Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Where is bin Laden?

Driving home late Saturday night we heard on a French AM radio station that Osama bin Laden had been located. We scanned the radio dial for more information. Nothing.

We got home in information-hunting mode; I went for the TV, J-F for the Internet. Nothing. Nothing on the French wires. In the clear light of the following day, still nothing.

This morning finally the story makes its way into the pages of Salon:

Osama is being "monitored by satellite"
So says the Sunday Express, a London tabloid owned by Brit publishing magnate Richard Desmond, whose other titles include "Horny Housewives," "Mega Boobs," and "Worldwide Golf." Though some Bush opponents worry that the administration could spring an "October surprise" by capturing Osama just in time to parade back into the White House in November, few mainstream media have picked up the Express story. Australia's Sunday Telegraph ventured a cautious report on Monday:

"Bin Laden 'surrounded'

"February 22, 2004

"A British Sunday newspaper is claiming Osama bin Laden has been found and is surrounded by US special forces in an area of land bordering north-west Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Sunday Express, known for its sometimes colourful scoops, claims the al-Qaeda leader has been 'sighted' for the first time since 2001 and is being monitored by satellite ...

"The claim is attributed to 'a well-placed intelligence source' in Washington, who is quoted as saying: 'He (bin Laden) is boxed in.'

"The paper says the hostile terrain makes an all-out conventional military assault impossible. The plan to capture him would depend on a 'grab-him-and-go' style operation. 'US helicopters already sited on the Afghanistan border will swoop in to extricate him,' the newspaper says ... The special forces are 'absolutely confident' there is no escape for bin Laden, and are awaiting the order to go in and get him.

"'The timing of that order will ultimately depend on President Bush,' the paper says. 'Capturing bin Laden will certainly be a huge help for him as he gets ready for the election.'"

Now, I suppose the source of the story is considered questionable (Salon drives that point home), but it's a story people are very much interested in. So why aren't we hearing more about it?

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