The Bin Laden Papers: al_eye freckle removal uk

Saul David·6 min readIn this article:
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  • Osama bin LadenOsama bin LadenSaudi Arabian founder of al-Qaeda
Osama Bin Laden was plotting a coordinated attack on supertankers carrying oil to the United States when he died in 2004 - Alamy
Osama Bin Laden was plotting a coordinated attack on supertankers carrying oil to the United States when he died in 2004 - Alamy

In the early hours of May 2 2011, a team of Navy Seals discovered and killed Osama Bin Laden – the leader of al-Qaeda, architect of 9/11 and the most hunted man on the globe – in a raid on a domestic compound in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. With their strict 30-minute deadline almost up, the Seals requested more time on the ground because they had found “a whole s--- ton of computers and electronic gear on the second floor”.

Permission was granted, and during the next 18 minutes more than 470,000 files were recovered, including “nearly 6,000 Arabic pages of internal al-Qaeda communiqués that were never intended for public consumption”. But for the Seals’ “courageous efforts” during those perilous additional minutes, writes Nelly Lahoud, the Bin Laden papers would never have come to light.

The papers – recently declassified and now analysed in detail for the first time by Lahoud, an Arabic-speaking expert in security and counter-terrorism – offer an extraordinary insight into the inner workings of Al-Qaeda, both before and after 9/11, and lay bare the terrorist organisation’s closely guarded plans, ambitions and frustrations.

The first of many revelations is a scribbled note by Bin Laden on a sheet of paper torn from a spiral notebook, headed “The Birth of the Idea of September 11”. In the note he explains that he had been reading a news report about the disgruntled pilot al-Batouty who deliberately crashed EgyptAir Flight 990 from New York to Cairo off the New England coast, killing 217 people, on October 31 1999. Turning to his associates, Bin Laden asked: “Why didn’t he crash it into a financial tower?”

Frustrated that al-Batouty had not put his thirst for vengeance to better use, Bin Laden came up with the plan to fly planes into the symbols of American power: the financial district in New York, and the Pentagon and Capitol Building in Washington DC.

'Why didn’t he crash it into a financial tower?': Bin Laden got the idea for 9/11 from the 1999 EgyptAir crash - Patrick Sison
'Why didn’t he crash it into a financial tower?': Bin Laden got the idea for 9/11 from the 1999 EgyptAir crash - Patrick Sison

“This is how the idea of 9/11 was conceived and developed in my head,” wrote Bin Laden, “and that is when we began the planning.” The 9/11 Commission Report named Khaled Sheikh Muhammed as the “architect” of the attacks. Yet he is not mentioned in Bin Laden’s notes, “although he may have been instrumental in other ways later on”.

(editor:)

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