Osama Bin Laden is dyed and alive
WASHINGTON: The man who George Bush swore would be bearded in his own den and smoked out dead or alive looks healthier and younger in a recent photograph released on an Islamist website that claims he will soon issue a videotaped message to mark the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 carnage he masterminded.
In the still photograph, believed to be taken from the upcoming videotape, Bin Laden's beard is almost fully black with just a streak of gray, in contrast to an almost fully gray beard in the last videotape that emerged in October 2004.
He also looks in much better health compared to the pallid looks of 2004 that led many analysts to speculate that he was gravely ill and possibly incapacitated.
The announcement of an upcoming video and the photo appeared in a banner advertisement on an Islamic militant Web site where Al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, frequently posts messages.
"Soon, God willing, a videotape from the lion Sheikh Osama bin Laden, God preserve him," read the advertisement issued by Al-Sahab.
Western experts said Bin Laden's beard appears to have been dyed, a popular practice among Arab leaders. "I think it works for their (Al-Qaida's) benefit that he looks young, he looks healthy," Rita Katz of the SITE Institute, a Washington-based group that monitors terror messages, told AP .
If indeed Bin Laden has dyed his beard, it would also suggest that far from being holed up in a cave, he has access to modern goods and perhaps facilities. American experts have said in the past they believe he is holed up in Pakistan, now regarded as Al-Qaida's homeground.
US officials are said to be examining the photo, unsure as yet whether it is authentic or old or doctored.
The announcement of the upcoming Bin Laden starrer galvanized the Bush administration into another round of fervid assertion that his capture remained a major priority for the United States.
''Obviously, it's a huge priority for us to capture and kill bin Laden and bring he and the rest of the leadership to justice,'' said Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend.
The Bush administration has been frequently pilloried over the last six years for taking its eyes off the hunt for bin Laden and the war against Al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan and diverting resources to the war in Iraq, which was not involved in 9/11.
But Townsend insisted that lack of resources was not the problem in the failure to capture bin Laden.
The United States has upped the reward leading to the capture of bin Laden's to $ 50 million.
Analysts said the new bin Laden video is expected within the next 72 hours.
Each 9/11 anniversary has led to a renewed focus on bin Laden, but initial fears of an anniversary attack have faded because there has not been one.
If there is a new bin Laden videotape, it would be the first images of him since an Oct. 29, 2004 videotape, just before the U.S. presidential elections, in which he said America could avoid another 9-11 style attack if it stopped threatening Muslims.
Bagelblogger: Its like a bad parasite caught in the tropics, just when you've think you might be rid of it it comes back.
The Times of India: Osama Bin Laden is dyed and alive
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Friday, 7 September 2007
Posted by Mr Bagel at Friday, September 07, 2007