Reader beware, as a bombshell such as this, if true, would likely be getting more attention worldwide. Still, El Mundo isn’t some rabid rag, but a respected newspaper with 287,000 readers that BBC News calls “arguably the most independent-minded of the big Madrid dailies.” It’s only been around since 1989 and is already second in circulation in the country.
But finding El Mundo’s scoop took some good detective work; what a friend has passed on to me here has not become big news outside its pages, as is obvious from this Google news search.
El Mundo’s article is in Spanish, of course. Here’s the translation provided me:
Bin Laden Is In China
So confirms Gordon Thomas, a journalist with contacts in major intelligence services. The terrorist might have reached an agreement with China, which is now negotiating his return with President Bush. It’s his great electoral trick.
By GORDON THOMAS
During the final stretch of the U.S. elections, Osama bin Laden could become the ace up President Bush’s sleeve. At this very moment, Washington is negotiating, in utmost secrecy, a deal with Beijing, the Chinese capital, to extract bin Laden from his sanctuary in the turbulent Muslim provinces of China, to the northwest of the country of the Great wall.
More than 5 million people, many of them fanatical followers of Osama, live in what is considered one of the most volatile regions on Earth. Thousands of them work for the crime syndicates that traffic in human beings or drugs to the west. Last summer, bin Laden finalized a treaty with the government in Beijing, in which the latter would guarantee safety for bin Laden, while he would guarantee the cessation of the guerilla war by Chinese Muslims against the Chinese government.
Over the years, tens of thousands of troops of the People’s Liberation Army have been sent to the region to crush the insurgents.
Ever since the arrival of the Saudi Arabian bin Laden, the region has been relatively tranquil, and the Muslims living there have been permitted to traffic in human beings and drugs.
But now bin Laden could find himself trapped in his hole if an extraordinary agreement between Beijing and Washington bears fruit. It would mean China would extradite to the U.S. the most sought-after terrorist in the world.
The capture of Osama bin Laden would virtually guarantee the re-election of George Bush Jr., and would confirm to the millions of undecided voters in the U.S. that the war on terrorism was justified after bin Laden authorized the attacks of Sept. 11 against New York and Washington.
“A new Bush administration would laud Beijing as its great new ally in the war on terrorism. China would benefit from status of most favored nation in all possible regards. Contracts worth billions of dollars would be approved on the fast track. The history of human rights violations in
China would be ignored,” confirmed a high-level Pentagon official. He added that only a handful of “very high-ranking members” of the Bush administration know of the plan to “catch bin Laden in exchange for special relations with China.” With almost total certainty, these would include the vice president, Dick Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
Agreeing to speak of condition of anonymity, the official gave details of the plan to capture bin Laden as a means to keep Bush in the White House. He explained that this is not the first time an American administration has resorted to similar maneuvers during an election year.
Toward the end of the Jimmy Carter administration, an agreement was finalized between the then-future president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and Iran whereby the American diplomats held in Tehran, the Iranian capital, would be freed the same day that Reagan took office.
According to Ari Ben-Menashe, former national security advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, “they paid enormous sums of money to the Iranian ayatollahs.” Ben-Menashe confirms that he himself was a key player in the negotiations that would later be known as Reagan’s October Surprise.
THERESA, ON THE TRAIL
Theresa, the wife of senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, has dedicated herself to finding out if another October Surprise is forthcoming. Two weeks ago, she surprised her husband’s political advisors by declaring in public, “I wouldn't be surprised if, before the elections, Bush captures bin Laden.” Since then, Mrs. Kerry has refused to comment on her explosive statement. But within the intelligence community rumors circulate that she and her husband were advised that any statements about an agreement that includes the capture of bin Laden would compromise the national security of the U.S.
And Washington analyst Al Santoli, national security adviser to California Republican [Congressman] Dana Rohrabacher, and editor of the respected bulletin The China Monitor, confirmed that an October Surprise, “would not surprise me in the least.”
In what has been his first confirmed sighting in many months, the refuge of bin Laden has been found by an NSA satellite, one of many the super-secret U.S. agency uses to search for him. His hiding place is found near a lake close to the border between China and Pakistan.
On the other side of the Zaskar Mountains, where the snowy peaks dominate the surroundings of bin Laden’s sanctuary, one finds a detachment of Pakistani and American special forces awaiting the order to capture bin Laden in his hideout and take him out on a flight to Pakistan.
ESCORT OF 50 WARRIORS
During the last six months there have been repeated sightings of bin Laden in the mountains and wastelands of the northwest border. American intelligence agencies in the region believe that the Saudi millionaire, accompanied by an escort of 50 mujahedeen, traveled east towards
Kashmir and thence crossed into China.
The agents think that, previously, bin Laden met various times with high-level officials from Beijing. He convinced them that he was capable of obtaining peace in China’s Muslim provinces. “We are aware of these meetings,” I was assured by Mansur Ahmed, chief of police in Bandipor, in the northern part of Kashmir, “but they took place in Chinese territory.”
Accompanying bin Laden was Ayan al-Zawahiri, his principle adviser and personal doctor (bin Laden suffers from a serious kidney problem). Al-Zawahiri is a surgeon trained in Cairo, accused of terrorism in Egypt and sentenced to death. After bin Laden, he is the next most sought-after
man on Earth.
White House sources have refused to comment. “If the negotiations fail, that’s not the best time for the president to be publicly implicated in taking part in the negotiations,” said one source.
It’s thought that the possibility of an agreement came up at the beginning of this year after Donald Rumsfeld met with high-level members of the Chinese government during a visit to the Far East. Later, George Tenet, then director of the CIA, ordered a study on the viability of an operation to capture bin Laden. Tenet was informed that the only way it could work was with Chinese assistance.
“How far this collaboration will go in the weeks remaining until the election will depend in large part on how much Bush can win China’s trust that he will maintain his promises to them,” said the Pentagon official.
Writer Gordon Thomas is an expert in intelligence and the author of books about the CIA and the Mossad.