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    Does anybody have the slightest doubt that Osama bin Laden, if he were alive, would have aired a new video trying to scare Americans into electing John McCain, just as he scared some into voting for George Bush in 2004?  Not Richard Clarke:

Former Bush administration counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke SAYS there is good reason to suspect that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network wouldn’t like it if the United States had a president who is popular in Europe and the Middle East.
Clarke also notes that Barack Obama has "overwhelming popular support" in those parts of the world.
Connecting the dots – and recalling that bin Laden released a provocative audio tape on the eve of the 2004 presidential election — Clarke worries that al-Qaeda might try to influence this year’s election in John McCain’s favor.

And yet here we are, only 24 hours before the election, and there has not been a peep from Osama bin Laden or al Qaida.  The circumstantial evidence is becoming overwhelming that bin Laden has been dead since 2005 or 2006.

    As this story from msnbc from June of this year noted:

the last time U.S. operatives saw Osama Bin Laden--other than in his own videos--was in the famous Predator video shot in August 2000 where he is seen walking with a security contingent near his compound at Tarnak Farms in eastern Afghanistan. The Predators had not been armed yet.

The last time the U.S. heard Osama Bin Laden was at the battle for Tora Bora, when an NSA operative overheard him giving orders on a frequency not normally monitored and not recorded. There were some initial concerns about the identification but the agency later learned from other sources and materials that indeed that had been him.
But that unfortunately is it.

.... A tape released around Christmas 2001--and thus after the Tora Bora battle--was later determined (through time references in the tape) to have been made about November 17, 2001. After that, there were no contemporaneous videos until the October 29, 2004, tape, the infamous one released just before the U.S. presidential election. (Don’t be surprised if he does that again; al-Qaida is very cognizant of election dates.)

In fact, there has been no authenticated contemporaneous video OR audio since 2005.  In 2006, The Guardian noted that

The last videotaped message from Bin Laden was released towards the end of 2004 and several audio tapes attributed to him have been released this year .

This was further made painfully obvious when a purportedly "new" video of bin Laden released in March of this year (allegedly to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Iraq invasion) simply showed old footage that had apparently been photoshopped, was frozen for most of the message, and the audio mentioned no new events whatsoever:

The video shows a static image of bin Laden with a voice over purporting to be of him all about the Mohammed cartoons controversy. This is the "new" speech by bin Laden on the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq?
The Muhammad cartoons were first published in September of 2005!

Update:  The September 11, 2007 commemortation "new" video was similarly ridiculed as being excerpts recorded at the same time as the 2004 video, with bin Laden's beard darkened:  see here and here.
Unless al Qaida has suddenly become media retarded, the lack of new video material, and the re-use of old video material, has to be counted as strong evidence that they cannot create new video.

In fact, at the time of the Congressional elections in 2006, I noted
The Sound of Silence: Bush's last, best ally deserts him. Guess who?

Update 2:  For those who claim al Qaida would not be interested in taking a position on the US election, it turns out that al Qaida DID release a tape last week -- but with NO appearance by bin Laden.  Per Reuters:

DUBAI (Reuters) - An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated," without endorsing any party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to a video posted on the Internet.
"O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him," Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.
Libi, one of the top al Qaeda commanders believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God's wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.


    In the last year, no less than 3 public figures (one of whom may surprise you) have said publicly that bin Laden was dead.  First was
Benizir Bhutto:

In a November 2, 2007 interview with Al-Jazeera TV, Bhutto spoke English and told correspondent David Frost that Osama bin Laden was dead

Just last month, intelligence official
Robert Baer
said, on NPR's Fresh Air:

"Of course he's dead!"

about bin Laden.

    And the third public official to state flat out that Osama bin Laden was dead?  None other than John McCain in a May 2008 campaign appearance.

    If we don't hear confirmed new video and audio from Osama bin Laden within the next 24 hours, it will be clear and convincing evidence that he is dead, and has been for some time.

Originally posted to New Deal democrat on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 07:53 AM PST.

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