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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Does bin Laden really have a kidney problem?

Richard Miniter (author of Shadow War, the untold story of how Bush is winning the war on terror) was interviewed on C-Span’s Washington Journal this morning(RealPlayer required) and there was an interesting exchange at the end regarding the health of Osama bin Laden.

Interviewer: Let’s close on Osama bin Laden. I will suggest that viewers consult your book to learn the scheme he use fro hiding out. How close do your sources say we’ve been? And what are the prospects for killing or capturing him?

Richard Miniter: Well the people involved in the hunt for bin Laden, both in our government and among our allies always think that bin Laden is just over the horizon, we’re just about to get him. I used to discount that much more than I do. A few weeks before we got Saddam Hussein I was talking to a senior US military official in Iraq who said we are on the verge of getting Saddam and I had been hearing that for weeks and I said yeah sure. I didn’t believe him. I turned out to be wrong a few weeks later. Now these same guys are saying we are on the verge of getting bin Laden. They have been saying that for a year. They might be saying that for another one year, another five years, who knows? My thinking about manhunts is that we never know we are about to get someone until we get them; people slip away. Bin Laden is very disciplined, very good about staying off of his satellite phone, about limiting who he communicates with, by communicating only by courier, because he knows that the NSA and other spy satellites are watching him. He’s very good at hiding. Let’s remember that manhunts, evern in our own country, are very difficult. Eric Rudolph his in national forests, inside the United States, for more than ten years. The uni-bomber was on the FBI’s most wanted listed for more than twenty years.

I: The difference between those two people is they don’t need daily dialyses.

RM: Neither does bin Laden.

I: How often does he need the treatment? RM: He doesn’t. He doesn’t need it all.

I: Well how come I keep reading that?

RM: I don’t know. The US government captured bin Laden’s personal doctor, they held him in Guantomino, they released him to Canada, where he gave an interview to Canadian press and he said he couldn’t understand why the Americans kept asking about dialyses treatment. People in dialyses have telltale signs that doctors can recognize; changing of the joints, yellowing of the skin and so on. In Laden has none of that. He said, his personal doctor, who treated him for six years in Afghanistan said he had dehydration, he had problems sleeping and so on, but he never had a kidney problem. This apparently something put forward in the late Clinton years by Pakistani intelligence, hoping to persuade the US not to topple the Taliban because remember the Taliban were the allies of Pakistan. And say, don’t worry about him, he needs dialyses, his is going to die anyway.

Cross-posted to PoliticalStaples

Posted by Greg Staples on November 24, 2004 | Permalink

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