the big bombings in Tora Bora, Bin Laden would make frequent appearances on video, trying to gain support and inspiring his followers.
Al Zawahri was always on his side, but never spoke. Al Zawahri has always been the ideologist in Al Qaeda. Bin Laden was the charismatic leader and the one that passed the message along.
After November-December 2001, there was a long period of time where no messages from the top Al Qaeda's leaders came. There was even one video by one second line guy, but not from Bin Laden.
There was speculation on why they weren't talking, some people said that Bin Laden had changed his appearance and didn't want to be recognized, then a video surfaced, it only showed Al Zawahri speaking on the video, they did show Bin Laden but it was old footage. The voice attributed to Bin Laden did mention recent success but you couldn't actually see him speaking on the video.
Since then there have been audio tapes only of Bin Laden, and Al Zawahri has become the main speaker for the group.
It's relatively easy to manipulate a audio tape, specially if the final product will be of low quality, but it's a lot more difficult to make a credible video fake, because of the difficulty on coordinating the lips movement with the words actually said, it's nearly impossible.
Yes, I do believe he is dead. Why don't they say? Al Qaeda wants to keep him alive as long as possible, because they could get discoraged if their leader is dead, other terrorist groups have fallen apart in the past when that happened.
Why would the Americans hide that? two possible reasons, one that they are not sure, they have no proofs and until they do they consider him to be alive. The other is that they do know but prefer to keep him "alive" to keep the war on terrorism alive, fearing that news on Bin Laden's dead could weaken it.